XPT Replacement Discussion

 
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
I think the main thing we may see is a train design that perhaps will be suitable for all Country Link services, rather than XPT interstate, XPL intrastate which very much limits flexibility for passenger loads, train availability and route changes in future.
RTT_Rules
Bar the sleepers, the assignment of XPT and Xplorer sets is based on passenger demand (the XPT typically has more capacity), rather than any notion of interstate vs intrastate (which is a nonsense premise anyway, given XPT service to the intrastate destinations of Casino, Grafton and Dubbo, and the Xplorer service to the notionally interstate destination of Canberra).  Bar the sleepers (which are an anachronism), there's very little difference between the two types of train in terms of the product offered to passengers.

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  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Bar the sleepers, the assignment of XPT and Xplorer sets is based on passenger demand (the XPT typically has more capacity), rather than any notion of interstate vs intrastate (which is a nonsense premise anyway, given XPT service to the intrastate destinations of Casino, Grafton and Dubbo, and the Xplorer service to the notionally interstate destination of Canberra).  Bar the sleepers (which are an anachronism), there's very little difference between the two types of train in terms of the product offered to passengers.
donttellmywife
Yes and with new trains perhaps the current timetable would be ditched and start from scratch and what is best for taxpayer and user and at least provide a service that looks like it wants to attract more FF users

For a start
- Ditch running through the night, more trains required, but this reduces maintenance and costs and capital costs of having to buy sleepers.
- The fleet could then be made with permanently coupled 3 and 4 car sets that can be coupled together as required.
- Mid car would have food and beverage service facilities as well as vending machines for more common items as shop would not be open continuously due to needs for staff to manage passengers at stations.
- One end car would have first class style seats, rest of train a more economy standard.
- One end car would have luggage and bike storage facilities

Regards
Shane
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Yes and with new trains perhaps the current timetable would be ditched and start from scratch and what is best for taxpayer and user and at least provide a service that looks like it wants to attract more FF users

For a start
- Ditch running through the night, more trains required, but this reduces maintenance and costs and capital costs of having to buy sleepers.
- The fleet could then be made with permanently coupled 3 and 4 car sets that can be coupled together as required.
- Mid car would have food and beverage service facilities as well as vending machines for more common items as shop would not be open continuously due to needs for staff to manage passengers at stations.
- One end car would have first class style seats, rest of train a more economy standard.
- One end car would have luggage and bike storage facilities

Regards
Shane
RTT_Rules

I agree with pretty much everything you've said here.

I still think it'd be better to combine this order with this to give NSWTrains a common platform.

I've said it often enough here, but I think ditching checked luggage and off-boarding the meal service are the way to go in terms of matching the (financial) performance of road coaches.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Its amazing how everytime there is an election, out come the promises to basically 'Do Wonders and SPIT Miracles ' until after the elections and it all gets put back into the basket until the next time.
On the surface the suggestion to replace the current XPT fleet is fantastic until as an aside they say its 'many years down the track'.
VFT (Very Fast Trains) are another Furphey touted out at election times but the cost of upgrading both track and trains is conveniently ignored at the time because we know to achieve this is going to cost Billions.
Regrettably Coaches have far more flexibilty than a train and if properly run, should be cheaper overall, their only downfall is the quality of the roads presently.
The other problem with an all Road coach service is some towns along the old Railway line have been bypassed by a new road, some by quite a distance which adds more time to the run if the Bus is to service these places.
Are 'Sleepers' really viable for trips under 12 hours and should all services be run mainly during Daytime only or those really long distance trips run over night with sitting accommodation only?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Its amazing how everytime there is an election, out come the promises to basically 'Do Wonders and SPIT Miracles ' until after the elections and it all gets put back into the basket until the next time.
On the surface the suggestion to replace the current XPT fleet is fantastic until as an aside they say its 'many years down the track'.
VFT (Very Fast Trains) are another Furphey touted out at election times but the cost of upgrading both track and trains is conveniently ignored at the time because we know to achieve this is going to cost Billions.
Regrettably Coaches have far more flexibilty than a train and if properly run, should be cheaper overall, their only downfall is the quality of the roads presently.
The other problem with an all Road coach service is some towns along the old Railway line have been bypassed by a new road, some by quite a distance which adds more time to the run if the Bus is to service these places.
Are 'Sleepers' really viable for trips under 12 hours and should all services be run mainly during Daytime only or those really long distance trips run over night with sitting accommodation only?
gordon_s1942
Buses should win hands down on regional trains, more flexible, often faster, more frequent, but they don't. History has proven replace train with bus and watch the numbers decline. Govts I think finally accept this.

