This time tomorrow, on Tuesday evening, I will be aboard my first overnight train to start a journey which will see me cross Australia from the Pacific Ocean in the east to the Indian Ocean to the west, and then from the Timor Sea in the north to the Spencer Gulf in the south, an arm of the Southern Ocean. I'll be starting the train trip in my home city of Ballarat on Tuesday afternoon, to travel about 120km east to the Victorian capital city of Melbourne, then jumping into the overnight sleeper which departs just before 2000h and heads to Sydney, the capital city of New South Wales. It arrives around 0800h on Wednesday. After a quick trip to a Sydney beach, where I'll see if I can dip my toes into the Pacific, I'll board the cross-continental Indian-Pacific train for a 1530h departure. Three days later, at mid-afternoon on Saturday, the train will arrive in Perth, Western Australia's capital. I have a couple of days to find my way to an Indian Ocean beach to do my toe-dip there before flying to the Northern Territory capital city of Darwin on Monday morning in readiness for a departure on The Ghan mid-morning on Wednesday for the three-night trip south to Adelaide, South Australia's capital, arriving around mid-day on Saturday. That day is election day for the national parliament, so my main task is to get to the polling place which accepts interstate voters such as me. I'm a keen follower of politics, so I'll be closely watching the returns that evening. Sunday is a free day, and I suspect a joyful one for me given the likely election result, and I'll also be looking to catch the A-League Grand Final later that day in a game I'm hoping my team - Melbourne Victory - will be contesting. The following day I complete my journey home, most of it on rails on a train departing Adelaide for Melbourne, but which I will disembark at its penultimate stop where I will be met by my non-travelling partner for the 90km drive home to Ballarat. The Indian-Pacific and The Ghan are a bit more than LD trains: they are event trains - fully-catered cruises on steel wheels - and priced accordingly. Their clientele is not the ordinary traveller, but the event traveller, in the older demographic most of whom I suspect are retirees. Both trains run included off-train excursions. The same company runs the Adelaide-Melbourne service as a day-time trip a couple of times a week each way. It is subsidised by the Victorian state government. It has a two-class all-seater system. Its service replaces government-run trains between these two state capitals and is more of an excursion train - there are cheaper and faster ways to travel between the two cities, and the drive is manageable on good highways easily under ten hours, eight if you avoid stopping and under usual driving conditions. The Melbourne-Sydney overnighter is regular public transport, with a day-time and night-time service running each way, each day. It's a twelve hour journey with a sleeper carriage and a few seat carriages. I think it is a joint-venture between the NSW and Victorian state governments, but I suspect the service is supplied by NSW equipment. It competes with one of the most-flown routes on the planet or a ten- to twelve-hour road trip. The Ballarat-Melbourne train is a regular inter-city service, run by the Victorian state government, operating at a rate of about one an hour, with greater frequency for the morning and evening commute. So if you'd like to come along for the ride - almost 12,000kms of it, including about 9,300kms on steel wheels - I'd welcome your company!