Fastest Train in Australia - Tilt Train Business Class Brisbane to Rockhampton, Queensland Rail
Hello and welcome to Queensland, I’m now in Brisbane, I’m about to catch the Tilt Train to Rockhampton. Today I'm going to travel in business class so it should be a really fun ride! Let’s go! Brisbane Roma Street Station is the busiest railway station in Queensland, it is the junction station for the North Coast, Main and Gold Coast Line in Queensland as well as the NSW North Coast Line. It is served by all Brisbane suburban, intercity network trains and is the terminus station for regional passenger train services. Roma Street Station Platform 10 is used by Queensland Rail’s long distance passenger rail services, which include the Electric Tilt Train from Brisbane to Bundaberg and Brisbane to Rockhampton, The Spirit of Queensland to Cairns, The Spirit of the Outback to Longreach and the Westlander to Charleville. I’m actually going to have a very long day today, first I’ll be travelling up to Rockhampton on the Electric Tilt Train, after spending 4hrs in Rockhampton I’ll catch the Spirit of Queensland up to Townsville then after another 4hrs, I’ll take the Inlander train to Mount Isa, of course the Inlander review will be in a seperate video. The Electric Tilt Train is named for two identical high-speed tilting trains on the North Coast line from Brisbane to Bundaberg and Brisbane to Rockhampton which entered service in November 1998.
In 2006 the sets underwent an $8.3 million refurbishment and again in 2015, they undertook another refurbishment over the course of 12 months to extend the life of the train. In my opinion this is the most modern looking regional train in Australia. There are 2 travel classes on the Electric Tilt train: Business and economy. If you’re travelling in economy, you may check-in one item no more than 20kg in weight and less than 180 linear centimetre in size. If you’re travelling in business you may carry 2.
Depending on the space on the train, you may carry additional luggages at $15 per item. The check-in facilities for luggages open 1 hour before departure and close at 30 minutes before departure. If you arrived at the platform after check in is closed, don’t worry, each carriage also has luggage racks to place your suitcase.
Attention customers, the 11am Rockhampton Tilt Train service is now ready for boarding, all valid ticket holders you may now board the train and take you designated seats. Boarding commenced 10m before departure. A big contrast to The Westlander service, the electric tilt train is very popular, the train has a total of 6 carriages, with 5 being economy and 1 being business. The whole train is pretty much fully booked. 5 minute boarding call for Tilt Train service to Rockhampton and all intermediate stations...
If you didn’t get chance to check-in your luggage, you can store your suitcase here. Please note that the service is back to 100% capacity... Before showing you my business class carriage, let’s have a look at the economy class first. The economy class seats are in a 2-2 configuration, all seats face the direct of travel. The windows in economy are rectangular shaped, 2 rows share one window, each row has 50% of the window.
the legroom is really good I can fully stretch my legs, each seat is reclinable, there’s a foot rest behind the seat and a USB port under the armrest. The train has implemented airline style overhead compartments, each compartment can be opened and closed individually. This is to avoid having bags falling on your head when the train is tilting. This carriage, Car B is also an economy class carriage. There are two galleys on this train, one in car B and one in car E, the galley stocks a wide variety of hot food and snacks. Finally welcome to Car A, the business class carriage.
Behind the last row of business seats are 3 accessible spaces, that’s why the toilet in this car is an accessible toilet. The seats are in a 1-2 configuration there are a total of 27 seats. The windows in this carriage are square shaped, so each window seat has the whole window to itself. This is my seat, compare to economy class seats, it is wider and should be a lot more comfortable. I only had 10 minutes to board the train, store my luggage, film the economy class carriage and walk back to my seat. Therefore the train started moving before I got time to set up my camera.
Good morning and welcome aboard the Tilt Train service travelling through to Rockhampton and intermediate stations. All our services are back to 100% capacity, meaning that all seats onboard may be filled. We can assure you that we are working to the industry Covid-Safe Plan, if you are unable to practise social-distancing, we strongly encourage you to wear a face mask.
Good morning customers, shortly catering staff will be through taking meal orders for lunch. Available today at the cost of $9.5 we have: Roast Pork and Vegetables, Butter Chicken and Rice, Three Cheese Tortellini, or Penne Bolognaise. We also have pies, sausage rolls, spinach and ricotta rolls. Our cold options are chicken caesar salad at the cost of $8.5,
Greek salad for $7.5, or a chicken aioli wrap for $7. Please note that we are a cashless service, and accepting payment via Eftpos. Would you like to order lunch today? The perks of travelling in business class include having a larger seat, being served a complimentary juice and newspaper when onboard and blankets are available upon request. Juice or water? Juice? Can I have one of each please? No you can only have one. The business class seat offers an even better legroom than economy, I can fully stretch my legs even with a backpack in front of my seat.
