XPT Replacement Discussion

 
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

A look at the class 800 specs here should also confirm to you that electric should have no problems with performance. 160km/h top speed with diesel and 200-225km/h with electric.

Not being a railway engineer does this mean that all DMU's have a rough top speed of 160 km/h?
bevans

I don't know but it looks like the 550kw engined diesels like the vlocity and the 800 are stuck at about 160km/h. The more powerful 700kw powered units like the 802 might have the ability to hit 200km/h. But I do not know for certain.

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  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia

I don't know but it looks like the 550kw engined diesels like the vlocity and the 800 are stuck at about 160km/h. The more powerful 700kw powered units like the 802 might have the ability to hit 200km/h. But I do not know for certain.
simstrain

Clearly then electrification is beneficial in maintaining a higher speed such is that required for better/faster service.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Not being a railway engineer does this mean that all DMU's have a rough top speed of 160 km/h?
Not at all, the British Rail Class 220/221 Voyager/Super Voyager, BR Class 180 Adelante and the Transwa Prospector all have top speeds of 200kph.
LancedDendrite

The XPT is supposed to be able to do 194km/h or so but it only operates at 160km/h. I don't think anything beyond 160km/h operational is necessary on the current track capability. My reason for the overhead is purely for reducing fuel usage to outside the Sydney metro area.

I have heard from some that the overhead may soon be extended to Picton with housing increasing in the area.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

Other factors also come into play for trains going above 160kph.    Signals and signs have be larger. Greater maintenance of track and the surrounds.   Eg making sure nothing can come onto the track, no tree branches, cattle etc.  

Drivers can't drive for as long due to the fatigue.  

Under the electrified area, there are very few places in which a train could even obtain something higher than 160.     Even just outside the electrified area like the hunter and southern highlands there aren't many places where >160 is possible.  Electrification would offer superior acceleration.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner


Not being a railway engineer does this mean that all DMU's have a rough top speed of 160 km/h?In general Diesel trains are only capable of a maximum speed of 200km/h.   Dmu's are generally lower as they are designed for better acceleration over a push/pull.  

The technical reasons why they can't go faster are:
-Engine bays not as aerodynamic.
-good airflow into the engine becomes a problem at high speeds, worse on DMU's
-the faster you go, the engines must be exponentially larger, gets to a point of it not being worth it.  
(350kw per car is fine for 145kph, you need around 750kw per car for 200kph.)
- bigger engines mean everything else generally needs to be bigger = more weight = more fuel
- routes in which trains are cruising at speeds above 160 for long periods it is generally better to have 1 good central powerplant than several inefficient engines and transmissions

In the end, not much is actually stopping a DMU from going 350kph.   But its stupid having something like 2x700kw powerplants on each car to obtain those speeds.    


If you need a diesel train to go faster than 160kph, it would most likely already be electrified track anyway.
tazzer96

The problem with push pull is that you have 2 loco's at each end that can't carry passengers. So basically your train is about 40-50 metres longer compared to a DMU of either electric or hydraulic persuasion. A DMU with 6 cars is shorter then a 5 carriage XPT or push pull locomotive and can move more people. Eurostar are replacing electric push pull class 373's with EMU class 374's because it provides more passenger capacity. The french will most likely need to do the same with the TGV and alstom has already built the EMU AGV to replace the old single deck TGV's when the french come to there senses.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW

The problem with push pull is that you have 2 loco's at each end that can't carry passengers. So basically your train is about 40-50 metres longer compared to a DMU of either electric or hydraulic persuasion. A DMU with 6 cars is shorter then a 5 carriage XPT or push pull locomotive and can move more people. Eurostar are replacing electric push pull class 373's with EMU class 374's because it provides more passenger capacity. The french will most likely need to do the same with the TGV and alstom has already built the EMU AGV to replace the old single deck TGV's when the french come to there senses.
simstrain

Is that a real constraint in our operating environment?
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

EMUs are much easier because you still have several centralised power collection and transmission points, but they can then be sent to motors on possibly every axle with relative ease.  
A DMU does mean more room to carry people.   But on top of the obvious comfort downsides.  (a trailer is always going to be nicer than a motor under you), a DMU needs to replicate the same thing several times.   It has its advantages of redundancy and better power distribution, but it also means its more inefficient.  Its better to have 1 x 1500kw engine and transmission, than have 5 x 300kw engines and transmissions.  Each with their own fuel tanks, oil stores, cooling etc.  