I think the commitment for new trains follows the acceptance by the NSW govt the HSR/VFT will not occur within most of our lifetimes.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I agree with pretty much everything you've said here.

I still think it'd be better to combine this order with this to give NSWTrains a common platform.

I've said it often enough here, but I think ditching checked luggage and off-boarding the meal service are the way to go in terms of matching the (financial) performance of road coaches.
djf01
issue is, (open to correction)
- Sydney Trains needs DD electric traction that probably cannot tilt.
- NSW Trains needs diesel powered traction that is SD and can tilt much of the time.

I don't think the two are compatible, the exception would be the replacement of the Endeavors and Hunter Sets.

Checked Luggage is a must. Advantage of having a train is you have the space. Even a coach has a lot of space underneath. for safety reasons you cannot fill the exists of a train. And things like bikes and prams are bulky. Like planes, oversized and excessive baggage needs to be paid for.

Food service on new trains will undoubtedly remain but not extend past that available on the Explorers and First class delivery to seats maybe stopped. Vending machines is a way to sell more and reduce cost and on the smaller regional trains I used in Europe were common. Vending machines allows the staff more flexible time to do other functions thus limiting staff. Buffet may be open for example less often as most of the needs of the cattle are met by a machine. Hot Food, cakes, ice cream, alcohol and other less vending machine friendly items can be sold separately.
  Westby3026 Locomotive Driver

Are interstate rail trips between say Melbourne and Sydney out of the question until the two governments sort out part ownership as is the case with the current XPT fleet?
  Westby3026 Locomotive Driver

Are interstate rail trips between say Melbourne and Sydney out of the question until the two governments sort out part ownership as is the case with the current XPT fleet?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Are interstate rail trips between say Melbourne and Sydney out of the question until the two governments sort out part ownership as is the case with the current XPT fleet?
Westby3026
I doubt it.
If Vic supports 2 trains a day why would things change?

Qld also funds part of the Brisbane XPT as well.

I guess we will see.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Yes and with new trains perhaps the current timetable would be ditched and start from scratch and what is best for taxpayer and user and at least provide a service that looks like it wants to attract more FF users

For a start
- Ditch running through the night, more trains required, but this reduces maintenance and costs and capital costs of having to buy sleepers.

RTT_Rules
I wrote a lengthy post about this, but the forum swallowed it, yet again.  So I'll be a bit briefer, skipping some of the elaboration.

I don't think your night running restriction makes sense.  Sleepers are an anachronism for something like NSW Trains, unless you can regularly find passengers that are willing to pay several times the current sleeper fare, you don't have them - see the situation in Queensland, plus consider the sleeper arrangements provided on any long distance flight.  Considering their capital cost is therefore a little pointless.  

As you say though, overnight running restrictions will make set utilisation terrible, so you'll need more sets to deliver the same passenger-kilometres - the capital cost implications of this would be horrendous (much, much more than what a handful of sleepers cost).  Depending on how things played out you could be talking hundreds of millions of dollars more required upfront.

You are not going to save on maintenance by restricting overnight running - maintenance frequency is still driven by kilometres travelled, the only time you will have access to the sets for regular maintenance is at night, and permanent night shift maintenance is generally more expensive than a rotating or permanent day shift roster.  Plus, sets that work out one day, back the next (which will be most of them) will spend that night off remote from any maintenance facility that is somewhat close to Sydney.  This will mean additional stabling and perhaps maintenance facilities and remote maintenance staff will be required.

A significant part of the current timetable is due to peak "curfew" type restrictions in and out of Sydney.  New trains won't change that.  Restricting overnight operations may make those peak restrictions far more significant.

Current night running does satisfy, to some reasonable extent given circumstances are far from ideal, what some passengers want - there are a series of inbound services that deliver people to Sydney from many regions in time for a working day down there.  If anything, there is a lack of corresponding outbound services that leave Sydney after the working day, and head out into the regions as night falls.

