XPT Replacement Discussion

 
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Buy a score of DMUs at what was 7 mill a car ? Brilliant , spent more money we don't have and increase taxes or cut funding somewhere else . Rude ?
Hooking and pulling the southern and north coast ONLY XPTs , which is what THIS thread is about , would cost a pittance by comparison . As has been explained again and again and again other operators already have networks in place to cover the Roma Street to Spencer Street corridor and nothing is new to them . Little would have to be spent other than the motive power and crewing capacity which they could justify for the potential revenue stream ....
BDA
This thread starts with a post that questions "How do we replace the XPT?" and a warning about "dribbly foamer mode".  While I'm being a little bit flippant, my post dealt seems pretty consistent with that original post!  I recall another thread recently dealing with hook and pull specifically ... you started it! ... but that's not "this thread".

Over the life of a set (say three decades or so), for shortish trains the evidence is very much that a DMU or EMU style setup beats loco hauled plus carriages where it matters - the overall cost for a given level of service.  Do you want evidence?  Have a look at pretty much every modern rail operation extant today.  There is a reason that we have Endeavours/Explorers/Hunters/Velocities/Prospectors, etc.

Your third party locomotive provider might have a spare loco available today that means that they are willing to accept a lower hourly hook and pull rate in order to keep that loco busy.  But that's not sustainable.  At some point the cost of keeping that loco available for this hook and pull work will exceed its revenue or at some point the third party provider will find more lucrative work for the loco.  At that time, you are immediately back to paying rates that cover both the operating cost of the loco and its (or its replacement's) capital cost, amortised in some form.  

Note that cost of capital for a government body is probably about a third of that for a private enterprise.  As a general principle - it doesn't make sense for social services to shift capital onto private enterprise and keep operating costs in house - if anything it makes more sense to go the other way.

Sourcing your locomotive power from a bigger fleet may have some opprtunities for savings in terms of the scale of maintenance operations, etc.  But I'm far from convinced that big pool of locomotives really exists - I suspect all that would happen is that a separate specialised sub-fleet would appear over time with locos that were more suited to hauling half a dozen carriages around rather than 1500 m long intermodal trains - you loco provider would trade off the maintenance savings against the potential for lower operating costs of the specialised kit, particularly once you take things like hotel power into account.  Why do I think that?  Because in the good old days, when trains were loco hauled, that's exactly what happened.  

(But it isn't going to make sense for every hook and pull provider to maintain a specialised sub-fleet just in case they happen to win the hook and pull contract - so you can kiss goodbye any chance of the contract being competitively tendered...)

Longer train?  The relative operating and capital cost situation changes to favour loco hauled with "dumb" trailers.  No doubt - purchase, maintain and operate one or two big diesel engines rather than twelve little ones.  But a longer train over the corridors we're talking about implies a lower frequency.  Lower frequency means that the service is less useful (I'd expect a reduction in patronage and hence less revenue), but more importantly, less relevant to the reason for CountryLink existing in the first place - connecting the regions to the capital.  There is no point whatsoever the NSW (or QLD or VIC) government subsidising a service that is ideal for those who want to travel by train from Sydney to Melbourne or Brisbane and pretty much useless for everyone else - such a service performs no useful social role what-so-ever.  And without subsidy, that service won't exist, not by a long shot.

On the other hand - I think there's a serious problem with public transport in NSW at the moment - that people's expectations are way beyond what they are willing to pay a service.  CountryLink is certainly right at the heart of that, but the current interurban fiasco is not all that far behind.  My idea addresses that - head on.  You are still providing a service that's arguably better than what provided now, but you've also broken the ridiculous sense of entitlement that currently exists.  I think that would enable a substantial amount of additional revenue, and that additional revenue would go a long way to making CountryLink and rail transport in general far more sustainable than it is now.

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  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Longer train?  The relative operating and capital cost situation changes to favour loco hauled with "dumb" trailers.  No doubt - purchase, maintain and operate one or two big diesel engines rather than twelve little ones.  But a longer train over the corridors we're talking about implies a lower frequency.  Lower frequency means that the service is less useful (I'd expect a reduction in patronage and hence less revenue), but more importantly, less relevant to the reason for CountryLink existing in the first place - connecting the regions to the capital.  There is no point whatsoever the NSW (or QLD or VIC) government subsidising a service that is ideal for those who want to travel by train from Sydney to Melbourne or Brisbane and pretty much useless for everyone else - such a service performs no useful social role what-so-ever.  And without subsidy, that service won't exist, not by a long shot.
donttellmywife

