Thinking of going to Melbourne for a friend’s birthday, I consulted the rail timetable, as the train seemed to be a good option in terms of both comfort and environmental credentials. This, however, turned out to be a scripted joke of Monty Pythonesque proportions.
At http://www.railmaps.com.au/journey_results.php?Origin=Melbourne, you will find straight-faced descriptions of 4 ways to get from Melbourne to Canberra.
Assuming that these descriptions are correct, only one of these (the last option) involves making the entire journey by train: this can be done only 4 days a week and takes more than 15 hours, including a wait of 3-4 hrs in Goulburn.
The other options all involve transferring to a coach for substantial portions of the journey. It’s no wonder that people opt for $79 air fares, even when time is not the crucial factor. During my 17 years in the UK, I never owned a car but relied on inter-city trains for journeys ranging from 20 minutes to 8 hours.
Is it not an embarrassment that the national capital has no decent passenger rail connections to our larger cities – or is this just me being old-school again?