I've said it often enough here, but I think djf01 needs to stop smoking random plants from his garden.  Checked luggage and buffets are things that can make you money, either directly or indirectly (I'll speculate (i.e. wildly guess) that the buffet makes more cash flow per metre of train floor space, than the seats do).
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
HI DTMW,
What I meant by less km was that each set would do less km per year if you had to buy more sets to maintain the current number of services per day without nights.

I think by night I mean services would be at their destination by around 11pm, thus mitigating the desired need by some for sleepers. Without the sleepers there potentially would be a small offset for the number of cars needed, but the train marshaling and arrangements would be much simpler.

The govt said it was looking at regional servicing to help take jobs out of Sydney. Qld maintains the RTT in Rockhampton for which one of the two sets spends each night there and a full day on Saturday. Yes maintenance costs in staff salaries are higher, but offsets to this and there is assumed night shift would be doing just regular/urgent maintenance and like the RTT the full scale PM's and repairs would be done in regular rostered full days in the shop. I'm going to take a guess and say Dubbo and Grafton will get workshops to maintain the fleet. In this day and age things tend to be modular plug and play in heavy industry so often its about swap and service it off line.

The freight/ARTC side of things would also probably encourage NSW Trains to get off the interstate after dark as much as possible.

The budget was also listed as a $1B, so this is more than a few sets and potentially a fleet size larger than now.

Yes i agree, the biggest money earner on the train by sqr ft is the buffet.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
What I meant by less km was that each set would do less km per year if you had to buy more sets to maintain the current number of services per day without nights.

...

The freight/ARTC side of things would also probably encourage NSW Trains to get off the interstate after dark as much as possible.
RTT_Rules
If you have the same number of services, then you have the same number of set kilometres.  That's what drives a good part of your maintenance cost.  You might be doing less maintenance per year per set, but you have proportionally more sets.

I doubt ARTC cares.  Once you get beyond the commuter service region the lines are nowhere near capacity.  If anything they would want an even loading of traffic, such that slots for freight are also evenly available around the clock, and not force operators to have to schedule their trains at inconvenient times.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
If you have the same number of services, then you have the same number of set kilometres.  That's what drives a good part of your maintenance cost.  You might be doing less maintenance per year per set, but you have proportionally more sets.

I doubt ARTC cares.  Once you get beyond the commuter service region the lines are nowhere near capacity.  If anything they would want an even loading of traffic, such that slots for freight are also evenly available around the clock, and not force operators to have to schedule their trains at inconvenient times.
donttellmywife
True, I was thinking more over the life of the set and time taken each year for the set to be off line.

Regarding mixing with freight. My understanding is the East Coast interstate is busiest at night when a "heard" of trains (maybe a tidal flow is a better term) leaves the state capitals bound of the adjacent state capital. While these trains have a similar performance and do not face most of the opposing freight until I assume half way through the night, its made more complicated by having the faster XPT coming through on priority. While arriving no later than 11pm at most destinations will still see some conflicts, it maybe less than what happens now. (open to correction).
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
A suggestion was made recently on the Orange Prime News earlier this week (15~20th March) that would make much of these posting superfluous is to replace the XPT by Road Coaches completely both ways.
I know a Bus runs between Lithgow and Bathurst now both ways in conjuction with the XPT going via Wallerawang and Portland but I havent checked the exact route.
What wasnt said was if the Bus's would run direct form Sydney to Dubbo and return or Lithgow to Dubbo connecting with an Interurban.
  robertc Chief Train Controller

I will state first that I believe the replacements for the current passenger fleet will have artificial rubber tyres and possibly a dog picture on the side.

However if by some miracle the majority in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong allow us in the rest of the state to have a rail service rather than the danger and rigors of road travel how might it be done?

Well, for a start there is the matter of distance. Those who call for only daylight trains obviously haven’t done many trips from the far reaches of the state to Sydney.  Such an idea is fine if we have a high speed train service that allows us to get from the border areas into Sydney, do our business and return in the one day. Not likely to happen any time soon. Otherwise we are, as now, having to spend 3 days with two nights’ accommodation costs just to get to Sydney for a day.