While I agree with you, I don't know the Tourism Industry Council would.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
I got to work on as in spanner on every locomotive type in active service in NSW from middle 1980s except X100 X200 47s through to just before the then Ready Power 82 and 90 classes . Did engine changes on CPHs and the 600 900s etc in the Large Shop at Eveligh (Sp?) .
Worked on CL stuff at Toy Town Meeks Road and the story is that if it looks walks and quacks like a duck - it is .
I never drove rail motors so I can't say if they can get around by themselves - like a locomotive can . DMU means diesel multiple unit and AFAIK they get around in groups except CPHs which I believe can go it alone . An XP locomotive can go it alone but won't make any money doing so becase the body is full of engine and associated vitals - like a locomotive . A locomotive is a glorified tow truck with steel wheels - its designed to pull things around and isn't much use for anything else . Not really going to put anything or anyone in a locomotive aside from its crew cab because it isn't designed to house much of anything else .
Now an XP locomotive pushes or pulls pass cars around and quite frankly I don't remember what sort of coupler is fitted to the No 2 end . If you could couple up say three wagons of containers and get the brake pipe to operate the brakes properly in 26L mode does it become a locomotive ? If you had the correct couplings and HEP on a pair of ELs and the correct jumper right through the cars do they suddenly become "power cars" ? I don't think so .
You could put a pair of any flat fronted locomotives you like on an XP set and as long as the couplers power supply and MU functions worked properly they could haul the set . One high powered one can do it if you somehow organised hotel power .

Where XP locomotives and DMUs differ .
1) The power assembly is above the frame , it goes out through the roof not down into a pit .
2) No room for people in the car body except for the cab .
3) No access from the cars to the "power car".
4) No traction power except at the front or front and rear .
5) XP locomotives don't have a coupler permanently out front I reckon because they thought it looked ugly , they were obviously shooting for the 100 mile an hour look and rockets dont have a tow hitch at the pointy end . Not sure what the Pommy ones have though ours have an emergency coupler out of sight . And of course XPTs don't break down do they so why would they need an auto out front ?

An XP "set" does get broken up to change the numbers of cars or indeed "locomotives" , remember the Dubbo single engine trains ? And when they do they are turned on a triangle because the only suitable locomotive out there is the one that "towed" it into town .
Still think Xs are DMUs ? What happens when you try to splice XPTs and real DMUs like Exploders together , there is a harpoon adapter plate and I suppose the hidden auto could be set up but do they talk nice when you go the plug electricals together ? Is it even possible ?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Someone needs to quantify what DOO is and mention the difference between driver only operation and single man crewing . An XPT has a single person operating the train as in making it move and stop but he/she is not the only crew member on those trains . This is why dredging up the X as an example of how successful DOO is is garbage . Take every human off an XP set except the driver and then quote it as a single man DOO train . Thats effectively what you have with a DOO freight train .
I'm not sure what the on board services staff on an XPT can actually do outside the train itself - maybe away from a platform , nothing ?  Can they protect their train and its human cargo wth flags crackers and radios ? If it comes apart and has to be coupled back up can they do this ? If the complete set needed to set back and couldn't be driven in the direction of travel can they pilot it ? Lots of quite simple things can't be done with any train with just one person . Can't move backwards unpiloted , can't couple up to anything at all ever because you can't see in between . Can't do brake and air tests by yourself particularly if you are the examiner too . Can't protect trains in both directions at once . Can't always help yourself if you fall sick or hurt yourself and even if you can raise the alarm how long does it take the cavalry to get to you ?
EMUs/DMUs in NSW are another example of DOO trains that do not have a single human crew .
DOO shunt has been mentioned and again the single driver is not the only person present , the driver does not do all the ground work to make the shunts happen . They can stop and pull points just like they can uncouple from wagons but they can't be at both ends of lengthy strings of wagons at the same time .
BDA
I think most including myself are refering to how many bums are at front, yes the on board crew on an XPT provide those other resources for shunting, emergency movement etc if they are trained to do so and I agree, perhaps if a Loco hauled was to be implemented full time as opposed to heritage runs, DOO loco would be allowed because you have the back up resources.

Qld has for a number of years operated both its EL and DEL loco hauled trains on the North Coast Line for a number of years. However it may currently not happen as DOO is limited to 8hr and twin driver 11hr and I believe there was a short-term move for the longer run between driver swaps, not sure if this still happens. Certainly PNQ operated their NCL freights DOO, or at least did until 2010 when I last saw them. Many QR general freights on the NCL were also DOO capable, not sure of current status.

Q, However why is the 2nd driver on a freight train currently required?

- Can a DOO freight reverse unpiloted, yes watched them many a time myself in Tassie, if nothing has changed it happens daily

- Can a DOO freight couple/uncouple on their own, yes happens multiple times daily in Tassie. I believe a team of QR drivers/staff on a tour of Tassie watched in complete disbeleif a few years back as a Tassie general freight DOO, arrived, uncoupled some wagons, set points, shunted, rejoined and headed off at Corinda Junction.

