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10 Scenic Train Trips Within the U.S.
Traveling by train is one of the most rewarding methods of travel, because not only is it relaxing but there’s so much beauty of the world to see and observe. Many train routes in the United States are designed for the sole purposes of sightseeing, offering many unforgettable views and experiences of a lifetime. Sightseeing railway ticket prices are generally affordable, making it a cost-effective solution to seeing more of the country without spending too much money doing so. Another advantage to scenic railway trains is that the often stop at major landmarks so you can get out and explore.
Cass Scenic Railroad
The Cass Scenic Railroad is located at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in West Virginia. This trip is 11 miles long and travels to the highest point of Back Allegheny Mountain and some of the Bald Knob summit. This steam train travels to popular tourist attractions n the area, including the Company Store which is a gift shop, restaurant and museum. There are a few different scenic train rides you can take on the Cass Scenic Railroad including the Bald Knob trip, Wild Heart Connector, New Tygart, Cheat Mountain and the Polar Express. Since they are all difference durations and prices, it helps to look at the railway train schedule to determine what fits best for you. Railway train live status will allow you to see when it departs and when it arrives at the destination.
Grand Canyon Railway
The Grand Canyon Railway is a 65-mile adventure that takes a little over two hours each way. Before the train departs, you’ll get to see live entertainment from the Cataract Creek Gang and get to enjoy live music on the trip. When you are at the canyon, you’ll get to experience 277 miles of scenery with painted deserts, pine and fir forests, waterfalls, geological features and plateaus. These railway ticket prices vary, depending on your preferences for the car you want to reserve. You do get the options of different cars such as the Pullman Class, Coach Class, Full Class, Observation Dome, Luxury Dome and the Luxury Parlor.
Amtrak’s California Zephyr is an unforgettable journey that travels a total of 2,438 and takes approximately 51 hours. This scenic railroad will take you coast to coast, starting on the New York to Chicago portion, changing trains in Chicago and then ending up on the Chicago to San Francisco portion. Some of the best highlights from this trip include Denver, Colorado, Salt Lake City, Utah and San Francisco, California. This railway seat availability depends on how you want to travel and how many people you’ll bring along. The railway train fare for this coast to coast trip will cost you less than $200 a person.
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
In Western North Carolina you’ll find the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. It features two different routes, both allowing you to see breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains. The Nantahala Gorge Excursion travels 44 miles over 4 and a half hours, travelling by the Nantahala and Tennessee Rivers and across the Trellis Bridge to the stunning Fontana Gorge. The other trip is the Tuckasegee River Excursion with is a 32-mile journey over the span of 4 hours and takes you through the Cowee Tunnel and past a movie set. You’ll have a one-hour layover in Dillsboro, where you can visit the various shops.
Alaska Railroads Coastal Classic
Alaska’s Coastal Classic Train travels to Seward across 114 miles and typically takes a little over four hours. It leaves early in the morning and allows passengers to get out and explore Seward for the day, returning to train in the evening. On this trip, you can also visit Anchorage or visit Kenai Fjords National Park. There are two types of railway seat availability, the Adventure Class or the GoldStar Dome and both offer exceptional dining options.
Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
In Colorado you’ll get to journey on the historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge, which allows you to experience the beauty of the San Juan Mountains. You’ll get to journey from Durango, Colorado to Silverton, Colorado. There are two types of railway train tickets, the Mesa Verde Discovery Tour and the Historic Silverton Mining Tour. The Mesa Verde Discovery Tour takes you through the Mesa Verde National Park and the Silverton Mining Tour gives you the opportunity to explore the historic mines that are in San Juan County.
Cape Cod Central Railroad
The Cape Cod Coastal Excision is a three-hour journey that takes you along the canal at Pairpoint Glass along the Cape Cod Canal. Passengers will be able to get out and explore over 30 museums, watch glassblowers demonstrate their art and experience wildlife. Riders will get to visit Sandwich, which is the oldest village on the Cape and learn about the history of the area. There is a railway train time table that explains when the train departs and when it gets back, allowing you to plan accordingly.
Pullman Rail Journeys
The Pullman Rail Journeys goes from Chicago to New Orleans, departing Chicago in the evening and arriving in New Orleans the next afternoon. Railway ticket reservations includes the Roomette, Double Bedroom and the Master Bedroom and you can choose to book a one-way trip or a round trip. On this trip you’ll be able to enjoy modern conveniences such a Wi-Fi and power outlets.
