Remember, as a child, reading stories about stream trains like Thomas the Tank Engine? Running around pretending to be a train making choo choo noises? You may have even been lucky enough to go on the famed Puffing Billy in Victoria! Well, now we have our very own steam train here in Queensland you can enjoy and relive those moments. Let me tell you about our weekend in Warwick that included a day on the Wallangarra steam train.
A group of us decided to spend a weekend photographing the sights around Warwick. We stayed about 10 minutes out of town at the delightful Hope Cottage located on an old winery. There we enjoyed peace and quiet, explored old buildings, photographed the sunset and ventured out into the paddock beside an old windmill to capture the milky way on a perfectly clear night.
The next day, we boarded the steam train at Warwick and began our journey to Wallangarra, tracing the path of the Sydney mail. Taking us back to a bygone era we sat in an old carriage with bench seats one side, walkway down the other side, and windows you could slide down and peer out.
We took in the views as we passed sandstone ruins of old bridges, chugged through a couple of tunnels, climbed the highest Queensland rail line near Stanthorpe and then descended into granite country where we arrive at Wallangarra station. Everyone was ushered into the old railway building for a wonderful buffet roast lunch that had the best chunks of baked pumpkin we ever tasted. While the steam train refuelled and turned around we had a meander around the old station before climbing back aboard for the trip home, where we were treated to a spectacular sunset coming back into Warwick.
Arriving back at our accommodation we sat around on the deck with a glass of wine or two, reviewed our numerous photos and chatted about the things that we had enjoyed, the fun we had seen the other passengers have and our favourite sights along the way, especially the smiling children at the crossings waving furiously to us as we passed. Life is simple, take the time to explore because the sights you see will provide lasting memories.
The Southern Downs Railway is fully run by Volunteers who do a wonderful job to ensure that your day is one to remember. For more information visit www.southerndownssteamrailway.com.au