Big and little Rail Journeys

There’s something about train travel that I’ve always found irresistibly romantic. Cocooned inside a warm carriage, rollicking along and watching the world go by, deep in thought.

That’s where I’ve been for the past week, every day, though it’s hardly been romantic. Destination: Austin Hospital in Heidelberg. Purpose: be with my other half. Mission: get him well and home again!

It’s been hypnotic, almost meditative, the clicking and the motion and the gentle sway as the train glides along the tracks. It’s also been easy.

On a train there’s no hassles with traffic or finding a park and there’s no battling the elements. It’s been arctic this past week but inside it’s dry and warm and I’m free to drift off and daydream. Big windows and expansive views that normally ignite my adventurous spirit allow me to ponder and focus on the positives in my life.

Whilst it’s hardly been an extended rail trip to a far flung destination it’s given me time and freedom to read, reflect and reminisce about a lot of things, including some of the train trips we’ve enjoyed in the past.

So, as I sit in this carriage and begin to type this on my phone, a distraction from other thoughts, I’m slipping back in time …

All aboard.


Maldon

The sleepy township of Maldon, about two hours from Melbourne, has a great little rail trip on a steam train from Maldon to Castlemaine. I’ve written about this one before.

Think art deco elegance, old world carriages, gorgeous wooden panelling and sleepers. Biscuits and cheese, coffee and red wine served in deep leather seats with good friends.

Travel in first class carriages through the central Victorian Goldfields, linking the historic towns of Maldon and Castlemaine. There are even Murder on the Orient Express themed trains, family excursions and romantic interludes. There’s something for everyone. You can even get up close and personal and ride with the driver. More info here on the Victorian Goldfields Railway.

I remember before our trip, standing on the platform, with steam swirling all around me, feeling like I was about to board the Hogwarts Express.

Now, if only I had that magic wand!

Walhalla

Nestled within the historic and picturesque township of Walhalla, about 2.5 hours from Melbourne, the restored Goldfields Railway is like a trip to a bygone era. We were there only a couple of months ago.

My next published article, soon to be out in 4×4 Australia Magazine, tells more of the story of this great little rail trip together with our four wheel drive adventure in Rawson.

As I wrote in my article:  “Although abandoned for many years, the rebuilt narrow-gauge railway between the Thomson Bridge and Walhalla is now one of the most spectacular rail journeys in Australia. It’s amazing to explore and ponder how, before 1910 when the railway was constructed, this isolated town was only accessible by coach or pack horse ..”

Kuranda Railway

A blur from the window, looking down over the Barron River where we went white water rafting

Arguably one of Australia’s most unique railways, the Kuranda Railway, in far north Queensland, is an amazing engineering feat.

Built in adverse conditions through treacherous terrain in the 1880s, by hand, this spectacular journey travels from Cairns and passes through breathtaking vistas, past waterfalls, into the awe inspiring Barron Gorge before arriving at Kuranda.

I loved our time in Far North Queensland. Though it was many years ago, I have awesome memories of the Kuranda train trip, white water rafting, flying over the reef in a small cessna plane and landing in the rainforest for Devonshire tea and snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef.

Australia has some epic train trips, some small and others big, but they’re all memorable in their own way.

There’s the beautiful Puffing Billy in the Dandenong Ranges, the Ghan up north in our vast outback and the Indian Pacific which encompasses an unrivalled 4352kms. This includes the longest stretch of railway track in the world. From Sydney to Perth over the Nullarbor plain there’s no more epic train journey to be had in Australia.

Then, my memories took me back, a bit further still to our time in Italy:

Slow train to Aosta

European train travel can be spectacularly beautiful too.

Years ago, on our six week trip to Italy, one of the many travel highlights was our expedition to the northern alps. After catching a bullet train to Milan we switched gears to a country train to Aosta near the alps bordering France where we stayed with my Italian relatives.

Slow and steady. Sometimes that’s the best way to get to where we’re going.