The Adirondack Tour goes from New York City through Hudson Valley and straight into Montreal. You’ll depart at Penn Station in New York in the Morning and arrive in Montreal in the evening. Some of the popular highlights from this trip include New York, New York, Lake Champlain Region and Montreal, Quebec. If you want to travel more of Canada, you can check out Trans Canadian railway trips for more opportunities. Railway train time inquiries will lead you to their website, allowing you to see more details of the journey.
Napa Valley Wine Trail
Napa Valley in California offers numerous scenic full-day train rides including The Legacy Tour, The Collective Tour, An Elegant Tour, The Estate Tour, The Famiglia Tour, The Ambassador Tour and the Castle Winery Tour. With railway train inquiries, you’ll be able to determine where each one goes and which one best fit what you’re looking for. A railway train time table list in Napa Valley allows you to see when they leave and the duration of the trip. These are more than just scenic train rides, they will stop and allow you to explore the area and do a little shopping and sightseeing.
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First Class [ View ] Two types of First Class sleeping accommodation are available in single and twin berth compartments. All berths feature a washbasin, wardrobe, reading lights and power point (240v AC). Twin berths offer full-length mirrors. Full bedding and towels provided.
Economy [ View ] Economy sleeping accommodation consists of a three berth compartment and feature a washbasin, reading lights and power point (240v AC). A blanket, lower sheet, pillow and pillowslip are provided for each economy berth.
To step aboard The Australian rail system is to step into a different world, a world “down under,” as it is fondly described.
Ride on rails that will bring you a journey filled with rugged terrain, luxury, and overall warmth that can be found nowhere else on the planet.
· Mainline Trains · Network Map · Rail Passes
The Westlander runs between Brisbane and Charleville. It runs through Toowoomba and the Darling Downs region before terminating in Charleville in outback Queensland. The train takes 17 hours to complete the 777km journey.
You can get connecting bus transfers at the following stations:
- Brisbane : local bus and rail services including trains to the Gold Coast, Trainlink NSW trains to Sydney (the Discovery Pass rail pass is valid on these trains) plus the Spirit of Queensland train to Cairns, the Tilt train to Rockhampton and the Spirit of the Outback train to Longreach (the Queensland Coastal Pass is valid on the Spirit of Queensland, the Tilt Train and the Spirit of the Outback (as far as Rockhampton) and the Queensland Explorer Pass is valid Spirit of Queensland, the Tilt Train and the Spirit of the Outback (as far as Longreach)
- Toowoomba : Bus Queensland coaches to Cunnamulla, Goondiwindi, Lightning Ridge, Tenterfield and Warwick (rail passes not valid)
- Dalby : Bus Queensland coaches to Cunnamulla, Goondiwindi, St George and Lightning Ridge (rail passes not valid)
- Miles : Bus Queensland coaches to Rockhampton (rail passes not valid)
- Charleville : Bus Queensland coaches to Longreach, Winton and Mount Isa (rail passes not valid); coaches to Cunnamulla and Quilpie (rail passes are valid on these buses)
The Westlander train features:
- on board lounge car serving light snacks and a range of refreshments (including beer and wine)
- complimentary in-seat snack pack
- toilets at the end of each carriage
The train features comfortable seating with a generous recline and a fold down seat-back table and there is a lounge car on board the train where you can enjoy a tea or coffee, or perhaps a beer or wine, while watching the outback scenery pass by out the window.
You can use the Queensland Explorer Pass to travel on the Westlander :
- Queensland Travel Guide
The Westlander Timetable
Related links, stay connected, popular news, reasons to retire in queensland, planning a car road trip as a student, unwanted travel companions, how travel inspires new culinary creations.
Discover the pioneering spirit of Australia’s Outback with a journey aboard The Westlander.
This scenic journey from Brisbane travels across the Great Dividing Range and through the rich farmlands of the Darling Downs before arriving in Charleville, the largest town in south-west Queensland. Enjoy a comfortable journey in a choice of sleeper or seat, with a welcoming club car offering appetising meals and the chance to meet fellow travellers.
An array of Outback experiences awaits in and around Charleville, including the new Cosmos Centre, a dedicated stargazing observatory; the Royal Flying Doctor’s Service Base; and the opal fields of the south-west.
^ Denotes a station where the train will only be stopped at if reservations have been pre-booked.
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How to get from Brisbane to Charleville
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- Road Report
Drive to charleville.
Charleville and the Murweh Shire are serviced by fully sealed roads on major highways from every direction.
