Tilt Train

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This article is about Queensland Rail's Tilt Train service in Australia. For tilting trains in general, see tilting train.
Tilt Train
Diesel Tilt Train in April 2008
In service 1997 to Present (electric)
2003 to Present (diesel)
Manufacturer Walkers (electric)
EDi Rail (diesel)
Built at Maryborough
Constructed 1997
Number built 2 (electric)
3 (diesel)
Number in service 2 (electric)
3 (diesel)
Formation 6 cars (electric)
Push-pull diesel + 7 cars
Operator(s) Queensland Rail
Depot(s) Mayne
Line(s) served North Coast
Maximum speed 160 km/h (99 mph)
Electric system(s) 25 kV AC Overhead lines
electric train
Current collection method Pantograph
electric train
Track gauge 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
QR Tilt Train
Brisbane (Roma Street)
Gympie North
Maryborough West
Miriam Vale
Mount Larcom
St Lawrence
Home Hill

The Tilt Train is the name for two similar high speed tilting train services, one electric and the other diesel, operated by Queensland Rail on the North Coast line from Brisbane to Rockhampton and Cairns.


Electric Tilt Train[edit]

In March 1993 Queensland Rail issued a tender for the construction of two electric six-carriage tilting trains. In October 1994 a contract was awarded to Walkers, Maryborough with Hitachi to supply the electrical and tilting equipment.[1]

After an extensive program, on 6 November 1998 Australia's first pair of tilting trains entered service on the Spirit of Capricorn between Brisbane and Rockhampton. With a journey time of seven hours, they shaved over two hours from the schedule operated by InterCity Express sets.[2][3][4] In July 1999 a second daily service was introduced between Brisbane and Bundaberg.[5]

In May 1999 the Tilt Train set an Australian train speed record of 210 km/h (130 mph) north of Bundaberg, a record that still stands.[6][7]

In 2006 the electric sets underwent an $8.3 million refurbishment program at Mayne depot.

Diesel Tilt Train[edit]

In August 1999 a contract was awarded to Walkers for two diesel tilting trains to operate services from Brisbane to Cairns.[8] In contrast to the electric Tilt Train, the diesel Tilt Train is a push-pull locomotive based train, although the two are externally similar.

Following a derailment of the Diesel Tilt Train in November 2004 that injured 157 people, all Diesel Tilt Train services were limited to 100 km/h (62 mph) until track upgrades and the introduction of Automatic Train Protection allowed full speed operation to resume in June 2007.

In October 2010 Downer Rail was awarded a contract to build a further diesel tilt train with two power cars and 12 carriages to replace locomotive hauled stock on The Sunlander. The existing two diesel sets will be overhauled and extended to 10 carriages. All work will be performed in Maryborough.[9][10][11] The first refurbished set entered service in October 2013.



Electric Tilt Train in its original livery in January 2006

Commencing in 1997, the electric Tilt Train operates from Brisbane to Rockhampton. With a top service speed of 160 km/h (100 mph) and the ability to tilt five degrees in each direction, the Tilt Train is one of the fastest trains in Australia having the same top speed of the V/Line VLocity train which operates in Victoria. The train operates the on the North Coast line and serves the intermediate towns of Gympie, Maryborough, Bundaberg and Gladstone. The electric Tilt Trains run in a multiple unit configuration.

The electric Tilt Train features 2×2 economy seating, and 1×2 business class seating, mainscreen visual entertainment along with in-seat audio entertainment. Economy class passengers have a regular trolley service and a buffet style galley food service, while business class has a frequent trolley service and passenger attendants to tend to the needs of the passengers.


The diesel Tilt Train features a 2×2 economy class seating arrangement, 1×2 business class seating arrangement, in-seat audio and visual entertainment and a TV screen attached to the seat armrest. A trolley service is available, and a club car is part of the consist of this Tilt Train service. In October 2013 when the first refurbished set returned to traffic, the service was named the Spirit of Queensland.

In 2014 an additional train will be delivered to operate a replacement Sunlander between Brisbane and Cairns, meaning the only service on this route from that time will be the Spirit of Queensland.[12][13]


  1. ^ "Tilt EMUs Ordered for Brisbane - Rockhampton Run" Railway Digest November 1994 page 14
  2. ^ Beattie, Peter (1 November 1998). "All aboard Australia's first Tilt Train". Ministerial Media Statements. Queensland Government. 
  3. ^ "Australia enters the Tilt Train era" Railway Digest December 1998 pages 22-25, 40
  4. ^ Bredhauer, Stephen (30 December 1998). "Australia's Biggest Rail Investment". Ministerial Media Statements. Queensland Government. 
  5. ^ "Bundaberg Day-Return Tilt Service Commences" Railway Digest August 1999 page 15
  6. ^ QR Limited (1999). Annual Report June 1999 (PDF). Brisbane: QR Limited. p. 53. 
  7. ^ "QR Tilt Train Sets Australian Rail Speed Record" Railway Digest June 1999 page 15
  8. ^ "Bundaberg Tilt Service Hits Airline as Cairns Tilt Contract Signed" Railway Digest September 1999 page 16
  9. ^ World class trains for Queensland supporting 800 Maryborough jobs Minister for Transport 27 October 2010
  10. ^ Spirit of Queensland Queensland
  11. ^ Queensland's famed Sunlander gets makeover Rail Express 21 August 2013
  12. ^ Spirit of Queensland Queensland
  13. ^ Spirit of Queensland factsheet Queensland Rail

External links[edit]

a tilt train is a type of train