When the XPT was designed & promoted the concept pushed was that it simply was meant as a regional replacement train for the old DEB sets & similar. The Tag of Intercity Express train was also applied, the design was a modification of the BR HST intercity expresses & that tag stuck, just the title of the train changed from HST to XPT.
Early on there was a lot of issues to overcome especially the factor of the HST as a straight replacement would & could not cope with the terrain of the NSW track, grades as well as climate, more especially the heat, bare in mind that if the temperature in the UK gets above 29 degrees its classed as heat wave & extreme weather.
Initial areas to receive the train were Albury owing to it being the only line where once it got past Junee & limited spots south of Glbn, it could show its speed, if CTC was in operation, thus the gimick of the Highway patrol speed readout of of 184Km/h, next was Grafton for the NC Dayligh- Dubbo & Armidale. Some other lines were to have train connections but primarilly a vast network of bus connections was had, somewhat succesfull but likewise not.
In the early stages they suffered badly in the heat, & the overall bringing out of the British equipment on them. The talk of smooth ride etc, was another furphy, yep was nice when sitting down but the roughness of the old tracks, & not much better these days would through people around when walking through the aisles. When I walked the aisles it reminded me of trying to balance & fire steam loco's especially 36 & 38cl at speed as the tender went one way & the engine the other.
The initial buffet service was good, today, a shame.
Point is, that those trains were incapable of providing the services running to just the regional areas, without seperate & extra spares, something picked up on early. The Paxman motors were high maintenance & a credit to those who serviced them but they were not really up to the extensive work they did. Only the High speed abilities on the far south provided them with any real potential.
Todays Daylight to Casino is just the extension of the old loco hauled daylight, the overnight service to Brisbane is a purpose built train designed & tabled to lose out & be done away with owing to stupid times. The middayish service to Grafton also is a pathetic TT & does not provide the same service as the old one.
The CWE or Dubbo XPT is a waste, & always was owing to the return timings, for those from the rural centres.
The Melbourne services for mine are too long & also seating poorly designed for a train of that timing, same applies to the Brisbane service, if 3 hours were cut off not so much a problem. The factor that the Victorian government wanted the extra train & sleepers meant one spare XP was built to cover the whole fleet.
Today, while they still fail, consider the mileage they still do over track that has only 2 primary differences to the 80's & probably 90's, all heavier & welded rails, & concrete sleepers, yet the speed is lower. The majority of the grades have not changed one iota, either both are huge handicaps.
Governents are there to make the electorate laugh, or perhaps cry in the end, as they promise the world when in election mode, tell how wide they consult their constituents, yet in the main they just hand shake the faithfull, kiss & make babies spew & try to turn away, & walk past the ordinary elector especially one who is after answers to their questions.
If & when the XPT & even Explorers end up being replaced, it will be by whatever convenient means those people who know everything, & let on nothing will decide, be it a straight replacement of a similar but more modern design, construction & equipment, same conditions with a DMU style like the Exploders, or buses on our wonderul rural highways, competing with & avoiding the masses of expanding heavy high speed trucks.
If they decide on rail as the option to go for, they will only work if the timetables reflect the needs of those who use them, be they old farts & families, younger people, tourists or whoever, also some effort to get them to run at a reasonable enough speed to get to the destinations in reasonable times.