22 February 2023
The Ghan, Indian Pacific, and Great Southern are iconic trains that travel through Australia’s most wild and dramatic landscapes – aspects of which will soon be represented in the interior design across a section of the trains’ Gold cabins, Outback Explorer Lounges and Queen Adelaide Restaurants.
Journey Beyond is investing in excess of AU$10 million over the next five years to ensure these carriages represent the best-in-class, blending designs that meld contemporary elements with touches that nod to the historical significance of the journeys and the routes they travel.
Journey Beyond has appointed global design firm Woods Bagot as the lead for this project. Woods Bagot was founded in Adelaide and has the expertise to deliver a design that incorporates a true sense of place, an important element across Journey Beyond’s experiences. Woods Bagot has had an association with the trains since 2019, when they executed an upgrade to the Platinum carriages across the train fleet. The new-design Gold carriages will be rolled out in stages, signalling the introduction of a new class of rail travel.
The designs draw inspiration from the rich colours of Arrernte painter Albert Namatjira’s stunning landscapes. The palette captures the beauty of Central Australia, while celebrating the country’s unique diversity and rich history, with the interior design referencing the contrast of Ghost Gums against the striking red earth, alongside vivid mountains with colours of Paper Bark, Gum Trees, dusty soil, terracotta, and rich earth. The upholstery throughout is by Melbourne-based business, Willie Weston, which converts the work of contemporary First Nations artists into commercial-grade textiles.
“This significant investment is part of our commitment to continue to elevate these carriages with designs that further connect our guests with an Australian rail experience. Central to this is an acknowledgement of whose land we operate on, which is reflected in the influence of Indigenous artists throughout.” said David Donald, Executive General Manager of Rail for Journey Beyond.
“At the same time, the new designs reference the heritage of these train journeys – The Ghan, for example, has been around for more than 90 years – with art-deco detailing ensuring the romance of rail continues to be inherent in the experience. These train journeys are an important piece of Australian history, but they are also world-class tourism experiences that continue to have broad appeal.”
“We’re eagerly anticipating introducing our new carriages, offering guests an on-train aesthetic that really reflects what these experiences on The Ghan, Indian Pacific, and Great Southern are all about. We see these carriages as ushering in a new, leading-edge level of comfort.”
Guest cabins are key to the on-board experience. The new designs include plush upholstery and bespoke carpeting, high-quality bedding, and all of those small touches that amplify guest comfort.
Along with the cabins, the designs will extend to the Outback Explorer Lounges, which act as the social hub on board. Think luxe leather banquettes and swivel chairs made for sinking into, with mood lighting creating an elegant ambiance that references the romance inherent in train travel. The natural stone bar makes for the perfect gathering point for guests to sip on an aperitif and discuss shared experiences throughout the journey.
The Queen Adelaide Restaurant – where on-board chefs display their craft and guests congregate to savour the carefully curated, all-inclusive menu – will be outfitted with comfortable booth seating enhanced with stone and timber elements, and a striking, pressed-metal ceiling, contributing to a premium dining experience.
Woods Bagot Principal Rosina Di Maria said, “The new Gold design respects and builds on the history of rail and of this land, with an interior design that evokes the landscape guests are exploring. We’re delighted that the continuing relationship with Journey Beyond allows us to build on our successful collaboration on the Platinum upgrade delivery.”
With initial prototypes now under construction, the first carriages to feature the new design are expected to be underway before year end.