The large leather armrest on the aisle side is movable, I’ll explain why this is important later, there’s a cup holder attached to the other armrest. The seat is a lot wider than economy and the headrest is soft and massive. The seat also provides a greater recline.
Because the space between each seat is great, even if the seat in front of me is fully reclined, I don’t feel that my space is restricted at all. You can see there’s a control panel next to my seat, it controls the overhead reading light and the radio channels. Behind each seat, there’s a tray table which is large, stable and clean, the footrest is more sophisticated compare to economy.
Each window seat has 2 240V PowerPoints. In the seat pocket there’s a safety card, an onboard entertainment guide and a menu for the Galley. By the way don’t get too excited on the movie highlights or TV show highlights, they’re only available on the Spirit of Queensland train which has seat-back touch screens. Remember on this train the entertainment is played through the overhead TVs.
Let’s have a look at the menu, meat pie, sausage roll and hot meals... this menu offers more options than the menu on the Westlander train. Meals are not included in neither economy nor business class ticket. To purchase anything, you can head to the galley car when it opens or wait for the trolley service when the staff come to your carriage. The reason that I like this movable armrest is that I can leave my seat without putting my tray table up.
This would be very convenient when there’s food on my tray table yet I wanna go to the toilet. The toilet in car A is an accessible toilet. Let’s have a look. Ohhh very spacious. This is the only accessible toilet on this train.
Toilets in other carriages are smaller but all toilets are equipped with a baby change table. Also is it just me or do you find this particular flushing sound satisfying as well? It's very satisfying! Let’s have a look at the galley car. Unfortunately it still hasn’t opened yet. 45 minutes after we left Roma street, we arrived at our first station: Caboolture. Caboolture is now considered to be the north-most urban area of the Greater Brisbane metropolitan region and it marks the end of Brisbane city network Caboolture line service. As soon as we left Caboolture, the tilt train was finally able to pick up its speed. Can you see how fast the train accelerates? I believe this is as close as you can get if you’d like to have a feeling of being on a bullet train in Australia.
This electric Tilt Train has actually set an Australian train speed record of 210 km/h (130 mph) in May 1999, a record that still stands today. The overall operating speed limit for the Tilt Train however is only 160km/h, which is the same as the Prospector train in Western Australia, V/Line VLocity in Victoria and the XPT in NSW. (Seat 7..), alright here, one roast pork, thank you darling! You enjoy!
No.9, one butter chicken... Thank you! The catering on the Electric Tilt Train is similar to the catering on NSW XPT and the Xplorer. For lunch, the galley offers a few selection of frozen meals, it takes around 50 minutes for them to be heated up in the oven. The staff walked through the carriage and took our meal order shortly after the train left Brisbane. The meals are not included in business class ticket, it costs $9.5 for everyone onboard.
It’s been an hour since I ordered it and the staff just delivered my roast pork to my seat. It takes a bit of effort to peel off the wrapping. The meal weighs 320 grams which is not bad considering it costs less than $10. The cutlery provided is made from rapidly renewable plant based resources, hence it is environmental friendly.
My meal consists of three slices of roast pork covered in gravy, and the vegetables are potatoes, peas and carrots. This is a frozen meal so don’t have a high expectation on the taste, but if you didn’t have lunch before boarding the train, this is not a bad meal. After experiencing the meals offered on The Westlander, I appreciate that I get hot food on this train. Other hot snacks from the galley include meat pie for $5, Vegetarian Spinach and ricotta roll for $5 and sausage roll for $4. I have to say that the price is very reasonable.
Despite being raining outside the view is absolutely spectacular, all you can see is the endless greenness. The tilt train’s first set-down station is Nambour in the Sunshine Coast region. The station offers frequent bus connections to Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore, Noosa Junction, and University of the Sunshine Coast.
Customers leaving us at Nambour, please prepare to do so, ensuring you take your personal belongings with you. Located about 100km north of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast is well-known for its pristine beaches, scenic drives and unspoiled national Parks. It is a popular weekend getaway destination for people in Southeast Queensland.
Queensland Rail welcomes customers onboard this service to Rockhampton, customers are advised that staff members are making their way through the train checking tickets. After leaving Nambour, the staff offered a trolley service in business class. The concept is instead of having to walk all the way to the galley, you can purchase drinks and snacks from your seat. Ok just a cuppa? Yep. Tea? Just a tea yes. I asked for a cup of tea for $2.5. The staff is friendly and happy to let me film the trolley. Thank you!
Now that I have finished my meal let me plug-in the earphones and see what channels are available onboard. Theoretically the system can have up to 12 different channels, today it only has one channel functioning which is what’s playing on the overhead TV. To suit the interest of different passengers, the TV plays a variety of programs, it first played a health class video then a documentary then a movie and a reality show, the contents are pretty interesting actually! The cup holder attached to the armrest is another useful design, I can put up my tray table hence get some of my space back. This service is now approaching Gympie North Station, customers leaving us at Gympie North, please prepare to do so...
