Blue Sunlander travelling through the outback on tracks somewhere between Brisbane and Cairns

The Sunshine Route

Opens 30 March 2024

All ages

Queensland Museum Rail Workshops


Queensland’s North Coast Line was one of the greatest Australian engineering achievements of the twentieth century. The Sunshine Route – 100 years of Queensland’s North Coast Line exhibition will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the line’s completion on 8 December 1924. 

Seemingly a straightforward proposal, the 1,678 kilometres of railway running from the south to the north still took 35 years to complete. This engineering feat, which snakes through mountains, forests, and across countless creeks and rivers, was built by generations of construction workers, surveyors and engineers who camped in harsh and unforgiving environments during its construction. Shortly after opening in 1924, the North Coast Line became known as the ‘Sunshine Route’ and for one hundred years the railway has transported tourists to beautiful tropical North Queensland.

Exhibition highlights:

  • See beautiful dinner plates, porcelain teacups, and unique pieces of cutlery that were used on some of the trains that operated on the Sunshine Route. 
  • Step back in time to as early as the 1940s and see a variety of original railway tickets used to travel on the Sunshine Express and the Sunlander.
  • Marvel at original uniforms worn by conductors and staff who worked on trains like the Sunlander and the Tilt Train.
  • See original film footage illustrating the passenger experience while travelling on the Queenslander luxury train during the 1990s.

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