Electric trains? I thought HeadShunt was proposing a return to coal fired steam!
Here is my latest Headshunt inspired design:
Here is my latest Headshunt inspired design:Love it! I think we've found our replacement!
Pensioner excursion airline tickets?
The point as per the thread is that a XPT train maybe seen as inefficient for the service it is providing, primarily to major regional centres and cities, which can be done by air.
Please don't take quotes out of context.... I thought this thread is about the replacement of the XPT.....no wonder post go off track.
...Whatever the next train is, if we got it in say 2025 and it lasted 40 years, it could well see out the industrial age.Let us be very clear:
My apologies, but the extent to which I went way off topic does depend on what assumptions you make about the future when considering an XPT replacement, and it is clear that certain assumptions are being made, some of which could be way off. They could also be near enough to correct, but it still doesn't hurt to bear some fundamentals in mind.
Does anyone know if Countrylink charged the ticket price for every passenger so that the XPT covers it own cost, then how much would a ticket be?It depends.
(The 2010/11 Railcorp Annual report does not brake down the costs enough)
Let us be very clear:No politician is going to win votes by planning around limits to growth or suggesting that the future might be smaller than the present, so there might not be any forward planning for "major economic shifts" at all, and I understand it is difficult to plan for such a shift anyway, because we don't know if or when it could happen.
If there was any reasonable probability that the end of the "industrial age" was approaching (in a negative sense, as opposed to some sort of evolution to the "information age" or whatever), then planning on any sort of XPT replacement, or really, planning anything other than a chaotic descent into a poverty-stricken agrarian economy, is completely insane. In that sort of apocalyptic scenario, regional passenger transport of any shape or form will be so far down the list of priorities it wouldn't register. Instead, things like "try and stop large sections of the population from starving" will be rather more pertinent and pressing.
Does anyone know if Countrylink charged the ticket price for every passenger so that the XPT covers it own cost, then how much would a ticket be?
(The 2010/11 Railcorp Annual report does not brake down the costs enough)
My inflation-indexed/bastardised accounts from the Parry Report: (here)I just noticed depreciation in the Parry list, which is not something I'd include in an "operating cost". That's also inconsistent with his cost breakdown for other services in the same report. If that really is an allowance for depreciation of capital items (I guess it could be?), then the cost recovery of CountryLink does take into account capital recovery - i.e. we are buying the trains.
The "booking and advertising" expense is clearly where a lot of the "Travel Centres" (railway ticket offices to you and me) or station staffing costs are buried, and is still with us, even with the website.
This analysis doesn't include CountryLink's share of the CRN costs ($180mil a year), nor CL's share of the $500mil the feds annually pump into ARTC to keep it's non-coal NSW routes running. Most of that "other" in the income is the subsidy provided by the QLD and VIC governments for operating CL across the state borders.
I just noticed depreciation in the Parry list, which is not something I'd include in an "operating cost". That's also inconsistent with his cost breakdown for other services in the same report. If that really is an allowance for depreciation of capital items (I guess it could be?), then the cost recovery of CountryLink does take into account capital recovery - i.e. we are buying the trains.
The selling/advertising category in the Parry report is a complete and utter WTF (bearing in mind that $10 million of station costs were called out separately). It is incomprehensible to me how that category could be that excessive. I wonder whether it was being used as an indirect way of subsidising regional tourism awards, etc.
Direct from page 45, in 2003 dollars:That's the stand-out number for me too. 14 million dollars a year for a reservation system (?) for a system that runs a dozen or so services a day? What sort of legacy system are we talking? ENIAC? It can't be that sort of cost - but jiggered if I can work out what it plausibly could be.
Travel centre/booking offices 9.4
External commission 2.3
CityRail commission 0.5
Reservation costs 14.4
Total Selling/Advertising 29.9
The only number that looks a bit odd to me are the reservation costs, but if they were using a legacy IT system back then it would make sense.
Much of the Parry Report was by necessity educated guesswork on how to allocate costs from the SRA money pit.
The Parry Report is a decade old and was completed during the State Rail Authority era. I'm definitely inclined to think that many things have shifted since. I will ask, however, one question regarding the WTF figure for the booking systems: how many Travel Centres have closed since 2003?I think you'll find catering was only truly profitable if you didn't pay the staff that served the customers. Add in the wages of 2 TA's per train and it won't look so rosy! CL's meals still are very reasonably priced, meaning they have a modest markup on their products compared with similar commercial vendors. But their labour costs and overheads must be huge by comparison. It must be said though, just imagine how much a dining car would cost to operate! A small (too small to be really viable) restaurant with full kitchen staff, serving staff (all unionised and on penalty rates for the whole trip) vs some spotty teenager getting $12.50/hr at Macca's.
I may not agree with all of djf01's proposed cuts, but a move away from travel centres to a centralised call centre and online booking system (with full customer app!) is likely to be an effective way forward.
On top of this, I find it interesting how catering was actually profitable, with a 13.0% profit margin!
I think you'll find catering was only truly profitable if you didn't pay the staff that served the customers. Add in the wages of 2 TA's per train and it won't look so rosy! CL's meals still are very reasonably priced, meaning they have a modest markup on their products compared with similar commercial vendors. But their labour costs and overheads must be huge by comparison. It must be said though, just imagine how much a dining car would cost to operate! A small (too small to be really viable) restaurant with full kitchen staff, serving staff (all unionised and on penalty rates for the whole trip) vs some spotty teenager getting $12.50/hr at Macca's.That's true, but then again the buffet staff need to be on the train anyway.
