XPT election promises sends trust in parties off the rails

 

News article: XPT election promises sends trust in parties off the rails

IT'S not hard to tell there's an election just around the corner when political parties trot out sketches of shiny new trains for regional NSW with promises of new comfort and reduced travel times.

  Bethungra Train Controller

IT'S not hard to tell there's an election just around the corner when political parties trot out sketches of shiny new trains for regional NSW with promises of new comfort and reduced travel times.

So why would anyone be sceptical about this seemingly 'good news' proposal?

Well here's why: XPTs were initially spruiked by the NSW state government to 'revolutionise' train travel across the state with reduced travel times and superior service.
XPT election promises sends trust in parties off the rails

This news story raises some great historical events.

I disagree with the sleeping cars as these are still available on the longer distance services to Brisbane and Melbourne if I am not mistaken?

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  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
The problem with the article is that it blames all of those things on the introduction of the XPT.  Correlation doesn't necessarily give cause.  

All those "bad" things would have happened anyway, regardless of particular type of train ordered.  The diminishing viability of longer distance "conventional" passenger rail is hardly unique to regional NSW - it has pretty much happened in all developed countries as other modes of transport have become more competitive over the decades.  

The XPT should more properly be regarded as an attempt to overcome that diminishing viability, not the cause of it.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
All those "bad" things would have happened anyway, regardless of particular type of train ordered.  The diminishing viability of longer distance "conventional" passenger rail is hardly unique to regional NSW - it has pretty much happened in all developed countries as other modes of transport have become more competitive over the decades.  
donttellmywife

I am not sure I agree with that.  long distance rail transport is competitive over road in:

China
Japan
Korea
most of Western Europe
UK

In my view.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
I am not sure I agree with that.  long distance rail transport is competitive over road in:

China
Japan
Korea
most of Western Europe
UK

In my view.
bevans

All of those places have travel markets that dwarf that of the northern rivers of NSW by several orders of magnitude, and market size is pretty fundamental to the viability of something.  Some of those examples involve distances that aren't that particularly long.  Undoubtedly some of the examples you think of are not conventional rail services.  

Try and think of an example where you've got a 700 km odd run between a major market and a dispersed market of maybe two hundred thousand people total, and there's a rail service running without heavy subsidy.  

Road is one competitor that has risen over the last 70 years or so, but in the last 40 years aviation has also significantly cut into rail's share.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I am not sure I agree with that.  long distance rail transport is competitive over road in:

China
Japan
Korea
most of Western Europe
UK

In my view.
bevans
you cannot selectively pick a country as you have compared apples with oranges. None of those have the distances, population density, affluence etc comparable to Regional Australia.

You need to compare apples with apples and the countries most similar to regional Australia are US, Canada and NZ which have all seem similar levels of decay due to improved car affordability, reliability and quality of road infrastructure. US and to a less degree Canadan Sleepers have remained, although a fraction of it once was simply due to volumes of people in much of the US Eastern states and Mid West and Canadan/USA border regions.

If anyone thinks even with the supply of the AMTRAK style coaches and service standards there will be all of a sudden 500m fully uterlised passenger sleeper trains operating along Australia East Coast they have rocks in their head. A similar standard was left operating on the Qld NCL and 3 major routes to western Qld until the end of last year and they have died or dying. Hence why the govt has not bought more stock.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
This news story raises some great historical events.

I disagree with the sleeping cars as these are still available on the longer distance services to Brisbane and Melbourne if I am not mistaken?
Bethungra
Agree, the XPT entered the interstate market only a few years prior to the start of the discount airlines in the mid 90's and then the regional market in early 2000's. In 2000 Qld was still running respectable size landers/SOTO out of Brisbane with people using the train to catch the plane from Brisbane due to cost or regional airfares.  

The XPT had very little to do with the decline of the interstate rail travel, the market changed and had the old trains remained the service may have actually been scrapped. It has been reported in RP previously the introduction of the Brisbane XPT briefly increased patronage. The Mel XPT intro was a F_up, one only day train due to Vic decision not to fund.

On was on one of the last Mel trains prior to the XPT and signed the petition and listening to business travellers in the dinner car reasons for retention of the train, but I doubt they would have remained past the end of the decade with air market changing.

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