This week I’m actually skiing in Perisher! To celebrate, this week on Train Talk Tuesday, we will be looking at Perisher’s SkiTube!
SkiTube Alpine Railway is a standard gauge single track electric rack railway. It is located within the Kosciuszko National Park and has stations at Bullocks Flat, Perisher Valley and Blue Cow along its 8.5 kilometre length. It services the Perisher Ski Resort and only operates during ski season. It is 5.9 kilometres from Bullocks Flat to Perisher Valley, 2.6 kilometres above ground 3.3 kilometres underground on a 12.5% gradient. It is a futher 3.4 kilometres to Blue Cow. A passing loop is provided at the tunnel entry and at Perisher Valley Station.
The SkiTube was bulit during the large scale development of the Thredbo and Pershier Valleys for ski fields. Various options were explored for how to efficiently get guests up the mountain without roads. Other considered modes included a funicular railway and a gondola. It was decided at a rack railway was the best option, with a single track being comnsidered sufficent as Kosicuzizko Road is passable in Winter.
Construction commenced in October 1984, with tunnelling commencing in 1985. The line opened between Bullocks Flat and Perisher Valley on July 26 1987, with the line between Perisher Vallet and Blue Cow opened on March 31 1988.
The journey to Perisher Valley from Bullocks Flat takes about 11 minutes, and about 6 minutes from Blue Cow. Trains run between Bullocks Flat and Perisher Valley between 5am and 1am daily and between Perisher Valley and Blue Cow between 7am and 6pm. On Thursday through Saturday trans run all night. Services operate every 20 minutes between 7am-11am and 3pm-6pm, every 30 minutes between 6am-7am and 11am-3pm. An hourly service is provided on only request after 6pm. On Friday through Sunday, Luggage is prohibited on trains between 8am-10am and 3:30pm-5pm.
Services on the SkiTube are very popular, and passengers are advised to arrive well before the train departure time. Doors are closed to the Platforms at Bullocks Flat 1 minute before train departure. In some instances, passenger displacement has occured, particularly between Perisher Valley and Blue Cow on weekends and during school holidays and between Perisher Valley and Bullocks Flat on the last train before luggage is prohibited and the first train after the prohibition is lifted as well as on weekends when there is good snow.