Sydney to Armidale, one month in advance? NSW TrainLink full fare economy - $80.35. Greyhound restricted fare $79. That's a whopping $1.35 worth of preference!! If people really prefer the train, they should be willing to pay much more. (QantasLink discount fare is well more than double that - at $210 - but they still get enough demand to sufficiently fill their planes to mostly cover their costs.)
The issue the TL is the cost of providing the service vs what it delivers.How does a distributed power arrangement result in a 150% increase in average line speed?
An XPT set costing $1500/hr to run with 350 seats averaging 80kph is 5c/seat km. (A 200 seat V'Locity costing $800/hr @120kph is 3c/km). A 50% loading *should* be the break even point. But it's not. With all the additional overheads TL actually costs ~20c/seat km or ~40c/PAX km, hence the abysmal cost recovery - or absurdly high price if the service were charged for on a cost basis.
Why does it need to be a SYDNEY Brisbane, are more passenger friendly timetables possible if it becomes a TAREE Brisbane service and the passenger friendly timetables were marketed.Yes and no. In theory, you could time it so that you connect XPT services, but in that case the appeal of simply canning the XPT past Casino becomes very tempting.
This comment was prompted by Qantas/Brindabella offering a $300 Coffs Brisbane fare.That's insane. Qantas is currently on a sale that has CFS-SYD going for $85 and SYD-BNE going for $79. For $164 you could fly the same route with a connection, and the schedules are actually tolerable - you could fly on the 0630 CFS-SYD, arriving at 0745 and connecting to the 0835 to BNE, arriving at 1005.
Can timetables be recast to make North Coast return day trips like Coffs/ Port Macquarie viable? Could it be done without a new maintenance facility?Not Coffs Harbour, which is about nine hours out of Sydney; Port Macquarie (or rather, Wauchope) is pushing it but you could make a day return from Kempsey if it runs to Sydney and then back out.
Yes the XPT fleet is aging and many existing passengers are on concession fares so lets look for other marketsYou're right, but the current product as a whole is considered unappealing, what with poor hard product and poor schedules, so it will need a proper revamp.
Yes and no. In theory, you could time it so that you connect XPT services, but in that case the appeal of simply canning the XPT past Casino becomes very tempting.Serious Revamp or serious "enhancement"?
That's insane. Qantas is currently on a sale that has CFS-SYD going for $85 and SYD-BNE going for $79. For $164 you could fly the same route with a connection, and the schedules are actually tolerable - you could fly on the 0630 CFS-SYD, arriving at 0745 and connecting to the 0835 to BNE, arriving at 1005.
Not Coffs Harbour, which is about nine hours out of Sydney; Port Macquarie (or rather, Wauchope) is pushing it but you could make a day return from Kempsey if it runs to Sydney and then back out.
You're right, but the current product as a whole is considered unappealing, what with poor hard product and poor schedules, so it will need a proper revamp.
Can advantage be taken of ARTC investment in track upgrades?Basically no. The NCL XPTs really do need to fit in with the freighter's timetables, more or less. And making these more efficient is what the ARTC upgrades are about. There will probably be some flow on effect for PAX services, probably in a more reliably available slot for them.
Yes the XPT fleet is aging and many existing passengers are on concession fares so lets look for other markets
and it's been suffering under investment ever since.And with the Libs in power both federally and for NSW, may/will suffer further under investment. I think that the main work is just extending passing loops. That's only going to be of very limited help.
I know the times would need adjusting, but what about this for the north coast XPTsYou are not going to get an outbound path out of Sydney in the middle of the evening peak. Forget it. The number of people that would likely be on a regional passenger service is inconsequential relative to those that you could cram onto a suburban or interurban service.
- Sydney dep 17:30 Casino arr approx 05:20 next day / Casino 07:30, Sydney arr 19:10
Money should have been spent on upgrading the existing track years, sorry decades ago. The XPT should be capable of doing a 960 or so km trip in around 6 to 6½ hours or so. An XPT was meant to be designed for what it's initials stand for, no train designed for speed such as an XPT should have a sleeping car. The trouble is that the XPTs and Xplorers are the only country trains, instead of being complementing by other trains that stop at more stations.
