What's going on with all the Canberra Xplorer cancellations?

 
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

160,000 people across 6 daily services. Pretty terrible. The only two services the canberra that warrant anything are the two daytime ones.  Why should canberra get services that aren't full when others cannot even get onto a train because its sold out?

160,000 people across 6 daily services is in short an awful number.  Per service, only the griffith train is less popular.   If you removed the canberra services, only two places would be left without a good alternative.  Tarago and bungendore.  Currently a coach from canberra -sydney is cost and time competitive, and is along good roads and only lasts for a short time.

Only reason the broken hill service moves 10,000 people is because it has 2 services a week.  10,0000 * 42 (number of services canberra gets) / 2(services BH gets)  = 210,000.  

When you also consider the number that use coaches that are directly along the rail lines path and the coach connects to electric intercity services at lithgow, it doesn't make much sense why they haven't got more rail services to the west.  

Popular western region coaches:
orange -lithgow = 21,000
parkes - lithgow = 14,000
nyngan - lithgow = 11,000
broken hill - dubbo = 8000
grenfell - lithgow = 8000

Similar amounts heading the opposite way.  Not even mentioning all the bathurst - lithgow buses.

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  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
I'm getting somewhat annoyed at the...'they are only pensioners' that's being woven by some into this discussion...Mad

I mentioned earlier in another thread about comments being made, possibly by graduate economists contributing to the discussions who have no real idea or life experience to draw upon. They talk about economics and not the connectivity of services between towns and larger regional centres and the demographics of the passengers who are using those services and whether or not particularly in the case of buses they are easily accessible by the passengers.

Mike.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

The "they are only pensioners argument" is valid simply because the service is basically free for them.  
The 2nd largest contributing reason why the murwillumbah line was closed is because 8% of the people using it were paying the full fare.  8% paid the full fare. 48% were using discounts of 40%-50% off.   And 44% travelled free, or at discounts of over 90% off.  (those numbers are from the inquiry report, the main reason for the closure of the line was Countrylink and RIC's shear incompetence on a number of issues.  The line could have remained opened and even become cost neutral if they tried)

However, even with these very low cost recovery numbers, the subsidy for the cityrail suburban and interurban operations was 40% higher.
  thopkins Station Staff

And what happens when you do that, but some other idiot on the road crashes into you and paralyses your legs.  You still have your life out in a smaller town.  You still want to be independent and get around.  You still are otherwise a normal person but you obviously can't drive.  


On your example above.  What happens if you live in hughenden but want to go to townsville (example to watch cowboys play live).  You do not have a choice of flying.  You can only fly between big cities and at best, major regional centres.  You can't get from one major regional centre to another by air.



Train is not about the end points, its about the stops in the middle.    Just because you get on a Hamilton (newcastle) bound train, doesn't mean you are getting off at hamilton, you could just be going to eastwood.  Two very different places.

1. If your paralysed and you can't run a farm or hold down a job either , then you should sell up and head to somewhere you can get access to services you need.

2. Watch TV is the answer. If you have a ticket then drive or take a bus. It is after all only 400km's from Townsville on a fairly nice straight highway that looks divided. Hughenden isn't a major regional centre by the way. It is a village of 1150 people.

3. The train is not about midpoints. It is about providing mass transit for cities. It is not about providing transport for 1 person in Hughenden to go and see a team of grubs play in Townsville.
simstrain
What a sour old puss you are!
  thopkins Station Staff

The "they are only pensioners argument" is valid simply because the service is basically free for them.  
The 2nd largest contributing reason why the murwillumbah line was closed is because 8% of the people using it were paying the full fare.  8% paid the full fare. 48% were using discounts of 40%-50% off.   And 44% travelled free, or at discounts of over 90% off.  (those numbers are from the inquiry report, the main reason for the closure of the line was Countrylink and RIC's shear incompetence on a number of issues.  The line could have remained opened and even become cost neutral if they tried)

However, even with these very low cost recovery numbers, the subsidy for the cityrail suburban and interurban operations was 40% higher.
tazzer96
These are highly valid points that tazzer96 makes. Those who are concentrating on purely economic terms and dismissing social impacts and effects, forget that Sydney residents receive enormous subsidies for the City Network, the road network and the availability of modern basic requirements such as quality schools and hospitals.

