XPT Replacement Discussion

 
  a6et Minister for Railways

A photo of Neville Wran?
Whilst his government commissioned the XPT, he was also the father of closing country lines as well.
The difference between ALP and Coalition on railways in NSW is pretty mixed, some did this, some did that, comparing them is rather petty.

Gladys has her priorities... and XPT is not there at the moment.
The votes are closer to Sydney and focusing on Sydney transport may break this government. They know they can get another election or two out of XPTs.
Focus on the big money projects first, which I assume will include the V Set replacement.

XPTs will be here for a while yet
johnboy

Under Shirley & his appointment by Askin, the policy was to push away general freight, that typified the branch line network that was outside the grain season, likewise the pushing away of lower volumne grains such as sorghum, oats & barley along with Sunflowers.  He brought in a saying that went along the lines of "Branch lines dependent on general goods, rather than grain, cannot be justified in their retention"  This of course was after the pushing away of general goods traffic along the lines.

When Wran was elected, his agenda included the continuation of country branch line closures that were started under previous labor governments in the Southern districts, however it was thwarted by Granville when Labor had to backpedal on a lot of what they or he wanted to do.

The Wran apppointment of David Hill, had him sucking up to staff in his early years, but it was not long before his collation of things & so called re-establishing the old NSWGR annual Commissioners tours around the state gaining staff input though his nickname of  "call me David" that he announced the decree that was a take on Shirley's earlier rendition.  His view became.  Low volumne WHEAT ONLY, lines cannot be justified for retention.  The first time that wheat by itself was used to describe lines rather than grain came into play.  Prior to Shirley those other grains were carried in large volumnes & provided an almost full year useage of grain wagons & lines.

Thus the whole circle was pretty well complete, the pushing away of general freight & other grains than wheat, meant many of the lines that were in marginal wheat & grain growing areas had their futures affectively killed off.

The push away of so many items of goods from rail has not been confined to one side of politics either, all are equally to blame.

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  barryc Chief Train Controller

Location: Waiting for a train to Canungra
Who pushed freight away from the railways? The railways lost it because of their unsuitable equipment and tracks and their incompetent management.

I spent the years from 1973 to 1979 as a bush Station Master and during that time the traffic was creamed off by the road transport industry because it was more efficient, cheaper and was less rough on the goods.

By the 1980s it was all over without needing to try. All they had to do was keep on doing the same old thing and they were sure good at doing that.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Who pushed freight away from the railways? The railways lost it because of their unsuitable equipment and tracks and their incompetent management.

I spent the years from 1973 to 1979 as a bush Station Master and during that time the traffic was creamed off by the road transport industry because it was more efficient, cheaper and was less rough on the goods.

By the 1980s it was all over without needing to try. All they had to do was keep on doing the same old thing and they were sure good at doing that.
barryc

How much contact with the marketing division did you have in those days?

I too was on the job during that period, as well as before & after it, as for the track conditions no one can deny that, but were you a witness to the edicts from Shirley in those early days that cut back on track maintenance, did you see the curtailment of the passenger train fleet, when the newer steel carriages were set aside for scrap, leaving older wooden types as the main stays. Along with many other areas that rust affected items of R/S just withdrawn.

Also why when there was still a locomotive shortage was the order given at Broadmeadow by Shirley himself that was sent out ordering all steam to be returned to depots at midnight that night? How many trains were cancelled the following day as a result of "No Engines?"

You talk about the incompentent management, YEP, & they followed the orders of the head honcho to a tee, with many of them also on the pay roll of road transport operators who passed on those who wanted to still use rail to certain trucking firms & their agents in the bush.

Creamed off, you betcha but it had those in Pitt & York St's as the ones doing the pouring off of the cream.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
How much contact with the marketing division did you have in those days?

I too was on the job during that period, as well as before & after it, as for the track conditions no one can deny that, but were you a witness to the edicts from Shirley in those early days that cut back on track maintenance, did you see the curtailment of the passenger train fleet, when the newer steel carriages were set aside for scrap, leaving older wooden types as the main stays. Along with many other areas that rust affected items of R/S just withdrawn.

Also why when there was still a locomotive shortage was the order given at Broadmeadow by Shirley himself that was sent out ordering all steam to be returned to depots at midnight that night? How many trains were cancelled the following day as a result of "No Engines?"

You talk about the incompentent management, YEP, & they followed the orders of the head honcho to a tee, with many of them also on the pay roll of road transport operators who passed on those who wanted to still use rail to certain trucking firms & their agents in the bush.

