Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Great Train Expo (6) - Southern Aurora

The Southern Aurora was a named express passenger train that operated between the cities of Melbourne, Victoria, and Sydney, New South Wales, in Australia. First-class throughout, including the dining facilities, the Southern Aurora featured all-sleeper accommodation.[1] The train first ran on 16 April 1962 after the opening of the North East standard gauge line from Melbourne to Albury,[2] eliminating the break-of-gauge between the capital cities.

The carriages used featured fluted sides and consisted of roomette and twinette sleepers, lounge cars and diners, and were owned jointly by the Victorian Railways and the New South Wales Government Railways. A MotoRail service was added from July 1973 which enabled passengers to travel and take their cars.

On 7 February 1969 the train was involved in the Violet Town railway disaster, when the southbound Southern Aurora collided head on with a northbound freight train, resulting in 8 deaths. Patronage declined though the 1980s, with the train being combined with the Spirit of Progress to form the Sydney Express (from Melbourne) and the Melbourne Express (from Sydney), the last run of the Southern Aurora being on 3 August 1986.

After the demise of the train, the majority of the carriages have passed to the New South Wales Rail Transport Museum and the ARHS ACT division, who have preserved them in operational condition. (Where would we be without Wikipedia?)

6 comments:

Petrus said...

Lovely looking train - I do so enjoy rail travel .

Julie said...

I agree, a very attractive looking train. But the cost of upkeep would be phenomenal and not able to compete with low-fare airlines.

We took our kids on the SA sleeper to Melbourne in the very early 80s. I have a little booklet that I made of our journey. It was a tough journey as I think the kids were too young.

Mark said...

Great shots Ann. our equivalent here was the Brisbane Limited Express, it had a lovely dining car but I am sure it never had a lounge car. I remember the old silver trains so well. They looked great.

J Bar said...

It's great to see inside.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Would be fantastic to go on a trip in a train like that Ann, it's beautifully turned out.

Pierre BOYER said...

I would love to eat in that train...
Regards from France,

Pierre