|Service type||Passenger train|
|First service||3 April 1995|
|Current operator(s)||Cairns Kuranda Steam Pty Ltd.|
|Former operator(s)||Queensland Rail|
|Distance travelled||424 km|
|Average journey time||4 Days|
|Line(s) used||Tablelands Railway, Etheridge Railway|
|Rolling stock||2000 Class Railmotors|
|Track owner(s)||Queensland Rail|
The service was introduced on 3 April 1995 by Queensland Rail to replace the Forsayth Mixed (marketed as the 'Last Great Train Ride'). The line was closed from Mareeba to Mount Surprise at the same time. It was initially run with a 2000 class railmotor set that was refurbished at Townsville Workshops. This was only on the Mount Surprise to Forsayth section of the Etheridge line. However, after an upgrade of the line for sugar syrup trains from Cairns to Arriga, and a limited restoration of the rest of the line, the railmotor started travelling from Cairns to Forsayth in September 1998. In 2004 it was decided to run it under contract by a private operator, Cairns Kuranda Steam Pty Ltd. While primarily a passenger service between Cairns and Forsayth, the train can be chartered for large groups.
On 27 March 2019, a car collided with the Savannahlander at a level crossing in the city of Cairns. The driver of the vehicle failed to give way at the crossing and was subsequently injured in the crash. The Driver was subsequently charged with Culpable Driving.
Route and timetableEdit
Running for 39 weeks in the year, The Savannahlander departs Cairns railway station ( ) at 06:30 Wednesday mornings  and travels up the scenic Kuranda Range past the Barron Falls ( ) to Kuranda ( ). It then travels to the south-west on the Chillagoe-Mungana branch line. The train travels through the towns of Mareeba ( ) and Dimbulah ( ) before arriving in Almaden ( ) where it stays for the night. On Thursday morning The Savannahlander continues south-west on the Etheridge Railway. The rail motor passes through Mount Surprise ( ) and Einasleigh ( ) before terminating at Forsayth railway station ( ). On Friday the train departs Forsayth for Mount Surprise. The train then departs for Cairns on Saturday morning.
The Savannahlander rollingstock comprises three former two-car Queensland Railways 2000 class rail motors.
Two (2026 and 2028) are "PD" (Passenger / Driving) cars. These units have the classic 1960s era streamlined front ends and were built for Queensland Rail in 1963. Originally they had 160 HP Rolls Royce diesel engines fitted.
The third (2053) is a 2051 class rail motor, known as a "PLDT" (Passenger & Luggage / Driving / Trailing) car. These cars have access doors at each end at the expense of the streamlined front. This allows the cars to be placed in the middle of the other sets and sets of three or four cars can be formed. There were only four of this style of car built, and they were originally fitted with an AEC engine. It was built in 1971 and re-powered along with the other Savannahlander units in 2005.
- The Savannahlander - Forsayth to Cairns Thomas, A. Australian Railway History, July 2004 pp255-258
- "Savannahlander Launched" Railway Digest May 1995 page 15
- Queensland Transport - Long distance passenger transport service contracts
- "The Savannahlander". Queensland Holidays. Tourism Queensland. Archived from the original on 3 November 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
- Cairns Post (27 March 2019). "Train Driver's Shock at Crash". The Cairns Post. The Cairns Post. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
- Savannahlander Itinerary Archived 28 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine Savannahlander
- Rollingstock Archived 24 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine Savannahlander