- Can a DOO freight do brake and air tests on their own, yes happens daily.

- Can a DOO operate in remote areas? I would have thought Tassie west coast and parts of the Qld NCL would qualify for this. Prior to CTC being implemented across the Qld/NSW border, the XPT driver was required to do the staff change, 50% of the time at night, remote area, lots of snakes. Although the onboard crew would provide some back up should he get into trouble and able to use the radio to call for help.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Go back to an earlier post of mine, re the original decisions that the SRA brought forward at the federal arbitration/industrial commission.    The XPT is a complete train, composing of various types of vehicles. Each one makes up one complete XPT train, that being the amount of passenger carriages & normally 2xXP power cars.

Basically speaking when they arrived they were deemed locomotive types. Under the AFULE award that required 2 men on locomotives & especially locomotive hauled passenger trains there be two men in the cab. The SRA wanted 1 man so a debate & argument arose that they were affectively separate DMU power cars attached to each end of the train.

The railways argued the basis was on the Silver City Comet, which had a single power unit with driver cabs at each end.  The primary difference being 2 single power units on each end & no need to run round as the comet had to do.

As such the XPT power car is simply a dedicated type power vehicle powered by a diesel prime mover, equipped with single driving control features at one end, to be used on dedicated train types.

The argument for using other than the current type of dedicated power units is to have dual purpose locomotives haul the carriages, in place of the current power units. Simple as that.
a6et
Unfortuantely these arguments showed how low the railways had to go to match union mentality to justify why one man should do what was effectively a one man job. In the same era, which was effectively less than 15 years after steam finished, the railways worked to cut the role of the guard and how many days strike was there over that one? 30 years later, the railways have been proven correct with the XPT having an excellent safety record.

I suspect today such pathetic arguments are no longer required, the unions have realised that cannot shutdown state wide rail system for weeks on end defending a job that no longer exists and if the technology is suitable and all safety and operational issues addressed, one person will be driving the train, as happens elsewhere in Australia for a number of decades now. Which is one person more than Rio Tinto will be using.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Where do you find the dual purpose locomotives to replace the XP power cars.
Apart from Vlines N class, there are no other locomotives that have onboard HEP, and as
Countrylink doesnt own a fleet of cars with inbuilt generators, how do you resolve this problem?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Where do you find the dual purpose locomotives to replace the XP power cars.
Apart from Vlines N class, there are no other locomotives that have onboard HEP, and as
Countrylink doesnt own a fleet of cars with inbuilt generators, how do you resolve this problem?
MD
And not so much now, in 8-10 years time when replacement is more likely, what ever is out there will be older and more worn out, including the XPT cars.

Between XPT and EXPLR fleets, there are 83 cars ignoring the XP power cars. My DMU replacement proposal works as follows (like for like replacement, no change to services)

- A Driver Motor Sleeper               x 7
- B Driver Motor FC seat/Buff        x 8
- C Trailer Motor FC seat               x 8
- D Trailer Motor EC seat/Buff        x 7
- E Trailer Motor EC seat               x 20
- F Driver Motor EC/Luggage         x 15

Typical (my thoughts change as you wish)
- Interstate XPT replacement (6 cars) would be made up of, A-C-D-E-E-F
- Dubbo XPT replaceent (4 cars) would be made up of, B-C-E-F
- Can XPR replaceent (3 cars) would be made up of, B-E-F
- NW XPR replaceent (3 cars) would be made up of, B-E-F - B-F

Total of 65 cars including spares, all with same platform, potential to reduce further as I didn't look at TT for optmisation. Cost about $350m (@ $5.5m ea). Lower operating cost than current fleet due to age, modern diesel engines and reduced number of spare parts (1 fleet not 2), more common parts than aging XP or other aging locos. Off the shelf design for reliabiilty.

Less cars required as you now have one fleet. Currently at anyone time you have up to 10 x XPT EC cars spare in quiet periods on NCL and of no use for anything else. The new Bathurst service has shown what you can do with 2 spare DMU cars.

Being DMU, they should be more reliable than single loco hauled and even XPT as there is more traction. Driver cab failure is just as likely in any cab.

Each Trailer would only have one set of doors to save space which is used for toilets etc and enable more seats. Driver cars, pax doors at centre of train end and driver has direct access to platform with emergency door between driver and pax compartments.  

- To reduce running costs, some googling showed me that all the Generators for the Aux power could be connected to a common bus through the train and the computer in the lead car could shutdown units as required based on the power load, fuel level of that railcar etc. Thus keeping the running gensets running in most opt power load.

