XPT Replacement Discussion

 
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Say you lived at Armidale and wanted to got to the beach at Newcastle in the 1960's. Your car was probably something from the 1950's and you are driving over the road conditions at the time.

- How long did the trip take?
- How comfortable was the vinal seats with no head rest or reasonable lumber support.
- Without AC and a radio?
- What was the likely hood of needing to repair the car mid route?
- Power steering nope. Normally the wheel turned 1/8 before having any difference.
- rough riding, vibrations

Now compare it to today in your 5 year old V8 Commodore, Toyota Camry etc (ie cars that usually only visit the Mechanic once in 10,000km for a service), get better fuel economy over today's considered marginal roads.


I also feel today's population only wants to sleep in their bed unless they are on a discount ticket to London.

Now ask why people stopped using the train? I remember as kid my dad driving to the GC from Sydney, it took him 2 days to get over it.  Last summer I drove a hired Commodore from Brisbane airport to Sydney. Had 2hr sleep mid route (night trip), 2hr at the far end and got on with life.  

Yes the current XPT TT is city centric, built around a fleet that has it home base in Sydney and doesn't have time to be cleaned properly at most terminus stations littleon get a service. The XPT fleet is also one of the busiest diesel fleets in the world, showing just how hard the govt pushes them to move as many people as possible with the set size.

The govt has hinted at changing this mentality and probably acknowledging some of the issues raised here.

Hunters no, Velocities yes possibly.

Why DMU's, look towards Europe. Are they building on mass loco hauled fleets, no. Its typically fixed sets, similar to XPT/German ICE/TGV or fixed 2-4 car type explorer DMU's. Most of which I have used. The yanks operate in their own world and their loco hauled trains are usually of similar length to the IP/Ghan etc. There are smaller trains on the eastern seaboard that are more similar to European standards.

Vibration of DMU's, again if the designer is incompetent or you are on a old or poorly maintained train. Having ridden the Explorer I do not class this as noisey or vibration.

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  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Some patronage stats:

  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Well done.  Where did you get those from?
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Why DMU's, look towards Europe. Are they building on mass loco hauled fleets, no. Its typically fixed sets, similar to XPT/German ICE/TGV or fixed 2-4 car type explorer DMU's. Most of which I have used. The yanks operate in their own world and their loco hauled trains are usually of similar length to the IP/Ghan etc. There are smaller trains on the eastern seaboard that are more similar to European standards.

Vibration of DMU's, again if the designer is incompetent or you are on a old or poorly maintained train. Having ridden the Explorer I do not class this as noisey or vibration.
RTT_Rules

The trend in Europe is towards almost a tram like design for regional trains (which is what we are talking about here).  In (Western) Europe there is no long haul in the way CountryLink or Amtrak operates.  This is done mostly by HSR.

To continue the European trend, there is a convergence of design and parts across the different train types.  DMUs are now EMUs with generators.

@RTT_Rules, re your earlier point about tilting being a "requirement" for long distance but not commuter - I think tilting would be a huge boost to NSW's commuter networks.  All four routes have extensive very curvy stretches of track very close to Sydney.  A tilting platform could potentially shave 20min off each of the runs, which in turn increases productivity and decreases the required fleet size.  Oh, and provides a better service as well.  

For distance tilting presents problems for integrating freight and passenger timetables.  And at the end of the day we're talking about cutting a 10 hour run down to 9 hours, so you have to ask if that's really worth it.  I guess for the Sydney - Melbourne run it means out and back can be done in 24hrs, so there would be a real benefit there.

I also maintain that NswTrains need a small 200 seat EMU/DMU to operate their regional and commuter contra-flow services.  As it is these look like being run with 1000 seat behemoths.

I still think it highly unlikely either of these projects will get off the press release, and if I were Rob Mason I'd already be in negotiations with CFCL to see how quickly they can paint the hop symbols on their EL class fleet.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Well done.  Where did you get those from?
donttellmywife
Found it (again):  http://www.bts.nsw.gov.au/ArticleDocuments/79/r2015-03-train_statistics_2014.pdf.aspx

(here) Courtesy of Nick: https://thirdworldsydneytransport.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/nsw-sydney-train-statistics-2014/
  a6et Minister for Railways

Some patronage stats:

djf01
I am not surprised by some of the figures, especially the ones relating to the NCL & the Casino service.  The day train does show a better patronage number than the night return journey if for no other reason than the irregular running of it, of all the services I travel on its the least liked & usually least patronised one, & dare I suggest that it has fewer passengers owing to its truncation & the need to have an extended break at Casino.

