A new age of the train dawns with Woods Bagot’s designs for Australia’s Journey Beyond

Woods Bagot’s new Gold Service carriage designs for Journey Beyond bring together the richness of First Nations art with the evocative image of long-distance train travel

Woods Bagot designs Journey Beyond's Gold Service
Artistic representation of Journey Beyond's Outback Explorer Lounge by Woods Bagot
(Image credit: Woods Bagot)

Design studio Woods Bagot has bagged a new commission for Journey Beyond, the Australian ‘experiential tourism’ company that’s looking to bring back the glamour and epic scale of transcontinental rail travel. The global creative agency previously worked on the company’s high-end Platinum Service, which included award-winning individual en-suite cabins. Now, Woods Bagot has released renders of the upcoming Gold Service interiors, which bring a new level of refinement and space to Journey Beyond’s most popular service.

Woods Bagot’s train carriage design for Journey Beyond

Woods Bagot designs Journey Beyond's Gold Service

Artistic representation of Journey Beyond's Gold Service Cabin

(Image credit: Woods Bagot)

The travel specialist is investing over AUD10 million (£5.6 million) over the next few years to upgrade its rolling stock, starting with the train service that runs between Adelaide and Darwin, The Ghan, a four-day, nearly 3,000km journey through the heart of the Australian outback. The new interiors feature a rich palette of colours inspired by the work of landscape artist Albert Namatjira (1902-1959), one of the most influential Indigenous Australian painters of all time. 

Journey Beyond also runs the Indian Pacific train from Sydney to Perth (nearly 4,000km) and the Great Southern, which runs a coastal route between Brisbane and Adelaide (2,000km). These are massive distances by any standards, and the train offers travellers the perfect blend of experience, comfort and low ecological footprint. ‘There’s an obvious pent-up demand for travel but people also want to travel more meaningfully, immersing themselves in landscapes and communities,’ says Woods Bagot principal Rosina Di Maria. 

Across Australia in finer style

Woods Bagot designs Journey Beyond's Gold Service

Artistic representation of Journey Beyond's Queen Adelaide Restaurant by Woods Bagot

(Image credit: Woods Bagot)

The landscapes captured by Namatjira are ever present from the train’s big picture windows, while passengers get updated cabins with bespoke fixtures and fittings, along with access to the newly designed Outback Explorer Lounges. Here you’ll find long leather banquettes and individual swivel chairs, as well as a stone-clad bar for guests to mingle, and atmospheric mood lighting that gives a cinematic glow to the whole journey. 

The design team has also worked on the on-board Queen Adelaide Restaurant, which has booth seating and an elaborate metal-clad ceiling. Throughout the train’s design, the vivid richness of Australia’s vast interior is represented by the colours and materials used. Upholstery is by Melbourne-based art textile company Willie Weston, which specialises in collaborating with First Nations artists. ‘[We wanted] the Gold Service redesign to respect and build on the history of rail and of this land, with an interior design that evokes the landscapes guests are exploring,’ Di Maria explains.

WoodsBagot.com, JourneyBeyondRail.com.au

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.