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The Sunlander will retire after a long journey

Queensland Rail’s Sunlander
Queensland Rail’s Sunlander Contributed

QUEENSLAND'S iconic train - the Sunlander - will visit the Fraser Coast region twice before going off the rails for good.

The 61-year-old locomotive will stop in Maryborough and Howard on December 28 and 31 as it steams towards retirement.

The Sunlander will be replaced by the Spirit of Queensland after carrying more than 3.5 million passengers along the route from Brisbane to Cairns.

Thousands of train lovers are expected to farewell the old girl on the final legs of her farewell journeys, which will include stops in Mackay, Rockhampton, Mt Larcom, Gladstone, Miriam Vale, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast.

Queensland Rail travel and tourist executive general manager Martin Ryan said the Sunlander's last hoorah would mark a new era in long-distance rail travel with the third Spirit of Queensland Tilt Train taking to the tracks.

The Spirit can travel at 160kmh.

"The Spirit of Queensland is about people celebrating this fantastic state of ours while enjoying the great service onboard," Mr Ryan said.

"With the introduction of the Spirit of Queensland to our fleet we have increased long-distance services from four to five journeys per week between Cairns and Brisbane.

"This is part of our commitment to connect communities, make regional rail travel more accessible, and support tourism in regional Queensland."

The Spirit of Queensland has seats that turn into beds and state-of-the-art personal entertainment systems with on-demand movies and music and power points and USB ports.

Meals are made from food sourced within 100km of the track.

Queensland Rail is also urging travellers to share their Sunlander memories on Twitter with #FarewelltheSunlander.

ALL ABOARD

The Sunlander's final stops on the Fraser Coast:

Brisbane to Cairns - December 28:

(Station, arrives, departs):

Brisbane - Roma Street, leaves at 9.20am;

Maryborough West, 3.22pm, 3.27pm;

Howard, 3.46pm, 3.46pm.

Cairns to Brisbane - December 31:

Cairns, leaves at 7.15am;

Howard, 7.23am, 7.23am;

Maryborough West, 7.42am, 7.47am.




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