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Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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16 November, 2021

“Cracking dirt”, 'Rail Adventure in beginning phase of production

The Outback Rail Adventure has begun the early stages of construction; a project that locals can get excited for.

By Michael R Williams

Outback Aussie Tours Business Owner Alan Smith at the construction site for the Outback Rail Adventure. PHOTO: Michael R Williams

AN AMBITIOUS project that has been three years in the making has finally begun to sprout.

Outback Aussie Tours, the company behind various tourist attractions in the Longreach and the Central West Region, has taken it upon themselves to build a tourist train project with the end goal of connecting Emerald and Winton. 

Currently, work is being done at the Sandpiper St site where a workshop, offices, a train display line, and a storage line are being built.

Outback Aussie Tours Business Owner Alan Smith said it was great to be finally “cracking dirt” on the project dubbed, “The Outback Rail Adventure”. 

“We’re on schedule to have some sort of minor operation by late June next year,” he said.

“There’s a lot of processes to go through; if you can imagine what it takes to learn to drive a car, then make that a truck, and then a train, that's what we're having to go through.”

Mr Smith said his company plans to eventually run a circuit that connects Longreach, Emerald, Barcaldine, and Winton on a once-a-week trip during the tourist season.

“That won't happen for the first few years,” he said.

“We’ll build the business slowly, we have to build our safety and operation procedures first. 

“You know how to eat an Elephant? Piece by piece.”

Mr Smith said his team has decided to reverse engineer their plan to a smaller scale in the meantime. 

“We’ll start with trips out to the flood plains and out to Ilfracombe,” he said.

“Then we’ll build to charters out to Barcaldine and Winton, and eventually Emerald.”=

Mr Smith was confident that there was a market for his product. 

“So we’ve got the Grey Nomads market, we’ve got our rail packages market, we’ve got coaches and we have local markets for events,” he said.

The train itself will be a 1960s Silver Bullet and will have “a lot of personality” and may turn up by Christmas.

“It’s a beautiful machine and so comfy to ride on,” Mr Smith said. 

“The troops at Queensland Rail have kept it in such good condition.”

Mr Smith said the project was about his company having a point of difference from his other operation.

“When people come to Western Queensland, they can run the boat cruises, which we have,” he said.

“This is about having another serious business and transport option where we can attract more business to Longreach and other towns. 

“Our hope is to do stuff for events and conferences in the shoulder months and try to build something a bit different to what we have tried in the past.”.

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