Our Story

The journey of The Q Train

The Journey

of Australia's only restaurant train

In 2016, two blokes who’d worked with trains for the better part of 50 years purchased several historic carriages from Queensland Rail. They sought the expertise of a hospitality pundit, and then our team was born. We spent a year or so refurbishing the old carriages, and have transformed a part of the old “Sunlander” into a new boutique rail restaurant called “The Q Train”. How’s that for recycling?!

If you live around the Bellarine area, you may see us working on restoring and maintaining the carriages, which is an ongoing job!

As long term homeowners on the Bellarine Peninsula, we have dreamed of creating a Restaurant Train to showcase the beautiful Bellarine and Swan Bay scenery, whilst offering premium local food and beverages. The Q Train is the realisation of this and we are proud to share this vision with Geelong, The Bellarine and beyond!

The Q Train is a unique moving restaurant – it’s not a train ride – it’s a restaurant, with moving vistas and scenery. We are focussed on a casual fine dining experience, and a 6-course degustation menu with great wines will be your fare – with all produce showcasing the great food and wine from The Bellarine and Otways Regions.

Never before has Australia seen a heritage rail line used for showcasing local food, wine, beer and cider. We’re inviting locals and visitors alike to come aboard our restored carriages and enjoy a gastronomical journey unlike anything else you have experienced. You will enjoy the comfort of our refurbished dining cars, and unique views of Swan Bay and the Bellarine.

The Q Train departs mainly from the historic Drysdale Railway Station, an easy 15-minute drive from Geelong. Your journey will take you to Queenscliff via Suma Park, Swan Bay and then return to Drysdale, where you will alight approximately 3 hours later. Alternatively, your journey will take you from Queenscliff to Drysdale and return via Swan Bay and Suma Park.

At various points throughout the train, you will find photos and history of the train, and its conversion to The Q Train.

Currently The Q Train employs 25 people from Geelong and surrounds and all our suppliers, providers and supporting trades are sourced regionally.

The Q Train exterior livery is designed to represent the sea, sun and sky of its home, and, just coincidentally, retains a QR link!

The History of The Q Train

Operating in our renovated and restored Sunlander carriages from Queensland.

The Sunlander was a long-distance passenger rail service operated by Queensland Rail, between Brisbane and Cairns, between June 1953 and December 2014. It has been replaced by the Spirit of Queensland.

The route followed the North Coast line from Brisbane in the sub-tropical region of South East Queensland, through to the tropical north region. The train travelled the coastal strip between the beaches and the Great Dividing Range, passing diverse country including the Glasshouse Mountains, the sugar cane country of North Queensland and the tropics beyond Townsville.

This venerable train travelled between 8 million and 10 million kilometres in its 61 years of operation. To date we have relocated 15 vehicles from the retired Sunlander, to The Bellarine Railway; seven for use on The Q Train and another five in storage.

The Q Train currently is:

  • QR Locomotive 1604 – 1000HP Diesel Electric OR Emu Bay Railway (TAS) 1107 – 1000HP Diesel Hydraulic.
  • MPCC 1430: Power car – fully operational on delivery – 2 x 256 KVA generators; 3 phase.
  • MSD 1460: Kitchen car – converted to a full commercial kitchen with servery and pantry.
  • MBS 1474: Converted to a Q Class Dining Car, seating 44 people.
  • MCC 1521: Club Loco – Bar Car.
  • MBL 1509: Converted to a boutique First Class Dining Car A, seating 14 people.
  • MSC 1469: Converted to a boutique First Class Dining Car B, seating 14 people.
  • MAS 1487: Converted to a Q Class combined Dining and Bar Car, seating 28 people.
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