THE famous Spirit of Progress, the train that revitalized rail travel prior to World War II, will make a one-off special tour to Ballarat via Geelong on November 25 to celebrate the train's 80th anniversary.
Organised by the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre, the train will have its original saloon sitting carriages, 48-seat dining and the renowned round ended parlour lounge and will be hauled by diesel locomotives that regularly headed the great train following the end of the steam era.
The special anniversary trip is being run to Ballarat, via Geelong, to repeat the speed trials made by the Spirit of Progress to those cities prior to its launch on November 17, 1937.
Local caterers Taste on Track will provide the catering to allow travellers to relive the past with breakfast, morning tea and/or 2-course dinner. At Ballarat there will be time to ride on the authentic Ballarat trams at Lake Wendouree with a transfer option.
The Spirit of Progress, built in 1937, was the first ever fully air-conditioned, all steel, express train on Australia's rail system. It ran daily non-stop between Melbourne and Albury and is the only train ever to be timetabled to the half minute. It is recorded as reaching speeds up to 139km/h in regular service.