The Heidelberger

So, here I am again, heading back home on my local suburban train. There’s no alps in sight and it’s a far cry from the Orient Express or the Rocky Mountaineer. Though it’s no Bullet train it’s getting me to where I need to be.

As I read somewhere: “life is like a train ride. We get on. We ride. We get off. We get back on and ride some more. There are accidents and there are delays. At certain stops there are surprises. Some of these translate into great moments of joy, some won’t. “ But we ride on.

Thanks for travelling with me. Here’s to the making the most of the journey.

Happy travels, wherever you might be going in August.

In light and love


Life is like a journey on a train, its stations are changes that we go through. That’s me down there!

106 thoughts on “Big and little Rail Journeys

  1. I know exactly how you feel about trains. For me, it’s the movement of people, going places and doing things. And with what you’re going through, it makes you feel less alone.

    Driving has become so stressful and you have enough stress right now.

    I wish you the best.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks so much Aixa. And you’re right about the movement and the connection with others. I’ve had some really nice conversations with complete strangers over the past week. And I’ve not missed the driving one bit. Thanks again!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hope your hubby gets well soon! There’s something about train rides that make them special. Hogwarts, did you say? Ohh wow, just for that, I’ll add Maldon to my bucket list. Life is like a train ride indeed. We make many stops, only to keep moving forward to the next in a series of long destinations. I wish you safe and happy travels. Hope you had a great weekend, Miriam.
    Love,
    Shweta

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks very much Shweta. And I love what you said about the description of life like a train ride. So very true, we have lots of destinations don’t we. Hope life is treating you well. Happy Hogwarts!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I do so know how you feel about the train rides. The rhythm, the sounds, they lull you into this
    calm and meditative state. I love that about boats as well. Your deluxe coaches are not what we get from here to London, Orient Express is another thing altogether. 😊 .

    It is wonderful to travel with you on this fantastic journey to places I would otherwise never see.
    Thank you. Hope you soon have your hubby home.

    Miriam

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I hope your husband is recovering well, you must be missing your travel partner…your lovely post brings back some wonderful memories of a train trip through the Rockies on my way to visit my grandparents and dearest friend in Alberta as well as the many trips taken in Europe…they are mysterious, often showing us glimpses of wildlife we might’ve never had the chance to see and with September 1st coming up soon, any mention of Harry Potter has me wanting to revisit his world again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Kimberlee, your words have ignited my wonderlusting. I’ve always wanted to do a train trip through the Rockies, sounds so beautiful. Who knows, one for the bucket list perhaps. Thanks for your lovely comment. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Took me a minute to realise that you were still in Australia and not referring to the original Heidelberg We love a train journey and have been to Kurunda and Walhalla, both amazing. Best train trips are undoubtedly those that go through mountain ranges and alongside lakes, so relaxing and spectacular at the same time. .

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m so sorry to hear your husband is in the hospital! I hope he is well and back home where he belongs soon. Meanwhile, thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories of your previous trips with us. I’m glad that being on the train gives you a little time of peace and quiet, and imagine that is is very much needed! I’m sending positive vibes to you and your family…..

    Liked by 2 people

  7. All the best for your husband, hope he has a speedy, smooth recovery! Your description of trains reminds me of special memories of my husband and I traveling in Europe. Last year, we took so many trains through Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. It was such a treat because at home we never travel by train. Take care, Miriam! xx