Creamed off, you betcha but it had those in Pitt & York St's as the ones doing the pouring off of the cream.
a6et

There was lots of mistakes done by Management, teh unions also didn't help. But while the rot went too far, there was a world wide trend at the time and that was. Cutting local milk run train services and moving away from less than wagon load and in some cases less than rake load. Small volume freight was lost as trains needed to become longer to remain economic. Small pax trains that were slow compared to even the most basic road transport were also being cut.

NSW also had a large network of heritage lines that didn't go where modern freight and passengers wanted to go and this was especially true near the state borders, especially Qld. Significant changes in local manufacturing during the 70's and 80's and loss of production also impacted heavily on the railways. As the protection for the railways was cut back, they became increasingly exposed to natural market forces and got the result that most would expect.

In the bush, they complained loudly about loss of their trains they never used.

What I think the govt especially failed to do was move towards large depos at few regional locations that were designed to efficiently handle rake length trains to get away from shunting. Problem is most towns would miss out and hence complain.
  a6et Minister for Railways

There was lots of mistakes done by Management, teh unions also didn't help. But while the rot went too far, there was a world wide trend at the time and that was. Cutting local milk run train services and moving away from less than wagon load and in some cases less than rake load. Small volume freight was lost as trains needed to become longer to remain economic. Small pax trains that were slow compared to even the most basic road transport were also being cut.

NSW also had a large network of heritage lines that didn't go where modern freight and passengers wanted to go and this was especially true near the state borders, especially Qld. Significant changes in local manufacturing during the 70's and 80's and loss of production also impacted heavily on the railways. As the protection for the railways was cut back, they became increasingly exposed to natural market forces and got the result that most would expect.

In the bush, they complained loudly about loss of their trains they never used.

What I think the govt especially failed to do was move towards large depos at few regional locations that were designed to efficiently handle rake length trains to get away from shunting. Problem is most towns would miss out and hence complain.
RTT_Rules

The problem was in so many ways that management was given directions from the governments, in those days the way things were handled by those in the ivory towers, got so many workers off side, for no other reason than they were frustrated at seeing the railways going down the tube in a fast pace.  There were some issues from certain areas of the union movement but, for the most part those in the front line & doing the dirty work were the ones who copped the brunt of the flack from all sides, we were treated as nothing more than pawns in the big game of chess.

The element of the branch lines that operated in seasonal times, were made more seasonal when other commodities that grew at other times of the year were pushed away, many of the lines, operated on at least 3 days a week & by the time they got back to the main junction near full loads were hauled, & not just with steam either. When on the secondary lines, from the major junction nearly all those trains were full loads, & not just a single engine either through to its destination.

A heck of lot of that traffic was still preferred by the forwarders & was making money for the railways, but it was governments who brought in their sticks to clear things out.  The passenger service cut backs were also a joke rather than sell tickets & put on carriages for overloaded trains, each station was allocated seat numbers to sell tickets, once their allocation was sold, that was it, stations along the line could not allocate their seats to the busy stations, owing to the account systems that were introduced by management.  

The end justified the means, & the means provided the justification.
  ANR Assistant Commissioner

The future of intercity rail is either a bus, or  an AN or EL loco pulling 4 carriages. With the right livery, nobody will notice the XPT gone.

You can source a Tgv type train, but it is useless on winding unfenced corridors with cows feeding on grass growing between the sleepers.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
I can see the XPTs going the way of the line into Newcastle . Just a matter of time grinding slowly away at the political fall out . The ends to the means is saving money and retaining a political face .
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The future of intercity rail is either a bus, or an AN or EL loco pulling 4 carriages. With the right livery, nobody will notice the XPT gone.

You can source a Tgv type train, but it is useless on winding unfenced corridors with cows feeding on grass growing between the sleepers.
ANR

By the time the XPT is replaced the AN/EL classes will be as long in the tooth as the XPT, additionally you need a double ended loco or two locos as most terminii don't have turning facilities or to do so would be costly and limits locations where the train can do an emergency terminate due to blockage of the line etc.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
The last consist I can think of that ran on the NSW Railways that didnt have a Drivers cab on each end was the Silver City Comet so its very unlikely that type of combination would be considered today.

I was told by a Senior Manager some years ago when I asked about providing facilities for emergency storage because there were none shown available on the plans after the complete removal of a yard only to be told that 'You dont provide for emergencies, only what is needed'.

