Travel on The Overland - best side on which to sit?

 
  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

Hi All

Planning a trip on The Overland in early December, before they cancel it completely.  Don't mind whether I travel MEL-ADL or ADL-MEL, so...

Looking for recommendations about start/finish and also which side of the train is the better viewing option?

Cheers

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  SinickleBird Assistant Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
I can’t speak for the Melbourne end of the journey but, IMO, the southern side at the Adelaide end would offer better views towards Gulf St Vincent and the western part of the Hills.

That would be ‘left’ for MEL-ADL or ‘right’ for ADL- MEL.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
The inside? Laughing

(Sorry, somebody had to say it!)
  hbedriver Assistant Commissioner

Whether it will actually be canceled remains unclear at the moment. All down to the Vic Govt. and say what you want about politics, this has been one instance of good government.

Anyway, if traveling then I would want to know the weather forecast. If hot, travel on the south side, it will be cooler, and less likely someone will try to draw the curtains.

Then again, lots of railway interest will be on the north side. Sims St junction and LPC, SCT Laverton, Dimboola, Tailem Bend, also any odd grain trains loading will be on the north side.

South Dynon, Spotswood (PacNat loco works), Newport, and better view of the Murray River all better on the south side of train.

Note that train runs roughly east-west, hence my terms north/south, Hope it makes sense.

Enjoy the trip, and please do us all a favor and write about your trip here
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
The inside?

(Sorry, somebody had to say it!)
"Graham4405"
Curses - you beat me to it.
  apw5910 Chief Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
"on which to sit?"

This is nonsense up with which I shall not put.
  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

"on which to sit?"

This is nonsense up with which I shall not put.
apw5910

Sorry, just the way I learned to speak/write... Smile
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
The inside? Laughing

(Sorry, somebody had to say it!)
Graham4405
Indian railways perspective would say the roof would give the best views....
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Innocent question asked - generates more smartarse responses and OCD complaints than genuine answers.

RP at its best.
  apw5910 Chief Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
Innocent question asked - generates more smartarse responses and OCD complaints than genuine answers.

RP at its best.
bingley hall
So which side has the most crossbucks?
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Innocent question asked - generates more smartarse responses and OCD complaints than genuine answers.

RP at its best.
bingley hall
If no-one knows an answer they'll offer an opinion.  
And yes guilty as charged.
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

What side to sit on?   Who really cares?  I am sure there are plenty of empty seats...............wake me up when u have made up your mind.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
I think I would sit on the left from Melbourne - the rising sun won't beat against your window, and on the right from Adelaide for the same reason.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

I would recommend the southern side (right hand side from Adelaide) through to the Adelaide Hills and as far as Tailem Bend, then the northern side until Horsham, the southern side the rest of the way.

In the unlikely event of the train being busy enough that there are not available seats everywhere, there is not enough of a difference that you'll miss much either way.

Journey Beyond have replaced the infamous Overland stormtroopers of the Serco era with onboard staff who have a better understanding of customer service, so you won't have a problem with shifting to an empty seat across the aisle from your booked seat.
  hbedriver Assistant Commissioner

So, Gremlin; have you done the trip yet? Where is the report?
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
If you haven't done it by now, Gremlin, I'd suggest you get cracking because the Overland seems about to disappear from the rails.
  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

Trip Report
Arrived as Southern Cross station at 0700, the ticket and website said to be there at least one hour before departure.  I booked a full fare Premium Red ticket to be certain of an unobstructed window view.  As I waited for the train to be shunted, I watched the XPT from Sydney (?) arrive and disgorge a motley collection of passengers whose appearance could best be described as "trashed"; they looked both worn-out and unimpressed.  The NR finally shunted the Overland to the platform around 0710 and then we all boarded.  No we didn't, I was joking.  We waited for another 25 minutes, the doors to the carriages locked, the staff outside grimly guarding the carriages lest someone steal a seat.

Having booked on the GSR website, I was unable to select a seat but I requested a seat on the left (south) side of the train as far back (east) as possible.  So I was given a seat on the right (north) side of the train at the second-from-front row of the carriage.  Other travellers were politely discussing with the GSR staff why they had booked tickets to travel together yet were spread around in the carriage.  Much fun ensued as negotiations were made to swap seats; GSR staff were helpless to provide options.

