My favourite mode of travel anywhere is by train so it will come as no surprise to my regular reader that I would write a review on the Canberra Sydney train service, limited though it is.
In terms travelling between Sydney and Canberra, in the most efficient and cheapest way possible, I actually recommend taking a bus – see my separate review – Sydney – Canberra by Bus.
For visitors who prefer train travel, have a couple of extra hours to spare and can fit in with the much more restricted timetable then I can certainly recommend the relaxing train journey.
The train trip itself takes about 4hrs 10mins (assuming it does not run late as it did the few times I have used it – which means I generally don’t use it). To this you need to add about half an hour to transfer into the centre of Canberra from the train station, if that is where you want to end up. The city centre to city centre bus journey takes 3.5hrs.
Canberra train station, entirely functional but of no particular interest or aesthetic appeal in itself, is in Wentworth Avenue, Kingston, a few kilometres from the centre of the city – not walking distance. Access is by taxi (guessing $20) or by Action Bus which has a reasonably good services connecting with most, if not all trains, depending where you want to go or arrive from within Canberra. Check the Action Bus website for more details – https://www.action.act.gov.au/. Bus fares with a MyWay card cost $3.06 or the cash fare is $4.80 (Dec 2017 – Adult).
Sydney train departure and arrivals times from and into Canberra are as detailed on the picture alongside. Basically three services daily.
The Countrylink service offers two classes of travel with a rather erratic pricing structure wherein full economy adult fares seem to vary between around $40 – $60 one way. Return fares are double the one way fare. First class fares are about 50% more expensive and unless you need the marginal extra space to work or the like I don’t think they are worth the extra cost. Specials are sometimes available, especially if you are travelling with children. Do check the website before discounting this service solely on a cost basis.
As an aside, I am quite convinced that the tactic of offering $1 child fares to fill otherwise empty seats is more targeted at trying to force childless travellers into forking out extra dollars for first class to avoid having to sit with a carriage full of noisy children. Call me cynical if you like!
A range of pre-packaged drinks (including alcohol from noon), snacks and meals are available for purchase on this service. Nothing special though adequate.
The trip itself is much more scenic than the highway bus trip and passes through (stopping at some) a number of places including Queanbeyan, Bungendore, Goulburn and various Southern Highland towns before arriving into Sydney from Canberra.
A nice alternative to the bus if it fits in with your schedule and you don’t mind paying the extra cost, particularly if you book at short notice.
This is my last CANBERRA – TRANSPORTATION review.
For other CANBERRA reviews click HERE.