XPT Replacement Discussion

 
  RatholeTunnel Locomotive Driver

Location: Sydney Area
For major connections, the De Havilland Dash 8 Airplane, ATR-400 Airplane, and buses for little nodes to airplane connections. To make this secure, stricter standards for passenger conduct in line with airlines.

Gets rid of public service headcount. Maintenance can be dine offshore or anywhere in Australia.
Boosts regional economies.
Reduced network maintenance costs as they aren't on.the ground.

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  PClark Chief Commissioner

Perhaps Rathole Tunnel is right and we should move into the 21st century.

During my lifetime of 60-plus years I have watched “real” fare-paying long-distance patronage on NSW and Intercapital journeys shrink to almost nothing.

The main problem being the tortuous right-of-way which is not only steeply graded and sharply curved but often follows a roundabout route which is many kilometres longer than the equivalent highway distance (Parkes being a notable example)

As full-fare patronage drained away the policy was to replace these bums on seats by making increasingly generous deals for OAPs and others on welfare.

The XPT was supposed to reverse this trend but failed to do so and today rail is virtually a segregated mode for these people supplemented by a few railfans.

These folk are not travelling by train because it is their preferred mode but because it is cheap or free.  In effect they are an "induced" or "artificial" clientele.

Perhaps the best solution would be to replace trains with high-quality road coaches run by a private contractor but honouring all concessions and free vouchers currently available on the trains.

A mutually acceptable agreement should be sought with the regional and interstate airlines whereby pensioners, seniors and other concessional passengers would be provided with year-round cheap (but not free) air travel with the airlines being reimbursed by government.

On some regional routes this might enable an expansion of existing frequencies.

The road coach network, based on small 40-odd seat units would be much more flexible than rail services running once or twice daily.  For instance a coach could leave Grafton early in the morning, get to Brisbane in time for passengers to shop or attend medical appointments before returning on the afternoon of the same day
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Yep , thats the point some of us have been trumpeting for a long time . The issue isn't what type of train to speed the journeys up with , it's the stone age alignments that we are still stuck with 70 plus years down the track .
This has been known about by successive governments for a long long time so any attempt to fob you all off with drum roll trains was a cop out .
They did it for roads and could have for rail as well but the political will was never there . They know these lines are in remote areas where Joe average can't see them or be disgusted by them . Maybe IF the public actually knew the reality of the matter some would ask their political reps why this farce has been allowed to go on so long . But as usual ignorance is bliss and gruberments like you to live in naive bliss .

Loco hauled , cheap and about on par with the era of the current alignments . Might not be fast but EVERYBODY knows bird beats train at least to larger regional centers .
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
About seat pitch in particular, I got lynched the last time I suggested cutting it to 34", which for international long-haul economy is considered "quite tolerable". (from the current luxury of about 42"). This, coupled with contemporary slimline seating should allow a significant increase in capacity without inducing DVT nor crushed hips.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
About seat pitch in particular, I got lynched the last time I suggested cutting it to 34", which for international long-haul economy is considered "quite tolerable". (from the current luxury of about 42"). This, coupled with contemporary slimline seating should allow a significant increase in capacity without inducing DVT nor crushed hips.
Watson374
The bustiution/plane options has been valid for over 20 years. Its been looked into many times I'm sure and the govt has choosen multiple times to not go down that path apart from closing services where the previous rail motors struggled to fill a hand full of seats. Perhaps there is a question mark over a couple of sevices, but the majority there is not. 2-3 XPT trains a day on the Coastal route is hardly trickle feed regardless of the users. To suggest that a LNP govt will replace regional rail with buses is laughable based on previous actions. the cost of running CL is proportion of govt spending is a tiny fraction, it has a lower subsidy per pax km that Cityrail and I think there is oppurtunity to trim their current costs. Previous its been stated they spend 33% of their income getting that income so I'm sure perhaps handed over to a private francise operator the losses maybe reduced further.