This inefficiency of DMU's is one of the reasons why you don't see DMU's running on trips that are 1000km long.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner


The problem with push pull is that you have 2 loco's at each end that can't carry passengers. So basically your train is about 40-50 metres longer compared to a DMU of either electric or hydraulic persuasion. A DMU with 6 cars is shorter then a 5 carriage XPT or push pull locomotive and can move more people. Eurostar are replacing electric push pull class 373's with EMU class 374's because it provides more passenger capacity. The french will most likely need to do the same with the TGV and alstom has already built the EMU AGV to replace the old single deck TGV's when the french come to there senses.
Is that a real constraint in our operating environment?
james.au
Total length isn't an issue, but there is the extra vehicle costing you money.   That must be weight up.
Only way I can think length is an issue is for overnight stabling somewhere.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I think you'd have to look at the total cost of the train set (both capital and operating) - you wouldnt make the decision based on individual wagons.  Passenger carriages (i.e. non DMU units) would be cheaper, offsetting the cost of the loco up front and back.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner


The problem with push pull is that you have 2 loco's at each end that can't carry passengers. So basically your train is about 40-50 metres longer compared to a DMU of either electric or hydraulic persuasion. A DMU with 6 cars is shorter then a 5 carriage XPT or push pull locomotive and can move more people. Eurostar are replacing electric push pull class 373's with EMU class 374's because it provides more passenger capacity. The french will most likely need to do the same with the TGV and alstom has already built the EMU AGV to replace the old single deck TGV's when the french come to there senses.
Is that a real constraint in our operating environment?
james.au
Yes because fitting a 5 car train instead of a 5+2 car train in the Sydney and Brisbane systems makes it easier to fit into gaps on the network and possibly opening up alternative arrival and departure times.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner


The problem with push pull is that you have 2 loco's at each end that can't carry passengers. So basically your train is about 40-50 metres longer compared to a DMU of either electric or hydraulic persuasion. A DMU with 6 cars is shorter then a 5 carriage XPT or push pull locomotive and can move more people. Eurostar are replacing electric push pull class 373's with EMU class 374's because it provides more passenger capacity. The french will most likely need to do the same with the TGV and alstom has already built the EMU AGV to replace the old single deck TGV's when the french come to there senses.
Is that a real constraint in our operating environment?Yes because fitting a 5 car train instead of a 5+2 car train in the Sydney and Brisbane systems makes it easier to fit into gaps on the network and possibly opening up alternative arrival and departure times.
simstrain
A train that's 40m shorter will make no difference.   being in each block for 10 seconds less will do nothing in the grand scheme of things.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

EMUs are much easier because you still have several centralised power collection and transmission points, but they can then be sent to motors on possibly every axle with relative ease.  
A DMU does mean more room to carry people.   But on top of the obvious comfort downsides.  (a trailer is always going to be nicer than a motor under you), a DMU needs to replicate the same thing several times.   It has its advantages of redundancy and better power distribution, but it also means its more inefficient.  Its better to have 1 x 1500kw engine and transmission, than have 5 x 300kw engines and transmissions.  Each with their own fuel tanks, oil stores, cooling etc.  

This inefficiency of DMU's is one of the reasons why you don't see DMU's running on trips that are 1000km long.
tazzer96

That is all bull dust Tazzer. The Broken Hill service is done by a DMU and the modern motor on the latest dmu's are 550kw at least and 1 x 1500kw motor isn't necessarily more efficient then multiple smaller engines. That is only your opinion with no proof to back it up.

I found some specs on the Vp185 here. 63.25 litres 1492kw. QSK19 specs are here. 19 litres and 550kw (700hp)

Both the class 800 and 802 have been designed as electric trains with a diesel generator and can have the diesel engine removed if necessary.

A 4 car Explorer weighs 232 tonnes. 2 x XPT power cars alone are 152 tonnes with 4 trailers weighing 163 tonnes that is a total weight of 315.9 tonnes.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

your comparing two different engines.  The new engines are always going to be superior.    