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Like you I have always enjoyed travelling with trains.And it looks like you have quite some fun train rides in Australia. On a different note, I am sorry to hear about your husband. May he have a quick and good recovery. At least good to have him home again.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I love train travel. I do find quite a romantic notion about it. I fell in love with train travel on my first train ride to D.C. The bullet train from Amsterdam to Paris was quite the experience. My husband and I were just talking about trying to walk to the snack car while going over 200 mph. That was when you realized how quickly you were moving. And I’ve done quite a bit of train travel in the UK, which just felt like a fairytale. 🙂 I wish your current travels were under different circumstances. Sending much love and light to both you and your husband. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow 200mph! Now, that’s fast! Amazing isn’t it but such a great way to travel. Sounds like you’ve done a fair amount of train travel. Hope you get to do lots more. Thanks so much for your love and good wishes Amy. Much appreciated. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You always look and find for the silver lining. There’s so much for me to learn from you my friend. You kept your calm and let the journey take over. I hope your hubby’s much better and it wasn’t too serious. You’re a rock! Thanks for inspiring people across the world. Bear hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re so kind Cheryl. Thanks for your very thoughtful words. Hub is slowly on the mend though it’s an ongoing thing. I do try and stay positive though I’ll admit it’s not always easy. Hope you’re doing well my friend. Warm hugs from a cool and rainy Melbourne. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Stay strong my friend. When times are tough I remember the words of a very wise man: Bono. 🙂 It’s only a moment, this time shall pass. Or something like that! 🙂 I’m with you! You’ll find a silver lining, I’m sure! Bear tight hugs. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I hope hubby is better and back home getting stronger.

    As usual great photos and great post. Yes train journeys are hypnotic and meditative. The clicking and swaying is certainly conducive to sleeping.

    You are so well travelled . I always learn so much about austrialia from your posts.

    Have a fab week.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Hello Miriam! Glad to hear that your hubby is feeling better now. This post is very ingenious. Your analogy of life like a train ride is brilliant, and I love it! Thanks for inspiring us and taking us along in your part of the world. Such a pleasure to ride along by your side and discover the beauty of AU. BTW I was just wondering if you are having trouble with your WP. Looks like I am. Two days ago I was not able to reply to your comment. Today, I noticed that on blogs I follow (including yours), the follow button looks like I don’t follow. They are still in my feed though. It seems like WP has some hiccups lately. Keep well dear friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I noticed the notification that you followed me and thought that was strange. But it’s not the first time and it’s happened to me too. WP Gremlins! What a nuisance but sounds like you’ve got it sorted now.
      Thanks for your nice words about this post and I’m always happy to have you along for the ride. Loved your latest post by the way! xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Miriam. I add lots of computer problems during Summer, but I thought everything was fine now. Obviously not. The same thing happened with my partners in crime, Lisa and Darren… Of course, I would never unfollow them. Lol WP Gremlins! That brought a smile to my face. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. So loved your post highlighting your memories of your past and present train journey’s Miriam, so sorry to hear that this one is because your hubby is unwell.. I am sending well wishes and some healing thoughts his way and hope he will soon be well and back home..

    Trains are special aren’t they we went on an old restored railway train and track in Wales, when we were on holiday back in July.. it was a great experience.. to sit in the old separated carriages like I would travel in my childhood, and we were able to go and see some Engines being restored along with an old Royal Mail carriage, showing how mail was sorted en-route..

    Loved reading and loved your photos Miriam.. ❤ Well wishes sent to both of you ❤ .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Sue for your kind get well wishes. Hubby is home now though it’s an ongoing condition which needs follow up. Still I’m grateful that things have settled and he is mostly fine.
      Yes, I agree, trains are a very special way of travelling. Your description of your Wales rail adventure sounds wonderful. Brings back my own childhood memories of riding on what we used to call “the red rattler.” So nice to reminisce. Hugs my friend xx ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Best wishes to your husband, may he have a speedy recovery and soon be home with you. I know what you mean about trains. It’s a little form of slow travel, unless you are on a bullet train and only going a short distance (as we did in China). But generally train travel provides an opportunity to reflect and to observe – sometimes on inner hopes and dreams, and at other times on the external …what you are seeing. You have me thinking we should do more train travel 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for the good wishes Estelle. And I do agree about what you said about train travel. It really is a great opportunity to reflect and observe. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. xx

      Like

  15. While I’ve never been on a long train journey, I have lived near train tracks for a good portion of the last 40 years. I love the sound of the clickety-clack as the trains go over the tracks, and I adore the sound of a distant train whistle.

    I hope your beloved is back home and well again!

    xoxox *hugs* ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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