DRIVE DISTANCE FROM CHARLEVILLE
- Roma - 267km via the Warrego Highway
- Cunnamulla - 199km via the Mitchell Highway
- Longreach - 515km via the A2 and Landsborough Highway
- Birdsville - 836km via State Route 14
- Mount Isa - 1,162km via the A2 and Landsborough Highway
- Brisbane - 745km via the Warrego Highway
- Sydney - 1,208km via the Mitchell Highway
- Melbourne - 1,461km via the B87 and Mitchell Highway
FLY TO CHARLEVILLE
Rex Airlines flies into Charleville Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Hire car facilities are available in Charleville.
Book via rex.com.au
RAIL TO CHARLEVILLE
Queensland Rail's Westlander Service operates between Brisbane and Charleville Monday and Friday.
Book via queenslandrailtravel.com.au
BUS TO CHARLEVILLE
Greyhound Bus Service operates between Brisbane and Charleville Monday to Friday.
Book via greyhound.com.au
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Westlander Train Charleville to Brisbane - Queensland Rail
- South Pacific
- Brisbane Region
- Brisbane - Things to Do
- Queensland Rail
I used this train service a couple of times whilst in the area of Brisbane and the Gold Coast. My... read more
Thank you Queensland Rail for a very enjoyable trip from Cairns to BrIsbane in June . The staff... read more
Westlander Train Charleville to Brisbane
Queensland Rails Westlander Train travels between Brisbane and Charleville each way twice a week, a distance of 777km (483 miles) I rode the service from Charleville departing at 6.15pm Wednesday and arriving Brisbane slightly late at 11.40am Thursday morning. The locomotive hauled train consisted of 2 sit up cars and a small lounge car serving snacks and alcohol, also there is free tea and coffee available. Comfortable reclining seats and a truly outback customer base makes this a rare unique experience but definitely not for everyone, just the adventurous looking for a unique experience. The train is subsidized by the Queensland Government to the tune of $4000 per passenger so for the price of around $60 including dinner & breakfast can’t be beat.
Thank you so much for taking the time out to review the Westlander, happy to hear you enjoyed the journey and had a great experience.
I used the Tilt train service from Hervey Bay to Roma Street and on to Gold Coast train to Varsity Lakes. I couldn't believe how easy and personalised train travel is. I'd expected robotics and find-your-own-way, but Qld Rail employed such helpful staff on every service I used, whether at Train link buses, entry Go Card gates at Roma St , on all platforms I saw, or onboard the long distance train. City commuters have clean modern trains with clear digital information and PA services. Even the trackside graffiti control was apparent. The business class Tilt train 4 hour journey was so relaxing... though rather cool aircon. (probably helps control infection, just as public hospitals do) Wear warm clothing and choose East side of train if travelling in early mornings for sunshine. Here's Cheers to Queensland Rail... your good staff and their efforts can be seen everywhere.
Thank you for your review @robynexploring. We're glad you enjoyed your journey aboard the Tilt Train with connections on our city network to the Gold Coast. We hope to have you aboard again soon.
There are 2 staffs push a trolley served with foods and drinks. When I simply asked what can I order to the them, one lady explain to me; but the other one just said ‘Jesus’ right behind my back. Is this the way you’ve been educated???? That’s very RUDE & IMPOLITE!!!
Hi Candice, thank you for your feedback. We're sorry our journey aboard our long-distance service didn't meet your expectations. We'd love to find out more details about your experience so we can follow up. If you'd be able to contact our customer feedback team and provide your travel details (booking date, service) - [email protected]
After traveling on this train last night I decided I am just going to save the money to fly, it was the most uncomfortable seat I have ever sat in, I never got any sleep as I ached so much and 12 hours of some drunk with bad BO was enough to put me off , in saying that the train looked beautifully clean and updated and the staff were amazing , but it was way too uncomfortable, we transferred onto a bus at Gympie which was much more comfortable and I actually got a couple of hours sleep on the bus
Thank you for sharing your experience - we'd be lying if we said we weren't disappointed that this journey didn't live up to your expectations. We do apologise for the other customers behavior onboard. We are glad to hear you were able to find some relief when on your bus transfer, and were able to enjoy a restful sleep :) Wherever you're headed next, we wish you safe onward travels.
We travelled from Cairns to Brisbane aboard the Spirit of Queensland, a 24 hour trip. The carriage was very clean with roomy comfortable seats that converted to flat bed sleepers. A good sized shower was avallable also. Food was good and served to your seats. Very friendly staff. A nice quite comfortable journey all round.