Once we were underway, it was smooth sailing, er... railing, through the Melbourne suburbs with which I have no familiarity other than through movies and crime shows on TV.  Interesting to watch the dual-gauge track and the assorted traffic running on it.  The carriages in Premium Red were a bit old and tired and swayed from side to side, but this added to the atmosphere of the trip and I quite enjoyed it.  The a/c worked fine and I could get up and walk around, something not possible in a bus or car.

The change of scenery from city to industrial to urban to countryside was exceptionally interesting and I won't bore the reader with the details of that; any half-decent Google search will find much better descriptions than I can provide.  However, it was universally dry once outside the outer metropolitan area and clearly the countryside is doing it tough.

We only crossed one train for the whole trip and, sadly, there were only two grain trains in sidings, but the general range of towns and countryside and railway activity was interesting to watch.  Of particular interest (to me, at least) was a collection of NSWGR wagons in a siding at Murray Bridge; they were in very poor condition and look as if they were lost!

The trip through the Adelaide Hills was very scenic and slow, Mount Lofty station was good to see having recently read about it in the ARHS magazine.  Later, I hired a car in Adelaide and went back to both Murray Bridge and Mount Lofty station for a closer look; unfortunately, although I spent more than an hour at each location, there was no rail traffic passing by.  This was particularly disappointing at Murray Bridge which is a stunning location, the view only enhanced by railway traffic (steam would be nice).  The recently displayed Murray Bridge HO layout at various exhibitions is an excellent representation with the bonus of having regular rail traffic moving across it Smile

We arrived into Adelaide about 30 minutes late, didn't care as I wasn't on a deadline.  Plenty of taxis at the station to ferry passengers to wherever they needed to go and it seemed that the train discharged quickly.  Also interesting to see current and former Ghan, Indian Pacific and Overland carriages sitting around waiting for repair or scrapping or...?

On board, GSR staff were exceptionally helpful, polite, funny and happy to do anything to make the trip enjoyable.  Food choices were limited but the delivered product (curry), was excellent.  Drinks and nibbles were included in the package and they make real coffee on the train too Smile  Spoke to a GSR staff member who said that she and the remainder of the staff rotate between The Overland, The Ghan and The Indian Pacific; she said that the staff would be disappointed if The Overland is discontinued and that they had no information if it would be extended.

The train was not long, an NR hauling four passenger carriages, a baggage carriage, a buffet car and a power (?) car.  The NR was not troubled at any point and this is the first trip I have done behind one.

Overall impressions:  a great trip, interesting scenery, good food and well worth doing.  I took this trip to "tick it off" the list and to see the countryside, I was in no rush to be in Adelaide at any particular time so a slower mode of travel was very relaxing.  With better marketing, this could be a very interesting tourist train but then Australia is not good at marketing those, unless it is The Ghan and The Indian Pacific... and now The Great Southern.  I would happily to the trip again, but going from Adelaide to Melbourne.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
Thankyou Gremlin for effort and posting the trip report.

It was nice to read it. Probably something I won't get the chance to experience it.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Thankyou Gremlin for effort and posting the trip report.

It was nice to read it. Probably something I won't get the chance to experience it.
Big J
I second that Big J, report on par with the few trips I have done, Melbourne to Horsham and Horsham to Adelaide a number of times. Not high speed just a pleasant cruise and terrific scenery.

Nice one Gremlin and Big J fingers crossed, make the effort.

BigShunter.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Of particular interest (to me, at least) was a collection of NSWGR wagons in a siding at Murray Bridge; they were in very poor condition and look as if they were lost!
Gremlin
Every player in the industry agrees that those wagons are the responsibility of A.N. Other and therefore nothing is being done about them.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Good report, Gremlin, and thanks for taking the trouble to write it all up.
  Trans-Siberian Station Master

Location: Krasnoyarsk, Siberia
I would recommend the southern side (right hand side from Adelaide) through to the Adelaide Hills and as far as Tailem Bend, then the northern side until Horsham, the southern side the rest of the way.

In the unlikely event of the train being busy enough that there are not available seats everywhere, there is not enough of a difference that you'll miss much either way.

Journey Beyond have replaced the infamous Overland stormtroopers of the Serco era with onboard staff who have a better understanding of customer service, so you won't have a problem with shifting to an empty seat across the aisle from your booked seat.
justapassenger

...."infamous Overland stormtroopers of the Serco era"....ahem...actually, Prison Guards in mufti...!

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