When someone has to travel from Armidale or worse still Broken Hill to receive the cancer treatment that only can be provided at St Vincents or RPA or Westmead, the hard economics put forward by some here are harsh and inhumane. And why shouldn't pensioners and those with disabilities enjoy some of the benefits that this wealthy country can provide.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The "they are only pensioners argument" is valid simply because the service is basically free for them.  
The 2nd largest contributing reason why the murwillumbah line was closed is because 8% of the people using it were paying the full fare.  8% paid the full fare. 48% were using discounts of 40%-50% off.   And 44% travelled free, or at discounts of over 90% off.  (those numbers are from the inquiry report, the main reason for the closure of the line was Countrylink and RIC's shear incompetence on a number of issues.  The line could have remained opened and even become cost neutral if they tried)

However, even with these very low cost recovery numbers, the subsidy for the cityrail suburban and interurban operations was 40% higher.
tazzer96

It doesn't matter how much subsidy the Sydney and intercity network receives because it allows the city to operate and make money. This is not the case in rural regions where there are no traffic issues.

No passenger rail service has ever been cost neutral in NSW. Murwillumbah was shut because it was no longer moving freight and 1 passenger service a day was not enough to offset the huge costs in maintaining that line. That smeg about RIC's incompetence is complete crap made up by people upset at losing a train line. It was shut because it was a drain on the state.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

160,000 people across 6 daily services. Pretty terrible. The only two services the canberra that warrant anything are the two daytime ones.  Why should canberra get services that aren't full when others cannot even get onto a train because its sold out?

160,000 people across 6 daily services is in short an awful number.  Per service, only the griffith train is less popular.   If you removed the canberra services, only two places would be left without a good alternative.  Tarago and bungendore.  Currently a coach from canberra -sydney is cost and time competitive, and is along good roads and only lasts for a short time.

Only reason the broken hill service moves 10,000 people is because it has 2 services a week.  10,0000 * 42 (number of services canberra gets) / 2(services BH gets)  = 210,000.  

When you also consider the number that use coaches that are directly along the rail lines path and the coach connects to electric intercity services at lithgow, it doesn't make much sense why they haven't got more rail services to the west.  

Popular western region coaches:
orange -lithgow = 21,000
parkes - lithgow = 14,000
nyngan - lithgow = 11,000
broken hill - dubbo = 8000
grenfell - lithgow = 8000

Similar amounts heading the opposite way.  Not even mentioning all the bathurst - lithgow buses.
tazzer96
Again you aren't doing your maths right and you are ignoring basic facts. It isn't just about passengers. It is about passengers per kilometre.

Canberra is 300km's from Sydney. Broken Hill is 1300km's from Sydney. Canberra could have 8 services a day and still be more viable then a return broken hill service because it would take 200km's and an extra day longer to deliver that one return broken hill service. Even if all of that 10,000 people actually used the train to Broken Hill (which it doesn't). What makes you think that those numbers would scale up if Broken Hill had a daily service? Broken Hill only has a population of 20,000 and how popular do you think the Broken Hill Xplorer would be if pensioners didn't have 2 free return fares available to them a year. I wonder why the IP removed it's economy class carriages for.

There has been more talk of extra western services, just not as far as broken hill. Bathurst has the bullet which is popular and could do with having a 3 car Xplorer instead of a 2 car Endeavour. Parkes would be a viable option for a daily service as well. A morning Sydney service from Dubbo is also something being looked at but will obviously need more trainsets for any of that to be viable. In the meantime the coaches move what has to be moved from extremely rural places like broken hill, menindee etc.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The "they are only pensioners argument" is valid simply because the service is basically free for them.  
The 2nd largest contributing reason why the murwillumbah line was closed is because 8% of the people using it were paying the full fare.  8% paid the full fare. 48% were using discounts of 40%-50% off.   And 44% travelled free, or at discounts of over 90% off.  (those numbers are from the inquiry report, the main reason for the closure of the line was Countrylink and RIC's shear incompetence on a number of issues.  The line could have remained opened and even become cost neutral if they tried)

However, even with these very low cost recovery numbers, the subsidy for the cityrail suburban and interurban operations was 40% higher.
These are highly valid points that tazzer96 makes. Those who are concentrating on purely economic terms and dismissing social impacts and effects, forget that Sydney residents receive enormous subsidies for the City Network, the road network and the availability of modern basic requirements such as quality schools and hospitals.

