XPT from Wauchope, NSW, to Roma Street Station, Brisbane


The XPT runs from Wauchope on the NSW mid-north coast to Roma Street station, which is being transformed into Brisbane’s ‘Grand Central’. At Casino, 189km from Brisbane, we changed to a coach (another XPT service, Brisbane arrives at 3.53am, usually a train). Our scheduled arrival at 9:34pm was delayed to 11:28pm due to two traffic accidents. Today’s last suburban train to destinations in suburban Brisbane will leave in five minutes. I thought I could do it – until our driver announced that the rear gate near the station had been locked, forcing a long cycle of bicycles to circle to the front gate. After missing the train, my father picked me up from another line at 12:29 am. I swear I’m going to complain – read on to find out how.

the class

Economical; there’s also a first-class option (offering extra legroom and more seat recline) that isn’t much more expensive.

carbon emission

The CO2 equivalent emissions per passenger per kilometer driven are approximately 48 grams. For the Sydney-Brisbane train journey, total emissions are around 44kg CO2e, compared to 73kg for flying and 134kg for driving new light passenger vehicles.


The XPT economy is combat grade. There are loud, ongoing conversations about the tougher aspects of life. On the bright side, one passenger spontaneously gave her neighbor a novel.

this seat; special seat; seat

The seats are arranged in 2-2 formation; I sat by the window and the seat has a 28 degree slope. There is no Wi-Fi and very little phone signal.There are plans to replace the aging XPT fleet with 10 long regional trains offering charging ports, tray tables suitable for laptops and airplane-style overhead storage, but the plan has stalled dispute.


One piece of hand luggage not exceeding 5 kg and two pieces of hand or checked luggage (maximum 20 kg each).

food + drink

An employee walks over with a dinner menu — written on a piece of cardboard — and takes the order. I opted for butter chicken and got it off the buffet cart as we hurried through Grafton. The meal was nothing to write home about, but it complemented the ambiance with the glass of shiraz I added to my order. On the way back (I’m a glutton for punishment), we got “breakfast” on the train transfer from the coach to the casino. It’s a nutritionist’s nightmare: a bag of crisps, chocolate bars and a bottle of water.

Two more things…

I lodged a complaint with TrainLink NSW about a failed arrival. The team were “disappointed” to hear about my experience and encouraged me to provide feedback to Queensland Rail. Another thing to watch out for: TrainLink’s north coast regional services in NSW have recently been plagued by flooding, protected industrial action, construction of the Brisbane Cross River Rail project and trackworks. Coaches have replaced some services for some or all of their journeys.


With coveted domestic airfare, you might also accidentally find yourself on XPT. On the financial front, expect to gain insight into the lives of others. BYO earbuds or headphones if that sounds bad.

Our rating (out of five)

★★ (Employees maintain a friendly demeanor).

The author travels at his own expense.Look www.transportnsw.info

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