Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Nambour: The Sunshine Coast Line

Nambour Railway Station is 101 km north of Brisbane's Roma Street Station and 13 km inland from the coast line at Maroochydore. If you want to get as far north from Brisbane as you can get on the CityTrain network, then apart from the twice daily Gympie North Intercity Train (which also passes stops here), Nambour may just be the perfect destination. Train services between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast terminate here, at the railway station and bus interchange that was opened in 1986.

Before the arrival of the rails from Brisbane, the area was known as Petrie's Creek. The name Nambour was taken from a nearby cattle station and the town renamed when the railway line opened in 1891 to avoid confusion with the suburb of Petrie in Brisbane. Once famous for the sugar cane railway that serviced the Moreton Sugar Mill, the town has retained a short section of cane tramway on the corner of Currie, Mill and Howard Streets to preserve some of the charm of this former sugar town. Today of course, the sugar mill is gone. In its place is the Nambour Mill Village Shopping Centre. But plans are underway to use the remaining 2 foot gauge tramway line linking either side of the town with a New Orleans style street tram, to take tourists and shoppers on a joyride through the heart of town, and only a short distance from the railway station.

The southbound Sunlander arriving at Nambour Railway Station, 2014.

Being on the North Coast Line, Nambour Railway Station today sees a passing parade of freight and passenger trains along with 13 daily Intercity Trains that terminate here on platform 2, which is a stub ended platform alongside the mainline. The mainline north and south of the station is single track, making Nambour a busy location for passing trains. The station has a fenced off holding yard to stable trains overnight, a large commuter car park and easy access to the main street of town, meaning you'll easily find somewhere to grab a bite to eat before catching a train back to the city. Travel off-peak using a Go card, and you'll be treated to some of the postcard views of the Glasshouse Mountains between Caboolture and Eudlo that so often feature on rail travel posters for Queensland Rail's longer distance travel trains, all for a fraction of the price.

That's me about to board The Sunlander at Nambour Railway Station in 2014 for one last trip to Cairns before the train is retired.

With the Big Pineapple situated only a few km out of town, and the beaches and shops of Maroochydore just 13 km away, Nambour is a convenient stepping off point for exploring all that the Sunshine Coast has to offer. For this Sunshine Coaster however, Nambour was the hopping on point when taking one last trip on The Sunlander to Cairns. Although The Sunlander will disappear into the history pages after her final run south on December 31, 2014, the Spirit of Queensland, Spirit of the Outback, along with the Rockhampton and Bundaberg Tilt Trains will continue to stop at Nambour on their way north from Brisbane.

So whether you are travelling to Bundaberg, Rockhampton or all the way to Cairns, my funny yet informative window seat guide will have you arriving at your destination feeling like you have just completed a railway adventure of your own.

Available now through my Books page

See also: Mooloolah: hiking the old tunnel

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