Re the booking systems, I used to work in IT in the late 80s and through the 90s, and if the booking system software was anything more than 7 or 8 years old in 2003 then I think the stated costs of operating the IT side of it would be about right. People forget that PC based POS systems were very rare because up until 1998 the Operating Systems weren't stable enough, and it wasn't till 2004 that Microsoft stop selling flaky versions of CPM. And up until ~1996 IIRC the internet was really only available to academia in Australia. Delivering a terminal screen in real time top multiple rural locations was a big deal even as recently as that. If nothing else that probably contains a whack of "Y2K Readiness Project" amortised costs .Agreed, but now such systems are viable and are the way forward.
Well all that may sound good in cyber space but in reality I doubt Sydney Trains or any NSW State Govt would be interested . They may not be that "smart" but they know only too well what happens when you reduce double to single lines and the voting commuters don't care about cost savings .
Its a large assumption that ARTC would want to take over parts of the north and even have the finances to maintain them . They are begging ATM to maintain what they have in the eastern states and the Feds could have no intention of coughing up any more dough .
The North Shore line doesn't have endless capacity and I wouldn't know about its end of the Epping Chatswood line but the other end has become a huge blockage for north/south traffic on the main.
Also what happens to City Circle traffic with more services going over the bridge ?
How do these services access Sydney Yard ? How do people in those underground stations cope with exhaust fumes if DMUs and Xs run that way ?
The proposed Inland Rail Route is also pretty useless to rail freight into/out of Sydney , there is no easy access to it from Sydney and the customers would truck freight to Parkes or wherever before they'd rail it there to go to Melbourne or Brisbane . Bottom line is if you make rail freight too hard here in Sydney whats left on rail will follow the bulk of it which is now on road .
The proposed inland rail route is a boondoggle. The reason ARTC's NSW's leases are losing so much is because they lack the traffic volumes to fund getting the perway up to snuff (which is how the perway got snuffed up in the first place). IMHO what is needed is two fold:I think I agree with your first sentence.
- Get RailCorp and the dysfunctional NSW government out of the equation
- ARTC instigate pricing and infrastructure development policies to better encourage increased rail tonnage rather than please the above rail operators.
If every country line was duplicated, BiDi'ed, passing lanes infinitum, all the realignments and all the deviations built (all the kings horses )On the issue of hi speed freight trains , remember the Cargo Sprinter.
NSW will then build an XPT replacement
If every country line was duplicated, BiDi'ed, passing lanes infinitum, all the realignments and all the deviations built (all the kings horses )Of course this isn't likely...
NSW will then build an XPT replacement
... (Ger NSW Gvt out of the Equation) I think there's reasonable evidence that various parts of the Federal bureaucracy agree too - otherwise they'd leave capacity issues to the immediate north and south of Sydney as a Railcorp problem perhaps with some federal money in the Christmas stocking to help things along. But they aren't leaving it to Railcorp - they have and are actively spending money, in a way that gives them either absolute (SSFL) or partial control (NSFL). Imagine if when funding the Hunter Valley Expressway the feds told the NSW government/RMS "when this is finished we'll look after things, thank you very much, no need for you to be involved".
The problem I have with the NSFL so far is it's largely an upgrade to the RailCorp network which is assiting the NSW DoT pursue their Metro agenda. I think a corrollory of the NWRL format decision will most likely be more Central Coast Commuter and local suburban trains on the main north using up all that new capacity the "integrated" NSFL upgrades funded by the feds. ARTC customers are unlikely to realise any benefits, regardless of how many slots RailCorp agree (for now) to relinquish.
IMHO upgrades to the NSL provide not only much greater benefits to Sydney Trains, but potentially far better outcomes for ARTC as well, provided NSW relinquishes some of it's Main North trackage permanently of course).
ARTC instigate pricing and infrastructure development policies to better encourage increased rail tonnage rather than please the above rail operators.
I think your emphasis on the second point is wrong. I don't see how the current pricing regime really discourages rail tonnage. You could always reduce access charges across the board to encourage more traffic, but I doubt that would lead to an increase in cash available for perway improvements. Indicative train lengths and section times for a line are set taking into account things such as effective use of line capability (passing loop lengths and spacing) and current operator capability and requirements - force things away from that in the short term and you just impose extra costs or inefficiency on the system. These things can evolve with time, but the asset manager typically has to jump first with capital spend (you put the loops in, then you can run the longer trains).
One area that could be looked at, that is relevant to CountryLink, is whether the access fees charged to CountryLink for a particular service reflect the capacity and other costs that the high priority paths impose on the system. I suspect they don't - if a freight operator took too many happy pills one day and then in a fit of delirium proposed running a light-fast parcel service that had the same priority as the CountryLink services for the same access fees, I suspect the other operators would have some choice words to say that would make BDA blush. But charging more could also just be a path to inter-governmental silliness - it could be regarded as shifting money between governments for no real benefit (i.e. NSW via CountryLink pays more to ARTC, ARTC imposes less cost on the feds, the feds have more money available to give to NSW, if the feds don't hand it over then NSW goes feral on the metropolitan and CRN freight users..., etc.).
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