Ever wondered by Aeroplanes are now only having two engines.  Instead of 3 or 4.  
Or why gen-set locomotives are still rare.   Or why you don't have 4 lawnmower engines powering each wheel in your.  

The main reason for the increased efficiency of a larger engine is due to the volume of the cylinders increasing, yet the stroke length not increasing (or by very little).

So if the stroke length remains constant, the friction will remain constant, yet since the volume has increased, the power will have increased.  But the loss of power from friction has not risen.   Friction is one of the largest factors reducing efficiency in an engine.

With a larger engine would also have more control about its internal operating environment and conditions, allowing to increase the efficiency from that angle.

You also avoid the whole duplication of every component argument.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
A few points

Forget any thoughts of retaining the XPT and XPL for regional use. They have or  approaching their use by dates .

1500 VDC OH capable I see the value but only just. The fuel saving is more less time loss due to refueling if you can make tanks big enough for the NCL trains. There would I'm assuming be only a marginal performance benefit over only a short distance of track for whole route.

No transformer on 1500 VDC, that's why they use it 100 years ago.

Forget Dual voltage.  The Beaudesert line will take a few decades to get to Beaudesert and won't be dual gauge,  ARTC policy is to sepwrate whete possible. There maybe also alignment issues for the OH if it was as SG and NG centre's are well off set. You also need a transformer on train for about 50km of track.

HSR trains are like the RTT, traction motors on almost every axle. Difficult to achieve or rather power without massive donks or a series of them at either end of the train. Then you have a massive high centre of gravity and probably need 4 loco's to keep the axle load down.  Under floor option is not practical for this HP requirements. You also only spend the money on the track if you have high usage and hence frequency which makes OH more viable.
  a6et Minister for Railways


The problem with push pull is that you have 2 loco's at each end that can't carry passengers. So basically your train is about 40-50 metres longer compared to a DMU of either electric or hydraulic persuasion. A DMU with 6 cars is shorter then a 5 carriage XPT or push pull locomotive and can move more people. Eurostar are replacing electric push pull class 373's with EMU class 374's because it provides more passenger capacity. The french will most likely need to do the same with the TGV and alstom has already built the EMU AGV to replace the old single deck TGV's when the french come to there senses.
Is that a real constraint in our operating environment?Yes because fitting a 5 car train instead of a 5+2 car train in the Sydney and Brisbane systems makes it easier to fit into gaps on the network and possibly opening up alternative arrival and departure times.
simstrain
What twaddle.  The current Xpt can fit all the passenger carriages onto almost all the stations it stops at, unless at driver change the power car sits off the platform just the same as with loco hauled trains. Show me which stations that it doesn't.

Those that it doesn't include a few on the NCL line that have specific carriages that stop at the platforms with only a single or two doors open for it. There is no longer any stop and pull forward options, as there used to be that I am aware of.

Someone mentioned the recycled power that is put into the overhead, that existed only when a train traveling down a grade such as an up service on the blue mountains, was using regen, it could return enough power to allow a similar train heading up the grade.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

A few points

Forget any thoughts of retaining the XPT and XPL for regional use. They have or  approaching their use by dates .

1500 VDC OH capable I see the value but only just. The fuel saving is more less time loss due to refueling if you can make tanks big enough for the NCL trains. There would I'm assuming be only a marginal performance benefit over only a short distance of track for whole route.

No transformer on 1500 VDC, that's why they use it 100 years ago.

Forget Dual voltage.  The Beaudesert line will take a few decades to get to Beaudesert and won't be dual gauge,  ARTC policy is to sepwrate whete possible. There maybe also alignment issues for the OH if it was as SG and NG centre's are well off set. You also need a transformer on train for about 50km of track.

