XPT Replacement Discussion

 
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Have a look at the timing of the long distance coaches on some of the routes - perhaps the Greyhound Sydney to Brisbane running through Armidale if that is familiar territory for you.  These coaches have to pay their own way - and their timing is set such that the operator thinks that they will maximise the difference between revenue (number of passengers and the fares they are willing to pay) and the cost associated with the service.  While these services don't operate in a vacuum (they need to compete with other modes, including at the southern end the daylight rail services) I think it is pretty telling that they have chosen overnight timings, both ways, for that run.
donttellmywife
Indeed, and thanks for picking up on the Greyhound service to Brisbane via New England that runs overnight both northbound and southbound.

I will also highlight that Greyhound and Premier Motor Service both run overnight services from Sydney to Brisbane via the North Coast (see this, this, this and this); Firefly's daily Melbourne service is also an overnight trip (both ways).

Forgive me for indulging my centre-right brain, but I think the private sector is onto something here.

Premier also used to operate a service from Sydney to Melbourne via the South Coast and Gippsland that was overnight both southbound and northbound, but they canned it last year. Nevertheless, it was yet another example of private long-distance coaches in Australia operating overnight so the point stands.

I think that overnight decision reflects that for many people, the preferred time of travel is strongly influenced by when you need to be at your destination, or when you are available to leave your origin.  If I am travelling after finishing a hard commitment such as work or school or whatever, the timing of the service that I want is one that leaves as soon as practical after I finish work or school or whatever.  If I am travelling before a hard commitment, such as work or school or whatever, the timing of the service that I want is one that arrives as soon as practical before that hard commitment.

What "soon as practical" means will depend on a number of things, including service reliability and the nature of the commitment (for example I would not plan to arrive in Sydney from the regions five minutes before a long haul international flight), and also on the preferences of the individual.

Some travellers may only have weak time commitments and will then prefer to travel when it is most comfortable for them.  But if you've got weak time commitments then you are probably not working... which means they are probably travelling on a concession of some sort or are very fare sensitive.  In terms of potential revenue, this group just fill seats - they are not your primary market.
donttellmywife
Exactly.

Hard commitments are very much part of my consideration, which is why I emphasise morning arrivals and afternoon departures so people can use actually these trains to come to Sydney to actually do things.

EDIT: Included timetable links to back up claims of the various overnight coach runs.

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  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
That is clearly the only part you have grasped. The current Broken Hill service is primarily a tourist train - quite a successful one - that also provides a useful local service. This is not a train for connecting the folk of Broken Hill with Sydney, rather a link between towns, and one-way tourist traffic. Comfort “considerations” are addressed by daylight running with relaxed leg stretch stops at most stations. It is way more comfortable than a “flight from Sydney to Los Angeles” - a meaningless comparison anyway. Running the service overnight would render it useless, regardless of your increased frequency.
UpperQuad
What is your source for this information?

Myself and family members catch the train a few times a few years to and from Sydney. It is NOT full of tourist, but people needing to get to the Hill. Why? Because it is more than 1/2 the cost of the airfare.

Unless we are in a hurry, generally we arrange so we can leave the hill and return to the Hill by train. But members of the family have had to go by bus to Dubbo, then XPT to town.

If we are in a 'real' rush we will just bus it all the way to town unless we want to splurge on a plane. It annoys us that you can catch a plane between interstate capitals much cheaper than we can go to Sydney or Adelaide by plane.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
What is your source for this information?

Myself and family members catch the train a few times a few years to and from Sydney. It is NOT full of tourist, but people needing to get to the Hill. Why? Because it is more than 1/2 the cost of the airfare.
Jim K
I'm glad to see that my hunch was correct. On top of this, my revised schedule was designed to bring people like you and your family into Sydney at a useful hour in the morning and leave at a tolerable hour in the evening, offering the same sort of arrival and departure times that Rex offers with their Broken Hill flight.

Unless we are in a hurry, generally we arrange so we can leave the hill and return to the Hill by train. But members of the family have had to go by bus to Dubbo, then XPT to town.
Jim K
Which is why I bumped frequency to thrice weekly.