Likewise the traction motors if running in DEL arrangement like SA 3000/3100 class. The engines running would match the power load at the time. I hired a Audi A4 diesel and at the light or when the car stopped the engine stopped until you wanted to go again. Likewise a Prius engine shuts down when not in use. The train engines are larger and need more care, but the principle is similar as you don't need a 400kW engine running in each car of a 2-8 car train while running on the flat or down a hill.

The existing and now aging XPLR's would be phased out of CL service and refitted into ENDER fit out and used to replace the V-sets to Lithgow and improved services on the South Main Hunter as required. Thus solving another problem for your same $320m + refit costs. The $320m would be spent over 5 years. Assuming V-sets/OH has to go later this decade, start with XPLR replacement and then move into XPT replacement early next decade.

Meanwhile you keep a spare few XPLR's until the end to act as back up for XPT failure.

Former XPT cars and XP's would be sold.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Unfortuantely these arguments showed how low the railways had to go to match union mentality to justify why one man should do what was effectively a one man job. In the same era, which was effectively less than 15 years after steam finished, the railways worked to cut the role of the guard and how many days strike was there over that one? 30 years later, the railways have been proven correct with the XPT having an excellent safety record.

I suspect today such pathetic arguments are no longer required, the unions have realised that cannot shutdown state wide rail system for weeks on end defending a job that no longer exists and if the technology is suitable and all safety and operational issues addressed, one person will be driving the train, as happens elsewhere in Australia for a number of decades now. Which is one person more than Rio Tinto will be using.
RTT_Rules
The whole decision was very much based on the safety aspect of the trains, including the position of BRitish Railways with their HST services.

I really love the arguments that are then based on the pathetic union attempts to do this or that.  When one looks at the reason behind the industrial revolution & what took place back then, from where I sit the bosses & others are eager to return to those same conditions for workers.  Amazing also when this country & many people cry out about slave labour & child labour at that, when it comes to those here in this country & the western world, its all ok to do the same sort of thing.  Usually it comes from those who sit in their lounges & don't have to get their little pinkies dirty or scar tissues on them either.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Nope wrong again , they wanted to remove the guards van to reduce the crew size from 3 to 2 . The guard didn't lose his job - he was moved to the front displacing the second loco crew member . Why do you think there was suddenly an optional guard or fireman in the locomotive ? The guard could not drive and he displaced someone trying to lean to be a driver - real smart . I missed many mainline jobs as a fireman because the misplaced guards were doing these jobs , you can only learn to drive trains so much sitting on a yard shunter or shunting engines around a depot .
Did you really think drivers were going to strike to save the guards job ? The guards sat at home for weeks on full pay doing nothing . Such was the difference in Loco and Traffic branches .  
I work with some people that say bring DOO trials in today on freighters and as long as its safe no problems . Trial it properly and sit back and watch the results . I can give you 1001 reasons how or why the wheels could fall off but the thing that WILL surprise you most is that its not drivers or trade unions that stand in the way of mainline DOO in NSW - its actually the regulators and Sydney/NSW Trains . Believe it or not they know very well the dramas of having a sizeable freighter grind to a hault in electrified territory and how much do you think one person is going to be able to do about it . Maybe a lot who knows but the drama is how LONG are we sitting around in our sizeable immobile stop block .
A lot of the problems with DOO is having 100% communications coverage and road access . Then people have to be available to go investigate when things stop and no communications are possible - for whatever reasons .
The Iron Ore operators in WA have all that covered and the only things to block is their own trains .
The other thing is fatigue and maximum shift lengths . Maybe you get your train from one crew change point to the next in 9.5 hours , and maybe you can't . Maybe pass trains are short and light and have priority so run more reliably . There aren't any of these zipping around between 40000T ore trains which is good for them .
When its safe to regulators standards no doubt it will happen .
  a6et Minister for Railways