HSR trains are like the RTT, traction motors on almost every axle. Difficult to achieve or rather power without massive donks or a series of them at either end of the train. Then you have a massive high centre of gravity and probably need 4 loco's to keep the axle load down.  Under floor option is not practical for this HP requirements. You also only spend the money on the track if you have high usage and hence frequency which makes OH more viable.
RTT_Rules
Not sure about what the main south is like, but refuelling on the NCL only adds maybe two minutes to the journey, mainly because of the staff changeover at grafton.  
XPL and XPT still have a few years left on shorter runs with less intensive schedules.   eg, the peak goulburn -central service
  simstrain Chief Commissioner


The problem with push pull is that you have 2 loco's at each end that can't carry passengers. So basically your train is about 40-50 metres longer compared to a DMU of either electric or hydraulic persuasion. A DMU with 6 cars is shorter then a 5 carriage XPT or push pull locomotive and can move more people. Eurostar are replacing electric push pull class 373's with EMU class 374's because it provides more passenger capacity. The french will most likely need to do the same with the TGV and alstom has already built the EMU AGV to replace the old single deck TGV's when the french come to there senses.
Is that a real constraint in our operating environment?Yes because fitting a 5 car train instead of a 5+2 car train in the Sydney and Brisbane systems makes it easier to fit into gaps on the network and possibly opening up alternative arrival and departure times.What twaddle.  The current Xpt can fit all the passenger carriages onto almost all the stations it stops at, unless at driver change the power car sits off the platform just the same as with loco hauled trains. Show me which stations that it doesn't.

Those that it doesn't include a few on the NCL line that have specific carriages that stop at the platforms with only a single or two doors open for it. There is no longer any stop and pull forward options, as there used to be that I am aware of.

Someone mentioned the recycled power that is put into the overhead, that existed only when a train traveling down a grade such as an up service on the blue mountains, was using regen, it could return enough power to allow a similar train heading up the grade.
a6et

I wasn't talking about platform length. I meant train slots. A smaller train might be able to enter into the brisbane network sooner then the longer XPT.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner


I wasn't talking about platform length. I meant train slots. A smaller train might be able to enter into the brisbane network sooner then the longer XPT.
simstrain

We don't really want the XPT arriving in brisbane earlier than it is now.   Thats the main reason why patronage isn't higher.

Once its in brisbane there are far bigger issues that shortening a train won't fix.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
This would have to be one of the longest running threads in Railpage and what we are seeing now are a number of elements being raised again but that's not a bad thing given this project is pretty much committed to go forward.

I think there are several themes or principals that have come it in the discussion overtime that I think are worth repeating again before getting into the real technical nitty gritty.

First up any new train design going forward should incorporate as much of the lessons learned from both the XPT and XPL over their life. to not incorporate those lessons learned (without embodying costly customization in the specification is very important from both a design, technical, performance, maintenance, operational and CUSTOMER service level).

There is no doubt you want a really robust, easy to maintain vehicle that is very reliable and easy to maintain.   The current fleet is small.  There are no specialized maintenance facilities outside of Sydney so these trains have to be good performers.  Like their predecessors these trains will be intensely utilized but lets hope based on RTT's post that sufficient sets are procured to operate a much more customer friendly timetable that addresses what the public and multiple surveys have been calling for, for years.

Avoid leading edge design and over customization.   At one stage the Hunter Valley DMU's were classed as some of the world's most expensive railcars because of the extreme level of customization even though the cars grew out of the classic Cummins engine/Voith transmission platform that has been used widely from narrow gauge Australind's through to Prospectors, Explorers, V'Locities, Voyager and super Voyager trains.

Where I am heading to here is now that we're getting to the pointy end of going for a real contract, its time to start moving to 1 train type and using multiple sets to manage capacity and/or enable sets to be split like Moree/Armidale and others that may emerge in the 30 to 40 year horizon that these new trains will operate in.

The improvements in noise suppression etc of new generation diesel trains like this have advanced enormously and we forget that quiet, fast, comfortable DMU's like the Prospector are 21 years old.  Having essentially one "platform" in terms of an enginnering solution results in enormous capital cost and maintenance savings for this relatively small fleet.

In saying that just like the Prospector, ensure your modern but proven design is future proofed.   I'll put my hand up and say that it's hard to envisage right here and now that we may have higher speed running now but over a 30 to 40 year horizon we are very likely to.   Many of our existing mainlines in particular will come up for rerailing and further concrete resleepering and that combined with the impressive acceleration and braking performance of new generation DMU's means that speeds will improve especially with the introduction of additional signaling and train management systems such as being developed by ARTC. I frequently get hit over the head on this but when ARTC rerailed the Koolyanobbing to West Kalgoorlie line not that long ago speed for the Prospector was increased from 140km/hr to 160km/hr.

