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Join us aboard The Vintage Train as we climb 'up the straight' to Ballarat, with steam locomotive R711 returning to Ballarat for the first time since 2004. Add on a tour option to visit Sovereign Hill or explore the historic goldrush city.
Departing from Southern Cross Station, R711 will perform a solo run direct to Ballarat via Bacchus Marsh. After the train departs Melbourne, The train will pick up speed through the Western Suburbs and head out across the grassland plains towards Melton. After passing over the iconic 357-metre Melton Viaduct, built in 1885 to traverse the Werribee River, we will drop into the town of Bacchus Marsh, the half-way point of our journey. From here, R711 will work hard to climb to the summit of the famous 1 in 50 Ingliston Bank, providing spectacular views back towards Melbourne & across the Werribee Gorge State Park.
Our train will then enter into the Western District's lush farming country and arrive into the historic gold mining town of Ballarat. Here there will be ample time to grab lunch and explore the city, only a few minutes walk from the Railway Station. The iconic Railway Refreshment Rooms will be open on Platform 1, where you can re-live the time before buffet cars were introduced on Victoria's great express trains.
While you are experiencing what the City of Ballarat has to offer, our Volunteers will be busy turning and servicing the locomotive at our Steamrail Ballarat East depot, ready for our journey back to Melbourne in the afternoon. This will be the first steam special to travel to Ballarat via Bacchus Marsh both ways in recent years, and the first time R711 has travelled to Ballarat since coming into the care of Steamrail in 2004. We will arrive back at Southern Cross Station at approximately 6pm.
(Locomotive roster is subject to demand - If booking numbers require, a heritage diesel locomotive will be added to assist our Steam Loco with the larger train)
Visit the living outdoor museum of Sovereign Hill, established on a former gold mining site. Experience the living township, complete with diggings, underground mines, costumed characters, coach rides and 1850s shops, trades, schools and dwellings.
Included in the tour fare is Admission to Sovereign Hill and Lunch within one of the historical dining spaces in the heart of the Main Street, inclusive of costumed servers.
(one main meal, cold beverage and tea or coffee – available to order on arrival)
Explore the goldrush city of Ballarat. With the CBD only a few minutes stroll from the station, there are endless cafes, restaraunts and attractions to keep everyone well fed & entertained. The Art Gallery of Ballarat and historic buildings such as the 1889 Mining Exchange can be found in close proximity to the station. More things to do in the heart of Ballarat can be found at https://www.visitballarat.com.au/
Choose to travel in Excursion Class to experience 'old-school' air-con with the windows open in our heritage wooden carriages dating back to 1906. Otherwise, upgrade to our air conditioned First Class carriages to sit back in a comfortable air conditioned & heated 1940s-vintage compartment.
Private Compartment fares are avaliable for groups of up to 6 people, seated in on of our classic wooden carriages, complete with pressed tin cielings & opening windows, dating back to 1906.
Our on-train facilities include a kiosk which stocks a wide range of light refreshments, snacks and hot & cold drinks. A licensed bar will also be operating, serving a range of beers, wines and spirits. Under our COVIDSafe Plan, you will be able to order and pay direct from your seat using your smart phone. Our volunteers will then bring your order to your seat. Please speak to your Train Officer if you need assistance with ordering from our Kiosk. A range of souvenirs will also be able for purchase on board.
Under current COVIDSafe practices, Face Masks will be required for all passengers travelling on our trains unless a lawful reason not to wear one applies. Face Masks are strongly recommended where physical distancing of 1.5 metres from others cannot be maintained, such as on platforms and when joining / leaving our train. Advice will be provided closer to the date of travel based on any updated government information. Movement about the train will be restricted to your allocated seat and our on-train services such as our toilet facilities and Souvenir sales. Kiosk sales will be available for delivery by our volunteers to your seat using our new order from your seat service using your smart phone.
Our volunteers will ensure high touch areas such as door handles and handrails are cleaned regularly. Our train will undergo a Deep Clean whilst the train is at the destination.
All passengers travelling will be required to have a purchased ticket in advance with contact details of all persons travelling to be retained for Contact Tracing purposes in line with current government advice.
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