The night train to Brisbane with the same problems with those travelling to the Gold Coast is also a disincentive owing to the new terrible timetables & the arrival times in Brisbane.  The added times also for the need to take fuel at SOG does not help either, especially if anyone is getting off at Grafton on the up, as the train sits off the platform for the fueling, if late it only gets worse.

Taking note also of the Western XPT, the down journey has reasonable patronage, boosted no doubt with bus connections to BH, that get there around 2200 a not that bad time, any time in the bush that arrives around the 2200-2300 is ok, as its drive home or motel, to Sydney another story owing to suburban trains & safety concerns, which not doubt impacts the up service, owing to late arrival times.

I for one do not find the seating in the XPT even in first class to be in any way condusive for comfort over the times they take to run to Brisbane & Melbourne, therefore any replacement service that ends providing more of the same is not going to get any better, those services will attract more patronage ony once the services are provided that is in all ways competitive, also a better connecting service in the arrival & departure times into Brisbane

In fact, when I compare many of the old trains, especially when the Wallangarra mail, ex Brisbane Exp had the refurbished carriages put on it, with gas heating along with more comfortable & larger recliner seating, it left the current trains for dead.  The refurbished HUB/RUB cars that went on NL23 alternate day service & then the Broken Hill/Griffith alternative day services had similar & better seats as they were very well covered clothe seats.

At the least, any train that is being considered for travel time/distances beyond the limits of Grafton on the NCL line, Dubbo/Parkes West & Junee on the South should have much higher comfort & general service levels than those only to those shorter destinations.  Armidale & Moree is also a stretch for comfort levels, more especially Moree.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Some patronage stats:

djf01
Is it me or does there appear to be an across the board higher number of people travelling our of Sydney than too Sydney?

Does this mean people Sydney will one day be empty or are people just dying out of Sydney?
  a6et Minister for Railways

Is it me or does there appear to be an across the board higher number of people travelling our of Sydney than too Sydney?

Does this mean people Sydney will one day be empty or are people just dying out of Sydney?
RTT_Rules
No! its not you & the figures are no doubt correct, however that is more likely to be the result of the departure & arrival times of the trains at each end of the journey.  As I said in my previous post, late night, & that means after 2100 into Sydney is too late for country residents as they see it as unsafe to travel on PT or walk to motel/hotels even taxis are a risk.

A good post by Trainplanner in the Bathurst Bullet thread is worth a read & shows what can happen when rail is providing customer based services & not government or city planners thinking.  https://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11381112.htm
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Some patronage stats:

djf01
To help complete the picture.
Assume Daily services

- 7 car XPT pa 100% full Day config is 129k

- 6 car XPT is 104k
- 4 car Dubbo version is 69k
- 3 car XPL is 57k
- 2 car XPL is 33k

Weekly 3 car XPL 8112
Weekly 2 car XPL 4680


Have to wonder how often the Mel XPT is fully booked?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
No! its not you & the figures are no doubt correct, however that is more likely to be the result of the departure & arrival times of the trains at each end of the journey.  As I said in my previous post, late night, & that means after 2100 into Sydney is too late for country residents as they see it as unsafe to travel on PT or walk to motel/hotels even taxis are a risk.

A good post by Trainplanner in the Bathurst Bullet thread is worth a read & shows what can happen when rail is providing customer based services & not government or city planners thinking.  https://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11381112.htm
a6et
Yes but
Doesn't really explain the Canberra XPL, BH XPL and the Mel XPT.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
To help complete the picture.
Assume Daily services

- 7 car XPT pa 100% full Day config is 129k

- 6 car XPT is 104k
- 4 car Dubbo version is 69k
- 3 car XPL is 57k
- 2 car XPL is 33k

Weekly 3 car XPL 8112
Weekly 2 car XPL 4680
RTT_Rules
Those numbers are handy as a yard stick, but note that if you are going to directly compare them, then you are also assuming that a seat is only used once per journey.  For the services with major centres at each end that's probably not so valid.

NSW Trains reported in their recent annual report a load factor for twelve months through to June 2014 of less than 50% (it might have been 46% or so).  What wasn't clear to me at the time I read that was whether this was just for rail, or for all their services.  This ties back into the discussion on yield management in another thread.