I wouldn't suggest for a moment that it'll be much higher than 160km/hr but it could go to 176 km/hr which seems to be where a number of railroads have headed to because after that the added infrastructure and actual rail alignment is at its limit.   It's hard to picture that in Sydney but beyond the ranges there are opportunities to take advantage of the capabilities of these vehicles.   The WA Prospector doesn't operate at 160km/hr everywhere.  That corridor was optimized east of Northam to around the 120/130km/hr mark but the Prospector with its power to weight ratio easily  takes advantage of sections where higher speed is permitted.

Therefore a new generation Explorer type train with high power to weight ratio could use that capability to recover from slow curves far better than today's XPT does and also brake much more quickly.

Flexibility around interior configuration.  Modular design, built in seat rails in the floor and side sills all enable interior configurations to be adjusted over time which the current trains cannot do.   It maybe possible if the market required to have hi and low density seating configurations to enable some degree of customization around medium versus long distance services.

I'd also include a much better approach to on-board catering.   The current buffet cars are huge occupiers of space.   If you look at what the Japanese do with trolley services  its quite amazing and similarly what VIA Rail do around catering on their corridor trains is equally quite satisfactory for the style of food and beverage served.  For that matter look at the size of a Jetstar Boeing 787 or A320 galley that serves everything from light meals to snacks.

Anyway it's great to see this development getting underway.  Let's hope it results in a "New Deal" (to quote a 1980's Victorian slogan) for NSW.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Numerous Good points there TP

Once the XPT's have been displaced from their East Coast corridor, there isn't much use for them them in Australia unless you consider them useful for the Vic NE SG Services to replace the even much older and slower N-class hauled rolling stock and not they are cutting to 3 car trains to get reliability. So perhaps a few XPT's in 4/5 car + power cars would do the trick nicely and certainly look more modern than what they have now. How even then they only need 4 sets, so there will be plenty of spares.

The XPL's can refitted into Endeavor class layout to boost commuter services on the South Main and potentially replace the Lithgow sparks and/or increasing services to Bathurst, South Coast and Hunter.

In both cases plenty of spare parts.

It has been suggested that the buffet cars are likely the most profitable sections of the Country Link fleets. Trolley dolley's are fine, but its more labour intensive. Even long haul flights now they are expecting EC class to go to galley for service, especially at night. I think vending machines can take care of most of the cold drinks, hot drinks and pre-packaged foods/snacks. Only hot food, frozen and alcohol is buffet material and hence can see the buffet foot print reduced but its also the on board staff's work station.

I think the fixed seating is ok, but the railways need to follow the airline trend and look after frequent uses and upgrade regular uses of EC into unused FC seating. Even the airlines rarely adjust the seating routinely, planes are configured and tend to stay that way in between major overhauls at least.

Speed wise, 160km/hr is more than enough and likely to remain that way for the life of the engine. The focus is on removing sub 115km/hr bends/track, not building plus 160km/hr track. But it would nice to know that should 160-200km/hr running become available especially Syd to Can, the trains can adapt.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

Hopefully they dont take QR's advice regarding the buffet car.   The refurbed electric tilt has two galleys and a trolley service.
  a6et Minister for Railways


The problem with push pull is that you have 2 loco's at each end that can't carry passengers. So basically your train is about 40-50 metres longer compared to a DMU of either electric or hydraulic persuasion. A DMU with 6 cars is shorter then a 5 carriage XPT or push pull locomotive and can move more people. Eurostar are replacing electric push pull class 373's with EMU class 374's because it provides more passenger capacity. The french will most likely need to do the same with the TGV and alstom has already built the EMU AGV to replace the old single deck TGV's when the french come to there senses.
Is that a real constraint in our operating environment?Yes because fitting a 5 car train instead of a 5+2 car train in the Sydney and Brisbane systems makes it easier to fit into gaps on the network and possibly opening up alternative arrival and departure times.What twaddle.  The current Xpt can fit all the passenger carriages onto almost all the stations it stops at, unless at driver change the power car sits off the platform just the same as with loco hauled trains. Show me which stations that it doesn't.