The logical way to spend time on what are going to be slow train services is to sleep. Oddly enough, this is not a new idea. Before this city centric rail service came in vogue I had 2 trains a day, one of them at night. Given the crappy carriages, no heating and no refreshment services on a 12-14 hour trip in one of the coldest regions of the state it is a wonder that any one entered into braving the trip. But brave they did and often there would still be plenty of souls still on the train when I departed a couple of hours from the border terminal. I was rather astonished to find official statistics that denied this reality.

Just before this service came to an end (along with many similar services) I started taking advantage of the sleeping car where the staff I discovered was actually providing the morning cuppa and bikkie out of their own pockets. I stayed warm and arrived refreshed, which is more than can be said for the poor souls in first and second class sitting.  Thus I could spend a day in the city doing the things I had to do and get back on the train that night and head home.

I often wondered how many more would have used this service if it had heated carriages and reclining seats. I for one would not have needed a sleeper. RUB or HUB cars could have provided a huge upgrade in comfort over the dodgy old FS and BS carriages and a buffet would have done a very good trade over such a long distance. I, like other well seasoned travellers, would not have needed to stock up with sandwiches and a thermos. Pity the occasional user of these services who discovered there were no refreshment services on the train or RRR’s to serve even a lowly pie and cuppa after they had boarded.

For my money a loco hauled service like the XPT at night provides a logical service for those of us in the far reaches of the state. Flexibility of consist is a must for catering for peak travel times however. If they can make a railmotor quiet enough then perhaps share a design with Victoria and South Australia and use those instead. Make the spacing between the seats adequate to recline enough to sleep and for the window passenger to get in and out without disturbing the aisle seat passenger and provide access to refreshments all through the journey.  In the USA I used this type of service with Amtrak and it was very comfortable. They provided a light blanket for the journey which helped when it came time to sleep. The train should be one class with the necessary facilities provided (e.g. power for laptops at every seat and headphone sockets for onboard entertainment) for all travellers so we don’t again end up again with the situation where customers are being turned back because of a full second class with spare seats available in first. If railmotors are chosen it would make sense to reduce the spacing between seats for dedicated daytime short haul services such as the Canberra run.

The issue of access for those who will need to board/depart the train during the night needs to be considered too. Stations with comfortable chairs, air conditioned with security cameras and a panic button should be available at each intermediate stop. That way those who do not have the capacity to arrive just as the train arrives or to leave as soon as they get to their destination have a safe and secure place to stay until business hours.  

Arrival times in the city should be between 7.30 – 8 AM and departures could be as late as 8PM to enable as much time for us to do what we have to do. Never mind the presumptions of having no slots for us, passengers iin the city have dozens of trains a day, I am only asking for one.

Oh, and while I am asking for such extravagances to be spent on the more remote taxpayers of this state, could we also have the rest of the railway lines we own returned to us so we do not have to use a bus to travel for hours to reach a train? If taxes need to be raised to provide services then so be it.

Dream, dream, dream!
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
DTMW, RTT, DJF — It's a pleasure for all of us to be back.

I don't think your night running restriction makes sense.  Sleepers are an anachronism for something like NSW Trains, unless you can regularly find passengers that are willing to pay several times the current sleeper fare, you don't have them - see the situation in Queensland, plus consider the sleeper arrangements provided on any long distance flight.  Considering their capital cost is therefore a little pointless.
donttellmywife
There are enough people willing to use them, though, so while I’m not a big fan of them and think they could do with some work, I wouldn’t rule them out.

In fact, I’d try to make a push back to the roomette layout; it’s a lot more efficient to have double-deck roomettes to cram in the sleepers and then have  a block of lavatories and showers at the end of the car.

As you say though, overnight running restrictions will make set utilisation terrible, so you'll need more sets to deliver the same passenger-kilometres - the capital cost implications of this would be horrendous (much, much more than what a handful of sleepers cost).  Depending on how things played out you could be talking hundreds of millions of dollars more required upfront.

