Service celebrates major milestone

Celebrating thirty years.

Thirty-years-ago on 19 November 1993, travellers boarded the first ever Spirit of the Outback for an epic train journey to the heart of Queensland.

The Spirit of the Outback introduced a new era of rail travel compared to its predecessor, the Midlander, by delivering the onboard Tucker Box restaurant serving up Australian produce inspired by the journey, the Shearer’s Lounge for onboard socialising and many other customer comforts.

Since entering service, the Spirit of the Outback has hosted more than 650,000 passengers to and from Queensland’s outback.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary, Queensland Rail brought travelling customers together with a special cake-cutting ahead of the train’s departure from Roma Street station on Saturday.

The anniversary also marked a major milestone in Queensland Rail’s regional locomotive overhaul project, with one of the newly refurbished 2900 class locos hauling the Spirit of the Outback anniversary service.

Minister for Transport and Main Roads and Minister for Digital Services Mark Bailey said the Spirit of the Outback was something unique.

“The Spirit of the Outback journey offers a rail experience like no other with a front seat view of Queensland’s rugged outback terrain,” he said.

“From Brisbane to Blackwater, Emerald, Barcaldine, Longreach, and everywhere in between, the Spirit of the Outback takes customers on a journey through Australian history and culture.

“It’s great to see one of Queensland Rail’s regional 2900 locomotives back on track to haul the anniversary service after being upgraded by Redbank-based Progress Rail.

“The 2900 class locomotives have successfully been re-powered and modernised with enhanced safety features, improved reliability and upgrades to driver amenities.

“The upgrade has proved to be a great win for onboard crew, customers and the environment with the new engine configuration expected to reduce fuel requirements by between 10 and 20 per cent.

“With the upgraded locomotive back on track and better than ever before, I look forward to seeing the service continue to convey customers for many more years to come.

Queensland Rail Regional Head Scott Cornish said the ongoing success of the service was a testament to hardworking teams that keep things running.

He paid particular tribute to the onboard staff, station staff, maintenance crews and everyone behind the scenes.

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