If we are in a 'real' rush we will just bus it all the way to town unless we want to splurge on a plane. It annoys us that you can catch a plane between interstate capitals much cheaper than we can go to Sydney or Adelaide by plane.
Jim K
Oh, that's because of higher unit costs (CASM on regional aircraft is screwed) and the fact you're being shafted by the Rex monopoly.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
If we are in a 'real' rush we will just bus it all the way to town unless we want to splurge on a plane. It annoys us that you can catch a plane between interstate capitals much cheaper than we can go to Sydney or Adelaide by plane.
Jim
Unlike Air and Road (private) the Railways have based their ticket costs on the distance traveled.
Where you have competition between carriers as you do with the Airlines along with the volume of travelers, you get cheaper rates, and while they wont say out it out loud, these cheaper rates may be subsidised by the higher costs for low volume/short distance flights.
I remember a sign at the Booking Office wall at Katoomba quoting the cost of a ticket was under 3d (3 Pence) a Mile or 2 cents for about 1.6 kilometres today once you went over a certain distance.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
I'm glad to see that my hunch was correct. On top of this, my revised schedule was designed to bring people like you and your family into Sydney at a useful hour in the morning and leave at a tolerable hour in the evening, offering the same sort of arrival and departure times that Rex offers with their Broken Hill flight.

Which is why I bumped frequency to thrice weekly.

Oh, that's because of higher unit costs (CASM on regional aircraft is screwed) and the fact you're being shafted by the Rex monopoly.
Watson374
I didn't know you were the new Minister for Transport, so thanks we would appreciate train service Sunday, Wed and Fri please.

But no one I know out here wants a train overnight. The current time is OK (before 8am) but we would prefer maybe 6am so it gets into Sydney a decent time. When family members travel from the Hill to Sydney, it is normally for something planned the next day and we normally book accommodation. We don't want to get off a train at 6am after sitting on a train overnight for 13 hours.... then I will be catching the bus (which we do to Adelaide more than Sydney anyway)


We know why our fares are high, it wasn't a question, it was a statement. Really, we would be better off out here if the border was moved to Cobar as the NSW Government forgot we are in NSW.
  jkennedy2 Station Staff

Location: Sydney, Australia
If the NSW gov were to buy the new XPT replacement straight off the shelf, what would be the likely contenders? Do you think the British Rail Class 221 would be suitable? What would be the technical issues with the 221 that would need to be overcome before it could be put to use in NSW?
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
If the NSW gov were to buy the new XPT replacement straight off the shelf, what would be the likely contenders? Do you think the British Rail Class 221 would be suitable? What would be the technical issues with the 221 that would need to be overcome before it could be put to use in NSW?
jkennedy2
In theory, nothing would need to be done because the Voyagers cars are all narrower and shorter than XPT cars, can tilt and can go fast.

In practice, they need to be tested and certified for NSW operation, particularly in the area of safety (i.e. how well does it crash into triple NRs on a coal train?).

But that's the same for everything, including the QR Tilt, V/Locity and even the Hunter.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Or triple 90s on an Intermodal .
  a6et Minister for Railways

I've finished my latest timetable change. I'm going to put them out here for public scrutiny; I will let you guys attack my changes, but because I'm tired from a particularly brutal day at work, I'll do the defending bit after you tear me to shreds.

But the summary is that 1) I've pared back reach to better serve the core customer base (not the primary stakeholder, which DJF rightly points out is the government), 2) I've aimed to maximise the ability for regional customers to take Sydney daytrips while not eroding coach connection possibilities too badly, and 3) this is entirely possible with the current fleet.

Those of us who have been party to this monstrous thread for nearly three years — looking at @djf01, @RTT_Rules, @donttellmywife, @a6et — will know my usual justifications, so I won't rehash them until after I'm rested.

















Good night — I shall be back with the light.
Blowed if I know what's going on with RP, but I've had 3 posts go to Cyber space but in the end not too worried.

First off, with the Southern services.  You will kill off the Interstate services by the need to change at Albury, primarilly for the reason that it adds the 35minutes to the travel times of the passengers.

Also, one of the things that kept old services expecially the interstate trains up in the performance stakes was they were express trains rather than mail trains which stopped at every known location. Primarilly that meant on the south Glbn Junee for crew changes of 8 minutes & engine change at Albury app 12-15 minutes. Unless I am mistaken the only crew change now is Junee & no engine change at Albury, that means a saving of 25 odd minutes to start but the connection at Albury in your propossal reintroduces that.

From my perspective, if passengers from the stations in Victoria need to board a train, then let that service run early from Melbourne to Albury with the passengers from those stations only needing the change at Albury, that allows the XPT or whatever to run non stop at max speed from Albury to Melbourne.