You are not going to save on maintenance by restricting overnight running - maintenance frequency is still driven by kilometres travelled, the only time you will have access to the sets for regular maintenance is at night, and permanent night shift maintenance is generally more expensive than a rotating or permanent day shift roster.  Plus, sets that work out one day, back the next (which will be most of them) will spend that night off remote from any maintenance facility that is somewhat close to Sydney.  This will mean additional stabling and perhaps maintenance facilities and remote maintenance staff will be required.

Current night running does satisfy, to some reasonable extent given circumstances are far from ideal, what some passengers want - there are a series of inbound services that deliver people to Sydney from many regions in time for a working day down there.  If anything, there is a lack of corresponding outbound services that leave Sydney after the working day, and head out into the regions as night falls.
donttellmywife
I agree with DTMW on this, but I’m going to go one step further and argue for increased overnight running.

I, and indeed the rest of us, have been letting this issue sit out in the cold room for over a year. I still remember being unable to truly crack how to best serve the regional population, but I’ve finally hit what I think is the raison d’être of regional rail: to bring regional people to Sydney (and Newcastle).

I came to this realisation the other day when some random regional rag ran an article about the XPT, quoting someone who said, “The XPT train timetables have suited the needs of the trains more than the needs of the people and Dubbo is an illustration of this - people would like a train service to Sydney in the morning that gets back in the evening.”

At first, my reaction as a superior blend flat white-sipping inner-city elitist was to scoff. “You idiot,” I snorted, “You’re six and a half hours out of Sydney, for Pete’s sake! If you leave Sydney in the evening, you’ll get back to Dubbo at midnight; if you want to arrive in the morning, you’ll leave Dubbo at one in the morning!”

Then it hit me. I ran my left hand through my slightly-too-long-hair. “The turnaround,” I muttered into my organic, ethically-sourced croissant. “The turnaround — it’s only an hour.” I stood up so suddenly my skin-tight raw denim skinny jeans nearly tore. “We can run it out in the evening and back as a redeye!” My hands shot up in the air, flying forth from my Japanese hoodie.

From this epiphany, I’ve since worked out the diagrams for all trains across the network. I need a few days to work them into a publishable timetable. But the key takeaway is this: if you run redeye trains, you can get seriously good schedules for bringing people to Sydney.

I also discovered that by passing the Albury to Melbourne leg back to V/Line, I can claw back enough daily running hours to run a third Albury train. I know this will result in a lot of people crying foul, but it’s an enhancement that actually improves regional connectivity so I believe it’s justified.

A significant part of the current timetable is due to peak "curfew" type restrictions in and out of Sydney.  New trains won't change that.  Restricting overnight operations may make those peak restrictions far more significant.
donttellmywife
I’m actually of the view that some of the morning arrivals should be moved to just after curfew, i.e. around 09:15 (similar to the morning up Warrnambool and morning up Sheppaton arrivals into Southern Cross).

I've said it often enough here, but I think djf01 needs to stop smoking random plants from his garden.  Checked luggage and buffets are things that can make you money, either directly or indirectly (I'll speculate (i.e. wildly guess) that the buffet makes more cash flow per metre of train floor space, than the seats do).
donttellmywife
Absolutely, keep them.

I’ll have the timetable up before the election.
  Calgully Deputy Commissioner

Location:
There may be merit in buying Vlocity trains on the back of the long running sequence of Vline orders.  But whatever you do resist the temptation to stuff around modifying the specification.

Yes I know they're broad gauge but: 1) the things are proven successes technically and politically 2) you know you can source them (in Australia too), 3) the price is likely to be lower than a bespoke design because of bulk order size 4) there's lower risk of being a lemon, and 5) the 3-car sets give flexibility to run variable length trains covering both Xplorer and XPT rosters.  Theoretically you could also trade vehicles with Vline (with bogie exchange) if in the future there were peaks and troughs in demand or political circumstances changed.

Vics might also chip in because it would help out their issues with the Melbourne to Albury line - they could run a mix of Albury locals and through Mel-Syd trains perhaps even dividing and joining en-route say 6 cars leave Melbourne, split at Albury, 3 cars return to Melbourne 3 continue North, join at Junee with 3 cars from Griffith to Sydney.  Maybe also split and join at Goulburn with Canberra 3 car set.  Could do the same at Werris Creek, and maybe also Orange for Dubbo/Broken Hill and even maybe Coffs Harbour.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
There may be merit in buying Vlocity trains on the back of the long running sequence of Vline orders.  But whatever you do resist the temptation to stuff around modifying the specification.
Calgully
I've always loved this idea and I still believe it's the best way forward. You can shove in sleeper compartments and so forth — the floor area is flexible.

