Sydney to Blue Mountains: Train Question

Aug 31st, 2003, 07:37 PM
  #1  
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Sydney to Blue Mountains: Train Question

It appears that both Cityrail and Countrylink travel from Sydney Central station to Katoomba. Which should I take? Does one offer an express train, or do they both make the same stops? Is one train more comfortable than another? I will be traveling on Thursday, october 2nd. Thanks for your help.
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Sep 1st, 2003, 11:44 AM
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marthag
They're the same trains. They serve some of the Cityrail stations, so are included in the Cityrail network. All one class.

The long distance express train from Central, e.g. the Dubbo XPT, which leaves around 7.10am, stops at Katoomba to pick up only, so you can't use it.
http://www.cityrail.info/timetable/t...&day=wd&dir=dn
will give you your options.

Have fun!
margo_oz is offline  
Sep 1st, 2003, 04:41 PM
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while you are at the cityrail site check out their

cityrail blue montains explorer link ticket.
johhj_au is offline  
Sep 1st, 2003, 09:18 PM
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Countrylink are the long-distance, book-ahead trains, often travelling interstate.... they serve the Mountains only on their way through to more far-flung places, and there are only a couple a day! They probably wouldn't accept a booking for a short distance like Sydney-Katoomba (if they stop there at all, it's only to pick up).
So the Cityrail network is the one for you... the trains to the Mountains are a little nicer than the "norm" as they have thick seats and washrooms, and there is a train every hour (more at peak times). If you leave Sydney after 9 a.m. (and there's one at 9:03)you travel at off-peak prices, which is a saving of around 40%. They depart from the interurban part of Sydney terminal, usually from Platform 12.
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Sep 2nd, 2003, 05:23 PM
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Margo, John and Alan....thanks so much for your detailed and helpful replies. I think I understand the train situation finally. I have another questionne of my tourist magazines makes reference to a Blue Mountains Visitor Centre in SYDNEY. No address, but the phone is 1300653408. Do any of you know where in Sydney they are located? I'd like to visit them and get information a few days before we leave for Katoomba.Thanks so much.
Martha
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Sep 2nd, 2003, 06:33 PM
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Hi, again, mathaq!
Are you sure this centre is actually IN Sydney? It's listed in my Sydney phone book, but no address, just the number you gave.... and that's no indication that it's in Sydney, as 1300 numbers are just access numbers to sites all over Australia, so that you pay for a local call regardless of the distance. The same listing is given in the Blue Mountains telephone directory also: "Booking and Accredited Information Centres". Sounds like a phone-only agency for the many hotels in the area.
My guess is that this organisation is actually not an open office, and that it's not based in Sydney at all. Maybe someone who knows better will correct me on that.
However, if I am right, this does not mean that you have to visit us unprepared. The tourist centre in the Rocks (106 George St), Sydney, would almost certainly have leaflets on the Blue Mountains, and, of course, there's a host of stuff right here on the net. Try www.visitnsw.com.au for starters, or just do a google search. Good luck!
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Sep 3rd, 2003, 11:18 AM
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Alan, you're so very correct! Upon re-reading the advertisement, I can see that this is probably a phone link for Sydney people to use free of charge. I'll visit the tourism office at the Rocks in Sydney. I'm also posting other additional questions about the Blue Mountains in a separate post. I hope you can help me get prepared for my time in the Blue Mountains, which is unfortunately limited to only one day. Thanks so much for all your help on this board.
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Sep 3rd, 2003, 05:17 PM
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Hi, again, Mathaq!
As a resident of the Blue Mountains, I'm rather flattered that you're so interested in getting the most out of your day, so any help I have given is my pleasure. I answered another of your posts without realising that it was the same person, so I ranted on about the weather, not realising that you're doing this in October, which is probably one of the two nicest months of the year to visit the Mountains (April would be the other). My cautions, therefore, are probably worth nothing.... but I still hope that if October 2 is a rainy day, you can postpone until the day before or after, because the Echo Point valley just fills up with fog in wet weather, and you can't see a thing!
If the day is a fine one, and you want an extra little activity to fill your day, see if you can leave Sydney VERY early... say, on the 7:03 train. This gets to Glenbrook, my home "town", (actually, it's just a village) exactly one hour later, and I can always meet you at the station and drive you down to Euroka Clearing, which is one of the gems of the Mountains, and relatively unvisited. You can have breakfast there surrounded by kangaroos (they're wild ones, so their appearance cannot be guaranteed! However, they are USUALLY there, and you can get VERY close!), and then I will put you back on the train to Katoomba exactly one hour later. You will still get to Katoomba by 10 a.m. If this sounds okay to you, send me an email on [email protected] and we'll organise further.
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Sep 3rd, 2003, 06:29 PM
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Alan...I'll e-mail you about meeting early in the morning. What a generous offer. Main problem is getting my husband up and out early while he's on vacation. Question: you've previously advised against doing a Blue Mountains day-trip on a weekend. If the weather is poor on the weekday I have chosen(October 2),will the crowds really be a problem if I delay the trip until better weather on Saturday or Sunday? How are Fridays....are they better than weekends?
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Sep 3rd, 2003, 06:54 PM
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Hi, yet again!
I advise against the weekends because of the trains, not the crowds. Cityrail likes to close down the train lines at weekends for what they optimistically call "trackwork" (even though you can drive past miles of empty track and not see any servicing going on!) When the Mountains line closes down for those two days (and it does this somewhere along its route about every third weekend nowadays) buses are substituted. This can add a LONG time to your journey: sometimes up to two hours, even though Cityrail promises half that. The buses, usually, are uncomfortable, have no toilet facilities, dump you off unceremoniously at some place you've never heard of (like Seven Hills, which is not in Rome, believe me!), and, to make things worse, run to very peculiar timetables which mean they often arrive at the train station just as the rail connection is pulling out. Really, the Cityrail system is a mess, and the Mountains, I am sorry to say, gets about the worst deal of all. They couldn't get away with this on weekdays because of the large number of commuters who are also voters... but on the weekends, its mainly tourists, and who cares about them?
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Sep 3rd, 2003, 07:57 PM
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Wow! You completely explained to me why my husband and I should not attempt Blue Mountains on a weekend train trip. Are Fridays safe, trainwise? Glad to know the issue isn't crowds.
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Sep 5th, 2003, 03:19 AM
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Alan's right about the trains, unfortunately ;( But there can be crowds as well. Friday should be ideal - but that weekend is a long weekend, so there may be some sneaking away early (who, me???)
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Sep 5th, 2003, 02:33 PM
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Janese
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Is this Alan J writing on this site?
If so, where have you been?
Bye the way I had to change my name to the above for some reason - Liz
 