Certainly I think a train ex Albury to Sydney & visa versa would work well although an 0740 ex Sydney 2000 would be better with earlier arrivals at each capital, same on return.

NCL. Same thing with the Southern line. The one interstate service should at the minimum be kept, but a better service would be to have 2.  The down service to Brisbane to arrive at the end of the morning commuter time at app 0900. Lay over & depart straight after the evening peak, similar ex Sydney to fit in with the Brisbane service.

The element that also hinders the Brisbane service again is its running a mail train type service at Night along with a daylight one in the daytime, meaning they stop everywhere.  There needs to only be a single daylight train but it goes to Grafton, providing an all stations type service.

Reality here is that some stops such as Wingham, perhaps Kendal, Macksville Urunga, Repton could also be eliminated especially on the night service. Wingham is bypassed on most trains except the Casino service, but it stops for occassionally 1-2 people who are picked up by car so Taree could well be used for them on other than the Grafton service. Macksville is close enough to Nambucca to take passengers, & it usually is the same passenger numbers as Wingham.  Urunga, & Repton are not far from Sawtell & Nambucca respetivelly for the interestate trains.

Western line.  Not much arguement there, however is the Dubbo service going to provide bus links to BH?  If the BH service is going to be an O/night one then you need sleepers somehow on it, too far without it.

Northern line.  I would be doing a lot of research into the timings, especially for those early AM up services.  The way you have them set along with the Down Armidale train is that its roughly in line with the old Brisbane Exp via Wallangarra, the Up service similar but a bit later in the morning though, that train did do ok, but the times have not been researched for a long time since that train was taken off.

I am also not especially convinced that replacing the current daylight service only to Tamworth will be a winner. The better option would be to have the current train run as they are, & return with a 60 minute turn round at Moree with corresponding departure at Armidale for combining at WCK.  The essential day for a up night service would be Friday, with Down services srranged for Sunday night.
  jkennedy3 Beginner

In theory, nothing would need to be done because the Voyagers cars are all narrower and shorter than XPT cars, can tilt and can go fast.

In practice, they need to be tested and certified for NSW operation, particularly in the area of safety (i.e. how well does it crash into triple NRs on a coal train?).

But that's the same for everything, including the QR Tilt, V/Locity and even the Hunter.
Watson374

Just to clarify, I mean the Super Voyager (Class 221) not the Voyager (Class 220) the main difference being NSW needs the 221 because it is tilting.

Obviously it does need to be certified, but in terms of design specifications surely it would be adequate. They do have coal trains and freight trains in the UK and there is not a particularly high accident or fatality rate over there. Why does Aust. have such overly stringent safety requirements that require our trains be built like tanks? It only pushes up the cost of train procurement. If NSW is going to buy trains off the shelf, we need to start using worldwide standards, not arbitrarily setting our own which are not best practice.

I was thinking more design requirements - platform height, overhang outside loading gauge when tilting, not having enough power to accelerate tight bend/steep inclines?
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
The Super Voyagers will fit, but they're a bit small.

I will handle the timetabling side of things in a later response, but rest assured I've read everyone's responses; I'm currently shuffling my timetable again, but work has been eating into my leisure time used for this.

I note that I've been asked a lot of questions regarding all my overnight trains that would surely require sleepers, and the answer is yes, they probably will.

Behold the couchette, the economy compartment sleeper!



...and yea verily it was a compartment with as many beds as seats... (stop me before I take over First Dog On The Moon)

I will find some opportunity to draw these up into some sort of rolling stock plan in the next week or two, but in the meantime, behold the couchette compartment, for I, the Minister, am kind enough not to put you into an Economy seat even though I sleep perfectly find in one and you probably deserve to be condemned to one anyway.
  Matthew Train Controller

Well if we follow on from our practice of buying British trains, the obvious choice to replace the XPT is the train that is replacing the HST - the Hitachi Super Express or IEP trains now starting to be delivered.

Only now we don't have the talent of John Dunn to 'Australianize' them.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Well if we follow on from our practice of buying British trains, the obvious choice to replace the XPT is the train that is replacing the HST - the Hitachi Super Express or IEP trains now starting to be delivered.

Only now we don't have the talent of John Dunn to 'Australianize' them.
Matthew
We also don't have John Dunn around to de-electrify them.
  a6et Minister for Railways

The Super Voyagers will fit, but they're a bit small.