Gympie is a famous gold mining town known as “The town that Saved Queensland”, located on the Mary River it is now primarily a service centre for the surrounding agricultural district which is known for its tropical fruit such as pineapples, macadamia nuts, vegetables, dairy industry, beef cattle and piggeries. Gympie North Station is the northern boundary of the TransLink network in South East Queensland. You can catch the two daily Sunshine Coast Line train to Nambour and Brisbane using your GoCard. The stop at Gympie North is very brief, if you would like to get off and stretch your legs, you can do it at your own risk.
Don't miss the train!! After Gympie the landscape has changed. This is one of the first sugar cane fields that I saw along the track. As we keep heading north, we’ll see more and more. As advised next stop for this service will be Maryborough West, you can transfer on the bus to the City of Maryborough and Hervey Bay. Maryborough is known as the ‘Heritage City’, it tells the tales of a captivating colonial past.
Stories of loss, triumph and spirit spread throughout the town in its heritage buildings, striking public art, statues and memorials. The main industrial company in the city today is Downer Rail which has built much of the rolling stock and locomotives for Queensland Rail, including trains for Brisbane’s suburban network. There’s a substantial amount of passengers getting on and off at Maryborough West so I decided to get off the train and have a look around.
The staff offered a second trolley service just after Maryborough West. Since its latest refurbishment in 2016 and 2017, the Tilt Train is now equipped with free wifi throughout the journey. My phone’s service provider is Optus, the reception hasn’t been stable since the train left Brisbane hence a good wifi connection can be useful, the Wifi usage is unlimited but the speed is limited, I can refresh my Instagram and send messages but I was unable to open YouTube and watch videos. As there are more and more sugar cane fields coming in sight, we are not far from Bundaberg! I’m sure everyone that lives in Australia should’ve heard of the name Bundaberg. I’ve never been to Bundaberg, I’d like to at least see what the station look like. The city is home to Bundaberg Rum and Bundaberg Ginger Beer enjoyed by generations of Australians.
Nearby on the coast is Mon Repos Regional Park, home to sea turtles, and offshore is Lady Elliot Island, part of the Great Barrier Reef. Queensland Rail welcomes passengers onboard this service to Rockhampton, customers are advised that staff members are now making their way through the train checking tickets. If you've just joined this service, please ensure you have your ticket along with any concession card used when purchasing your ticket on hand for inspection. Located in the seat pocket in front of you, you'll find a safety card.
You can find the forward galley at the leading end of carriage B trail galley at the leading end of carriage E... The galley opened after the train left Gympie North, it’s been 4hrs since I had my roast pork so I headed to the galley and purchased a pie for $5, a fruitcake slice for $1.5 and a can of coke for $3. The pie and sausage roll take 20 minutes to be heated in the oven, this way they can avoid pies sitting in the oven for too long and eventually getting burnt. Alternatively, if you don’t have the patience, the staff can heat up the pie in the microwave in 60 seconds. A microwaved pie doesn’t have a crispy crust compare to an oven heated pie, I’m not fussy about the crust so I got mine microwaved.
Four N Twenty makes really good pies, this chunky steak pie has plenty of meat, and it is not dry. $5, I’m satisfied. The fruit slice is 40 grams in weight, 7% of the slice is cherries. It is a very good snack if you’re feeling a bit peckish.
And it only costs $1.5! As the night falls, we arrived at Gladstone, a coastal city with impressive lookouts, beaches, a beautiful botanic garden and easy access to the southern reaches of the Great Barrier Reef. Rockhampton is now only 90minutes away, the Galley was closed after the train left Gladstone. The distance from Brisbane to Rockhampton is 639km, it takes the train 7h45m to complete the trip, the average speed is 82.5km/h. Sitting in business class and enjoying the changing landscape outside the window, time actually passed very quickly.
A business class ticket for the whole trip at the moment costs $157, for an economy class ticket it costs $101. Both Virgin and Qantas operate several direct fights per day from Brisbane to Rockhampton, Virgin charges $119 one way and Qantas charges $148, the flight time is 1h20m. The price between trains and flights are very competitive, although taking a bit longer, I think travelling by the tilt train is more relaxing. Business class seats are more comfortable than economy, the single window seats offer direct aisle exit, and because it’s situated at the front of the train there’s less movement in business class carriage than in economy, if you’re not on a budget I would recommend you to travel in Business. That being said, I believe economy is still very comfortable, the legroom is great and it’s $50 cheaper.
The train arrives Rockhampton at 6:45pm, if you live in Rockhampton, this is perfect timing for you to go home and have dinner with your family. Thank you so much for watching this video! If you have enjoyed it please don’t forget to hit the like button and subscribe to my channel for more train and flight reviews! I’ll see you all in my next video!