1) the things are proven successes technically and politically
Calgully
We know they work and will run, but politically they're just a successful brand and while it carries positive connotations it's not  guarantee.

2) you know you can source them (in Australia too), 3) the price is likely to be lower than a bespoke design because of bulk order size 4) there's lower risk of being a lemon
Calgully
Correct, correct, correct.

5) the 3-car sets give flexibility to run variable length trains covering both Xplorer and XPT rosters.
Theoretically you could also trade vehicles with Vline (with bogie exchange) if in the future there were peaks and troughs in demand or political circumstances changed.
Calgully
I hate to diverge here, but a better idea for NSW is to go back to the Xplorer-style individually-coupled stock, offering better flexibility. Mechanically, it's no change. It's only an operational difference; as far as I'm aware the V/Locity sets can be shuffled around.

Vics might also chip in because it would help out their issues with the Melbourne to Albury line - they could run a mix of Albury locals and through Mel-Syd trains perhaps even dividing and joining en-route say 6 cars leave Melbourne, split at Albury, 3 cars return to Melbourne 3 continue North, join at Junee with 3 cars from Griffith to Sydney.  Maybe also split and join at Goulburn with Canberra 3 car set.  Could do the same at Werris Creek, and maybe also Orange for Dubbo/Broken Hill and even maybe Coffs Harbour.
Calgully
Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, but yes, that's a good general idea.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Hi all,
1) One thing the new train won't be, rubber tyred! I've said it before and I'll keep saying it until the new train arrives. Some of the conclusions for sourcing the new train as a bus based on politics are full of flaws. The XPT was always going to be replaced no before 2020. A number of people who work on or drive it have posted this previously. Also modern pax trains in Australia get replaced around 35-40 years of age. The only train "retired" early in modern times was the ICE replaced with RTT after 12 years of service.

2) What we won't see, trains to one man town pit stops and on branch lines that used to see trains. They are gone! On any route its hard to justify station stops less than 1hr apart too frequently. It just eats into the time too much.

3) What it won't be, loco hauled, Sunlander/IP/Ghan/AMTRAK style trains. They are old technology better suited to large volumes of people on large networks. Building up and breaking down trains based on demand, ahh! forget it. Shunting means cost! Shunting means risk to those who do the work, we all know what the railways think of shunting! Look at the container trains, all too often empty flat beds are dragged in both directions because its cheaper to do so. Look at capital city commuters, running around at night with half a trains lights out. Yes, minor changes to suit seasonal and maintenance, but that's it.

4) What its likely to be, DMU style, or combination fixed set length style. No need for every car to be powered and independent like DMU's of old, rather a set 3-4 cars in length with traction and Aux power and other systems distributed along the train under the floor boards. Much cheaper and more reliable than building stand only cars. Add sets together to build up train length as required. Noise and vibration is only an issue if the designers have their heads in the sand.

5) Sleepers, I think we will see Sleepers go the way of others. Rail beds like CTT will be the path foward with two classes of seating. Sleepers are costly to make, limited capacity, reduces train flexibility, very poor return on investment even compared to seaters and can be avoided with better timetabling and train performance.

6) Timetable, we all know the current timetable is about squeezing as much out of the trains as possible. With a new order anything is possible. I don't, nor do I suspect the respective govts support returning to the all out all change at Albury, imagine that getting into the Media.

What I think is practical for Syd-Mel is this
- Two trains per day each way full distance.
- One leaves early in AM, the other early-mid afternoon.
- A 3rd train leaves for Wagga Wagga/Albury around 5-6pm and returns for a post AM peak arrival in Sydney.

No O/N train required
No sleepers required
Faster running with the new stock will probably take 1-1.5hr off the run to Albury
Addresses most of the needs from old friends from the cold south to get to the city for a day and leave.