As another telling yardstick - for the Armidale/Moree routes to the north west, as above total patronage for rail 163 000 - over the same period aviation carried 286 000 people to and from the four destinations (Tamworth, Armidale, Moree, Narrabri) that had any regular service and Sydney.  If you look at the NCL line - rail, including Brisbane as a destination is 438 000 above, aviation for the same period, to and from towns along the line but excluding Brisbane, was 880 000.  Rail service to and from Dubbo and places in between got 121 000 as above, aviation to and from Dubbo alone moved 169 000 - through in other towns along the way and you get just shy of 250 K.

Once you get over a certain distance, rail gets smashed, despite the heavy subsidy that rail passengers receive. Fifty years ago regional aviation "technology" was nowhere near as competitive as it is today - things have fundamentally changed - even without looking at changes that are probably even more significant - like improvements in the road network or more widespread car ownership.  Consequently, projecting the performance of rail services from that era (or the remnants of that era) into today's conditions is pointless.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Is it me or does there appear to be an across the board higher number of people travelling our of Sydney than too Sydney?

Does this mean people Sydney will one day be empty or are people just dying out of Sydney?
Well, a lot of small rural hospitals no longer permit planned obstetric deliveries... mum + dad catch the train into the big smoke, mum + dad + bub catch the train home.  Perhaps this proposed XPT replacement should include a neonatal class.

I'm guessing that will be due to something like a tendency for overseas tourists using Sydney as an entry point for the country, but not necessarily an exit point; or for tourists in general to do the slow "sightseeing" trip at the start of the holiday, with the end of the holiday return just being "get home fast as possible".  But I am a little surprised at the trend.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Yes but
Doesn't really explain the Canberra XPL, BH XPL and the Mel XPT.
RTT_Rules
Canberra's 4 hour service needs to be reduced, but the way it now works is that it is also a SH commuter service as well, as against how many stops does the competing buses make. Likely also the buses stop right in the heart of Canberra city itself.

The BH XPL competes with the Dubbo XPT on the only day it runs, a saving of 3 hours in travel is ok but if a Wollo is in place during summer then its likely to be arriving not much before the XPT's bus connections. Besides that distance & time is too far to travel in a basically air conditioned suburban Train.

Melbourne XPT's for the current standard of comfort & the time of 11 hours is again too long, as against the NCL XPT's those traveling north are going to holiday climate freindly locations year round, a bit different to Melbourne.

The thing is with the existing fleet of trains used by CL or whatever new badge is applied to them are far from satisfcatory in comfort & service levels for the 21st century, & this is again the problem, who designs these trains & who pushes for them? certainly I cannot see the user being consulted, more like as per usual treasury & minders.

I worked on steam locomotives at decent speeds on general goods as well as fast goods & limited passenger workings, & I would say that generally the worst riding engine was the 36cl at speed, followed by the 38cl except on curves where the 38c would kick around the curves owing the rear pony truck, the pig & other ten wheelers would bind into the curve & was mostly more comfortably at just under the curves specified speed, yet on each it was not hard to balance the leg/knee to fire them.  But try walking through the XPT when they are doing track or specified speeds.

I personally do not have a problem as I walk through the aisles in much the same way as I did when on steam locomotives, not something that the general public especially paying ones would know how to do. I watch these passengers so many times being thrown against seat backs then steadying for the next seat step forward on their way to the cramped toilets or licensed pie shop & candy shop.  I watch as mothers with babies in arms or toddlers also try the same manouvers, where are the staff? well how many are left on board for these issues?

These trains are not suitable for the tracks they run over at least for the services they provide over the distances they serve, they are not interstate or long haul trains in any stretch of the imagination.  Go on modern comfortable aircraft & most no longer stand for long periods to relieve their backs as was the case prior to the current fleets of aircraft, well in most cases anyway.

Go to China, & even old loco hauled trains have decent accomadation in the newer air conditioned cars & full restaraunt services. The older 180Km/h HST types also leave the XPT & XPL's for dead comfort & ride wise, I have not been in their 300K+ trains so cannot comment on them.

The thing is though there is two things that have been done in China & firstly that is track improvements for both frieght & passenger traffic that in many cases share the same trackage, all are on concrete sleepers & high weight rail, grades & curves have been dramatically reduced also, making additional savings to timings. The 2nd thing which is something more unlikely to happen here is the increased use of Electric traction in trains over the major & not so major routes, again increasing speeds. Both of these 2 aspects has reduced the times between cities, at the same time where long distance dual highway roads have also been built & compete with rail for both long & short distance freight & passengers, they run sleeper buses in most areas for long distance travel.

