The Blue Mountains is home to many natural wonders and small towns that we can’t get enough of. But did you know it’s also home to the steepest passenger railway in the world? It takes residence at Scenic World, a familiar weekend getaway for Sydneysiders and one of the best ways to experience all the highlights of the region. The Scenic Railway takes visitors through the stunning scenery of the Blue Mountains surrounded by canopies of trees and 360-degree views of the mountains. But it’s not for the faint of heart, with a 52-degree incline, it’s been dubbed the steepest in the world by the Guinness Book of Records and it continues to hold the title to this day.
Scenic Railway, Blue Mountains
Originally built in the 19th century, the railway was only meant to serve the Katoomba coal mine. It has operated for tourists for over 70 years since 1945 and a total of 25 million passengers have dared to hop aboard the railway and enjoy the world’s steepest ride.
It climbs at an angle of 52° or 128% through wide, open terrain so it’s extremely steep, in case you were wondering. Switzerland’s Stoosbahn railway also claims to be the steepest in the world but with a maximum gradient of 110% or 47.7°, the Scenic Railway edges it slightly.
Passengers can choose their own level of adventure with the option to adjust their seated position up to 20 degrees. Opt for the classic 52° or go for the Laidback option for a relatively relaxed journey but if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can choose the Cliffhanger option and ride at an incline of 64°.
The railway will take you through sandstone cliffs with views of famous landmarks like the Three Sisters, Orphan Rock, and Katoomba Falls, with each section of the cabin offering a distinct view of the surroundings. Book a spot here.
How to get there
Scenic World is located a two-hour drive from Sydney and there’s free undercover parking on site. You can also take the train from Central to Katoomba and hop on a bus to the railway.