END OF AN ERA: The Sunlander passes through some spectacular scenery on the journey from Brisbane to Cairns.
END OF AN ERA: The Sunlander passes through some spectacular scenery on the journey from Brisbane to Cairns. Contributed

Iconic train prepares for final Qld journey

QUEENSLAND'S iconic train - the Sunlander - will visit the Gympie region twice more before going off the rails for good.

The 61-year-old locomotive will stop at Gympie North on December 28 and 31 as it steams towards retirement.

After carrying more than 3.5 million passengers along the route from Brisbane to Cairns, The Sunlander will be replaced by the Spirit of Queensland.

Thousands of train-lovers are expected to farewell the old girl on the final legs of her farewell journeys, which will include stops in Mackay, Rockhampton, Mt Larcom, Gladstone, Miriam Vale, Bundaberg, Maryborough and the Sunshine Coast.

Queensland Rail travel and tourist executive general manager Martin Ryan said the Sunlander's last hoorah would mark a new era in long-distance rail travel with the third Spirit of Queensland Tilt Train taking to the tracks.

The Spirit can travel at 160kmh.

"The Spirit of Queensland is about people celebrating this fantastic state of ours while enjoying the great service onboard," Mr Ryan said.

"With the introduction of the Spirit of Queensland to our fleet we have increased long-distance services from four to five journeys per week between Cairns and Brisbane.

"This is part of our commitment to connect communities, make regional rail travel more accessible, and support tourism in regional Queensland."

The Spirit of Queensland has seats that turn into beds and state-of-the-art person

al entertainment systems with on-demand movies and music and power points and USB ports.

Meals are made from food sourced within 100km of the track.

Queensland Rail is also urging travellers to share their Sunlander memories on Twitter with #FarewelltheSunlander.

- APN NEWSDESK

ALL ABOARD

The Sunlander's final stops:

Brisbane to Cairns - December 28:

(Station, arrives, departs):

Brisbane - Roma Street, leaves at 9.20am;

Gympie North, 1.52pm, 2.02pm.

Cairns to Brisbane - December 31:

Cairns, leaves at 7.15am;

Gympie North, 9.08am, 9.18am.

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