Nope wrong again , they wanted to remove the guards van to reduce the crew size from 3 to 2 . The guard didn't lose his job - he was moved to the front displacing the second loco crew member . Why do you think there was suddenly an optional guard or fireman in the locomotive ? The guard could not drive and he displaced someone trying to lean to be a driver - real smart . I missed many mainline jobs as a fireman because the misplaced guards were doing these jobs , you can only learn to drive trains so much sitting on a yard shunter or shunting engines around a depot .
Did you really think drivers were going to strike to save the guards job ? The guards sat at home for weeks on full pay doing nothing . Such was the difference in Loco and Traffic branches .  
I work with some people that say bring DOO trials in today on freighters and as long as its safe no problems . Trial it properly and sit back and watch the results . I can give you 1001 reasons how or why the wheels could fall off but the thing that WILL surprise you most is that its not drivers or trade unions that stand in the way of mainline DOO in NSW - its actually the regulators and Sydney/NSW Trains . Believe it or not they know very well the dramas of having a sizeable freighter grind to a hault in electrified territory and how much do you think one person is going to be able to do about it . Maybe a lot who knows but the drama is how LONG are we sitting around in our sizeable immobile stop block .
A lot of the problems with DOO is having 100% communications coverage and road access . Then people have to be available to go investigate when things stop and no communications are possible - for whatever reasons .
The Iron Ore operators in WA have all that covered and the only things to block is their own trains .
The other thing is fatigue and maximum shift lengths . Maybe you get your train from one crew change point to the next in 9.5 hours , and maybe you can't . Maybe pass trains are short and light and have priority so run more reliably . There aren't any of these zipping around between 40000T ore trains which is good for them .
When its safe to the regulators standards no doubt it wil happen
BDA
BDA

The problem is that most that criticise this & blame unions etc for all the woes of the country & world have no dam idea about what its like to work in the cab, they see something such as in Tasmania or somewhere else & see it only in the bare B&W scenario of that should happen or this should happen.  I was driving during that time, & the one joy I had was to work on the XPT as it meant I did not get a guard on the other side of the cab who constantly berated enginemen in the past & especially if you wanted them to do their job.

None have any idea of the job conditions, & all the safety aspects that went into the XPT campaign, & why even British Experts & British Rail officers were used to help the case for 2 men in the cab, owing to problems in England with them, especially if the powers wanted the XPT to be tabled at over 160Km/h. So take the easy option & blame the union & men enginemen for not having a go.

There is little of no doubt in my mind that few of the proponents & critics would last a month doing the work even today.

PS.  There was a deal done with the SRA & ARU that preserved the job of the guard, & that was part of the reason behind the events of the 80's.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The whole decision was very much based on the safety aspect of the trains, including the position of BRitish Railways with their HST services.

I really love the arguments that are then based on the pathetic union attempts to do this or that.  When one looks at the reason behind the industrial revolution & what took place back then, from where I sit the bosses & others are eager to return to those same conditions for workers.  Amazing also when this country & many people cry out about slave labour & child labour at that, when it comes to those here in this country & the western world, its all ok to do the same sort of thing.  Usually it comes from those who sit in their lounges & don't have to get their little pinkies dirty or scar tissues on them either.
a6et
Fact is we had the strike, the argument was lost and nearly 30 years later the argument for DOO in the XPT would appear validated.

I remember taking 4hr a day to get home as a school kid during that strike and 30 years later I get dirty in industrial plants supporting my guys and at times reducing a job through continous improvement. Fact of life since the Industrial age.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE


PS.  There was a deal done with the SRA & ARU that preserved the job of the guard, & that was part of the reason behind the events of the 80's.
a6et
Perhaps if that deal was less about politics between unions and management ie should the "Guards" roles go or should the "Firemans" role go and about focusing on the role and getting the right training the outcome would have been smoother and better for all. ie train both existing fireman and guards into a new role. Anyway, this was 30 years ago, as you have said a different world to today.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Nope wrong again ,

I work with some people that say bring DOO trials in today on freighters and as long as its safe no problems . Trial it properly and sit back and watch the results . I can give you 1001 reasons how or why the wheels could fall off but the thing that WILL surprise you most is that its not drivers or trade unions that stand in the way of mainline DOO in NSW - its actually the regulators and Sydney/NSW Trains . Believe it or not they know very well the dramas of having a sizeable freighter grind to a hault in electrified territory and how much do you think one person is going to be able to do about it . Maybe a lot who knows but the drama is how LONG are we sitting around in our sizeable immobile stop block .
A lot of the problems with DOO is having 100% communications coverage and road access . Then people have to be available to go investigate when things stop and no communications are possible - for whatever reasons .
The Iron Ore operators in WA have all that covered and the only things to block is their own trains .
The other thing is fatigue and maximum shift lengths . Maybe you get your train from one crew change point to the next in 9.5 hours , and maybe you can't . Maybe pass trains are short and light and have priority so run more reliably . There aren't any of these zipping around between 40000T ore trains which is good for them .
When its safe to the regulators standards no doubt it wil happen
BDA

If its Sydney trains, why does this block trains Nth of say Broadmeadow and South of Goulburn from going DOO.
Is there 100% 2-way radio coverage along both routes?
Is there 100% mobile coverage along both routes?
If not what would it take to fill the gaps?

I've followed the EBR and had a cab ride and I know they put in 100% radio access before DOO driving and shunting, but they don't have 100% road vehicle access. Which in reality is probably near impossible along most of the route. Likewise QR along the NCL.