Basicaly they would rather wear the delay than spend money on sidings and other facilities that may or not be needed as some unknown time.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Both ANs and ELs are single ended and have no HEP, which makes them totally useless for loco hauled trains to replace the XPT.
Could get away with a single loco train with a driving trailer at one end.
I wouldnt be surprised if the replacement XPts were simply more Xplorers.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The last consist I can think of that ran on the NSW Railways that didnt have a Drivers cab on each end was the Silver City Comet so its very unlikely that type of combination would be considered today.

I was told by a Senior Manager some years ago when I asked about providing facilities for emergency storage because there were none shown available on the plans after the complete removal of a yard only to be told that 'You dont provide for emergencies, only what is needed'.

Basicaly they would rather wear the delay than spend money on sidings and other facilities that may or not be needed as some unknown time.
gordon_s1942

Agreed.

Look at QR, both the RTT and the CTT which is another form of the same style of train as the XPT. The trains are designed to operated in revenue service in one direction only with non rotatable seating. Both have a drivers cab on rear, but backwards running is limited to emergencies. Turning facilities are only provided at very few locations which basically the scheduled terminii.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Both ANs and ELs are single ended and have no HEP, which makes them totally useless for loco hauled trains to replace the XPT.
Could get away with a single loco train with a driving trailer at one end.
I wouldnt be surprised if the replacement XPts were simply more Xplorers.
MD

Which basically means you would be buying new locos to replace the XPT locos which would then be a loco designed specifically to pull a 400t train and provide HEP as CountryLink have no need of hauling anything else.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Which basically means you would be buying new locos to replace the XPT locos which would then be a loco designed specifically to pull a 400t train and provide HEP as CountryLink have no need of hauling anything else.
RTT_Rules

I've made the point before - perhaps even in this thread - that the way to make loco hauled work is with fewer, longer trains.  

Rather than 2 underpowered engines at each end, a single modern grunter lugging 10/11 cars.  

Scrap the overnight services, just have one main train a day each way on the NCL and Southern runs.

That needs 5 new locos, (sure with hotel power support and double cabs,) safe in the knowledge they could be sold to the freight industry if and when they cut the service.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I've made the point before - perhaps even in this thread - that the way to make loco hauled work is with fewer, longer trains.

Rather than 2 underpowered engines at each end, a single modern grunter lugging 10/11 cars.

Scrap the overnight services, just have one main train a day each way on the NCL and Southern runs.

That needs 5 new locos, (sure with hotel power support and double cabs,) safe in the knowledge they could be sold to the freight industry if and when they cut the service.
djf01

from Wiki
Combined the two XPT locos pump out 4000HP and this is 500HP per axle (But I don't know what the traction motor rating is.

Its a big loco to improve on above? The big freight operators are also unlikely to be too interested in a few mungrel locos that have been optimised for passenger haulage. I suspect they would be heavily discounted at sale.

Not saying you are wrong and I think also the night trains should make way for freights, but cutting back to running 1 train a day I suspect you won't need to make up 10-11 car trains. Probably lucky t get to 7-8 cars as its back to, Are you telling when people should travel or catering for travellers.

Compass Mk 1 and a few other airlines tried that with wide body aircraft and went the way of the Dodo.

I think two trips are day are required, but off set during the day with the last train arriving aroudn 10-11pm and not traevlling through the night. This dispenses the need for sleepers.

Even in their current state, the XPT fleet could be easily sold overseas.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
I dont understand the obsession with loco hauled trains.
Thats what existed before the XPTs, cant see any motivation to go backwards.
Its far more to be something like Vlines Vlocities, or simply more Xplorers.
The trains need to be short, as the pass numbers dont require much more.
The Sydney - Melb XPT is now normally only 5 cars.
The timetable will most likely stay the same , as its hard to change , especially the Brisbane arrival departure times
so that means keeping something like whats already there.
A reduction in services would be likley.
The NSW Govt is broke, so they will be trying to minimise costs for new trains.
An all Xplorer fleet would be the most cost effective options as its minimises the maintenance costs.
  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
from Wiki
Combined the two XPT locos pump out 4000HP and this is 500HP per axle (But I don't know what the traction motor rating is.

RTT_Rules

1 Loco = 2000Hp, and has 6 axles. Therefore HP per axle is 333.
However, normal convention is to look at HP per tonne, in which case were are looking at 10HP per tonne- massively overpowered when you consider the likes of the PS7's and IP run at about 3/4 HP per tonne.

Further factors to consider include:
1 Power car also provides the power for the carriages which is why the single locomotive approach is not going to work without the supporting equipment. In addition, the XPT at runs at 160km/h. This will have an effect on the necessary gearing changes for freight-passenger-freight conversions and power requirements.

