Vintage Rail Journeys conducts rail tours using our own private fleet of ex-Southern Aurora Sleeping Carriages. Our fleet of carriages were initially designed for the Southern Aurora overnight express passenger service between Australia’s two largest cities – Sydney and Melbourne. 

The darling of Australian travel at the time, the Southern Aurora ran from 16th April 1962 to 2nd August 1986. First Class throughout, including specialty dining facilities, the Southern Aurora offered sleeper accommodation for comfortable travel.

Since 2017, 16 of these carriages have been acquired by Simon Mitchell & Danielle Smith of NSWGR Holdings Pty Ltd, who have restored 11 carriages back to operation. You can now enjoy the comfort and history of this fleet as well as the beauty and community of train travel through regional New South Wales.

We would like to welcome you onboard, however we recognise that our heritage carriages have limitations and are not accessible to everybody.

We have created this Accessibility Guide to help you plan your journey. If you have any questions or accessibility requirements not included below, please reach out to us at [email protected]

Are the carriages wheelchair accessible?

Unfortunately, our heritage carriages are not wheelchair accessible.

Are the carriages walker accessible?

Unfortunately, our carriages are not walker accessible.

Are there any fitness or mobility requirements?

Our tour does not require a special level of fitness, however guests must have a good level of mobility. Unfortunately, our heritage trains are not designed to accommodate wheelchairs or large mobility aids. 

If booking a Twinette Room, one member of your party will need to be able to climb a ladder up to and down from the top bunk. You will need to be able to embark and disembark trains, coaches and other methods of transportation without assistance, handle your own luggage, walk moderate distances, stand comfortably and climb stairs.

Are there clear and flat surfaces throughout the carriages?

There are some uneven surfaces onboard our carriages.

Are Hearing Loops available?

No, Hearing Loops are currently unavailable.

Is there Braille signage onboard?

No, braille signage and guides are currently unavailable.

Are the carriages well-lit?

Yes, the corridor lights in each carriage remain on throughout the evening. The lights within each room are adjustable.

Are there accessible toilets onboard?

No, there are no dedicated accessible toilets onboard. The fleet of carriages has two different toilet options:

There are two bathrooms in the Roomette (solo) carriage to be shared by 18 guests. These bathrooms have a shower, toilet and handbasin. There is also a single toilet at the other end of the Roomette (solo) carriage.

LAN Shower

Each Twinette compartment has its own ensuite which includes an ‘all in one’ toilet, hand basin and shower.  The toilet and hand basin can be pulled down when required and put away when using the shower.

NAM Toilet

For more photos please go to:

Are companion cards accepted?

Companion card discounts are not available onboard the Southern Aurora. Our tours are all inclusive including entry into Off-Train experiences. 

Do you allow Guide Dogs and Service Dogs onboard?

Assistance Dogs Australia

Yes! Certified guide and service dogs are welcome onboard our carriages and tours. Please let us know at time of booking so that we may provide you (and your dog) the best experience we can while you are on tour with us.

Is there a dedicated toileting area for Guide or Service Dogs?

Unfortunately, our carriages do not have a dedicated toileting area for guide or service dogs. We recommend bringing disposable toileting pads with you.

Are water bowls provided for guide or service dogs?

Unfortunately, our carriages do not have water bowls provided. We recommend bringing a water bowl with you.

Are the carriages temperature controlled?

Yes, we try to maintain our carriages at a temperature of 22 degrees. For guests with cold temperature sensitivities, we recommend bringing a jumper or a blanket. For guests with hot temperature sensitivities, we recommend bringing a portable fan. 

Will there be any loud or unexpected sounds while onboard?

There may be loud or unexpected sounds throughout your journey, both on and off-board. For guests with auditory sensitivity, we recommend bringing noise cancelling equipment. Foam earplugs are provided as part of your complimentary cosmetic bag.

Is there a dedicated quiet room or facility onboard?

No, there are no dedicated quiet rooms or facilities onboard. However, while onboard, you are welcome to retreat to your room as often as you like.

Are staff onboard aware of the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme?

Yes! Vintage Railway Journey staff are aware of the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme. We’re dedicated to giving you a safe, enjoyable experience while onboard. If you have accessibility requirements, please send us an email at [email protected]

Do you welcome families onboard?

We do not have a No Child Policy as such, however, the tour has been developed for an older demographic and there are no children’s discounts. It is up to the guest to make a decision on whether it is something that they would like their children to do. There are no special menus nor children friendly off-train experiences.

Is there phone service available while onboard?

Yes, mobile phone coverage is reliant on the coverage provided by telecommunications companies. As we travel through rural areas within New South Wales, there may not always be mobile phone service available onboard.

Is there Wifi onboard?

Yes, free wifi is available onboard our carriages. As this is reliant on the phone service, there may not always be wifi service available onboard. 

How can I get to Sydney Central Station?

We’ve created a dedicated guide to Finding your way around Central Station and to a VRJ tour, available on our website. 

I have a question I can’t find an answer to, can you help me?

Yes! Please send us an email at [email protected]

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