7) The new trains will be the same platform that ultimately replace the Explorer, thus leaving the state with a single platform train that can go anywhere do anything flexible fleet that can respond better to regional demand changes.
  62440 Chief Commissioner

Whilst I have travelled many of the old style sleepers on a number of occasions eg Bris Limited, M'bah, Syd Mel, Overland, IP etc I have had one trip overnight in an XPT as I had meetings in Melbourne and Sydney and a first class sleeper was cheaper than a hotel in Sydney before adding cab fares and flights. It is a genuine marketable proposition. The sleepers can be converted between day and night use and only need part of one car. Whilst the gunzels miss out, bona fide passengers may welcome the service as long as it has better times than the current Bris XPT which defies usage.
Certainly beats buses hands down and offers a service to regional centres if it offers a reasonable morning arrival.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Whilst I have travelled many of the old style sleepers on a number of occasions eg Bris Limited, M'bah, Syd Mel, Overland, IP etc I have had one trip overnight in an XPT as I had meetings in Melbourne and Sydney and a first class sleeper was cheaper than a hotel in Sydney before adding cab fares and flights. It is a genuine marketable proposition. The sleepers can be converted between day and night use and only need part of one car. Whilst the gunzels miss out, bona fide passengers may welcome the service as long as it has better times than the current Bris XPT which defies usage.
Certainly beats buses hands down and offers a service to regional centres if it offers a reasonable morning arrival.
62440
Had exactly same experience. Was at Wyong, needed to be in the Sth bay Island of Brisbane at 9:30am the next day. The cost of getting to Sydney for an early morning fight was 1/3 of the cost of the XPT sleeper to Brisbane, a 29min and 30 sec wait (Brisbanites will understand the meaning of this) for the Cleveland train and off we go.

I however assume this is not common.
  a6et Minister for Railways

What has me not amazed is that the same arguements about what sort of trains should replace the XPT here on RP has stayed in place since the thread was started, those who propose other than the DMU concept are disregarded by the DMU proponents. Likewise whenever some people who actually use the trains or even work/operate on the existing fleet suggest something different, again they are treated as if they know nothing either.

The primary reason people have gone off rural passenger services has been the constant changing patterns & timetables that are basically made out by those in the city, based on what they believe the city dwellers wanted, thus the trains primarilly ran from Sydney to the country in outward times suitable for the city dwellers, & arrived back in the same way.

Believe it or not but until the ticketing restrictions came into play, one of the most popular rural trains was the thrice weekly Brisbane Exp via Wallangarra, the times suited the regional traveller, starting from Wallangarra in the afternoon, & departing from Armidale early AM, arriving in Sydney mid Morning. Afternoon it left around 1510, & arriving back in Wallangarrat next morning.

The Saturday night service was generally always full as travellers went to Newcastle for the day for the beach in summer, or through to Sydney for sporting fixtures & returned on the Glen Innes Mail Sunday Night.  It showed what the rural commuter/traveller wanted & they used it. Likewise the Friday night mail took University students back to Sydney for their homes & families where possible, also they returned on the Sunday night mail.

There has been myriads of calls over the years for trains to run ex the regions in the am without success, the times of the NCL daylight service shows a good amount of travellers use it. The NW/NT is a good service on the up as it leaves at good times, but why isn't it more popular, most say the power cars are too noisy & something to consider when new trains are being looked at.

Faster trains will not happen unless the current fleet of XPT's are allowed to once again operate to their speed capacities, but that wont happen owing to the track conditions, amazing that in a time when the track is much heavier & running on concrete sleepers, many of the TT's are not much better in as far as running times are concerned than the old mails or daylight steam locomotive hauled services.

One wonders though, as some have suggested & that has included myself, who was an XPT driver, who have suggested modern loco hauled trains, with carriages that are more comfortable than the current range of DMU & their hybrids like the XPT & know what the customers are wanting, why they are not listened to?

The 99year lease of the poles & wires that is going to fix all the promises by the NSW coalition is going to have to have a wonderful tag or sale price for even 10% of what is being promised in order to come to fruition.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
7) The new trains will be the same platform that ultimately replace the Explorer, thus leaving the state with a single platform train that can go anywhere do anything flexible fleet that can respond better to regional demand changes.
RTT_Rules
(!!@##@#@##!! forum software - get distracted for ten minutes and your post is gone.)