I will handle the timetabling side of things in a later response, but rest assured I've read everyone's responses; I'm currently shuffling my timetable again, but work has been eating into my leisure time used for this.

I note that I've been asked a lot of questions regarding all my overnight trains that would surely require sleepers, and the answer is yes, they probably will.

Behold the couchette, the economy compartment sleeper!



...and yea verily it was a compartment with as many beds as seats... (stop me before I take over First Dog On The Moon)

I will find some opportunity to draw these up into some sort of rolling stock plan in the next week or two, but in the meantime, behold the couchette compartment, for I, the Minister, am kind enough not to put you into an Economy seat even though I sleep perfectly find in one and you probably deserve to be condemned to one anyway.
Watson374
Is that a photo of the Hard Sleeper class used on the China Railways?

If so, then 3 fare structures are in order, with the upper sleeper highest price then graduating down to the bottome bunks. Soft Sleepers had 4 bunks in them, but same prices IIRC.  Given that in the older services that is loco hauled that run at fair speeds, these are quite reasonable ideas, of course they would not meet with a lot of approval over here, & likely to have more issues with personal affects security.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Completely off topic, but just in case anyone is interested, a few pics of my Old Ghan trip: https://www.flickr.com/photos/52964239@N08/sets/72157651907557471/
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Is that a photo of the Hard Sleeper class used on the China Railways?

If so, then 3 fare structures are in order, with the upper sleeper highest price then graduating down to the bottome bunks. Soft Sleepers had 4 bunks in them, but same prices IIRC.  Given that in the older services that is loco hauled that run at fair speeds, these are quite reasonable ideas, of course they would not meet with a lot of approval over here, & likely to have more issues with personal affects security.
a6et
I used QR EC sleepers once. My bed was the top one, I felt very uncomfortable being so close to the roof and the lower level wasn't much better, go to roll over and shoulder hit the bed above. So never booked again. This doesn't look much better, lets leave the 3rd world there.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
We also don't have John Dunn around to de-electrify them.
Watson374
stick a big donk in the pax cars at each end and run a big cable into the loco
  a6et Minister for Railways

I used QR EC sleepers once. My bed was the top one, I felt very uncomfortable being so close to the roof and the lower level wasn't much better, go to roll over and shoulder hit the bed above. So never booked again. This doesn't look much better, lets leave the 3rd world there.
RTT_Rules
Well the Chinese Hard seat sleepers were not that bad, the reason that the bottom bunk was cheapest was that the 2 of them became the sitters during daylight. The spacings were not that bad really, only had to watch if you sat up quickly.

I would think that having 4 bunks in the compartments would not really be a problem, as it would provide a reasonable degree of comfort for those on the all night services, in fact I think they could well encourage more patronage.  A decent ladder for top bunk access would be vital, as well as closed compartments at night, certainly if they were advertised as economy sleepers they would be used rather than the current premium prices of 1st class + sleeper prices.

During daylight they can be used as seating for 6 in the compartment.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

Just to clarify, I mean the Super Voyager (Class 221) not the Voyager (Class 220) the main difference being NSW needs the 221 because it is tilting.

Obviously it does need to be certified, but in terms of design specifications surely it would be adequate. They do have coal trains and freight trains in the UK and there is not a particularly high accident or fatality rate over there. Why does Aust. have such overly stringent safety requirements that require our trains be built like tanks? It only pushes up the cost of train procurement. If NSW is going to buy trains off the shelf, we need to start using worldwide standards, not arbitrarily setting our own which are not best practice.

I was thinking more design requirements - platform height, overhang outside loading gauge when tilting, not having enough power to accelerate tight bend/steep inclines?
jkennedy3
Our trains do meet USA best practice standards not dinky Euro/UK standards. Please do not buy another UK disaster. The XPT is junk like anything else we have procured from the UK. I remember some head honcho from the group that manufactured the UK equivalent of the XPT moaning that he could not understand why we did not buy off the shelf XPTs. Well, for one the coaches did not meet our crash standards, the fact that they had buffers and chain link couplers was not a great idea and the locos had radiators that were too small. We would have ended up with a super piece of junk.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Our trains do meet USA best practice standards not dinky Euro/UK standards. Please do not buy another UK disaster. The XPT is junk like anything else we have procured from the UK. I remember some head honcho from the group that manufactured the UK equivalent of the XPT moaning that he could not understand why we did not buy off the shelf XPTs. Well, for one the coaches did not meet our crash standards, the fact that they had buffers and chain link couplers was not a great idea and the locos had radiators that were too small. We would have ended up with a super piece of junk.
nswtrains
Remember that Junk XPT has operated now for over 30 years and for last 15-20yrs on what must be a very tight timetable for diesel hauled on world scale and the track standards were 3rd world until recent years. All locos are still in service and each set averages roughly 1000km a day. Not bad for a piece of junk, few of the loco fleets used in NSW can make similar claims.