PN have DOO on the general freighters in Qld, also during their time in Tassie? Why didn't they chase this for the East Coast SG? Has ARTC said not interested in supporting?

Pilbra may block their own trains (which I know is easier than blocking others), but those trains are F'n big in a remote hot climate carring millions of dollars of red stuff. How does PNQ handle this in Qld?
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Qld has for a number of years operated both its EL and DEL loco hauled trains on the North Coast Line for a number of years. However it may currently not happen as DOO is limited to 8hr and twin driver 11hr and I believe there was a short-term move for the longer run between driver swaps, not sure if this still happens.
RTT_Rules

I have to say, 8 hrs for one bloke on their own at the pointy end seems like a long time from a fatigue management point of view.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

- A Driver Motor Sleeper               x 7
- B Driver Motor FC seat/Buff        x 8
- C Trailer Motor FC seat               x 8
- D Trailer Motor EC seat/Buff        x 7
- E Trailer Motor EC seat               x 20
- F Driver Motor EC/Luggage         x 15
RTT_Rules

I know your spec is for no TT revisions, but I think these would be inevitable if you moved to DMUs, primarily because you can cover the same ground with less fleet.

One the NCL in particular you'd probably have 2 DMUs going  UP-DOWn/DOWN-UP day and night, with an extension to/from Brisbane attached.

It also means you'd need at most 5 sleepers, as there are really only 4 overnight runs a day now (with a spare).

Personally try and minimise the types too:

Cab/Luggage/First
Cabless Economy
Cabless Buffet/Disabled
Cab/Luggage/Sleeper

Not really a 2 car option there I suppose, but c'est la vie.

The whole thing would be much simpler if they just ditched the sleepers altogether, had one class/no allocated seating, off-boarded the catering and had no checked luggage.  Then all the sets could be identical then, and with higher capacity.

A suggestion I made somewhere - perhaps even earlier in this thread - was to spec an 800hp cab unit designed to haul a trailer, and ensure the form factor spec is compatible with the XPT trailers.  So an initial order of 20-25 vehicles - combined initially with converted  XPT specialty trailers - could deliver the types of trains needed now and into the future.  (For what it's worth, I'd also spec a 180+ seat bi-level medium gauge trailer to go with them too Smile).
  a6et Minister for Railways

I have to say, 8 hrs for one bloke on their own at the pointy end seems like a long time from a fatigue management point of view.
djf01
That is the very point in all of this, & when return trip working is involved, which is within one shift there is a minimum time that is required at the turn round station.  These days, that's likely to be siting in the cab, as many old crew meal rooms are now gone, & the comfort levels of them which usually meant a wooden bench seat & old table was worse than in the cab.

On passenger working once on the journey, there is no such thing as stop, revive, survive, break & its full attention all the way.  Sure there is a kettle in the cab but you have to set it up at one stop & use at the next.

The worst aspect of train driving, at least from my time & I would assume not much different today & possibly worse in some ways was that one could work on steam for a 10-12 shift go through 12 ton of coal on some long hour trips, & arrive at the destination physically tired, but a shower would make all the difference & refresh you to a more alert status. What kept you going was the work, & air conditioned cab environment.  On a diesel, even the 1st gen types it was the sitting that had a more non physical affect, & you were more susceptible to a different weariness altogether.  If, & that is If you had a reasonably warm cab without drafts coming through the hand brake chain tube, around the doors & windows that overcame the heaters & hotplates that just made it worse.  The other aspect that helped keep you alert were the kidney crusher seats with no adjustment except forward & back.

With some diesels though, & especially the next generation that were heated well, had good conditions & seating, & I include the 47 & those others that had the modified Beclawat side windows the draft problem was largely resolved but the warmer environment created the other problem of weariness, & that is when the aspect of having someone in the cab with you was a real boon, it helped keep you alert especially on the longer shifts.  As I mentioned earlier the worst time was in the 2 hours before & after dawn, be it winter because of the longer darker times, or even in the summer if you did not get that great a sleep beforehand owing to heat.  Air conditioning in homes in reality has only become a common thing in more recent years, & I know I never had one in a home while on the job.
  a6et Minister for Railways


The whole thing would be much simpler if they just ditched the sleepers altogether, had one class/no allocated seating, off-boarded the catering and had no checked luggage.  Then all the sets could be identical then, and with higher capacity.

