Queensland Rail is to operate new high speed world class trains between Brisbane and Cairns.
The Government today announced it will spend more than $100 million to upgrade the old Sunlander service to tilt train standard.
Ashleigh Elliott reports.
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Complete with sleepers that have their own ensuites and seats with their own flat screens the new Sunlander will bring world class luxury to train travel.
Anna Bligh, Qld Premier: “The train ride from Brisbane to Cairns on the Sunlander is one of the worlds great train journeys. It is a quintessential iconic Queensland experience.”
But after 45 years the government announced upgrading two existing Sunlander trains and adding a completely new one.
Anna Bligh, Qld Premier: “We’ve made a decision that will see the Sunlander stay on as part of the great rail trips of Queensland, but it will be bigger, better, smoother and faster.”
The new service will slash five hours off the current journey and create 800 jobs for the Maryborough region.
Although their is no indication of how much the luxury trip will set you back the Transport Minister concedes it shouldn’t be too much more than the existing ticket at just over $200.
Rachel Nolan, Transport Minister: “This investment will be funded by government and not through fares., so it should not lead to a significant increase in fares.”
It comes at a time when tourism in Queensland is suffering.
And the Tourism Minister refuted suggestions made by prominent tourism figure, Jim Kennedy, that the industry was in serious decline.
The Tourism Minister hopes this new service will attract more travellers.
Peter Lawlor, Tourism Minister: “It will help get people from the South-east corner up to Cairns and places like that so it’s really great news for Tourism in Queensland.”
The new tilt train isn’t expected to start till 2014.
Ashleigh Elliott, QUT News.