Wimmera backs passenger train push

 

News article: Wimmera backs passenger train push

WIMMERA residents have thrown their support behind Horsham Rural City Council’s push for passenger trains.

  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
WIMMERA residents have thrown their support behind Horsham Rural City Council’s push for passenger trains.The Mail-Times reported on Wednesday that council wants a passenger rail service to run through the Wimmera to Ararat, where it would connect with Melbourne-bound trains. Council met with the Southern Grampians and Glenelg shire councils, which have also called for passenger trains for their region.
Wimmera backs passenger train push


View the full story

With the overland having been cut back to two services each way per week this must now be considered.  GSR have dropped services leaving people on both sides of the victorian and sa borders without a viable alternative to bus or car.  This proposal should really be considered in light of GSR.

Sponsored advertisement

  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
'Many Mail-Times readers said that while travelling by train was preferable to bus, The Overland was too expensive'

Of course we Railpagers are all aware that travelling by the Overland is the same fare as travelling on the V/Line bus when one books their ticket through V/Line.

It's a pity this is not realised locally in Horsham, Dimboola & Nhill.

Mike.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Mike, do you believe Vline could experience success in service upgrades across western Victoria they have in other parts of the state?  Vline patronage is growing albeit slowing however perhaps it is time to look at Western Victoria and what can be achieved by returning trains.

If you take out the Mildura and Mildura line services why not consider a Vlocity service between Ararat and the western part of the state via SG?  A number of two car sets on SG might make sense.   In the overall scheme of the network this investment could be made and used to augment the missing overland services as highlighted above.

thoughts?

Regards
Brian
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Mike, do you believe Vline could experience success in service upgrades across western Victoria they have in other parts of the state?  Vline patronage is growing albeit slowing however perhaps it is time to look at Western Victoria and what can be achieved by returning trains.

If you take out the Mildura and Mildura line services why not consider a Vlocity service between Ararat and the western part of the state via SG?  A number of two car sets on SG might make sense.   In the overall scheme of the network this investment could be made and used to augment the missing overland services as highlighted above.

thoughts?

Regards
Brian
bevans
IMO yes.

When I was in Horsham 2 weeks ago we travelled by the Overland and V/Line bus return to Ararat. The buses we caught were popular and well patronised.

IMO as is usually the case when a bus changes to a train service, it's a reasonable expectation patronage will double due to the introduction of a train. Maryborough is a good example of this.

The only reason V/Lines patronage has dropped a little this year is due to the buses operation on the three RFR lines, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo during the RRL works, and as I wrote earlier pax will put off travelling if faced with a bus which extends journey times by, in some cases well over 50%.

IMO local Horsham MP Hugh Delahunty (Lowan) isn't interested in pax rail transport and it's unlikely the local Mail-Times campaign will get up.
If however in the unlikely event a SG VLocity should there ever be such a train was allocated to run from Ararat to Nhill it would run in addition to the twice weekly Overland service. 1, 2 car VLocity set would suffice to run the approx 2.5 hour each way service.

Mike.
  Rossco T Chief Train Controller

Location: Camberwell, Victoria
The only reason V/Lines patronage has dropped a little this year is due to the buses operation on the three RFR lines, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo during the RRL works, and as I wrote earlier pax will put off travelling if faced with a bus which extends journey times by, in some cases well over 50%.

Mike.
The Vinelander

Another reason why V/Line patronage may have dropped in the past year is due to the substantial number of Sunbury Passengers who will have been reclassified from V/Line passengers to Metro passengers due to the opening of the electrification.

Ross
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Another reason why V/Line patronage may have dropped in the past year is due to the substantial number of Sunbury Passengers who will have been reclassified from V/Line passengers to Metro passengers due to the opening of the electrification.

Ross
Rossco T
Good point that I overlooked.

Bairnsdale bus substitution may also have make a slight difference
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Thank you all for the comments.

is there any reason preventing vline from running SG services between Melbourne and Tailem Bend return as shuttles on the days the Overland does not run?  Would a daily service be viable?

Would you run this as a Vlocity service (perhaps a modified version for longer distance running) for stay with a loco hauled version?

A choice of Vlocity on SG would be operationally simpler and also provide an option to split the train at Ararat for a Portland service?
  Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic
Thank you all for the comments.

is there any reason preventing vline from running SG services between Melbourne and Tailem Bend return as shuttles on the days the Overland does not run?  Would a daily service be viable?

Would you run this as a Vlocity service (perhaps a modified version for longer distance running) for stay with a loco hauled version?

A choice of Vlocity on SG would be operationally simpler and also provide an option to split the train at Ararat for a Portland service?
JimYarin

Jim, the reason GSR cut the Overland frequency back is because the loading just wasn't there. No way that V/Line would even think about offering a service on the off days - GSR have already worked out that running a train of mostly empty carriages doesn't make money.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Jim, the reason GSR cut the Overland frequency back is because the loading just wasn't there. No way that V/Line would even think about offering a service on the off days - GSR have already worked out that running a train of mostly empty carriages doesn't make money.
Ballast_Plough
I've stayed away from this one but I have to give my two cents as someone who is familiar with the area.

