The Sunlander, 2010
|Service type||National passenger|
|First service||July 1953|
|Current operator(s)||Queensland Rail|
|Start||Brisbane (Roma Street railway station, Brisbane)|
|End||Cairns (Cairns railway station)|
|Distance travelled||1,681 km (1,045 mi) (current)|
|Average journey time||45 hours (original)
31 hours (current)
|Service frequency||3 each way per week (current)|
|Catering facilities||Club Car / Buffet Car|
|Track gauge||1067 mm|
The Sunlander is a three times a week long distance passenger rail service running between Brisbane and Cairns, Queensland, Australia a total distance of 1,691 kilometres. The service is a locomotive hauled train at present with plans to introduce a new Tilt Train on The Sunlander service in the future. The Sunlander service carried approximately 85,000 people in 2009.
From December 1924, when rail line to Cairns was opened a steam hauled non airconditioned train provided the service.
In 1935, a new train called the Sunshine Express was introduced. This train of wooden carriages featured varnished timber internal panelling made from natural Queensland timbers. Comforts for that period included electric fans, electric lighting, and leather upholstered seating. Accommodation included sleeping berths for first and second class passengers and seating only carriages.
The Sunlander passenger train commenced in June 1953. This new air conditioned train was hauled by a diesel locomotive and by eliminating the steam engine maintenance stops, the transit time to Cairns was reduced from 45 to 41¼ hours. Since then the time has been cut to 31 hours.
Tilt Train 
The Queensland Government announced that a contract had been let for the construction of a new Tilt Train to replace the present locomotive hauled consist. The tilt train will cost A$189M (which includes refurbishing of two older Tilt Trains) and is likely to be in service mid-2014. With the introduction of the Tilt Train the journey time will be reduced to approximately 26 hours. The maximum speed of the Tilt Train will be 160 km/hr.
The route follows the North Coast railway line from Brisbane in the sub tropical region of south east Queensland through to the tropical north region. The train travels the coastal strip between the beaches and the Great Dividing Range passing diverse country including the Glasshouse Mountains, the sugar cane country of North Queensland and the tropics beyond Townsville. The Sunlander is one of the world's longest train journeys as compiled in Wikipedia.
Passenger facilities 
Facilities on board include two food service cars. A Buffet car provides a full meal service and a refreshment car provides takeaway food service. Two classes of travel are available
- Queenslander Class - premium service with all meals provided and twin berth accommodation
- Standard Service - seats and berth accommodation
A Motorail service is available on The Sunlander enabling passengers to load their car onto a special car carrying wagon on the train. This feature is likely to be discontinued once the Tilt Train commences operation.
See also 
- "History of Rail in Australia". Department of Infrastructure and Transport. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
- "Media release". Queensland Government. 2010-10-27. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- "Qld's Luxury Train for makeover". Ninemsn. 2010-10-27. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
- "Travelling Times by Rail". Queensland Historical Atlas. 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
- Burke, David (2009). Chasing the sunshine : the story of Queensland's sunshine express. South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia: Queensland Museum. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-9805692-3-0.