While I agree there is some oppurtunity on seating, the RTT seating pitch spacing in EC is really best avoided. Just because planes do it doesn't make it right, they have no compeition apart from themselves. CL seats on the XPLR are based on old technology, they take up alot of length, newer design would probably reduced 2", I'd also take another 5-6" which gives you 3 rows. But based on aircraft seat design I see no reason to drop below 36". The rotating seats, I'd just have 50:50 spilt on direction for EC, but FC I would have rotating with maybe 2" more leg room.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
While I agree there is some oppurtunity on seating, the RTT seating pitch spacing in EC is really best avoided. Just because planes do it doesn't make it right, they have no compeition apart from themselves. CL seats on the XPLR are based on old technology, they take up alot of length, newer design would probably reduced 2", I'd also take another 5-6" which gives you 3 rows. But based on aircraft seat design I see no reason to drop below 36". The rotating seats, I'd just have 50:50 spilt on direction for EC, but FC I would have rotating with maybe 2" more leg room.
"RTT_Rules"
What's our competition? Coaches? I agree that economy should be fixed but reclining, but I'm sticking with the 34" basic seat pitch.

First Class is another story entirely, but if I had my way you'd end up with a five-class train.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
What's our competition? Coaches? I agree that economy should be fixed but reclining, but I'm sticking with the 34" basic seat pitch.

First Class is another story entirely, but if I had my way you'd end up with a five-class train.
Watson374

I''ll stand by 36" if using an aircraft thickness seat. More if using a thicker seat.
  boromisa Junior Train Controller

Perhaps we should look at high speed rail. Even China has it these days and we call them third world country.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Perhaps we should look at high speed rail. Even China has it these days and we call them third world country.
boromisa

There are numerous other threads on sensitive subject.

However having a HSR system doesn't equal being a developed or even a prosperous country. Spain has HSR and 1/4 adults unemployed and more 2/3 for people under 25. They have double the people of Australia and our economy is now bigger than theirs.

France the home of HSR in Europe has been in and out of recession for a few years and Japan's economy basically hasn't grown in 10 years.

A 3rd world country typically has high levels of poverty and low incomes, such as China and hence generally cannot afford their own personal transport or fund the cost of flying long distances, such as China. India is same and hence the operating subsidy is minimal but conditions need to be seen to be believed. F/C is fine, but hell the poor travel it tough.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

But, but, but, why shared bogie?  Is total set weight really that much of a concern?  Is it realistic to expect operation on track that is of a lower standard than what the units currently operate on?  Is the cost "saving" associated with a reduction in the number of bogies (once offset by the increased complexity of the resulting attachement, and I suspect the latter swamps the former) really that significant in the scheme of things?  
donttellmywife

I've been giving this quite a bit of thought, and there are a few other options using conventional vehicles, but none quite as good as the articulated version IMHO.

In a 2 car format you could have 3 vehicle types: EMU Motor cab, DMU motor cab & and a universal driving trailer.  The DMU version would have a (small) multi-use area, a second toilet and an extended passenger luggage area.  The EMU motor would have no toilet, and the disabled toilet in the trailer.  That produces about 38 rows of seats in the EMU version, and 30 in the DMU version.  So 190 seats EMU (an Endeavour set) and 150 seats 2+3, 120 2+2, or ~110 using a CL fitout.  For most CL applications that's a touch small IMHO though 150 seats 2+3 is probably perfect for the Canberra run.  Most current routes would need 2 set trains, and that presents problems because you end up with 2 disabled toilets, 2 multi-use areas - or more likely non ubiquitous sets.

A 2/3 car concept works a bit better:  A 2 car EMU with 2 over-speced traction motors, built in pairs which share a single pantograph, disabled toilet and multi-input rectifier.

To that you add a cabless trailer with fuel tanks, gen packs (but no motors), a multi-use area, additional toilet and additional PAX luggage space.  As RRT_RULES has suggested this unit wouldn't need regular doors, just emergency evac ones.  That gives 50m of PAX cabin space, or 200-250 seats (38 in EMU mode).  The resulting DMU would be a true hybrid too: capable of EMU/DMU operation on the same run.  The bulk of the mass isn't over the powered axles this way, but c'est la vie.  

Alternatively add a large double deck trailer or two to produce a high capacity commuter EMU.