The Overland service was never properly supported and the end-to-end traffic simply isn't there any longer because they can't compete with Tiger/Virgin/Jetstar; the only people using it are disappointed international tourists and pensioners with nothing better to do; it's never been marketed properly to intermediate towns and it's unreliable so its not used by those people either.  

I also agree with Vinelander: The V/Line service being re-introduced is not supported by the local member (Hugh Delehunty) nor was it supported by the previous local member (Bill McGrath); many locals want the line pulled out of the town and by-passed altogether because they don't like it bisecting the place.  Even though a regular train would probably be good for tourism, I feel the bus is more than adequate having used it many times myself... there just isn't sufficient interest any longer in having a local train service to Melbourne, despite what the Mail-Times says.

To top it all off the Wimmera/Mallee is experiencing population decline; West Wimmera and Yarriambiack Council areas are losing people every year.  It would be completely different if the area was growing or attracting new businesses but it's not.  There's just no sound reason to reinstate a train service, not at this time anyway.
  Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic
My understanding also was that part of the deal for GSR running The Ghan and The Indian Pacific was that they had to also run The Overland. It's not their primary service though so they run The Overland more as a token to keep the other 2. Not sure if this is still the case or not.
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Isn't the idea of improving transport services in regional areas (i know this has also been talked about in SA but does not get traction) go to retaining and growing the population of the area?

The SG line between the border and Ararat is in reasonably good condition but could it support 100km/h running (or higher) from the Vlocity?
  Rodo Chief Commissioner

Location: Southern Riverina
An SG Vlocity service beyond Ararat should be popular enough. Possibly it could continue on to provide a daytime service as far as Adelaide, not so much as a link to Melbourne but rather a connection between regional towns. Such a train should be able to run at 130 kmh and perhaps could start its run from Geelong for an Ararat connection.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
An SG Vlocity service beyond Ararat should be popular enough. Possibly it could continue on to provide a daytime service as far as Adelaide, not so much as a link to Melbourne but rather a connection between regional towns. Such a train should be able to run at 130 kmh and perhaps could start its run from Geelong for an Ararat connection.
Rodo
Wouldn't that require the line speed to be upgraded?
  Rodo Chief Commissioner

Location: Southern Riverina
A line that can run 115 kmh freights should be able to run 130 kph V/los.
  ab123 Chief Train Controller

A line that can run 115 kmh freights should be able to run 130 kph V/los.
Rodo

Not if there is unprotected level crossings.
  Rodo Chief Commissioner

Location: Southern Riverina
Not if there is unprotected level crossings.
ab123
XPTs ran at 160 kmh over crossings protected only by a stop sign. Anyway the upgrading of level crossings is not really a prohibitive thing.
  ab123 Chief Train Controller

Thats an XPT and Countrylink, not a Vlocity and V/line. Different kettle of fish.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Thats an XPT and Countrylink, not a Vlocity and V/line. Different kettle of fish.
"ab123"
We have a higher top speed and a longer average consist. I agree it's different - ours is bigger, so what's your excuse?
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
I see no real reason to not offer and market a suitable regional service through western Victoria.  Rural population decline is a factor of many things but absence of transport is surely one; younger people can't find work and need to travel farther afield while the older ones may be past the age where they feel comfortable driving.  

GSR have always run the Overland as what could be called a "sulky" service.  It came with their deal to run the IP and Ghan with revenue support from the two state administration through which it passes.  It has never within my experience been run with enthusiasm or any serious intent whatsoever to make money.  Even the attitude of on-board staff has reflected this on occasions.

Without SG conversion via Ballarat either a change of train or use of gauge-convertible stock would be needed if the empty route across the plains was to be abandoned.  There is no commercial reason to come this way - it's only because of the gauge.

So we are faced with an option of captive SG stock working west of Ararat on a fairly limited service which would replace some but not all of the existing road coach operations.  It can also effectively replace the Overland which I'm sure GSR would happily drop if they could.  Rolling stock has to be serviced somewhere which either means working into Melbourne or Adelaide though fuel can be supplied by road tanker at any suitable location.  

Connections with the BG Melbourne trains at Ararat would be guaranteed and a single daily service perhaps on the lines of Horsham - Ararat - Horsham - Adelaide - Murray Bridge.  One unit connects with a morning Melbourne trip, returns to Adelaide and finishes with a "commuter" run to Murray Bridge.  A second unit does the reverse.  A third unit would need to be spare as two cannot work two rosters 7 days a week - probably not even 5 or 6.

That creates a daytime journey opportunity into both capitals from the regions though not necessarily a there-and-back trip.  It's maybe a bit far for that; I'm not sure how many people make trips like Horsham - Melbourne and back the same day.

