All Aboard for Historic Rail Trips to Stanthorpe & Wallangarra
Image Credit: Shane Andersen Photography
Journey through picturesque Granite Belt Wine Country in southern Queensland on a steam train day trip!
All rail day tours depart and return to Warwick, with tours to the Granite Belt following the rail line southward towards Stanthorpe. It’s your choice whether you’ll get off in Stanthorpe (with the option to do a winery tour bus tour or bicycle tour), or continue further south to Wallangarra’s lovely historic railway station (with option for buffet lunch).
Please be aware that these tours are typically operated with a steam train, however during periods of low rainfall (which has been typical of 2019-2020) a diesel engine is used for fire safety reasons.
Stanthorpe Stop: Winery Tours or Cycle Tour
Option 1 in Stanthorpe: When buying your train ticket, also book to join the coach tour that meets you at the Stanthorpe station for a visit to up to 5 wineries. Lunch is provided at one of the wineries and the wineries visited varies with the tours throughout the year.
Option 2 in Stanthorpe: Alternately book to join a fully guided bicycle tour, departing from the Stanthorpe train station. Enjoy a leisurely 25km pedal around the areas north of Stanthorpe, including . Cycle 25km enjoying the quiet country roads at a leisurely pace, past apple orchards and stopping for morning tea, cheese and wine tasting. Late lunch awaits back in Stanthorpe.
Wallangarra Stop:Railway Station and Cafe
The beautifully historic railway station at Wallangarra was built in 1888 to service travellers who had to change trains from the standard gauge of NSW to Queensland’s narrow gauge. The two trains met here. You can stand on the platform with one foot in NSW and the other in Queensland. Note the differing architecture of the platform façades too. One side of the platform reflects the NSW standard design for railways of that era, the other Queensland’s design.
There is a small and fascinating museum within the station buildings and a café is situated in the old railway dining rooms. The Wallangarra Railway Museum is a free entry museum situated in the Station masters office and it is housing many press cuttings, memorabilia and a simulator booth (interesting experience).
The original Railway Refreshment Rooms are now a Café and the size of the room shows just how many people would have been making their transfers between trains. It’s here you can book the option of lunch included with your train ticket.
The Journey Entering the Granite Belt High Country…
The rail journey as described by Southern Downs Steam Railway…
After easing into the uphill sections between Warwick (1,492ft), and Silverwood (1,913ft), we leave civilisation and wind up past sandstone ruins of Spring and Mineral Creek bridges before a short stop to check the locomotive before passing through the two tunnels on the line.
After this brief pause, it’s time to enjoy the spectacular views as we climb the Silverwood range to Dalveen where we pass The Summit (3,035ft), the highest QR station. Since leaving Warwick, we have risen 1,543 feet in the space of 32 miles. After passing The Summit we coast down into Stanthorpe for a 30 minute stop.
We continue from here, descending into granite country as we make our way to the Queensland – New South Wales Border. After passing Lyra (2,305ft), we start the 577 feet climb into Wallangarra (2,882ft), where we will make our stop for lunch.