Melbourne to Sydney by overnight XPT train

Melburnian1

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For the oldies, senior's card gets you a discount!

I am not a Senior - 60 and above - but you are correct, although it doesn't appear there's a Discovery Pass for seniors (but as Mattg indicated, there is one for children). Seniors pay the concession rail fare but must pay the $88 single - one way - sleeping berth fee as well.

NSWTrainLink won't book strangers of the opposite sex in a sleeping cabin together (to clarify: girlfriend and boyfriend, or friends, fine, but if it's me and Miss Jane Bloggs, no). So sometimes there may be a spare upper berth if there's not been any bookings from a person of the same gender.

You can also encounter someone say getting in the sleeper at Wagga Wagga for the trip to Sydney, or Goulburn/Yass Jct for the trip to Melbourne. In reverse, they can also leave then, but most doing it are quiet. You won't, however, be woken up at 0200 or 0300 by someone alighting in the middle of the trip at say Cootamundra as one can't book a sleeper to or from there.

There is some sort of choice with brekky: it can be a bit more extensive than Mattg implied, although for those of us who don't often eat at 0620 hours we may not want much.

Try to obtain a lower berth as it's easier to get in and out of, although the ladder to the upper berth is stable and well designed.
 

Melburnian1

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Interesting trip report.

I've been doing SYD-BNE for over 10 years and have thought about the train quite a few times but never went ahead with it as there usually isn't much difference between airfares and train fares to justify using the train.

Perhaps something to look at as airfares increase to over $200 one way during peak travel.

The Qld govt won't permit the NSWTrainLink XPT to arrive during sensible peak period hours in Brisbane (due to shared tracks in from the southern suburbs) so the timetable is unfortunately unattractive. At present it arrives Brisbane Roma St station at about 0400 hours: maybe good for an 0900 international flight connection but too early for business and leisure travellers, unless one also reserves an hotel room for 'the night before.'
 

JohnK

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At present it arrives Brisbane Roma St station at about 0400 hours: maybe good for an 0900 international flight connection but too early for business and leisure travellers, unless one also reserves an hotel room for 'the night before.'
That would be suitable for me living in Milton but agreed the scheduling is quite poor.

We just need to remember that things works a little slower up north. The last public transport from the airport was 8:00pm until not that long ago and it's still only 10:00pm.
 

Melburnian1

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That would be suitable for me living in Milton but agreed the scheduling is quite poor.

We just need to remember that things works a little slower up north. The last public transport from the airport was 8:00pm until not that long ago and it's still only 10:00pm.

And remember, while the XPT departs Brisbane at 0455 hours during daylight saving time in the lower eastern states - very early - there are also flights departing BNE at 0500 and some catch these. However I have rarely found (except on a Monday morning) that the super early 0500 or 0600 flights are travellers' first choice: most either must be at work at a particular time, or have an international (or domestic) flight connection.
 

Alyopsis

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I do the sleeper to Melbourne a bit. The trick is to ask to be allocated an empty cabin and to take a bottle of wine on. It’s a good alternative if you are in the mood. The CBD to CBD service is good.

The problem with the Brisbane service is that it leaves Sydney too early and gets into Brisbane too early.
 

Mattg

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And remember, while the XPT departs Brisbane at 0455 hours during daylight saving time in the lower eastern states - very early - there are also flights departing BNE at 0500 and some catch these. However I have rarely found (except on a Monday morning) that the super early 0500 or 0600 flights are travellers' first choice: most either must be at work at a particular time, or have an international (or domestic) flight connection.

I did take the 04:55 departure from Brisbane to Coffs Harbour earlier this year. (I wouldn't have done the train all the way from BNE to SYD, but to get to CFS it was a good option). The train was around 1/4 full leaving BNE (it filled up at later stations), so I stretched out and slept across two seats for the first hour or two. Then had a leisurely breakfast, bought a newspaper, enjoyed the scenery, got some work done and I was in Coffs Harbour before lunchtime. I would do that trip again if I had a reason to. The only problem was that the train ran late.
 

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I wonder if any travellers considered the XPT between MEL and SYD on Oct 28 when the storms hit SYD and multiple flights were cancelled.
 

Melburnian1

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I wonder if any travellers considered the XPT between MEL and SYD on Oct 28 when the storms hit SYD and multiple flights were cancelled.

I don't know re then, but I had a friend travelling with several others last week on it (day train to Sydney) and she said there were passengers on board who said they'd booked at the last minute due to flights being in chaos account bad weather the previous day.

Occasionally in such circumstances air passengers are told 'no flights available for 36 or 48 hours' so if so, it's logical to look for alternatives.
 

Mattg

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I recall that the XPT services were all fully booked back when the Qantas fleet was grounded in 2011. It's a logical alternative when flights are in chaos.
 

dajop

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Aaah all this talk of trains instead of flying. To reminisce a little my first “long haul” train trip was as a uni student overnight from Sydney to Melbourne in 1989 as the final leg of a trip from Melbourne to Grafton and back.

