Twenty-five years ago, Roger Grant started his role with Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine and his first experience on the Blues Train wasn’t far behind.
“It corresponds pretty much with when I started,” Roger laughs at the thought.
Experiencing the Blues Train in its infancy only strengthened Roger’s love for the event. He’s ridden the train over a dozen times since and witnessed its growth during that time.
“It was such a fantastic experience and so different to everything else,” he says.
“It really heightened what tourism was about. The Blues Train is a really unique experience right from arrival through to the last song as you get off the train.
“Hugo curates that experience and sets the tone right from the get go with his welcome on the platform.
ALL ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE
Over the years he’s seen the food change, facilities develop and overall improvements of the experience, but one thing stays true, and that’s its strength as one of the most unique night-outs in Australia.
“It’s unique not just in a local sense, it’s unique on a global sense,” he says.
Roger has spent time in North America visiting some of Chicago’s most popular blues bars, but nothing compares to the level of joy and satisfaction he’s witnessed on the Blues Train.
“I’ve seen people well into their 70’s having a good time and kids having a great time as well,” he says.
“Blues is such an influential part of all music and some people are surprised the hits they know from modern bands have their roots in the blues.
For the thousands who have experienced the Blues Train, many return, bringing along a handful of friends to their next ride to share in the experience.
25 YEARS OF BOOSTING QUEENSCLIFF
Entering its 25th season, there are no surprises to hear the Blues Train is the longest running blues venue—and Roger can attest to its tourism strengths.
“The Blues Train, particularly over the cooler months, absolutely drives tourism to Queenscliff. People head there regardless of if it’s cold or if it’s raining—they head down because they know it’s going to be a great time,” he says.
There are many things that make the experience so popular for the region. From the chance to ride on a vintage locomotive through to seeing some of the region and Australia’s finest blues musicians. For Roger, it’s also about seeing the wonders of the region from the comfort of the train.
“I remember going on a couple of times over summer when the sun sets much later. To be on that train as it’s rockin’ and rollin’ over Swan Bay with a magnificent sunset—you just pinch yourself and think, ‘How good is this?’,” Roger says.
“It’s those things that really resonate with me as being truly significant moments and that would appeal to anyone. I’m yet to see someone go on the Blues Train and not have a good time.”
The Blues Train is currently in its 25th season with shows running each weekend. For your chance to experience the night, book your tickets here.