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RM93 at Golden Gate near Croydon
in August 2008
Service type Passenger train
First service 1891
Current operator(s) Queensland Rail
Start Normanton
End Croydon
Distance travelled 151 kilometres
Service frequency weekly
Gulflander Line
Critter’s Camp
R.M. Stop No.1
Golden Gate

The Gulflander is an Australian passenger train, running 151 kilometres (94 mi) from Normanton to Croydon in the Gulf Country of northern Queensland. Often described as 'a train from nowhere to nowhere', the line was completed in 1891 and was never connected to the rest of the Queensland Rail network although it has always been owned and operated by Queensland Rail. The nearest part of the Queensland Rail network is 190 kilometres away at Forsayth. The service runs once per week to Croydon on Wednesdays and returns to Normanton on Thursdays. Shorter charter services on most other days are also available.


RM93 and trailer about to depart Normanton on its weekly run to Croydon in July 1991
RM60 at Normanton in May 2008
DL4 at Normanton in July 1991

The northern terminus of Normanton is located on the Norman River, and served as a port for cattle and gold mining. It was planned for the line to be extended to Cloncurry to provide an inland route for the cattle country along the route, but after the discovery of gold at Croydon the decision was made to build a station there instead.[1]

Construction began in 1888. The line was constructed in an unusual manner, with hollow steel sleepers packed with mud to avoid the need for track ballast.[2] This method of construction also meant that the line was not subject to damage during frequent flooding during the wet season,[1] with most of these original sleepers still in place.

Steam locomotives were used until 1922 when diesel railmotors were introduced. By 1974 the line was under the threat of closure, earning just $3,340 in revenue but costing approximately $63,800 to maintain.[1] Today the line exists as a tourist attraction, and is said to be more an adventure than a train ride. The train crews are qualified guides and will stop the train and talk about points of interest. The present three-car railmotor set is known as "the old Tin Hare".


Thirteen power units have been used on the line. It is unusual that of the 13 units, 12 survive in one form or another and most are still in the region due mainly to its remoteness.[3] They are as follows:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Bromby, Robin (2004). The Railway Age in Australia. Lothian Press. p. 96. ISBN 0-7344-0715-7. 
  2. ^ Cook, Penny (2006). Discover Queensland Heritage. Corinda, Queensland: Pictorial Press Australia. p. 18. ISBN 1876561424. 
  3. ^ Knowles, John (1983). Lonely Rails in the Gulf. The Story of the Normanton-Croydon Railway, Queensland. Brisbane. ISBN 0-9593651-1-7. 
  4. ^ The 1800 Class "Blue Lagoons" Queendsland's Great Trains
  5. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 17°51′25.11″S 141°08′15.76″E / 17.8569750°S 141.1377111°E / -17.8569750; 141.1377111