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Whether it's because of the onboard bar or a result of skyrocketing fuel prices, one thing is certain - train travel is becoming popular again.
Queensland Rail passenger services general manager Mike Scanlan said there had been a surge in passenger numbers during the past nine months, particularly on the Sunlander service which operates between Cairns and Brisbane.
The number of passengers onboard the Sunlander increased by more than 5.4 per cent since July 2005, while the Queenslander Class on The Sunlander showed an increase of 30 per cent for the same period.
There were also increases on the Inlander service, from Townsville to Mount Isa, and the Spirit of the Outback and Westlander services.
Mr Scanlan said the Tilt Train services had remained fairly constant with the same or greater number of passengers since December.
There was also a record 535,000 passengers who travelled on Kuranda's Scenic Railway last year, an increase of 2.6 per cent on the year before.
"Train travel is coming back into vogue," Mr Scanlan said.
Long time train traveller Rhonda Sewell, who was boarding the Sunlander on Monday bound for Brisbane, where she was going to visit her son, said train travel was the only way to go.
"I love the Sunlander because you can buy bacon and eggs for breakfast on it," Ms Sewell said.
"You can't get that on a plane. And the only thing you can see on a plane is the bloody clouds."
Ms Sewell said she has travelled much of Australia by train since 1981, and believed Queensland's trains were world class.
"I really like train travel," she said.
"As far as I'm concerned, Queensland's trains are on par with the Indian Pacific."
Backpackers Matthew Lowe, Martin Choux and Petteri Hyttinen, who were also bound for Brisbane, said there were lots of things to recommend train travel.
"It's cheaper than everything else, especially for students," Mr Lowe said.
"There's also a bar on board, and you can walk around, and not have to worry about cramps."
Townsville rail commentator Arthur Shale said while there had not been a noticeable increase in passenger numbers, QR's statistics could reflect a shift from elderly travellers bearing the brunt of high fuel prices.
"You can't say it's come across as a sudden huge increase," Mr Shale said.
"The only thing you could really say is rising fuel prices may be encouraging grey nomads to lock up their caravans and jump on the train.
"I don't think it's because of any new, exciting plan QR has put forward, merely a reflection of the current economic environment."
He said escalating fuel prices may cause other forms of land-based public transport to become popular again.
"This may be a forerunner as to what people in the future will be doing," Mr Shale said.
"More people may find it's cheaper to catch a train."
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