With shared bogies, you've lost the ability to swap defective units out at short notice.
donttellmywife


I actually think this is more of an argument in favour of an articulated design.  With the Endorers if you lose one cab to a collision you lose the whole set anyway, because there aren't spares and even if there were there is a lack of ubiquity in the cabin fitout.  With the articulated design there would need to be a spare cab segment, and with the design I proposed that is the cheapest and simplest element.

 Pick a fight with a motor vehicle or some other obstruction on the track, which sadly does happen all too often, and the whole set is out of action for the duration.  Same applies for significant mechanical issues that might be discovered when a set is away from home.  On the more mundane side - want to do an upgrade or refurb - again the whole set needs to be removed from service, rather than being able to take a single car out at a time.

Without shared bogies - you buy perhaps an extra cab unit and maybe an extra trailing unit, but with shared bogies you need to buy an extra entire set to achieve the same effective availability.  I suspect that obliterates whatever upfront cost savings there might be with the shared bogie design.

But without question the best argument for an articulated design is you eliminate this ...

And those couplers in your 1:50 mock-up are notoriously prone to failure!  I have about ten in fragments in front of me that I'm trying to glue back together after a recent fatigue and overstress cracking events associated with violent ejection of select units over the balcony handrail by an operator with malicious intent.  So if that's your chosen design, I'd be looking for at least 1:1 coverage of spare sets to in service sets, plus procurement of a bulk supply of araldite.
donttellmywife

point of failure.  Try: [http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Thomas-Trackmaster-Tomy-6-Couplings-6-Couplers-couplings-hook-6-eye-new-/310670353430?pt=UK_Toys_Creative_Educational_RL&hash=item4855656416]

[/quote]
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The RTT has operated as two sets only for 15 years now, between the two sets they cover over 2000km/day combined through regional Qld and missed how many services due to failure? The CTT had no spares and its been off the road due to two major incidents that have sidelined the whole set. The LX incident basically destroyed the loco with I think only minor damage to rest of train. However the frequency is such that I still don't think its a major concern. The Velocity into the large rock truck destroyed the car and they had to build a new one, so like the CTT, if its that bad, don't matter what arrangement you have. So it gets down to a reliability thing vs cost of long term operation on whether individual car or set is best.

Considering the km the XPT trains have done since 1982, no loss of vehicle, no major damage from crashes at LX I think this is what normal operation nominally is. Major incidents and derailments are rare and you cannot plan for that. With DMU articulated arrangement you need to build in a bit more redundancy so operation can continue even with minor issues, such as traction system that can have complete failure of at least one system but still get the pax home.
  RatholeTunnel Locomotive Driver

Location: Sydney Area
I favour air substitution using leased fleet & subcontract ground & air crews. The fleet should comprise Bombardier Dash 8 &/or ATR-400 planes. Small stops to be serviced by bus, as can also be outsourced. No jet for the planes, it should be an economic but basic service. It's time to think outside the box. However, those unable to properly occupy a seat individually should pay a surcharge for requiring 2 seats. Using aircraft allows stricter standards of conduct on passengers and to more harshly penalise those who disturb other passengers or are antisocial.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Tread carefully, RatholeTunnel. The last time I suggested the plane-and-coach combo, I got hung, drawn and quartered for it. I think it's perfectly workable, and it'd make politically imperative the need for Badgery's Creek. It's not flawless, but I honestly don't see how it's a bad idea - bar the fact that it involves no trains!
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Tread carefully, RatholeTunnel. The last time I suggested the plane-and-coach combo, I got hung, drawn and quartered for it. I think it's perfectly workable, and it'd make politically imperative the need for Badgery's Creek. It's not flawless, but I honestly don't see how it's a bad idea - bar the fact that it involves no trains!
Watson374
I favour air substitution using leased fleet & subcontract ground & air crews. The fleet should comprise Bombardier Dash 8 &/or ATR-400 planes. Small stops to be serviced by bus, as can also be outsourced. No jet for the planes, it should be an economic but basic service. It's time to think outside the box. However, those unable to properly occupy a seat individually should pay a surcharge for requiring 2 seats. Using aircraft allows stricter standards of conduct on passengers and to more harshly penalise those who disturb other passengers or are antisocial.
RatholeTunnel

I'm sure there are other aeroplane forums where you both can come out of your respective aeroplane advocacy closets and explore those regional travel options with that fraternity.

