While no longer a commuter train from Sydney to Melbourne (and return), the Southern Aurora is still run on 5 day/4 night rail tours by Vintage Rail Journeys.
The Southern Aurora overnight express passenger service originally ran between Australia’s two largest cities – Sydney and Melbourne. You might remember her as she was the “darling of Australian travel” at the time! The Southern Aurora ran from 16th April 1962 to 2nd August 1986 and offered sleeper accommodation as well as Lounge and Dining Carriages for comfortable travel. Over time, plane travel became more popular than train travel. The declining numbers of passengers made it difficult for the Government to justify running the Southern Aurora.
Purchase of the Southern Aurora carriages
Following the great carriage auction of 1994, the Southern Aurora’s historic carriages went to the Australian Railway Historical Society (ACT) and Transport Heritage NSW (New South Wales Rail Museum).
In 2017, Simon Mitchell & Danielle Smith of NSWGR Holdings Pty Ltd, acquired 16 of these carriages. There was a risk that the carriages would be bought by individuals to use as farm stays or BnBs. By keeping the carriages together, they can be used as a train rather than as static sleeping accommodation. The carriages have now been restored to near new condition.
Private Restoration of the carriages
Over time, 11 carriages have been restored and returned to service. They now form a fleet which are used for Rail Tours around regional NSW. The Southern Aurora is run on 5 day 4 night rail tours by Vintage Rail Journeys showcasing the amazing scenery and produce that NSW has to offer.
For more information on each of these tours, please click on the below tour names: