Stuart Mitchell

My personal website.

XPT Train Melbourne to Sydney

I had to go to Sydney over the weekend, and flights were a little expensive. I didn’t want to drive overnight, as I had to work on Friday. So, I decided to try taking the train. My plan was to go overnight and get some sleep, arriving fresh and ready at Central Station on Friday morning.

The train departed about 10 minutes late from Southern Cross Station, but the staff assured us that they would make up the time. The train was 40 years old, so there was no WiFi available, which I believe is a missed opportunity. Imagine being able to take a day trip and work from the train - it would be fantastic. However, the train did offer ample legroom and was comfortable. I was in economy class, which was fine. I learned that first class only offers a more reclined seat, so I didn’t think it was worth the extra cost.

I was warned that mobile coverage would be poor on the train, and while it was spotty between towns, I found that coverage improved when the train stopped to pick up passengers. Overall, it wasn’t too bad. The lights were turned off around 10:30 PM to allow for sleeping. I was able to get some rest, but if you are a light sleeper, it may be difficult due to the lights turning on when the train stops to let passengers off or pick them up.

Unfortunately, we arrived late due to a number of slowdowns outside of Sydney, and we were an hour and 10 minutes behind schedule. This was quite disappointing as you don’t expect that kind of delay on a train trip that already takes 11 hours. If punctuality is a must, the train may not be the best option.

Train info board at central station

The positive aspects of taking the train were that it arrived directly at Central Station, making it convenient for me to get to the office. Additionally, I now had the full day to spend in Sydney. It’s a very relaxed way to travel, as there are no issues with security checks or anything. Furthermore, getting off the train was also very quick. Would I do it again? If I were trying to keep costs down and the overnight schedule works for me, then I might consider it. However, flying is definitely the overall better way to get from Melbourne to Sydney.