Idea Aeroplanes do NOT and CANNOT operate as a substitute for a regional rail service which offers transport between rural communities and Sydney.

Mike.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Well I think their thoughts do contain oxygen particularly when time is important , sadly for the less well heeled the priority is cost .
I think you need to be a little carefull because not everyone in country NSW has a railway line close by let alone an intercapital rail corridor so rail isn't always going to be the be all and end all for everyone . The hard cold facts are that these north south lines are mixed traffic ones and while regional pass transport is possible it's just a happy coincidence - for those local to it . For some I reckon it's hard to define where regional and intercapital transport begins and ends . If it was truly regional you obviously couldn't get on in Sydney and off in Melbourne . If it was truly intercapital you couldn't get on/off anywhere else . Thats how regional and intercapital air works and doesn't pretend to be anything else . Just try to imagine a twin turboprop job taking off in Sydney and dropping into Goulburn Yass Wagga Albury Wang Benalla Seymour Avalon then Tullamarine . Great if you were going regional and urine poor if going Mascot to Tulla . If this was it would you be agonising over seat spacing full turbo fan movies and an inflight baked dinner ? Can we have a club section and bar too ?

What we need people is decent railway lines to run trains on because then everything on rails gets to run faster (average) and more efficiently . Without the adverse curves and grades conventional pass trains can probably do better times than the Hex does now with more comfort and lower running costs . There is no one best way because different people have different needs and priorities . Also don't forget freight on rail because if it dies I think all long distance rail will . The situation with freight on road is bad and getting worse and at the end of the day there is only one answer to that .
  RatholeTunnel Locomotive Driver

Location: Sydney Area
A good turboprop run on southern would be Mascot - Canberra - Wagga - Albury - Mangalore - Tullamarine.

Northern:
Mascot - Williamtown - Port Macquarie - Coffs Harbour - Ballina - BNE.

Western:
SYD - Bathurst - Orange - Dubbo - Parkes.

The places in between.have low patronage.

BUSES to connect everything in between.

Baggage (air) allowance 10kg carryon, extra charge of $20 for 15kg checked, $25 for 25kg checked. Baggage limits strictly enforced. This part applies to air sections only.

No full meals provided just roll, sandwich, drinks, for a price.

Passengers to pay $20 each way if using free vouchers for the air runs.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
A good turboprop run on southern would be Mascot - Canberra - Wagga - Albury - Mangalore - Tullamarine.

Northern:
Mascot - Williamtown - Port Macquarie - Coffs Harbour - Ballina - BNE.

Western:
SYD - Bathurst - Orange - Dubbo - Parkes.

The places in between.have low patronage.

BUSES to connect everything in between.

Baggage (air) allowance 10kg carryon, extra charge of $20 for 15kg checked, $25 for 25kg checked. Baggage limits strictly enforced. This part applies to air sections only.

No full meals provided just roll, sandwich, drinks, for a price.

Passengers to pay $20 each way if using free vouchers for the air runs.
RatholeTunnel
Qld has or had last I checked the east coast milk run between Brisbane and Carins by Qantaslink. If its viable in NSW-Vic, Qantas would be doing it. The current XPT is not a road block to preventing this from being run by a commerical airline on a commerical basis.

The very absoulte last thing the people of NSW need is a govt run regional airline. What ever you think CL losses are now just think what would happen if the govt was running an airline. I don't disagree air is not an option, but what is flying now from the likes of Dubbo, Coffs, Ballina, Port Macquarie is what the population can suipport.
  RatholeTunnel Locomotive Driver

Location: Sydney Area
CL Air would have high patronage due to fares being lower than commercial, but efficient as there'd be extra charges.introduced for luggage & those with free vouchers it wouldn't be free- see above.

Bus would continue for the tightarse or one horse towns, and fleet can be leased & crewing fully outsourced. No tracks are required.

The Dash 8 and ATR-400 are cheaper to run than jets.
  ar157 Beginner

CL Air would have high patronage due to fares being lower than commercial, but efficient as there'd be extra charges.introduced for luggage & those with free vouchers it wouldn't be free- see above.

Bus would continue for the tightarse or one horse towns, and fleet can be leased & crewing fully outsourced. No tracks are required.