A suggestion I made somewhere - perhaps even earlier in this thread - was to spec an 800hp cab unit designed to haul a trailer, and ensure the form factor spec is compatible with the XPT trailers.  So an initial order of 20-25 vehicles - combined initially with converted  XPT specialty trailers - could deliver the types of trains needed now and into the future.  (For what it's worth, I'd also spec a 180+ seat bi-level medium gauge trailer to go with them too Smile).
djf01

From what I have seen at least on the NCL the sleepers are actually booked out almost every trip & direction, & often I hear passengers wanting to pay on board to go have a sleeper, in some ways there is actually a case to increase them by at least one on each of those trains.

If checked luggage is ditched, & that now complies with the same standards as airlines of a 20Kg bag per customer, where do you put your suitcases? There is no room in the overhead for anything more than the smaller cabin style luggage & cram some bags into it, especially when heavy bookings are to be had, the small amount of space above your seats does not allow for much in that case scenario.

The end vestibule luggage racks also fill up very quick even in non high use times, the other problem also is that often some are filled up with on train equipment thus removing & reducing the space.

My last trip north back in March which was something I never want to endure again owing to buses all the way, also found the luggage check in offices closed at some stations, the result was that at least 2 passengers arrived at Casino for change of buses only to find their luggage that has to go under the bus in the section there was gone, reason was that the check in where she got on was closed, so no tag on it.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
From what I have seen at least on the NCL the sleepers are actually booked out almost every trip & direction, & often I hear passengers wanting to pay on board to go have a sleeper, in some ways there is actually a case to increase them by at least one on each of those trains.
a6et
No.... before you add to the consist there is then a case to charge a lot more for a sleeper berth.

A full first class cabin Sydney to Brisbane gives you about $6500 in full fare revenue.  A full sleeper cabin gives you about $3500.  To a good first approximation, the cost of hauling both cabins up the coast will be about the same.

There is plenty of room to move.  A business class airfare (which is not that much more than the full fare economy fare is about two and a half times the the CountryLink sleeper fare.  GSR sleeper fares extrapolated on a $/km basis are not far behind the business class air fare.  

There is abjectly no case for the NSW taxpayer to subsidise an interstate (or even regional) sleeper style journey.

If you double the total fare for a sleeper, and still have enough demand that is consistently more than the number of seats, then you can start thinking about extra cabins.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
A6 unfortunately your wisdom would fall on deaf ears because many people outside the industry don't want to understand a train drivers viewpoint . As has been said before many many times to outsiders it all looks easy cake walk stuff and on a fine sunny day it can be . Out in the weather under a wagon hacking bits off to release brakes in the dark/snow/sleet maybe freezing rain on some mountain side - yeah drivers are just a bums serve them right . I wonder if the gunzels ever bother to think where that long string of whatever originated from when they get their morning shots after daybreak . Wonder how long the out of sight crew have been in that cab and how elated they are the greet the sun at first light . Yes its all part of the job and yes we get paid to do it but few claim its a "nice" aspect . Same old same old , don't know a persons plight till you walk a considerable distance in his shoes . Don't have the imagination to work out what its al like .
I can remember what some of the fellas from our depot said when they jumped ship to CL , yeah mate the up overnight express is just like MB4 out of Junee cept you end up in Sydney Yard . They don't think the same way anymore and they certainly do miss having another human being watching over things . They go grey quicker than we do and they know if they suddenly get tired before dawn they're on there own with no one capable of helping them . They just have to tough it out and live with the consequences to the body human . They get paid too but some things money can't compensate you for .
I know for a fact that an NRs cab has easily far better working conditions than an XP loco and seemingly three times as much space . Aside from no other human being the XP tin can doesn't even have a toilet so how humane is that .
Driving wise the XP is a PITA , won't roll like freighter and have to drag/wring its scrawny neck everywhere . Always sweating on losing time and its often not possible to make it up .
  PILBARAMAN Train Controller

Location: PILBARA
DOO trains are fitted with ATP equipment on both the Queensland Nth Coast and the WA Pilbara systems,these systems run at least medium to high density traffic every day and the equipment is there to reduce the risk of incidents between trains,the type of incidents I am referring to are the incident between 2 NR trains in Sth Aust in 95 I think,Hines Hill WA in Jan 96 and Beresfield NSW in Oct 97 all 2 driver trains.I don't think quoting DOO in Tasmania is a relevant comparison and I believe the previously mentioned incidents are a big reason why Transport Safety around Mainland Aust would be reluctant to approve DOO Freight operations on Mainlines where the traffic density and interaction between other operators trains without some sort of safety mechanism in place and thus far the Introduction of ATP equipment wayside and on hundreds of Locos has proven cost prohibitive,IMO.
  PILBARAMAN Train Controller

Location: PILBARA
The incident in Sth Aust was actually Feb 97 at Mt Christie between an NR train and a AN train.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I know your spec is for no TT revisions, but I think these would be inevitable if you moved to DMUs, primarily because you can cover the same ground with less fleet.