Sep 5th, 2003, 08:35 PM
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Too right Alan J is back...and in absolute top form.

With you and him working together every yank here will be spending all their time in Tassie and the Blue Mountains.

BTW Liz..where were you? south america?
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Sep 6th, 2003, 03:21 PM
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Hi John
Yes I was in Argentina, Chile and Peru on business ( with a little bit of pleasure thrown in there ) and hopefully within the next few weeks there will be a lot more of South America in Australia if I have my way.
While I am at it I will put in a plug for South American products as that is what I was buying to sell in Australia - they are wonderful, beautifully made and very colourful. Viva Sud-America!
However not only will every American be going to Tassie and the Blue Mountains but don't forget that I live up here in God'sown on Tamborine Mountain - the Green behind the Gold of the Gold Coast and as far as I am concerned the border ranges and hinterland here is Paradise!
Ya'all come now!
 
Sep 6th, 2003, 11:13 PM
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Hi, Janese!
(Mathaq, sorry for pirating your post, but it's not every day I get to say hello to the famous LizF!) Nice to know you are still here... you know, I read a post of yours a few days ago, and I thought to myself, "If I didn't know better, I'd say that LizF wrote that!" Glad you're back from South America. Me, I'm back from Europe after a family holiday that left me so broke (two kids under 12, you see) that I am seriously considering charging for advice on this site from now on. Do you think twenty cents a post is too much? At that rate, I will have recouped the cost of the holiday in about one hundred and sixty years!
Now, come on, "Janese".... let's have some "classic" LizF replies. This board is getting too quiet. No controversy since before you left for South America!Someone just asked whether they should sit on the Indian Pacific for four days and look at the scenery; what would you say to him?
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Sep 6th, 2003, 11:48 PM
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Hi Alan and everyone else
OK here goes, sitting on the Indian Pacific looking at the scenery either puts that person in the "funny farm" sector or navel gazing was too stressful for them.
Apart from the odd crow here and there, there is no scenery to speak of on the Indian Pacific - call it the Nullaboring ( Nullabore ) if you like but as a train fanatic I would leave my train travel for somewhere where I actually can have something to look at. A great train ride - it is NOT.
 
Sep 7th, 2003, 09:47 AM
  #18  
DJE
 
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Alan and Janese,

As the person who made the inqury, I wouldn't consider myself a train fanatic in any respect and I don't think I'm quite ready for the "funny farm", but as we're not under any time constraints we just thought it would be something different to do to get to the west coast and I can do some reading along the way.

The next portion of our trip will be a self drive from Perth to Darwin. Any comments for that portion of our trek.
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Sep 7th, 2003, 01:47 PM
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The drive between Perth and Darwin will be quite varied in parts and very, very interesting in some areas and boring in others.
Make sure that you have the time to explore the Kimberlies, the Bungle Bungles, the town of Broom and areas between. From the Ord River to Darwin is interesting too so you are in for an fun time if you are not going to be there in the middle of summer which would be a bit like surviving Death Valley. The coastal areas up near Broom are beautiful and if you like pearls then Broom is your town.
The reason I don't like the train across the Nullabore is that the scenery does not change for about 2,000 klms and its a straight line. No hills, no changes, just nothing and it is expensive. Mind you the first part of the trip from Perth up north is a bit of "how's your father" too but the further north you go the better. Do ask the locals of places of interest as there is so much up there to see and few people make it there, i.e. there is a mountain/hill that is 7 times the size of Ayers Rock yet you don't see it advertised as such.
If you are going when the wild flowers are in bloom then the train trip will be more interesting but as you say, at least you can read a book. I think too they have videos. Have fun!
 
Sep 7th, 2003, 08:56 PM
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DJE
 
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Janese,

Thanks for the additional info. We plan on being in Australia in May 04 and I was hoping this would be a good time to do the western trek with it not being overly hot and yet getting dryer in the Kakadu, Darwin region.

As mentioned on another thread, we have been to Australia before ( 5 week trip ) having driven throughout a large portion of the eastern half of the country from Sydney across up to Uluru continuing on to Tennent Creek and then heading east and down into Brisbane finishing off back in Sydney.

Had a great time and weren't bored at all with the Long drives in the flat desert areas. It was just a terrific way to really see what the country is all about. Now we want to explore the western half and will probably take a month to do the trip. From Darwin we will fly down to Melborne and then drive back to Sydney for our departure home.
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