And each town along the XPT/Xplorer routes want these trains to stop at their town. For example, at first, the Kempsey XPT only stopped Hornsby, then Broadmeadow, then only a few stations on the way to and from Kempsey, but then the other towns wanted the XPT to stop, so then these other stops kept getting added and added.
Should a true express XPT to/from Brisbane have only these stops, or similar stopping pattern?:
- SYDNEY, Hornsby (u), Broadmeadow (u), Taree, Coff's Harbour, Grafton City, Casino, Kyogle (a) BRISBANE
You are not going to get an outbound path out of Sydney in the middle of the evening peak. Forget it. The number of people that would likely be on a regional passenger service is inconsequential relative to those that you could cram onto a suburban or interurban service.I meant leaving it just outside the evening peak hour.
The reason the service is provided is not to connect Sydney to Brisbane - it is to connect Sydney to the regions (and to a lesser extent the northern regions to Brisbane). If you are going to chop out most of the regional stops, then there is all but no point to the service. It is questionable what the point of the service is today.I said with other trains stopping at other stations, but that's really starting to get off topic, about how a train will now have a very early arrival time at it's terminus station.
I meant leaving it just outside the evening peak hour.You don't have enough "real" demand for the current service. Where's all this pent up demand for extra long run services? You think that knocking say thirty minutes off the timing of the current service because of your missed stops is suddenly going to make long distance rail cost and time competitive against a Q400 or A320?
I said with other trains stopping at other stations, but that's really starting to get off topic, about how a train will now have a very early arrival time at it's terminus station.
While they "claim" that Queensland government asked for this, we still believe that it has been designed to effectively reduce the number of passengers, so the Libs can eventually get rid of the service.
If the NSW administration had some sort of pressing death wish for the northern interstate XPT, the perfect time to kill it would be ... right now! You could just blame the whole sorry situation on the Queensland government and walk away. If they do have some sort of pressing death wish, the fact that they haven't just siezed the day and killed it is remarkably politically ... incompetent ... of them.
Such a bizarre mix of political adeptness and incompetence, don't you think???
On the other hand, lets just imagine that what happened was that the Queensland government/QR said "Dear NSW government/NSW Trains, no outbound XPT in the peak please, our very numerous south-east-of-the-river commuters are far more important." The NSW government/NSW trains then said "Oh well, if you insist - I wonder what we could do instead? Dear QR/ARTC/Sydney Trains, what are our practical options, given all the constraints and the lack of a magical money tree." They all sat around a table, had a bit of a chat, a bit of a think, and finally decided that the best pick of a bad bunch was an early arrival and return into/from Brisbane.
I don't know what happened, not being a member of either government or working for either bureaucracy or any of the involved rail or track operators, but which scenario do you think is more likely?
I doubt this is any great conspiracy, but I think it does betray a preference to kill the service.Who knows. Guessing motivations is always difficult in the absence of an explicit statement (and then taking that statement at face value).
The OP question about the Melbourne XPT running via East Hills I think was related to trackwork and the freight line works. I don't know if this is still the the case now.AFAIK (and that's from reading Railpage) the Vic government did indeed contribute to the cost of purchasing additional XPT power cars.
Regarding the Brisbane XPT (Queensland & NSW governments). My recollection with the Melbourne XPT was that Kennett didn't want to pay the $4M buy-in so as I understand it, Countrylink ran the whole thing themselves and they would enjoy all the revenue too.
Perhaps the $4M (mid-'90s) might have paid for an XPT carset.
At the time, I was amazed the concept got off the ground in spite of Kennett knocking it on the head, not spending a brass razoo.
My theory is there will be major cuts after the next election. They didn't do them with the Sydney trains timetable as we are more than halfway through a term and would hide the good things they have introduced with Sydney trains and intercity. Once they are re-elected with ease in 2015 then I think we might see some action.
Over time , QR will want more slots for their Gold Coast trains, as the region increases in populationI expect the Brisbane sector to be cut altogether, leaving two Casino XPTs. I don't know if this will allow them to cull the Grafton base, but it makes the operation a bit easier. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if this happens in concert with trimming the Grafton service to Kempsey.
so that means even less slots available for the XPT.
There is no simple fix .
Maybe terminating the XPT at Casino and abandoning running it to Brisbane altogether, or only running it thru to Brisbane
That would save both Govts money.