I only highlight the China aspect to show what is needed on the Eastern seaboard for rail to compete with both road & air. It has to start with decent comfort level trains that are designed for our current terrain & ROW's for the primary major two capitals that use the SG network, meaning if & when the ROW is also improved these trains can cut the running times of today, & at least have trains that can run as the XPT was designed to do at 160K's where the track allowed for it, & there are more spots where that should happen these days than when they were introduced.
  L1150 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Pakenham Vic.
RTT, you asked how often the Sydney to Melbourne XPT is fully booked. I suspect not very often! However, +1 and myself returned from a short family break in Sydney to Melbourne on the Friday before the AFL Grand final. The train was virtually full, departing Central! ( One brave guy had a Hawks scarf hanging from the luggage rack!). There was also a large contingent of secondary school aged young people (Quite well behaved too), who mostly detrained  at Coota. The vacated seats were largely filled by intermediate travellers,so by the time we reached Albury the train was still close to full.

Track works and other delays put us nearly 1 hour late by Wagga, but no one seemed to be bothered by this. The sustained 160 Kmph running from Wagga to Albury was exhilarating and even south of Albury the crew were obviously trying to make up some time with some consistent 130Kmph
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

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?



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.
donttellmywife
Totally agree that buses are the way to go. The DMU design used in Victoria and touted by some for NSW is still based on the Xplorer which is hopeless on the Canberra run because it is under powered. Even if the Velocity is more powerful, after the sleepers and additional equipment some have mentioned, the power to weight ratio would be back to Xplorer levels. Probably why DMUs are not used for long distance runs anywhere in the world I am aware of. AMTRAK certainly does not use them.

I agree, this is 2015, not 1915, and in an affluent country like Australia the well off drive or fly. Buses are therefore an adaquate response for the lower end of the travel market. Also, with the present cumbersome booking system I just cannot see how any money could be made on country rail ticket sales.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Those numbers are handy as a yard stick, but note that if you are going to directly compare them, then you are also assuming that a seat is only used once per journey.  For the services with major centres at each end that's probably not so valid.

NSW Trains reported in their recent annual report a load factor for twelve months through to June 2014 of less than 50% (it might have been 46% or so).  What wasn't clear to me at the time I read that was whether this was just for rail, or for all their services.  This ties back into the discussion on yield management in another thread.

As another telling yardstick - for the Armidale/Moree routes to the north west, as above total patronage for rail 163 000 - over the same period aviation carried 286 000 people to and from the four destinations (Tamworth, Armidale, Moree, Narrabri) that had any regular service and Sydney.  If you look at the NCL line - rail, including Brisbane as a destination is 438 000 above, aviation for the same period, to and from towns along the line but excluding Brisbane, was 880 000.  Rail service to and from Dubbo and places in between got 121 000 as above, aviation to and from Dubbo alone moved 169 000 - through in other towns along the way and you get just shy of 250 K.

Once you get over a certain distance, rail gets smashed, despite the heavy subsidy that rail passengers receive. Fifty years ago regional aviation "technology" was nowhere near as competitive as it is today - things have fundamentally changed - even without looking at changes that are probably even more significant - like improvements in the road network or more widespread car ownership.  Consequently, projecting the performance of rail services from that era (or the remnants of that era) into today's conditions is pointless.
donttellmywife
Good detail
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Totally agree that buses are the way to go. The DMU design used in Victoria and touted by some for NSW is still based on the Xplorer which is hopeless on the Canberra run because it is under powered...
nswtrains
Well, but note I don't think that buses are the way to go.  They have their place, and perhaps they should have a bigger role than they do now for some routes, but I'm not advocating wholesale abandonment of the regional rail network.

I just think it is silly for regional rail to try and compete for long distance journeys.  Consequently I think it is silly to go looking for an XPT replacement that is aimed at long distance passengers.

For journeys that are perhaps five hours or so from Sydney I think there is a reasonable market that rail has a chance in.  That's what any XPT replacement should be aimed at.  That's what the original XPT was aimed at!  

How far out beyond that five hour circle you continue running depends on how much additional patronage the route extension collects.  On the Melbourne and Brisbane lines, perhaps you keep going all the way, because as you get closer to those major centres, you'll pick up patronage to deliver to those destinations.  But just because you are running end to end doesn't mean you expect or cater for the majority of your passengers to do that long journey.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Well, but note I don't think that buses are the way to go.  They have their place, and perhaps they should have a bigger role than they do now for some routes, but I'm not advocating wholesale abandonment of the regional rail network.

I just think it is silly for regional rail to try and compete for long distance journeys.  Consequently I think it is silly to go looking for an XPT replacement that is aimed at long distance passengers.

