Kuranda Scenic Railway

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The Kuranda Scenic Railway is a name for the railway line that runs from Cairns, Queensland, Australia to the nearby town of Kuranda. The tourist railway snakes its way up the Macalister Range and is no longer used for regular commuter services. It passes through the suburbs of Stratford, Freshwater and Redlynch before reaching Kuranda.

Kuranda Scenic Railway, Australia
Kuranda Scenic Railway, Australia

The railway is 37 km (23 mi) in length. It takes about one and three quarters of an hour to climb one way. The tropical gardens Kuranda rail station are a well-known attraction in the area. Downhill the line cuts through the Barron Gorge National Park. The tourist train stops at a lookout, with a sweeping view of Barron Falls. A number of smaller waterfalls are passed, including Stoney Creek Falls, just metres from the train.

Kuranda Scenic Railway, Australia
Kuranda Scenic Railway, Australia

As the train travels up and down, a detailed commentary of the railway's construction is provided. Construction of the railway began in 1882. The railway was completed as far as Kuranda in 1891. Passenger services began operations on 25 June 1891. Many lives were lost as numerous tunnels and bridges were built. 15 hand-made tunnels and 37 bridges were built to climb from sea level to 328 metres up the Macalister Range. Three million cubic metres of earth had to be excavated during construction.

Kuranda Scenic Railway, Australia
Kuranda Scenic Railway, Australia

The first operation of a tourist train from Cairns to Kuranda was in 1936, using four longitudinal seating carriages. In 1995 major repairs had to be carried out after a severe rock fall damaged the track. On 26 March 2010 the train was derailed by a landslide injuring 5 of the 250 passengers on board. The service was closed until 7 May 2010 while a geotechnical review of the track and risk assessments were completed.

Kuranda Scenic Railway, Australia
Kuranda Scenic Railway, Australia

Each carriage is fitted with three LCD televisions to provide passengers with detailed information of the history of the Kuranda railway. It also provides passengers with information about the Barron Falls. There are also two gold class carriages where refreshments and finger food are served on the journey.

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