Gulflander Train: is said to go from nowhere to nowhere. In fact the train travels from Normanton to Croydon in the Gulf Country of northern Queensland. The line is about 150 kilometres long and was completed in the late 1800’s. The line has an interesting construction feature. Steel sleepers were used on the line. They were hollow and packed with mud. This avoided the need for ballast on the track. Most of the sleepers are still in place. The line was designed to cope with floods during the wet season. Floodwater and debris flows over the line. This left the track intact after the floods subside.
Steam locomotives were used until 1922 when rail motors were introduced. The present four-car rail motor is known as “the old tin hare”. This nickname was also applied to rail motors on the Sydney rail system.
The Gulflander is said to be more an adventure than a train ride. The train crews are qualified guides and will stop the train and talk about points of interest. Morning tea and interpretative walks are provided at Blackbull along the line.
The Gulflander leaves Normanton at 8.30 am on Wednesdays and arrives at Croydon about 1.30 pm on the same day. The train returns on Thursdays. Croydon is an old gold mining town with a number of historic buildings. A new station is being constructed at Croydon.
We saw the Gulflander arrive at Croydon during our bus tour of Queensland in July 2004. Unfortunately our itinerary did not allow time to take a trip on this historic railway.