I have similar feelings about chain and hook with buffer, but the Europeans use them up to 200km/hr as far as I know, so is it really that bad?

The Europeans sell their HST technology and mass use it internally. The Yanks? Building a tank based on 50 year old technology doesn't make it right because it was good 50 years ago, especially when you are achieving just over the half the speed. How many people per day travel by MSR/HSR in EU?

Of all the EU's high speed crashes, is there any evidence to suggest if the yanks design standards had been in use there would have been less deaths? When a train derails at +200km/hr or runs into a bridge at similar speed, there is only so much you can do.

I do not see the yanks as leaders in train design.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner



Of all the EU's high speed crashes, is there any evidence to suggest if the yanks design standards had been in use there would have been less deaths? When a train derails at +200km/hr or runs into a bridge at similar speed, there is only so much you can do.

I do not see the yanks as leaders in train design.
RTT_Rules

Obviously not, but I'd much rather be in a superliner or even an XPT coach in a crash than in a Talgo set (if only because they'd be going slower).

Nth American and Australian track standards arn't as high as europe and we have more derailments.  I think higher crash standards than Europe are appropriate.  European trains are safe, but the safety is achieved in different ways.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Obviously not, but I'd much rather be in a superliner or even an XPT coach in a crash than in a Talgo set (if only because they'd be going slower).

Nth American and Australian track standards arn't as high as europe and we have more derailments.  I think higher crash standards than Europe are appropriate.  European trains are safe, but the safety is achieved in different ways.
djf01
Tracks are not that bad, how many derailments have there been for XPT/XPL in last 35 years?

If you want MSR/HSR train technology you look towards Europe/Japan, the yanks cannot offer anything modern and barely operate anything outside commuter. The EU/Japs have all the experience and the equipment demonstrates this. The Yank Superliner is completely unsuited for the needs of NSW Trains. Its intended for much larger numbers of people per train than NSW trains move for most services.

The only comparable crash is the CTT into a truck and derailment through driver error. In both cases, including driver deaths the train design was not rated a contributing factor to the injuries and deaths caused.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Tracks are not that bad, how many derailments have there been for XPT/XPL in last 35 years?

If you want MSR/HSR train technology you look towards Europe/Japan, the yanks cannot offer anything modern and barely operate anything outside commuter. The EU/Japs have all the experience and the equipment demonstrates this. The Yank Superliner is completely unsuited for the needs of NSW Trains. Its intended for much larger numbers of people per train than NSW trains move for most services.

The only comparable crash is the CTT into a truck and derailment through driver error. In both cases, including driver deaths the train design was not rated a contributing factor to the injuries and deaths caused.
One has to look at the overall service levels that the XPT perform, & given their safety record over those years is really a credit to the crews that work on them, as well as the maintenance staff.  If one looks at them in the same way & compared to how they operated when introduced & today, there's a fair gap, with the travel times actually worse than when introduced.

When they arrived they suffered from heat exhaustion, that resulted in the need for better radiators & cooling systems, in a sense similar to the 47cl had overheating problems yet they had a fair amount of Japanese equipment in them, The problems with them would likely not have happened had they been kept in the Lower Hunter & NCLE area workings, rather than being allocated to Bathurst where their diffiencies were discovered.

When introduced they were hardly an improvement on the old mail trains, & the daylight express services, in fact actual running times were often the same or maybe a minute here or there better than the locomotive hauled services, so much so it was only when they could go over 115K's in a relative consistent manner that running times were better. It was an embarasment to the government & Rail officials at the time, & to show the XPT was better & faster all the main speed boards 95KMH & less were reduced by 5- 10 Km/h for the loco hauled trains but remained the same for the XPT, over 95 the loco hauled trains retained their old speeds whilst the XPT went up by 5-10Km./h, which certainly gave them a benefit, yet with all the track improvements as well as grade seperation in many areas, as well as the heavier rail & track, the XPT & little cousin the XPL there really has been nothing in improvements to the running times & time tabling benefits for the passengers, rail officials & governments to promote them.