When someone has to travel from Armidale or worse still Broken Hill to receive the cancer treatment that only can be provided at St Vincents or RPA or Westmead, the hard economics put forward by some here are harsh and inhumane. And why shouldn't pensioners and those with disabilities enjoy some of the benefits that this wealthy country can provide.
thopkins

I believe that Dubbo will soon have a cancer clinic.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

Sorry, Didn't know that an entire inquiry could make a mistake and make up reasons like that.  There are reasons these inquiries are used.  To find out exactly what went wrong, who to blame, how to fix it and how to stop it happening again.
These are used to find out the FACTS, not making stuff up like what you are doing.

When RIC and Countrylink made no attempt to make the line profitable with the loss of freight, and then further pushed it downhill by screwing up the timetable, not maintain it to a standard that could even allow freight.  That's what destined the line for failure.  It was pushed to that fate over many successive governments, some whom had vested interests in making sure it closed. (very similar to what is going on in newcastle)

Muwillumbah is also rather well situated and could easily have a rail freight terminal.   It doesn't have a shortage of potential freight.  It would have avoided some of the largest issues with freight along the NCL. (mainly the choke point of ACR to kyogle)

We are spending how many billions of dollars on roads, mainly to cater for trucks when we absolutely refuse to spend what is a tiny drop of money in the large scheme of things, and turn it into something that can create the government money, instead of continuously sucking money from it.   Roads don't make money, many toll roads fail to make money.  The NSW state government is going to spend 6.4 billion on roads in the next year alone, just remember that most of these projects are predominately funded by the feds.  And most local roads are funded by the local councils. In short, the state government pays the smallest amount for road construction and upgrades out of the 3 levels of government  
RIC spent less than 3 million in maintenance on the casino-murwillumbah line in its final year of operation.  3 million buys you about 1km of simple resurfaced road.  

People in qld are yelling at the government to widen the M1 for only 5km but will cost 220 million.   It is only congested during the peak of the peaks and otherwise a fantastic road. And we have all heard the stories of trucks crashing, killing people and shutting roads for hours while thousands just sit in a very expensive rolling car park.

You seem to love economics, but are really terrible at understanding some of the basic fundamental concepts.  Maybe you are more of an accountant, just make sure their is less stuff on the books so you can understand everything easier and have less work to do around EOFY
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Sorry, Didn't know that an entire inquiry could make a mistake and make up reasons like that.  There are reasons these inquiries are used.  To find out exactly what went wrong, who to blame, how to fix it and how to stop it happening again.
These are used to find out the FACTS, not making stuff up like what you are doing.

When RIC and Countrylink made no attempt to make the line profitable with the loss of freight, and then further pushed it downhill by screwing up the timetable, not maintain it to a standard that could even allow freight.  That's what destined the line for failure.  It was pushed to that fate over many successive governments, some whom had vested interests in making sure it closed. (very similar to what is going on in newcastle)

Muwillumbah is also rather well situated and could easily have a rail freight terminal.   It doesn't have a shortage of potential freight.  It would have avoided some of the largest issues with freight along the NCL. (mainly the choke point of ACR to kyogle)

We are spending how many billions of dollars on roads, mainly to cater for trucks when we absolutely refuse to spend what is a tiny drop of money in the large scheme of things, and turn it into something that can create the government money, instead of continuously sucking money from it.   Roads don't make money, many toll roads fail to make money.  The NSW state government is going to spend 6.4 billion on roads in the next year alone, just remember that most of these projects are predominately funded by the feds.  And most local roads are funded by the local councils. In short, the state government pays the smallest amount for road construction and upgrades out of the 3 levels of government  
RIC spent less than 3 million in maintenance on the casino-murwillumbah line in its final year of operation.  3 million buys you about 1km of simple resurfaced road.  

People in qld are yelling at the government to widen the M1 for only 5km but will cost 220 million.   It is only congested during the peak of the peaks and otherwise a fantastic road. And we have all heard the stories of trucks crashing, killing people and shutting roads for hours while thousands just sit in a very expensive rolling car park.

You seem to love economics, but are really terrible at understanding some of the basic fundamental concepts.  Maybe you are more of an accountant, just make sure their is less stuff on the books so you can understand everything easier and have less work to do around EOFY
tazzer96

Have you actually been to Murwillumbah and the surrounding area Taz? Have you seen the terrain it flows through. It would have been lucky to top out at 80km/h with an average speed of maybe 60km/h. The only major population centre it hits is Lismore which is why there is some talk about the casino xpt extending to Lismore.