You may be right, but note that replacing the XPT and Xplorer/Endeavour fleet does not leave NSW with a single platform.  There is another...

That other platform is one that has previously been configured for high speed (faster than VLocity), long distance operation, and the possibility of such a configuration was specifically considered when the configuration currently in use in NSW was ordered.

Importantly, that other platform is also built in NSW.

Already in the fleet, good match to requirements, built locally - I'm not a gambler - but if I was I think I'd be putting a little bit of money this way.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
The same arguments are being rehashed because the same people are rehashing them. RTT_Rules and I have had the same fixed-sets vs. individually-coupled arguments over the DMUs for three years; djf01 still hasn't let go of his cattle class and vending machine trains. I mean, come on - the Murwillumbah thread is still going.

This argument is going nowhere fast (much like the XPT itself).

The primary reason people have gone off rural passenger services has been the constant changing patterns & timetables that are basically made out by those in the city, based on what they believe the city dwellers wanted, thus the trains primarilly ran from Sydney to the country in outward times suitable for the city dwellers, & arrived back in the same way.
a6et
Herein lies the problem.

As I mentioned earlier today, I've finally had the epiphany that the raison d’être of regional rail is not to bring city people to the country; it's to bring country people to the city. Because, and I'm being honest here, those of us who live in Sydney have little cause to go out to the country. If I want to get out of Sydney, I'm either on a plane to Melbourne or a plane to Singapore.

Regional rail isn't for the city; it's for the regions.

But the regions themselves are internally served by motor transport. What is the role of rail? The role of rail, I've come to realise, is to bring people from the regions to the city to access things they can't get in the regions. The trip motivators are things like medical appointments and family visits for the pensioners; beaches, bars and nightlife for the kids.

For the most part, there seems to be a longing for a daytrip; to arrive in the morning and leave in the evening, getting a full day in Sydney without having to cough up for two hotel nights, which is the current predicament with regional trains arriving in the evening and leaving in the morning.

I've therefore come to the conclusion that the best way to do it is to move beyond tolerating the overnight train; we must embrace it. I believe we must abandon non-core goals to focus on the central mission: to bring the country to the city. To this end, I've reshuffled regional trains into a new system that, while using no more trains than at present, offers better connectivity and greater convenience to what I understand to be our core demographic: those in the country who seek a taste of the city.

I will release my proposed timetable before the election, just because it's funny.

(!!@##@#@##!! forum software - get distracted for ten minutes and your post is gone.)
donttellmywife

Been there, done that.

You may be right, but note that replacing the XPT and Xplorer/Endeavour fleet does not leave NSW with a single platform.  There is another...

That other platform is one that has previously been configured for high speed (faster than VLocity), long distance operation, and the possibility of such a configuration was specifically considered when the configuration currently in use in NSW was ordered.

Importantly, that other platform is also built in NSW.

Already in the fleet, good match to requirements, built locally - I'm not a gambler - but if I was I think I'd be putting a little bit of money this way.
donttellmywife
You're not seriously suggesting the Hunter railcar, are you?
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
You're not seriously suggesting the Hunter railcar, are you?
"Watson374"
As a platform, very much so.  In that specific configuration?  Never.  

As a platform a VLocity is just the evolution of an Endeavour.

You're not seriously rejecting something like the Transwa Prospector, are you?

The primary reason people have gone off rural passenger services has been the constant changing patterns & timetables that are basically made out by those in the city, based on what they believe the city dwellers wanted, thus the trains primarilly ran from Sydney to the country in outward times suitable for the city dwellers, & arrived back in the same way.
"a6et"


Better roads?  More affluent society?  Cheaper aviation?  Look at the calendar - its 2015, not 1915!

The primary reason people have gone off rural passenger rail services is because, as a technology, it fundamentally cannot compete against road and air in many of its current markets.  If you live in Armidale, and you have any reasonable means, you drive or catch the plane to get to Sydney.  There are several flights a day from multiple airlines, that operate without any real government support at all.  The only people catching the train are basically those without reasonable means.

That means no money from fares to provide a decent service - no one is willing to pay for one!  You have crap timetables because of that.

It is not some sort of giant conspiracy by NSW governments of yore - this has happened all over the world.

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