Brisbane Limited’s 1989 Timetable https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByB-ppGeDyvwcVo3R0tlR1NUdEE/view
Cheers Peter Cokley
Back in the 80's, when my sons were just kids, we went Melbourne to Brisbane, with the car, via the Southern Aurora and Gold Coast Motorail. It was a great trip, and the boys loved it. I can still recall it quite vividly.Its very interesting really, while the GCMR took longer than the XPT, it had a better overall service, with the dining car, not just a floating pie shop as it is now with the luxury of frozen meals heated in the micro wave. And the old pie now costs around 50.c short of $7.00 as the meal options in a come and get it announcement.
The Murwillumbah MotoRail was initially termed the Gold Coast MotoRail Express and renamed the Pacific Coast MotoRail Express from 30 May 1987.Lots of prices are worth comparison but, $1,30 for a can of ale, the good old days.
The April 1986 menu for the Brisbane Limited and the Murwillumbah MotoRail, which is when I wrote the date seen on the page.
Curious which 'first' Murwillumbah MotoRail you saw, the actual first out of Sydney 3 March 1973 or the ceremonial 'First' with the banner on the loco that left Sydney Friday, 27 April 1973 after a short function including speeches by politicians, railway big wigs and travel / tourism officials. Plus a similar when it arrived in Murwillumbah.Following for those not aware of the train's history; Initial Murwillumbah MotoRail left Sydney Saturday, 3 March 1973,I saw the first departure from Sydney Terminal. I'll see if I can find the slides of it.
I lived in Lismore from 1951 to 1966 and then from 1980 to 1987.No raving on it that post Barry, when I go back to the 90's and before that, the GCMR was mosly full in both sleepers and sitting cars, the later cars had many young people get on at Casino, Lismore and Bangalow along with their surfboards for a day at the beach at Byron Bay, they had to have return tickets for the trips and if unbooked passengers got on with a late station ticket sales, the young ones had to stand, for most of them they had no car, and the buses were up the spout.
In the sixties we used the Lismore - Byron service as a convenient access to the then quiet beach town. No millionaires' mansions at Wategos Beach, just a great place to go to. We would travel north on what was generally called Second Division of the Brisbane Express (Officially just called the Brisbane Express) which was made up of cars off the through train detached at Casino. I don't think that a sleeper was included in the branchline train. Return was via a local train (end platform cars) that met the 1st Division of the Express (ie the Brisbane LImited) at Casino.
Travel to the south was improved when air conditioned cars were put on the Limited but the Express remained un airconditioned for years later.
In about 1966, tests were carried out with a 620 class railcar set towing an ETP brakevan. This led to the construction of 2 car diesel set 638/738 which was specially fitted with a higher powered Cummins engine rather than the Detroit 6-110 engines fitted to cars 628 to 637 to provide extra power over steep sections such as the Burringbar Range. It ran from South Grafton (now Grafton City) and served all stations from Grafton to Casino. THis allowed the Brisbane Express to be accelerated over that section. It is interesting to note that between Grafton City and Casino today there a precisely zero stations, attended or otherwise.
My children used the Motorail/ North Coast Express (?) occasionally to Byron Bay in the 1980s and we travelled south on the Motorail when one of us had to travel alone. The difference between driving in the 1960s compared to the 1980s was quite marked and it made family travel much more comfortable. We also used Kirklands bus service which was no less comfortable that sitting up in an unrefurbished economy carriage. Business travellers had long deserted the train as the air service from Casino was much more efficient.
By the time we left Lismore the Motorail was like most of the New South Wales system - largely used by concession card holders. Airline deregulation and the development of the Gold Coast Airport and the amusingly named Ballina Byron Airport have since made the train even more pointless. A quick check of fares indicates that Jetstar quoted prices of between $56 and $167 and NSW Trainlink managed a flat rste of $59.35. There is no contest.
Vale the Brisbane Limited, Brisbane Express, Gold Coast/ Pacific Coast Motorail. They served their purpose in their day but times have changed.
(Sorry for raving on)