I am not sure what inquiry you are talking about, but the one in 2013 said that it would not be viable because of the layout of the line and that the money would be better served put towards a new high speed rail line.
  SEMartin Chief Train Controller

Location: Canberra ACT
The first Up and Down Canberra services of the day were cancelled and replaced by buses this morning - reported to be on a/c of 'Operational issues' on NSW Trainlink website. I saw the cars that should have formed SP32 stabled at Kingston on the way to work this morning.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The first Up and Down Canberra services of the day were cancelled and replaced by buses this morning - reported to be on a/c of 'Operational issues' on NSW Trainlink website. I saw the cars that should have formed SP32 stabled at Kingston on the way to work this morning.
SEMartin

May not have been a driver available. Apparently we have a shortage of rural train drivers in NSW. So maybe if you want the Canberra Xplorer services to run on time then apply for a driver position if your capable of driving a train.
  msct095 Station Master

Trains could be cancelled for all sorts of reasons. Maintenance/mechical problems with rolling stock and staff availability are probably things which get wrapped up into "operational issues". As for why Canberra, it is a train service which fails to compete with Murrays on time, cost, or frequency, and can only compete on comfort. Murrays also has a much better Canberra location than NSW Trainlink. Replacement coaches can be sourced more easily than they could be for a Moree, Armidale or Griffith run.

Now as some people have said, the places in between matter too. I'll be going to Goulburn this weekend, which Murrays don't do. Greyhound is slower, costs more, and runs at worse times than the XPT/Xplorer services. It is also less comfortable, and the Goulburn drop off location is not so great. I'll be getting the Endeavour "all stops" (gotta serve Tallong and Wingello just in case there is actually a passenger) to Goulburn (for under $10), and the evening Melbourne XPT back.

So it would be interesting to see how many make the full Central to Canberra trip on the Xplorer. Anecdotally, the one time I caught the Canberra train from Goulburn to Sydney, it was more than half full on arrival at Goulburn.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

The lack of drivers is real.  I have seen an advert wanting a Driver specifically for the canberra explorers.  (had that they must be qualified, or recently qualified on the NSW safeworking system, and those with route knowledge for the southern network and previous DMU experience was highly regarded.)
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I mentioned the driver thing only because I learned of it yesterday while talking to some friends of mine who work in the railways in NSW. I thought I would talk about this and see what people thought.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
These are highly valid points that tazzer96 makes. Those who are concentrating on purely economic terms and dismissing social impacts and effects, forget that Sydney residents receive enormous subsidies for the City Network, the road network and the availability of modern basic requirements such as quality schools and hospitals.

When someone has to travel from Armidale or worse still Broken Hill to receive the cancer treatment that only can be provided at St Vincents or RPA or Westmead, the hard economics put forward by some here are harsh and inhumane. And why shouldn't pensioners and those with disabilities enjoy some of the benefits that this wealthy country can provide.
thopkins

Social impacts and effects are economic impacts, by definition.

The problem is that they are quite difficult to measure and current benefit cost calculations capture them poorly.
  msct095 Station Master

The "they are only pensioners argument" is valid simply because the service is basically free for them.  
The 2nd largest contributing reason why the murwillumbah line was closed is because 8% of the people using it were paying the full fare.  8% paid the full fare. 48% were using discounts of 40%-50% off.   And 44% travelled free, or at discounts of over 90% off.  (those numbers are from the inquiry report, the main reason for the closure of the line was Countrylink and RIC's shear incompetence on a number of issues.  The line could have remained opened and even become cost neutral if they tried)

However, even with these very low cost recovery numbers, the subsidy for the cityrail suburban and interurban operations was 40% higher.
These are highly valid points that tazzer96 makes. Those who are concentrating on purely economic terms and dismissing social impacts and effects, forget that Sydney residents receive enormous subsidies for the City Network, the road network and the availability of modern basic requirements such as quality schools and hospitals.

When someone has to travel from Armidale or worse still Broken Hill to receive the cancer treatment that only can be provided at St Vincents or RPA or Westmead, the hard economics put forward by some here are harsh and inhumane. And why shouldn't pensioners and those with disabilities enjoy some of the benefits that this wealthy country can provide.
thopkins
So where does reality set in? Can someone in Tottenham demand a direct train service? What percentage of the state's population must be within what distance of a service before we face the reality of diminishing returns? Rarely is a gun held to people's head telling them they must live so far away from the nearest big city.

Sydney may receive subsidies for the commuter train service, but for most services it gets less dollars per person than in regional areas.

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