Another aspect with both XPT & XPL is the terrain & areas they run into, which is more especially true for the XPT in their earlier days when they contended with major road level crossings, along with many other crossings that had no gates or lights for protection, that ran into farms, & along dirt trunk roads.  The so called accident at Baan Baa where a woman was killed ended with the trains having to reduce speeds over these crossings, thus hampering better trime table prospects. Gates did not help in many areas as the wonder drivers whow play tag with each other to see how many times they could zig zag over the lines while the gates were shut before the train arrives destroys protection they were meant to provide, doe such crossings exist in EU & GB lines to the extent they still do here?  Something that had to be incorporated into the design of the XPT with strengthened front ends in case of collisons.

The aspect of the replacement trains, as has been discussed previouly in this thread along with others, that still needs to be considered is how bad are the current fleet, more especially the the carriages?  I don't think they are that bad really & depending on cost between a rebuilt up to modern standards including the comfort level which would include better ride control bogies so that walking through the aisle ways is not fraught with danger as it is now.  As for the power units what is the overall condition of them these days especially in regards to their main bodies, rather than just the motor & electricals in them.

Should consideration be given based on the cost benefits are concerned that has the carriage fleet rebuilt starting perhaps with a full spare set as a starter, meaning 2 power uinits & 7 carriages, then withdraw one full set at a time from the older stock & have them brought into service with equal upgrades.

To market these trains, they need to have more focus on the fact of comfort for long distances, XPT type trains should be doing the long haul trains, by that I mean to the North Coast, & the interstate services. Having an additional new set could well mean providing 2 services to Brisbane daily.

The XPT especially the replacement for it, needs to be of higher standard than what is experienced today, given these improvements there will be an increase in patronage at all levels, but the standard has to include Point to Point trains without any changes to another service as mooted for the NT train at Broadmeadow.  Faster services by themselves may only attract a few extras but improved trains will attract many more.

What sort of HP is now available for use in an XPT like operation, as against the older 2000Hp range & the more recent increased HP rated Paxman motors?  To help improve the XPT fleet, there would be a real need to also have a minimum of 3000HP available in the Prime Mover/
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

The aspect of the replacement trains, as has been discussed previouly in this thread along with others, that still needs to be considered is how bad are the current fleet, more especially the the carriages?  I don't think they are that bad really & depending on cost between a rebuilt up to modern standards including the comfort level which would include better ride control bogies so that walking through the aisle ways is not fraught with danger as it is now.  
a6et


I think part of the problem with the carriages is the loading gauge.  The allowable width is specified to only a 17m wheel base, and that means the bogies on the XPT coaches are mounted closer to the centre of the car than in other parts of the world.  A longer wheel base with the same shaped frames would give a smoother ride and definitely less jostling between cars.

Maybe there are other engineering solutions to the ride quality issue, but for mine it's another selling point for an articulated design.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
a6et,
Some good points. I read that and thought about some of the processing plans I have worked on. Operated like crap when knew and took a few years and hard work by the operations teams to get solid reliable performance, so not limited to the XPT.

Your proposal to basically rebuild the fleet I see has two limitations
1) There is probably not enough cars and locos to remove 7 cars at a time + two locos. There is I thing more EC cars than normally used so these would be ok, and while the rest have a single spare, this maybe an issue with regular workings. Certainly I think you would struggle with the locos. Perhaps finding something to replace the Dubbo XPT would work.

2) A full rebuild of a 35 year to 40 year old fleet is a stop gap and unrealistic you could expect another 15-20 years of life beyond this. QR rebuilt the 2300's with low noses, turbo's etc are now planned to be replaced after 15-20 years of service. I think the costs simply don't stack up which is why its rarely done. A little bit different, but Qantas sent its 747-400's to the scrap heap after 30 years of service, I would have thought there were potential buyers/airlines that would pay more? The govt has probably done the sums of buying new and subtracting what ever the resale value of the XPT is and said this is the best option. 40 years appears to be the magic number for which most railways in Australia are retiring pax and other stock.

The XPT was heavily re-engineered. Surely there is something modern that can be sourced for the Australian standards. Rebuilding 35 yr old stock, 5 across seating, no arm rests, double stacking, triple beds bunds, these are all sub-standard conditions that offer minimal savings if indeed any. NSW is a AAA rated developed economy, it can offer a higher class of travel than this.

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