It also preserves the Melbourne - Adelaide passenger rail link albeit with a change of train across the platform at Ararat and it creates a morning-in evening-out service for Murray Bridge - Adelaide.

If the Overland ceased any remaining state funding could assist in pump-priming the new operation.  And with the marketing and branding of V/Line which isn't a squeaky-clean brand but arguably has a better reputation than the "Overdue".
  Elwinndrumps Beginner

Location: Essex
I Listened wimmera residents have thrown their support behind Horsham Rural City Council's push for passenger trains. it's true??


  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I see no real reason to not offer and market a suitable regional service through western Victoria.  Rural population decline is a factor of many things but absence of transport is surely one; younger people can't find work and need to travel farther afield while the older ones may be past the age where they feel comfortable driving.  

Rolling stock has to be serviced somewhere which either means working into Melbourne or Adelaide though fuel can be supplied by road tanker at any suitable location.  

Connections with the BG Melbourne trains at Ararat would be guaranteed and a single daily service perhaps on the lines of Horsham - Ararat - Horsham - Adelaide - Murray Bridge.  One unit connects with a morning Melbourne trip, returns to Adelaide and finishes with a "commuter" run to Murray Bridge.  A second unit does the reverse.  A third unit would need to be spare as two cannot work two rosters 7 days a week - probably not even 5 or 6.
Gwiwer

With regard to fueling and storing/servicing of rollingstock, this does become a problem.  Are there no remaining fuel points west of Ballarat? Dimboola?

Ararat could be upgraded to store and service SG passenger rollingstock also.  There is plenty of railway land around the yard. Just a thought?

Regards
Brian
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
With regard to fueling and storing/servicing of rollingstock, this does become a problem.  Are there no remaining fuel points west of Ballarat? Dimboola?

Ararat could be upgraded to store and service SG passenger rollingstock also.  There is plenty of railway land around the yard. Just a thought?

Regards
Brian
bevans
It's been a couple of years since I've caught that train but as I recall there is a fuel point in the yards there for the Vlocitys that are stabled there overnight.  There's a stack of room for standard gauge stabling in the yards; they could probably be built on the opposite side to the current broad gauge stabling; changing trains at Ararat isn't a good long-term solution though.

Personally I think the answer would be to standard gauge the line back to Ballarat and standardise the Mildura line at the same time so that Ararat/Horsham/Adelaide trains could run though Ballarat and then through North Shore to Melbourne.  The current arrangement of the line running through Westmere is useless in terms of trying to attract intermediate passengers; Stawell/Horsham people often use the train to access Ballarat so it needs to be modified so it's on the line again to make it practical.

This was discussed extensively on a thread about the future of the Overland earlier this year.  The Vic and SA governments need to bite the bullet and take it off GSR; they really don't want it and 2 return services a week is next to useless anyway - it's $2 million plus p/a currently being wasted on a service nobody wants and nobody uses.

I think for the Adelaide train to have any sort of a future it really needs to be run by V/Line and Ballarat put back on the route.  I know there's a lot of people unhappy with V/Line but really (in my opinion) they're the best passenger train operator in the country; the integrated ticketing, marketing to intermediate towns and operation with the rest of the V/Line network is what the service really needs if it's to be saved.
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

No question the simplest way forward is to regauge from Ballarat to Ararat as standard gauge.

Ballarat is a decent station to make an interchange, complete with operating Refreshment Rooms and coach connections from Geelong and Bendigo.  Also, Ballarat has the servicing facilities to maintain the rolling stock.

Using Ballarat as a base for servicing keeps this side well away from interfering with the interstate freight trains.  The sharing of tracks with interstate trains would only be on the Ararat and beyond section.

The next question would be what to do for Mildura.  I see a straightforward gauge conversion being to connect Hopetoun to Lascelles then on to Mildura.  This would provide a line to Mildura without hills to climb and, despite the slightly longer distance, would probably be quicker thanks to the higher track speed between Melbourne and Murtoa.

There could be a passenger service to Mildura several days a week with Murtoa being the station for Horsham.  That way, the train would serve the significant towns of Ararat, Stawell and Horsham as well as Mildura.  This train could commence with a daily to Horsham service with extension to Mildura a couple of times a week, becoming more often as demand grows.

If GSR should tire of The Overland, V/Line (or another chosen operator) could run a service from Melbourne with it serving Adelaide or Mildura on alternating days.
  ab123 Chief Train Controller



Albury MK 2, with captive locos/carriages/DMUs & dealing with ARTC!
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner



Albury MK 2, with captive locos/carriages/DMUs & dealing with ARTC!
ab123
Which is why is suggest it may need to be some operator other than V/Line.
GSR have no trouble dealing with ARTC.  Sometimes, despite huge Government backing, some things just seem to be all too hard for V/Line.

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: bevans, Brianr, Pressman

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.