Queensland Rail’s Spirit of the Outback will be the first of its regional services to return to 100 per cent capacity.
Queensland Rail’s Spirit of the Outback will be the first of its regional services to return to 100 per cent capacity.

CQ rail service to boost tourism with return to full capacity

A Central Queensland train service is expected to be the first in the state to operate to 100 per cent capacity, providing a boost for regional tourism.

Queensland Rail's long-distance trains will progressively return to regular seated capacity from Saturday, April 17, following approval from Queensland Health.

Queensland Rail's Head of Regional, Jim Benstead, said the move would eventually see more than 4500 extra seats available each week, supporting regional communities and tourism providers who had been doing it tough during COVID-19.

"At Queensland Rail, we have always prioritised the safety of our customers, staff and the communities in which we operate," Mr Benstead said.

"Since December 2020, we've been running our long-distance services at 50 per cent seated capacity.

"While face masks will continue to be strongly encouraged on-board any Queensland Rail train, we have received approval from the chief health officer that long distance services can progressively return to 100 per cent seated capacity from this month."

To kick things off, from April 17, the sleeper carriages on the Spirit of the Outback will be the first to operate at 100 per cent capacity, just in time for Queenslanders to head west and attend Barcaldine's annual Tree of Knowledge festival from April 30.

All remaining long distance travel services including the Spirit of Queensland, Tilt Trains, Westlander and Inlander will follow suit until June 1, when all travel services are expected to be back at full capacity.

The Spirit of the Outback.
The Spirit of the Outback.

Mr Benstead said although services were returning to full capacity on the regional network, measures implemented in response to the global pandemic would remain.

"The safety of our customers and staff remains our top priority," he said.

"Our trains will continue to comply with an Industry COVID-19 Safe Plan and our heightened cleaning regimen will continue both on-board and at stations.

"This includes increased routine cleaning of customer luggage trolleys and hard surfaces at all of our attended stations as well as high-frequency touchpoints on-board. We are also conducting weekly end-to-end disinfectant fogging on all carriages.

"In line with Queensland Health's advice, we continue to strongly encourage customers to wear face masks throughout their journeys."

Customer packs are also available on-board which include a hand-sanitiser and a personal face mask.

Queensland Rail Travel services return to full capacity schedule:

  • Saturday, April 17 - Spirit of the Outback sleepers
  • Tuesday, April 27 - Spirit of Queensland Railbeds
  • Tuesday, May 4 - Business seats on Rockhampton and Bundaberg Tilt Trains
  • Tuesday, June 1 - Economy seats on all travel services.

Visit the Queensland Rail website for more information or to book or call 1800 872 467.

Originally published as CQ rail service to boost tourism with return to full capacity



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