For journeys that are perhaps five hours or so from Sydney I think there is a reasonable market that rail has a chance in.  That's what any XPT replacement should be aimed at.  That's what the original XPT was aimed at!  

How far out beyond that five hour circle you continue running depends on how much additional patronage the route extension collects.  On the Melbourne and Brisbane lines, perhaps you keep going all the way, because as you get closer to those major centres, you'll pick up patronage to deliver to those destinations.  But just because you are running end to end doesn't mean you expect or cater for the majority of your passengers to do that long journey.
donttellmywife
In some ways fair points, the thing is that with the exception of the Melbourne run, which has several stops between Albury & Melbourne for the XPT, meaning its also a Victorian regional service. Which I guess is ok if they are for large centres, but heading to the Brisbane service that's another matter altogether.

The Brisbane XPT once it leaves Coffs Harbour, the next stop is Grafton, then Casino, & Kyogle then  prior to Brisbane thus no prospects of QLD travellers within the state.  The Casino stop also unloads a fair whack of passengers as well, interestingly though since the train stopped running to MBWH, the patronage to/from Lismore has dropped big time, so even a short break to the buses do nothing in that direction.  Kyogle also is not a huge place & does not get many passengers either.

Another problem with using the interstate NCL services is the amount of stops on it, rather than using the Grafton service, how to fix not too sure owing to the aspect of the two day down services finish at Grafton & Casino. With only the afternoon/night service going past Casino, but it gets few that are heading past there to the next 2 stops.

The whole issue still comes back to the comfort & in train services as well as the timetabling.  The up Grafton service is likely to do better if it too can have a faster TT.  What I have found with the NCL line services also is that each of the small stations between Coffs Harbour & Nambucca are all stoping points & often only one or two passengers are picked up or dropped off. The likes of Repton & Urunga are hardly worth the stop, with Repton close to Sawtell & Urunga to Nambucca would make a lot of sense. Small savings but every bit counts.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
In some ways fair points, the thing is that with the exception of the Melbourne run, which has several stops between Albury & Melbourne for the XPT, meaning its also a Victorian regional service. Which I guess is ok if they are for large centres, but heading to the Brisbane service that's another matter altogether.

The Brisbane XPT once it leaves Coffs Harbour, the next stop is Grafton, then Casino, & Kyogle then  prior to Brisbane thus no prospects of QLD travellers within the state.  The Casino stop also unloads a fair whack of passengers as well, interestingly though since the train stopped running to MBWH, the patronage to/from Lismore has dropped big time, so even a short break to the buses do nothing in that direction.  Kyogle also is not a huge place & does not get many passengers either.

Another problem with using the interstate NCL services is the amount of stops on it, rather than using the Grafton service, how to fix not too sure owing to the aspect of the two day down services finish at Grafton & Casino. With only the afternoon/night service going past Casino, but it gets few that are heading past there to the next 2 stops.

The whole issue still comes back to the comfort & in train services as well as the timetabling.  The up Grafton service is likely to do better if it too can have a faster TT.  What I have found with the NCL line services also is that each of the small stations between Coffs Harbour & Nambucca are all stoping points & often only one or two passengers are picked up or dropped off. The likes of Repton & Urunga are hardly worth the stop, with Repton close to Sawtell & Urunga to Nambucca would make a lot of sense. Small savings but every bit counts.
a6et
When I used the Brisbane XPT in 2005, there was 7-8 people (well dressed hotties) waiting to get on at Kyogle.

Ignoring state boundaries
Distance wise
- Wangaratta and Casino have similar distances and travel times to Mel and Brisbane respectively.
- Albury and Grafton have similar distances and travel times to Mel and Brisbane respectively.
- Wagga and Coffs have similar distances and travel times to Mel and Brisbane respectively.

The Brisbane XPT has only 1 or 2 less stops to Brisbane from Coffs than Mel XPT does from Wagga. Not a big difference really and remember between Kyogle and Beaudesert there is nothing of significance but trees so its not like its by-passing potential patronage. Beaudesert (which is a few km from the line) is not worthy of a stop and never will be.

The XPT to Brisbane could yield far greater day travelers and be much more popular if there was two trains a day to/from Brisbane. The NSW Nth Coast is a major growth region and while many have moved nth from Sydney, there are some who have moved south from Brisbane and with Brisbane closer and warmer in winter, potentially a more attractive destination. Unfortunately this will exclude Lismore from again being part of the train network.