Finally, the Xplorers are capped at 145km/h. Might not be much, but the difference in maximum speed adds up when your timetable works on 160km/h running.

Personally, I fail to see why the government persists in subsidising sub-standard train services in the form of the XPT. Cut the lot of them and run buses. Yes, the rural towns might be slightly affected, but you are not seeing 100's of people travel between country locations. The actually loss would be minimal and the budget savings can instead be directed into more deserving areas of the budget such as hospitals to support the ageing population.

We no longer live in the age of rail, and Australia has turned from point were rail travel was the way to go. Why we continue to beat ourselves silly on this issue is senseless and without merit.
  Gaz170 Junior Train Controller

Location: Gold Coast
Can't build more Xplorers as they don't meet modern crash regulations.  SG Vlocitys would work (but have to be re-named to get rid of that V in the beginning, what's a new catchy word that begins with X ?) with the benefit of zero development costs.

SG version of Cairns tilt train would be awesome, but I won't hold my breath waiting for this.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Even in their current state, the XPT fleet could be easily sold overseas.
RTT_Rules

To who exactly?  Amtrak I'm sure would be thrilled to need to install a bunch of high floor platforms.  The Europeans would only need to raise theirs.  Maybe NZ could expand their loading gauge.  No, far more likely to sell them to VLine or perhaps Tasrail Smile.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
1 Loco = 2000Hp, and has 6 axles. Therefore HP per axle is 333.
seb2351

XPT Power car is Bo-Bo.... has 4 axles.

And their timetable is 'currently' designed for a top speed of 130 km/h after the NSW track speed reductions were put in place in the 1990s. Xplorers have since been filling in on different runs without compromising the timetable.


I can't see these being sold overseas. This government plans to have a lot of years left in the yet, they will be pretty old when they do retire.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I dont understand the obsession with loco hauled trains.
MD

The thinking comes from the idea that the XPT coach fleet - being all stainless steel (at least on the outside) - could probably continue to run cost effectively for several more decades.  Which means rather than a whole new fleet, all that's required is a few locos painted blue.

Thats what existed before the XPTs, cant see any motivation to go backwards.
Its far more to be something like Vlines Vlocities, or simply more Xplorers.
The trains need to be short, as the pass numbers dont require much more.
The Sydney - Melb XPT is now normally only 5 cars.
Thats what existed before the XPTs, cant see any motivation to go backwards.
MD

The XPTs brought with them timetable reform, and a (much) more efficient (or at least less costly) operating pattern which is largely unchanged today.
Its far more to be something like Vlines Vlocities, or simply more Xplorers.

The timetable will most likely stay the same , as its hard to change , especially the Brisbane arrival departure times
MD

I think the Brisbane timetable issue is going to ensure no "new" train will be acquired to continue this service.

An all Xplorer fleet would be the most cost effective options as its minimises the maintenance costs.
MD

The Xplorers are a more expensive train to operate that the XPT ... on a per seat basis.  And the Xplorers aren't exactly spring chickens either.

@RRT_Rules:
The operating pattern I think could work are 4 train sets using the XPT coach fleet: 2 x ~650 seats on the NCL and 2 x ~500 seats on the Southern Line.  On the Southern Line this makes sense (to me) as most people only get the one usable train a day.  On the NCL it might work provided all the feeder busses met the one train, but it would clearly be a service decline.  

But in terms of saving money, even though loco hauled would be more expensive per train, it'd mean cutting train operations from ~110 to ~50 hrs a day.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Which means rather than a whole new fleet, all that's required is a few locos painted blue.
djf01

International Orange, sadly....

I'd recommend the Vossloh Eurolight , a larger profile version of Direct Rail Services Class 68.

And fitting power operated passenger doors to the trailer cars wouldn't go astray.

M636C
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Can't build more Xplorers as they don't meet modern crash regulations. SG Vlocitys would work (but have to be re-named to get rid of that V in the beginning, what's a new catchy word that begins with X ?) ...
Gaz170

X'pensive?
X'asperating?

or when they get old and run down... X'plosive!
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
I recall when they came out many staff refereed to them as Xpensive Political Toys.
  a6et Minister for Railways

I recall when they came out many staff refereed to them as Xpensive Political Toys.
Jim K

More typical was  eXpensive Plastic Trains.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Can't build more Xplorers as they don't meet modern crash regulations. SG Vlocitys would work
Gaz170

Sadly, Velocity railcars don't meet NSW post Waterfall strength regulations either.

The only diesel railcar design that does meet the NSW standards is the Hunter, not that much different to a Velocity...

M636C

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