Adelaide to Brisbane is the latest Australian tourist train. Moreover it is full of surprises. Stopovers, comfort, additional features, great food, you name, it’s got it.
The Great Southern is a 57-hour, absolutely-no-rush overland voyage, travelling at an average speed of 85 km/h. The distance between Adelaide and Brisbane is similar to that of the Ghan between Adelaide and Darwin but in a bit of railway extravaganza.
The Great Southern's itinerary, which unapologetically snubs both Melbourne and Sydney, includes stops in the Grampians, or Gariwerd as it's known to the indigenous Jardwadjali people, mountain range, featuring a special outdoor dining experience in a scenic setting.
There are five optional tourist trips along the way - too detailed here – please read the article. The Great Southern is in the same line as The Ghan and the Indian Pacific but upgraded.
Great Australian Trains
As the Footplate Padre I have travelled on many of Australia’s great trains in this vein.
The Indian Pacific – Trans Continental
Spirit of Progress
In my era there were 4 QR Landers
Sunlander - coastal Brisbane to Cairns
Midlander - Rockhampton
Westlander - Toowoomba
Inlander - Mt Isa
Many of these now have been rebadged as Ghan like tourist trains. Nostalgia is a great addition to the enjoyment of such rail journeys but the greatest marketing of these trains are to retirement groups and overseas tourists.
For many years I wrote a monthly Footplate Padre article for various publications as I was a former NSWGR engineman who fired steam on the main south in the late sixties and then after seminary, the chaplain to the Australian cricket team for 17 years.
In addition I have written 16 books on railway driver anecdotes. My life has become full of railways and the enjoyment thereof along with ministry.
My wife of 43 years Delma has like me, marvelled on the correspondence we have received as the Footplate Padre.
Photo - From the Drivers’ Seat by the Footplate Padre
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at