The Dash 8 and ATR-400 are cheaper to run than jets.
RatholeTunnel
I'll just assume by ATR-400 you mean the ATR-42? or the -72? anyhow, you'd probably want to go for the Skywest ATRs as they are less gas guzzling than the Q-Series so lower operating costs.
  RatholeTunnel Locomotive Driver

Location: Sydney Area
ar157 whichevers the cheaper. They're basic planes to provide speedy and economic transport, with lots of flexibility. speedy is the key, hence air substitution. It'll save money over time as its not tied to running in something & may reverse declining use of CL, without being captive to the public service culture, unions, etc.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
I'm sure there are other aeroplane forums where you both can come out of your respective aeroplane advocacy closets and explore those regional travel options with that fraternity.

Idea Aeroplanes do NOT and CANNOT operate as a substitute for a regional rail service which offers transport between rural communities and Sydney.

Mike.
"The Vinelander"
That's what the coaches are for.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
CL Air would have high patronage due to fares being lower than commercial, but efficient as there'd be extra charges.introduced for luggage & those with free vouchers it wouldn't be free- see above.

Bus would continue for the tightarse or one horse towns, and fleet can be leased & crewing fully outsourced. No tracks are required.

The Dash 8 and ATR-400 are cheaper to run than jets.
RatholeTunnel

Another subsidy, no thanks. Airlines fly planes now from most major towns and cities, you cannot start up a service that under cuts their viability. Provide a rebate to OAP and the like but leave commercial operations of airlines to the airlines and let them decide on the rest.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
That's what the coaches are for.
Watson374
So I don't have to re-compose a reply...let me add a comment here regards s similar discussion over here in Victoria...

As a semi-regular Mildura V/Line traveller, (MEL-MDA is 570+ km)young people may appreciate swilling bottles of water and they are nimble enough to use the less than broom-cupboard sized toilet a short while after, however as pax are not permitted to leave the bus unless its at a designated refresh stop...and remember the Swan Hill - Mildura 2.5+ hour trip doesn't have a refresh stop due to its 'short' duration, more seasoned pax know better than to drink before or during the journey so they don't get 'caught short' on the journey.

The dash to use the on-board toilet at Robinvale while the pax are getting on/off is testament to the unwillingness to use that facility whilst the bus is in motion.

Most of the Mildura drivers seem to ignore pax eating on the journey as long as there are no remains left behind.

Sorry to go on about the toilets, after the signal cable fiasco at Tottenham a few weeks back when I missed the down Swan Hill and had to catch the 12.20 bus from Bendigo to Mildura, even the newest Bendigo to Mildura bus which is clearly less than a year old and was fully booked, once the toilet is used a few times on that 5+ hour trip, the toilets really start to get pongy and the smell really settles into ones stomach after that long in the bus.

So the bus toilets, definitely BIG room for improvement, and in any event, travel comfort wise bus Vs train...there is no comparison.



Mike.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

A good turboprop run on southern would be Mascot - Canberra - Wagga - Albury - Mangalore - Tullamarine.

Northern:
Mascot - Williamtown - Port Macquarie - Coffs Harbour - Ballina - BNE.

Western:
SYD - Bathurst - Orange - Dubbo - Parkes.

The places in between.have low patronage.

BUSES to connect everything in between.
RatholeTunnel

Without wanting to be too critical, because I think there is some sort of NBN type logic to such a scheme.  But  I still don't think this really stacks up on the cost front.  Flying doesn't really match busses on a $eat/km basis except in extreme circumstances (bit like rail really), and flying makes CL look positively frugal in terms of staffing.  Air only achieves a respectable seat/km cost by covering a lot of KM in every hour of operation.  For these short (by air route standards) flight mean the birds and their crews spend a lot of time on the ground.  And if people think the rail has an infrastructure deficit, what would they make of Sydney's airports/airport?  I think it would be truly ironic if they ended up locating the CL air terminal at Sydney's second airport site, which required a HSR/MSR rail link that ends up costing way more than CL will for the next 50 years.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
We've been over this territory before, Mike (Vinelander). Long story cut short, the problem is largely with how the coach service is run, not the fact that it's a coach and not a railmotor.

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