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Travel Album: A train ride into the past

Bench Kuranda railway tracks wheels

The Kuranda Scenic Railway

This bench made from old railway tracks and wheels is a reminder of the important role played by the railway in the existence of Kuranda, a village northwest of Cairns, in Queensland, Australia.

(click any image to view the gallery of larger images)

The site of the village was first surveyed by Europeans in 1888. Completion of a railway from Cairns on the coast led to trade and people moving over the Macalister Range. Coffee was grown until severe frosts in the early 1900s wiped out the harvest. After a significant military presence in the area during World War II, tourism became the primary money earner.

A popular way to visit Kuranda from Cairns on a day trip is to take the skyrail one way and the train the other.
Construction of the railway began in 1882 and was completed to Kuranda in 1891. Fifteen tunnels were dug by hand through stone and 37 bridges were erected over ravines to allow the railway to climb from sea level to Kuranda’s elevation of 328 metres (1,076 feet). Passenger services began on 25 June 1891. The first dedicated tourist train from Cairns to Kuranda ran in 1936.

Known now as The Kuranda Scenic Railway, today’s train takes 90 minutes to cover the 34 km (21 miles), passing spectacular waterfalls and providing stunning views of the lush rainforest. The KSR uses carriages that hearken back to an earlier era of train travel, with wooden panelling and windows you can open. It is indeed a relic of an almost forgotten time.

And finally, this photo has nothing to do with history or relics — it’s one of those spectacular waterfalls I mentioned. I shot this from the train as we passed.

waterfall Kuranda Scenic Railway

Information about Kuranda and the Scenic Railway taken from:
http://www.kuranda.org/history/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuranda_Scenic_Railway

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11 thoughts on “Travel Album: A train ride into the past

  1. I have been on that train. it was a great experience. We took the gondola up and train back down. The waterfall was fantastic, but thing I remember most most is that we rode up the gondola with a couple from Indiana. He was afraid of heights, about 3/4 of the way up he said to us “my butt is clenched so tight you couldn’t drive a nail up it with a sledge hammer.” Too funny, and just added to the memorable experience.

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    • I also took the gondola up and the train down — because I wanted bubbly in gold class, and that was offered only on the return journey. 😉 I love your story! What a great line. I don’t like cable cars at all, especially when they go over the wheel things and wobble.

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