One the NCL in particular you'd probably have 2 DMUs going  UP-DOWn/DOWN-UP day and night, with an extension to/from Brisbane attached.

It also means you'd need at most 5 sleepers, as there are really only 4 overnight runs a day now (with a spare).

Personally try and minimise the types too:

Cab/Luggage/First
Cabless Economy
Cabless Buffet/Disabled
Cab/Luggage/Sleeper

Not really a 2 car option there I suppose, but c'est la vie.

The whole thing would be much simpler if they just ditched the sleepers altogether, had one class/no allocated seating, off-boarded the catering and had no checked luggage.  Then all the sets could be identical then, and with higher capacity.

A suggestion I made somewhere - perhaps even earlier in this thread - was to spec an 800hp cab unit designed to haul a trailer, and ensure the form factor spec is compatible with the XPT trailers.  So an initial order of 20-25 vehicles - combined initially with converted  XPT specialty trailers - could deliver the types of trains needed now and into the future.  (For what it's worth, I'd also spec a 180+ seat bi-level medium gauge trailer to go with them too Smile).
djf01
Not against TT, the DMU's could be TT to try and reduce the timetable further, noting I'd expect a 10-20% time saving based on the RTT vs the ICE set timetable. My proposal was like for like as far as services go to reduce the complex matrix of what if we do this or that or that services doesn't deserve to exist or I'd run 1 train a day, but longer etc etc. Like for Like or close to it is the most realistic outcome of any upgrade, certainly if history is repeated.

Likewise, if I was to factor in other options, I can the Overnight services, for example, Syd-Mel and vice versa would be say a 6-7am start and just after lunch, but this means you need for trains instead of current 2. Pax trains get priorty during the day, freighters get a free run at night, fair compromise me thinks and makes it easier for O/N door to door to be achieved. I'd also run at least 2 dailies to Brisbane, but thats another complex issue again. If you can cut the overnight trains, you cut the number of cars from 6 to 5, but better still, you cut the lead driver cars from 2 to 1, saving probably 1 car in costs. But at plus 60 cars, 6 different cars is not a huge drama compared to CL's current status.

Luggage, checked luggage must be an option, but you can provide options to reduce the amount. CL wouldn't check in our stroller, policy, they will not touch baby things! By reducing the doors on each car from 4 to 2, you can use the vestible space (which is the crush zone) as bag storage.

I tried to reduce the number of types, but the buffet I had to have in two types of cars. If you look at the RTT, I believe it has two, cars 2 and 5. I think a 4 car train is the limit of the single buffet train. Otherwise there is too many people walking past those seated near the buffet.

FC me thinks must be booked seating, EC, mmm. I'd like to say they should have option to show up and ride, ie stand until a seat is available. But there are issues with this. I think in 21st century with booking possible as the train is actually in service. ie book a seat 5min before arrival using your iphone, but 5hr after it intially departed is not a big issue. I think there is also sufficent demand for most services to have two levels of seating. CL should also have option to upgrade regular users to FC when numbers are low to enable more EC tickets to be sold.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I have to say, 8 hrs for one bloke on their own at the pointy end seems like a long time from a fatigue management point of view.
djf01
I would agree if there was not sufficent breaks to enable to make a drink, lunch, pee etc. Perhaps this is why QR hasn't pushed the DOO past the NCL because productivity of the train rollingstock declines too much. With 2 drivers you can I suppose keep a train moving for 11hr straight.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
DOO trains are fitted with ATP equipment on both the Queensland Nth Coast and the WA Pilbara systems,these systems run at least medium to high density traffic every day and the equipment is there to reduce the risk of incidents between trains,the type of incidents I am referring to are the incident between 2 NR trains in Sth Aust in 95 I think,Hines Hill WA in Jan 96 and Beresfield NSW in Oct 97 all 2 driver trains.I don't think quoting DOO in Tasmania is a relevant comparison and I believe the previously mentioned incidents are a big reason why Transport Safety around Mainland Aust would be reluctant to approve DOO Freight operations on Mainlines where the traffic density and interaction between other operators trains without some sort of safety mechanism in place and thus far the Introduction of ATP equipment wayside and on hundreds of Locos has proven cost prohibitive,IMO.
PILBARAMAN
I suppose you'd have to follow the Qld example where DOO trains have ATP or similar protection and if the train cannot have this protection DOO is not permitted.

Is there any data that suggests the DOO operations are more or less safe in Australia? Quickly going through my head, the ones I can remember where its been train into train or overspeed derailment are predominately twin driver. The CTT derailment could have happened to the single driver ICE or freighters that went through there for 15 years before.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
January 1996 and it WAS Hines hill .


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bmgkB6RpO8

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