Thank you for sharing your experience aboard the Spirit of Queensland. We're delighted you enjoyed your journey, the RailBeds are something else, an Australia's first :) It's a great way to relax and take in the Queensland scenery, you wouldn't normally see when driving or flying above the clouds.
Great Connectivity between Brisbane International Airport to GoldCoast. It is cost effective, comfortable and fast. The seats are good and the travel very nice. The platforms are friendly for stowing luggage and clean. As a train lover, i just loved the experience. Recommended as a friendly transport mode if travelling to or from GoldCoast. Enjoy when in Brisbane.
Thank you for your review.
Honest tourism information about Australia
Charleville to Brisbane train: Fare prices, timetable & stops
- David Whitley
The Charleville to Brisbane train, known as the Westlander, runs twice a week and takes 17h10m to reach Brisbane’s Roma Street Station. Fare prices start at $90 for a one way ticket.
The Charleville to Brisbane train is one of the oddest services on the Australian rail map. It connects the outback town of Charleville with the Queensland capital, running through the Darling Downs region along the way.
Known as the Westlander, the Charleville to Brisbane train covers a distance of 777km and runs just twice a week .
Charleville to Brisbane train timetable
The Charleville to Brisbane train departs Charleville at 18.15 on Wednesdays and Fridays. It arrives at 11.25 the next day at Brisbane ’s Roma Street Station . That’s a journey time of 17 hours and 10 minutes.
According to the Westlander timetable, the reverse service from Brisbane to Charleville departs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 19.15, getting into Charleville at 11.45 the next day.
Bookings should be made via Queensland Rail Travel .
6 supreme Brisbane day trips that will improve your holiday
- Moreton Island day trip – with kayaking, sandboarding and snorkelling or with dolphin-feeding and desert dunes adventure .
- Springbrook National Park glowworms and rainforest tour – including Tamborine Skywalk.
- Eumundi Markets day trip – Australia’s best markets, plus the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and Noosa.
- North Stradbroke Island day tour – with cruise, wildlife spotting and guided walk.
- Tamborine Mountain winery tour – with gourmet lunch.
- Maialia rainforest walking and wildlife tour – visit lesser-known D’Aguilar National Park.
Charleville to Brisbane train fares
One way fares on the Charleville to Brisbane train cost from $90 . The bad news is that the sleeper option has been removed. If you’re going to take on this long journey, you’re going to have to do so in an economy seat. A luxury train experience, the Westlander is not.
Where does the Westlander train stop?
The Westlander stops in Morven, Mitchell, Roma , Yuleba and Miles before reaching Chinchilla . After Chinchilla, the Charleville to Brisbane train continues to Dalby , Oakey and Toowoomba . After Toowoomba there are stops in Helidon, Gatton, Laidley , Rosewood, Ipswich and Corinda before reaching Roma Street Station.
Charleville and Brisbane accommodation
Charleville accommodation within an easy walk of the station includes the usually cheap Hotel Corones and the well-reviewed Rocks Motel .
Accommodation near Roma Street Station includes the wallet-friendly Selina , the modernist George Williams Hotel and the Grand Chancellor , which has a pretty impressive rooftop pool.
9 brilliant Brisbane experiences to book in advance
- Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary tickets (or entry plus river cruise combo ) – hold a koala and see lots of adorable native wildlife.
- Brisbane River cruise – see the key sights and learn about the city on the way.
- Story Bridge Adventure Climb – walk along the top of Brisbane’s famous bridge, with 360 degree views.
- Combine the Southbank Parklands, City Botanic Gardens and Kangaroo Point Cliffs on a fun Segway tour .
- Helicopter flight – see the city from a bird’s eye view.
- Kayaking tour – choose the night tour to see the city light up, the day tour to enjoy the sunshine.
- XXXX brewery tour – see how Australia’s most famous beer is made.
- Guided wine flight tasting – get an Aussie wine introductory course.
- See Brisbane’s spooky side on a city centre ghost tour .
Things to do in Brisbane once you’re there include an hour-and-a-half Brisbane River cruise , a Segway sightseeing tour and getting a boat upriver to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary . You can also fix up transfers to Australia Zoo , a Springbrook National Park tour and day trips to Moreton Island .
More Queensland travel
What are the best stops on the Brisbane to Rainbow Beach drive ?
Take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to Birdworld Kuranda .
How long is the drive from Brisbane to Tweed Heads ?
Where to stop on the drive from Hervey Bay to Childers .
How long is the drive from Gympie to Hervey Bay ?