There is little that can be done with the existing XPT fleet size even if political will was there, but with a faster technology and the option to get more stock, the Casino train really needs to head north to Brisbane. Casino is not a terminus, imagine if one Mel XPT terminated at Wangaratta?

PS: there is very little competition from air for nth NSW to Brisbane.

PS1: I believe there is strong justification for two trains a day to each of Mel and Brisbane. + 1 train each way to a mid point that can do a day return for the set to Sydney.  In the South, Albury would be better, but time wise is pushing it so maybe Wagga. Grafton is also a little too far nth. However the new trains and a potentially faster timetable should help.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Totally agree that buses are the way to go. The DMU design used in Victoria and touted by some for NSW is still based on the Xplorer which is hopeless on the Canberra run because it is under powered. Even if the Velocity is more powerful, after the sleepers and additional equipment some have mentioned, the power to weight ratio would be back to Xplorer levels. Probably why DMUs are not used for long distance runs anywhere in the world I am aware of. AMTRAK certainly does not use them.

I agree, this is 2015, not 1915, and in an affluent country like Australia the well off drive or fly. Buses are therefore an adaquate response for the lower end of the travel market. Also, with the present cumbersome booking system I just cannot see how any money could be made on country rail ticket sales.
nswtrains
I had the detaild post, but its gone.

I compared all the DMU's and XPT and RTT in Australia. The XPL's are at the bottom end of the gutless range. The Prospector at the top end of the grunt range. RTT is is in the spots range.

Europe is not a big user of DMU's long haul because they don't need to. The have volumes and also extensive electrification so their DMU's are in fact EMU's. The ones in Norway, Sweden etc travel long distances in train sets of similar size to Canberra.

In US, they don't use DMU long haul because they are very focused on loco hauling traditional cars. They also don't run small trains and when they do its often along the east coast corridore where they also have volumes and even electrification. The RTT is a sports 6 car spark with a route distance of nearly 700km. EC seats are far from comfortable, but it has nothing to do with the train, its the seats as spec'ed by QR. Prospector has a similar distance to RTT, looks more comfortable, but I haven't used it.

Australia has neither volumes nor extensive short haul, apart from Vic. Hence trains will rarely exceed 5-7 cars apart from IP/Ghan. Try and make the train longer by running it less and you will be disappointed, its not a hotel on wheels. The Overland's loco weighs almost as much as the train. The trains is then limited in speed by the loco designed for hauling freight trains. If teh Overland was replaced by the Prospector it would probably cut >90min off the timetable.  Trains designed for only pax use can do much better than freighters due to bogie designs and lighter weight. Higher power to weight ratios, braking and tilting had further benefit. Think the XPT is rough, catch the RTT. They even advise you to remain seated.

its not about DMU vs XPT style vs Loco hauled. Its about what is the best tool for the job and I cannot see how trains with load capacities between 150 and 300 people are suitable for traditional loco hauled nor cost effective nor flexible as often made out due to the limited market and reluctance by operators to shunt and are slower to boot. A modern tilting DMU/slug style can probably pull 10-20% off the current XPT/XPL timetable. Loco hauled will add time.
  a6et Minister for Railways

RTT_Rules
When I used the Brisbane XPT in 2005, there was 7-8 people (well dressed hotties) waiting to get on at Kyogle.

We used it around 3 years back 1 got off, & 2 on.

Ignoring state boundaries
Distance wise
- Wangaratta and Casino have similar distances and travel times to Mel and Brisbane respectively.
- Albury and Grafton have similar distances and travel times to Mel and Brisbane respectively.
- Wagga and Coffs have similar distances and travel times to Mel and Brisbane respectively.

Good comparisons re the distances & worthy of working out passenger potentials based on miles, however, the question would be in the track terrain in Victoria to compare speeds etc

The Brisbane XPT has only 1 or 2 less stops to Brisbane from Coffs than Mel XPT does from Wagga. Not a big difference really and remember between Kyogle and Beaudesert there is nothing of significance but trees so its not like its by-passing potential patronage. Beaudesert (which is a few km from the line) is not worthy of a stop and never will be.

The XPT to Brisbane could yield far greater day travelers and be much more popular if there was two trains a day to/from Brisbane. The NSW Nth Coast is a major growth region and while many have moved nth from Sydney, there are some who have moved south from Brisbane and with Brisbane closer and warmer in winter, potentially a more attractive destination. Unfortunately this will exclude Lismore from again being part of the train network.