Although I suspect I couldn’t have afforded air travel back then anyway, those who are old enough will remember the significance of 1989 re domestic air travel (and if not Google it!). But as a result trains were packed .. and it was a 13 hr journey in a compartment train (4 seats across next to each other, no recline, facing others, such that you couldn’t stretch your legs). To this day I am thankful for this experience as in comparison it makes long haul airline travel in economy seem really comfortable and luxurious.

Another little bit of trivia, getting from Melbourne to Sydney on that trip was by bus overnight , and the first stop was at an Albury roadhouse - where within 15 mins of stopping there were no less than 14 coaches stopped - all enroute from MEL to SYD ... oh how times have changed.

Back on topic, thanks for the trip report. I would really like to try the overnight sleeper service one day, just for the novelty of it. Your report helps understand what to expect.
 

Melburnian1

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Aaah all this talk of trains instead of flying....Back on topic, thanks for the trip report. I would really like to try the overnight sleeper service one day, just for the novelty of it. Your report helps understand what to expect.

If you do, dajop, when ringing them , ask for a lower berth in the centre of the car as that will give you the best ride.
 

serfty

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significance of 1989 re domestic air travel (and if not Google it!). But as a result trains were packed
In 1989 did a work trip from Melbourne to Sydney and back for the same reason. "First Class" day trip both ways. The catering contractors could not cope as they were not used to full trains.
 

docjames

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Took the overnight SYD-MEL back in the late 80s as a kid with my father - great way to travel.

And remember, while the XPT departs Brisbane at 0455 hours during daylight saving time in the lower eastern states - very early - there are also flights departing BNE at 0500 and some catch these. However I have rarely found (except on a Monday morning) that the super early 0500 or 0600 flights are travellers' first choice: most either must be at work at a particular time, or have an international (or domestic) flight connection.

Have taken the 0500 from BNE plenty of times in the past (meetings in SYD) - always hurts.

0455 from CBD better than 0500 (0440 boarding....) from BNE......
 

Memma

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I've done the MEL-SYD XPT well in excess off 100 times! It's bumpy and hot, but I always love getting on the rails, and its a fun experience! I can't wait to see it running again!
 
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Melburnian1

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I've done the MEL-SYD XPT well in excess off 100 times! It's bumpy and hot, but I always love getting on the rails, and its a fun experience! I can't wait to see it running again!

It's operating from Sydney Central to Albury twice a day - once during daytime, the second one at night - but has been cancelled between Albury and Melbourne Southern Cross since about 6 July 2020 due to the NSW/Vic border restrictions.

The election-facing Queensland Premier is talking tough and so media is suggesting more than five million Sydney residents may be excluded from Queensland soon. If that happens the XPT to Brisbane will again terminate at Casino in northern NSW.

By the way, today QFd and VAd each had one Sydney to Melbourne flight so times are extremely tough for them also. Very few in either state can travel to the other!

The Greyhound and I assume Firefly coach companies have also cancelled their extremely limited Sydney - Melbourne services (although Greyhound still operates from Sydney to Canberra, as does coach company Murrays and rail operator NSW TrainLink. There is a very limited number of Qantas flights from Sydney to Canberra but even these haven't necessarily been every day.
 
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Memma

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It's operating from Sydney Central to Albury twice a day - once during daytime, the second one at night - but has been cancelled between Albury and Melbourne Southern Cross since about 6 July 2020 due to the NSW/Vic border restrictions.

The election-facing Queensland Premier is talking tough and so media is suggesting more than five million Sydney residents may be excluded from Queensland soon. If that happens the XPT to Brisbane will again terminate at Casino in northern NSW.

By the way, today QFd and VAd each had one Sydney to Melbourne flight so times are extremely tough for them also. Very few in either state can travel to the other!

The Greyhound and I assume Firefly coach companies have also cancelled their extremely limited Sydney - Melbourne services (although Greyhound still operates from Sydney to Canberra, as does coach company Murrays and rail operator NSW TrainLink. There is a very limited number of Qantas flights from Sydney to Canberra but even these haven't necessarily been every day.

I heard they're doing that with the XPT. I wonder why V/Line aren't running trains to either Wodonga or Wangaratta? Surely they could run into Albury Station empty to service the train? I can't imagine there is much travel into or out of Melbourne at the moment! Let's hope the XPT keeps making it north of Casino!
 

Melburnian1

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I heard they're doing that with the XPT. I wonder why V/Line aren't running trains to either Wodonga or Wangaratta? Surely they could run into Albury Station empty to service the train? I can't imagine there is much travel into or out of Melbourne at the moment! Let's hope the XPT keeps making it north of Casino!

V/Line could do that, reversing the locomotive at Albury.

But generally any excuse not to run trains sees V/Line putting on road coaches. The owners must make a very large amount of moolah.

Generally speaking, except for a few reasons such as a specialist appointment or a funeral, rural Victorian residents aren't allowed to travel to Melbourne (or the Shire of Mitchell that is south of Euroa) while the reverse also applies. So patronage would be way down, but still some would travel.

There's normally passengers on the V/LIne trains travelling from Wodonga to Wangaratta or Benalla and so on.
 
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Memma

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Those were the days!! Unfortunately the XPT isn't quite as nice as the Southern Aurora used to be!
 

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