Alicia travels on The Overland

Staff member: Alicia // Trip date: Nov 2013

The Overland - Melbourne to Adelaide

 

Travelling on The Overland between Melbourne - Adelaide was my first ever interstate train journey within Australia and I was quite excited for the experience. I was travelling with luggage too big to be taken on board so I needed to check this in. My travel documentation advised the latest I could check in luggage was one hour prior to departure. I arrived at Melbourne's Southern Cross station about 15minutes prior to this and found the luggage office quite easily between coach/bus arrivals and entrance to the platforms. The attendant placed a luggage tag on my oversized bag and attached another tag to my travel documents for me to retain.


Having checked in my luggage I now had approximately 60 minutes to wait till departure, surprising to me there was a few people at Southern Cross station this early in morning so I found it not too lonely and daunting. Roughly 30minutes prior to departure I made my way to the platform, upon arrival an announcement was being made to advise passengers departure was to be delayed approximately 30 - 40minutes due to the managing railways not having access to the train from its overnight storage facility. This was caused because of local track work during the night running overtime. Everyone patiently waited and I believe it was made easier with the constant updates every 10minutes or so, the train did eventually arrive at the platform approximately 40minutes later.


The train arrived at the platform and I found it very easy to locate the coach I was to be seated in. My travel documents advised Coach R and this was clearly visible on the outside of the coach, I could easily identify where I needed to board. A staff member from The Overland welcomed us on board and checked our tickets marking names off their manifest. I was seated in Red Service seat where the seating configuration is 2 x seats, the aisle and 2 x seats. I immediately noticed how much room I had, I could almost stretch my legs out without touching the seat in front! Passengers travelling with hand luggage could place these on the shelf above their seat, a family was travelling with an infant and at the rear of the carriage there was room for the pram to still be upright.


Melbourne - North Shore


Departing Melbourne was exciting and welcomed by all, soon we were passing the Port of Melbourne and then through the western suburbs of Melbourne. Soon after departing the Train manager made an announcement advising us of the current situation and the plans to make up the lost time. A smooth journey entailed and it didn't seem long before we were arriving at North Shore, upon arrival it was announced that we had made up 35 minutes of time lost earlier in the morning. The Overland travels on its own track so we were not delayed by local rail services. I was impressed with this and felt confident this would have us arriving in Adelaide in good time later in the day.

 

North Shore - Horsham


The train continued through the western districts of Victoria en route to Horsham, it was lovely to see the countryside and farming properties so lush and green. After sitting in my seat for a few hours I decided mid morning to visit the cafe car where I could purchase drinks and snacks if I wanted. I bought a hot drink and sat at a seat where I could look directly out the window. This gave me a better view and I noticed two wild kangaroos sitting in the bush watching the train pass by, approaching Ararat a wind farm could be seen in the distance looking out the right side of the train. It was only a short journey before we stopped again, this time at Stawell. A few more passengers boarded and it was very quick before we were moving again. It was almost lunchtime and with the departure from Stawell came into view The Grampians in the distance. I had returned to my seat but decided to have lunch in the cafe car during this time and enjoy the best view of mountains. The cafe had a variety of hot/cold drinks and hot/cold food available for purchase, the train manager announced some specials for the day (meals taken from the Indian Pacific) and also reminded passengers who had brought their own food on board that seats in the cafe car were for passengers who had purchased food from the cafe car and they had first priority. Approximately 1hour later we arrived at Horsham.

 

Horsham - Murray Bridge


At Horsham a friend boarded the train so I now had company for the remainder of travel to Adelaide. The Overland travels through the Wimmera region of Victoria, the land was very dry and I learnt that we were passing many farms with wheat, barley, canola & chick peas being farmed and ready to be harvested. The scenery was vastly different to what I had seen earlier in the day. Approaching Nhill an announcement was made to get our cameras ready and look out the right side of the train, as you approach the town you see a former flour mill, it's history dates back to 1888 and over the years it became the largest freestanding concrete structure in the southern hemisphere.


Crossing the border to South Australia it wasn't long before we stopped again, this time briefly at Bordertown. The countryside had once again changed and now had less flora and seemed to be a harsh environment for anything to survive. Between Bordertown and Murray Bridge staff passed through the coach with tea/coffee, cold drinks and snacks available for purchase. Approaching Murray Bridge the train manager provided information about the town and encouraged passengers to get their cameras ready for photos of the Murray River and its bridge. I thought it was all lovely, the sun was out, a paddle-steamer was docked and it was all very picturesque.

 

Murray Bridge - Adelaide


Only a few hours remained of my journey on The Overland and we were advised by the train manager we were now 5-10minutes ahead of schedule. Shortly after departing Murray Bridge we passed Monarto Zoo, we were told sometimes you can see the animals but on this day we didn't see anything. The scenery soon changed to bush, I could see a few vineyards and overall it was all very pretty. It was lovely way to end our 800km journey from Melbourne.


We arrived in Adelaide still ahead of schedule, shortly after getting off the train passengers who had checked in their luggage earlier in Melbourne could collect from the luggage area near the exit. We had our bags roughly within 10 - 15minutes of getting off the train and then joined the line to get a taxi. Some were already waiting and they continued to arrive so nobody really had to wait too long. I had been told of a shuttle service available; however I didn't see this operating. The train station is not that far from the city centre so if you have more than one passenger travelling a taxi is a convenient and not too expensive fare to your final destination.

 

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