Agree on both counts, daylight running especially at decent timings is always a better option.  If the rail option to Lismore is considered I would suggest more direct passengers could be gained from Brisbane than from Lismore with train extensions to & from Brisbane. The sorrow really is that when the line was open to MBWH, it was always well patronised, & certainly many more passengers used it than is seen on the buses from Casino, even though they run to areas not normally served by rail


There is little that can be done with the existing XPT fleet size even if political will was there, but with a faster technology and the option to get more stock, the Casino train really needs to head north to Brisbane. Casino is not a terminus, imagine if one Mel XPT terminated at Wangaratta?

True.

PS: there is very little competition from air for nth NSW to Brisbane.

Not surprising, but then there is the distance to & from the airports in both cities as well as the bording times etc.

PS1: I believe there is strong justification for two trains a day to each of Mel and Brisbane. + 1 train each way to a mid point that can do a day return for the set to Sydney.  In the South, Albury would be better, but time wise is pushing it so maybe Wagga. Grafton is also a little too far nth. However the new trains and a potentially faster timetable should help.

The problem in this suggestion is perhaps the change of train concept, if a daylight service operated in both directions they would be crossing each other & be well past the stations by the time that a change over would take.

The biggest obstacle is the need to have 4 full sets to operate to both capitals from Sydney, along with stabling facilities for them in Melbourne & Brisbane. Brisbane does have a SG line into the platform but stabling overnight there may not be welcome by QR officials, also allows for fueling there. Not sure of Melbourne though.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

The biggest obstacle is the need to have 4 full sets to operate to both capitals from Sydney, along with stabling facilities for them in Melbourne & Brisbane. Brisbane does have a SG line into the platform but stabling overnight there may not be welcome by QR officials, also allows for fueling there. Not sure of Melbourne though.
a6et

Just looking at Google sat, it seems there is a stretch of non dual gauge at Sth Brisbane they could use.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Just looking at Google sat, it seems there is a stretch of non dual gauge at Sth Brisbane they could use.
djf01
Yes its there, but not very wide and risks being a spray can target.

Plat 2 is not used that much with only a short stop over by day time RTT and one Doomben train a day. Plat 10 is 2-3 the length it needs to be and has a shunting loop along side. QR need to look at I think Flinders Street and other very long platform stations and install a cross over mid way so Plat 10 can handle the day time RTT movement, if its an issue.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I had a look at what we could do trying to avoid after mid-night running and improve on the current timetable in services.


Assumptions
- Trains will be undertaking the route in 80-85% of the time due to track improvements and more modern better performing trains. Avoiding night running and increased congestion with freighters.
- More maintenance and servicing work is undertaken in places like Wagga, Grafton and Dubbo and trains no longer need mid route refueling.
- Trains a fixed small sets
- I've tried to keep trains operating in same regions to reduce impacts on timetables on one line and to enable trains to be decorated in themes representing the region that normally work in. Trains could still be rotated if required.
- Avoid Peak in Brisbane and Sydney.
- Dubbo and NW train patronage figures were very similar, hence why I have mixed.


Southern Region

Set 1 (4 + 3 car):- Wagga 4am to Syd 9:30am -> Syd 2:00pm -> Mel 10pm -> Set 2

Set 2 (4 + 3 car):- Mel 7am to Syd 3pm -> Syd 6pm to Wagga 10:30pmc-> Set 1

Set 3 (4 + 3 car):- Syd 6am to Mel 2pm -> Mel 3pm to Syd 11pm –> Set 3


Nth Region (Brisbane is never easy and a overnight night trip is very hard to avoid)

Set 4 (4 + 3 car):- Grafton 6AM to Syd 3pm -> Syd 6:15pm to Bris 6:15am  -> Set 5

Set 5 (4 + 3 Car):- Bris 9AM to Syd 9pm -> Syd 6:30am to Bris 6:30pm -> Set 6

Set 6 (4 + 3 Car):- Bris 9PM to Syd 9AM >  Syd 2pm to Grafton 11pm -> Set 4


West and NW Region

Set 7 (3 + 2 Car):- Dubbo 6am to Syd 11am -> Syd 2pm to Arm 9pm/Moree 9:30pm

Set 8 (3 + 2 Car):- Arm 7Am/Moree 6:30Am to Syd 2pm -> Syd 3:30pm to Dubbo 8:30pm


Canberra

Set 9 (3 Car):- Can 7am to Syd 10:30am -> Syd 11:30am to Can 3pm -> Can 4:00pm to Syd 7:30pm

Set 10 (3 Car):- Syd 7am to Can 10:30am -> Can 11:30am to Syd 3pm -> Syd 6:30pm to Can 10pm


Broken Hill (2 days) / Griffith (2 days) / Parkes (day return)

Set 11 (3 Car):-


Trains wise

6 x 4 car sets

10 x 3 car sets

2 x 2 car sets

Total of 61 cars + spares (assume 3 x 3 cars) for maintenance and some seasonal changes. This is close to the same number of XPT cars and yet delivers more services.  At $6m/car you are looking at $450m which leaves plenty of change from a budget of $1B to fund installation of regional facilities and throw some money at ARTC to complete some upgrades.
  a6et Minister for Railways

I had the detaild post, but its gone.

