My uncle and I had a disagreement: I wanted to fly, he wanted to take a train. Spoiler alert: we took the train. This review covers my train trip from Canberra to Sydney.
It wasn’t that I was opposed to the train, it was just that flying just made so much more sense to me. There is no security theatre before Australian domestic flights, I’d be able to review the Qantas Lounge in CBR, and we’d get to the Park Hyatt Sydney before dark.
My uncle reasoned that the train would be relaxing and give us a chance to see the Australian countryside. It was also cheaper.
So I agreed. We booked a midday train, enjoying a leisurely morning at the Park Hyatt Canberra before heading out. Booking the ticket took mere moments online and I printed out the tickets at the hotel.
The above image is just a recent screenshot, but first class was also sold out on my train. That said, first class only offers a bit more legroom and recline…it wasn’t necessary since economy class was only about half full.
Canberra central train station does not feel like most train stations in a capital city. Quite the contrary, it appeared like a small town train stop. That’s part of the charm of Canberra, the “compromise capital” since Melbourne could not bear to let Sydney be the capital and Sydney could not bear to let Melbourne be the capital.
The train boarded about five minutes before departure and our 4.5 hour journey to Sydney began. There was no wi-fi onboard and having eaten a late breakfast, we skipped the onboard meal service. In addition to a small buffet car, a hot lunch (meat pie) was offered. Those interested had to pre-order just after the train departed. The meal was served about an hour later. Cell phone coverage was non-existent until we reached the outskirts of Sydney.
I must say I was disappointed by the views. There’s really very little to see during the journey, at least that I noticed looking out of the right side of the train. It reminded me of driving on I-5 in California in the Central Valley.
We arrived in Sydney promptly on schedule and caught a connecting Metro to Circular Quay.
There was nothing wrong and also nothing remarkable about our train from Canberra to Sydney. I’d still fly, but at least it forced me to unplug for a few hours and enjoy a nice book.