From the Archives, 1962: A Trip Aboard ‘The Roarer’

The southern aurora arrived at Spencer Street station on time at 12.30 pm today, where it was greeted by several thousand people, spreading to Spencer Street itself.

I spent about 14 hours comfortably in one of the contemporary style and well-appointed Twinette compartments. They compare favorably with the luxury category hotel rooms.

The familiar “clicky clack” of train travel has been deadpanned by improved bogies, a two-inch-thick skin of insulation material, and deep-pile carpet lined with foam rubber.

Southern Aurora's Dining Car.

Southern Aurora’s Dining Car.Credit:The Age Archives

the winds go in

My only complaint—and it’s not a serious one—is that the blankets (super quality, pastel check) are double and allow no tuck-in.

A restless sleeper finds that the winds come in.

Railway officials can stop complaints in cold weather by leaving only blankets and providing some extras.

I was easily able to read from the fluorescent light installed, plug my shaver into a handy socket, and leave my shoes in a service cupboard to clean.

The water was heating up when I took a shower by opening my twinnet in the shower-toilet-room.

If I tried to press the call button, the conductor would bring me breakfast in bed.

However, I decided to sample the food and service in the dining and club lounge cars.

Having eaten several RRR meals in the past, I was undeniably surprised at the improvement.

full menu for breakfast

The menu included fruit juice, fruit compote, cereal, fish, ham, bacon, steak, chops, pork sausage, lamb fry (with or without eggs), egg omelets, boiled eggs, poached, fried, etc. . Toast, marmalade, tea and coffee.

When regular Southern Aurora service starts on Monday, passengers will have to pay £1/14/6 over first class fare for these facilities and services.

This will bring the single fare to £7/15/6 and the return fare to £13/6/.

Travel by air will cost £12/3/first class single, including transport to and from the airport, and £10/2/for tourist class.

Airlines do not offer concessions for return travel.

Southern Aurora en route from Sydney to Melbourne, October 1962.

Southern Aurora en route from Sydney to Melbourne, October 1962. Credit:SMH Archives

Now Dubbed “The Roarer”

An incident of run down shook the crew of the VIP train.

A group of boys in Albury managed to break through the safety precautions light barrier around any rail services under Vice-Regal protection.

The boys trotted lengths of paper across the line between the crossing gates after the pilot engine and the press train passed in front of the VIP train.

Believing the gates to be open, the train crew slowed to a stop.

When the train plowed through a lightweight paper “garland” in “de Groot” fashion the train stole the show from Mr. EH Brownhill, the chairman of the Victorian Railway Commissioners.

Mr Brownhill was shortly afterwards to run a train hauled by a Victorian locomotive through the symbolic garland of Waratah and Pink Heath, where the new standard track for Melbourne begins.

Southern Aurora Train Arrives at Spencer St. Station

Southern Aurora Train Arrives at Spencer St. StationCredit:staff photographer

NSW locomotives overtook the paper streamers until they were removed, as the train was pulling slowly into Albury station.

The name Southern Aurora is sure to be controversial for a long time to come.

The service has already been dubbed “The Roarer”.

Railway officials were keen to avoid a name that could become the subject of ribald jokes or lampooning by cartoonists or comics.

It’s loading

Railways are intent on making the official name stick.

Each train has large name-plates mounted on the side of the club lounge car, and the name is decorated with a light blue fluorescent light at the rear of each train.

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