Same here 3 times for some reason

I compared all the DMU's and XPT and RTT in Australia. The XPL's are at the bottom end of the gutless range. The Prospector at the top end of the grunt range. RTT is is in the spots range.

What is RTT? For me the XPL's are barelly useable for short hauls such as Glbn & Canberra,  To BX on the West & perhaps OGE at a pinch. North Taree at best or likely Dungog & MBK. XPT beyond or new modern service

Europe is not a big user of DMU's long haul because they don't need to. The have volumes and also extensive electrification so their DMU's are in fact EMU's. The ones in Norway, Sweden etc travel long distances in train sets of similar size to Canberra.

In US, they don't use DMU long haul because they are very focused on loco hauling traditional cars. They also don't run small trains and when they do its often along the east coast corridore where they also have volumes and even electrification. The RTT is a sports 6 car spark with a route distance of nearly 700km. EC seats are far from comfortable, but it has nothing to do with the train, its the seats as spec'ed by QR. Prospector has a similar distance to RTT, looks more comfortable, but I haven't used it.

Australia has neither volumes nor extensive short haul, apart from Vic. Hence trains will rarely exceed 5-7 cars apart from IP/Ghan. Try and make the train longer by running it less and you will be disappointed, its not a hotel on wheels. The Overland's loco weighs almost as much as the train. The trains is then limited in speed by the loco designed for hauling freight trains. If teh Overland was replaced by the Prospector it would probably cut >90min off the timetable.  Trains designed for only pax use can do much better than freighters due to bogie designs and lighter weight. Higher power to weight ratios, braking and tilting had further benefit. Think the XPT is rough, catch the RTT. They even advise you to remain seated.

its not about DMU vs XPT style vs Loco hauled. Its about what is the best tool for the job and I cannot see how trains with load capacities between 150 and 300 people are suitable for traditional loco hauled nor cost effective nor flexible as often made out due to the limited market and reluctance by operators to shunt and are slower to boot. A modern tilting DMU/slug style can probably pull 10-20% off the current XPT/XPL timetable. Loco hauled will add time.
RTT_Rules
To work out the needs, the discussion has taken place re the loco hauled option, which I believe is very workable, lets first forget what was hauled & was hauling in the past, & using the example of 42220 that was used on the Northern line test running prior to the XPT being introduced, I was the test driver on the WCK - BMD end, & while 20 was the rebuilt super series version, we had 3 Air Conditioned HUB/RUB type cars with the Dynometer car included, we were allowed to run up to 130K's per hour which was a snack, & we had to run back at times owing to being too far in front of the TT.

The 3 cars were equal to the 6 propossed for the XPT & for one loco each end, again the super donk helped but, I believe even a standard 422 could have done as well, as I worked them out of Enfield & PTK, & on the high wheel 465 sth TNT exp that ran between the sA & SOP from Campbeltown - GLBN, we sat on cautions almost all the way, with equal loads & loco's.

A modern version of those engines that could work to 150Km/h along with modern air conditioned carriages would have no problems running the current & even speeded up XPT TT, better still with decent grade & curve easing would also provide a better service.  Modern diesels using EPT brakes along with standard air when needed as back up is something that brings it in line with the XPT power units as air was able to be used in place of the EPT brakes on it as well.

Running around is not the problem as thought of, especially if day return services are required although the work taken inside the carriages at Turn Round points does not have to be stationary & another available engine can be used. Likewise the arriving engine can refuel while the passengers are detrained along with luggage, & at opposite end after Run Round.

The other aspect with Loco hauled sets is that they are not restricted to one type of train & the dedicated units such as XPT, therefore it means that extra carriages can be built to add to the consist as needed such as holiday times. Other countries still use Loco hauled services, & to quote again in China they are able to travel at better speeds now than in the past.  Back to the future is not as backward as one would think, especially when considering efficiencies in Loco design along with other R/S improvements as well.

Its not something to just run a pen through because of what was.

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