Those that it doesn't include a few on the NCL line that have specific carriages that stop at the platforms with only a single or two doors open for it. There is no longer any stop and pull forward options, as there used to be that I am aware of.

Someone mentioned the recycled power that is put into the overhead, that existed only when a train traveling down a grade such as an up service on the blue mountains, was using regen, it could return enough power to allow a similar train heading up the grade.
I wasn't talking about platform length. I meant train slots. A smaller train might be able to enter into the brisbane network sooner then the longer XPT.
simstrain
No!!! the Xpt goes straight into the SG line at Roma St.  Personally the reasons for its early arrival/departure is rubbish. you could walk anywhere around Roma st interstate and the suburban station/streets and there was virtually no one around, same with passing through stations on the South side. No reason why it could not still be the same.  Besides most of the signalling is far enough apart to fit more than a single XPT into the mix.

Old technology signalling that allows calling on and low speed operations between signals in heavy built up use areas as found pretty well along most of the Sydney lines show how trains can be managed. Even following suburbans along the old Bankstown line on a diesel hauled interstate freight could be run at 20Km/h following a stopping pax without stopping, and that was all the way from Sefton to Punchbowl.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
No!!! the Xpt goes straight into the SG line at Roma St.  Personally the reasons for its early arrival/departure is rubbish. you could walk anywhere around Roma st interstate and the suburban station/streets and there was virtually no one around, same with passing through stations on the South side. No reason why it could not still be the same.  Besides most of the signalling is far enough apart to fit more than a single XPT into the mix.

Old technology signalling that allows calling on and low speed operations between signals in heavy built up use areas as found pretty well along most of the Sydney lines show how trains can be managed. Even following suburbans along the old Bankstown line on a diesel hauled interstate freight could be run at 20Km/h following a stopping pax without stopping, and that was all the way from Sefton to Punchbowl.
a6et
Not sure how familiar you are with Brisbane rail.

The XPT uses approximately 13km of single Bi-di DG track from Salisbury to Roma Street station. The traffic it shares the line with is the Gold Coast expresses that have absolutely nothing to do with demand at local lightly used stations or the interstate platforms.

On the old timetable, approaching RS from Sydney isn't a huge deal unless its very late. Its then got to find a path across the bridge and conflicting movement into the interstate platform. Overall no major issue. However its departure time is now a cluster. It has one conflicting movement and has to run reverse peak flow direction into the path normally used by inbound Gold Coast traffic. The bridge is already pulling 20t/hr each way.

The XPT issue has been a growing problem for a number of years and as the frequency of services in Brisbane commuter traffic increased, the problem was always going to come to a head sooner or later.

The alternative timetable for the XPT is to arrive before 7:15am and not leave until after 9:15-9:30am. However the extra duration in Brisbane turn around would have been unacceptable to Country Link. 9:30 am departure from Brisbane is 11:30pm arrival to Sydney. If you could cut out 1-2hr for the Brisbane service, life would I'm sure be different.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Hopefully they dont take QR's advice regarding the buffet car.   The refurbed electric tilt has two galleys and a trolley service.
tazzer96
Buffet cars need to be every 3 car or 4 cars max. More than that and people are walking too far through a moving train and the numbers would be starting to interfere with people seated close to the buffet.

The buffet car is a fixed 6 car set, so buffet is car 2 and 5.

For what I'm expecting to see happen for XPT replacement is the purchase of fixed 3-4 car DMU's or similar. Hence the Buffet should be in car 2. Thus enabling the FC car the drivers cab, checked luggage and still have a reasonable number of FC seats. In a 3 car set, you then have 1.5 cars of EC seating or 4 car set, 2.5 cars. In which car I would make buffet area a tad bigger to include a small bar stool style seated area to look out the window.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

RTT has it summed up.  Its the dual gauge needing to be used by the GC expresses going the opposite direction to the xpt that stops a nice timetable.  On a good day, the XPT from roma st has 100 people, two gold coast trains has over 1000, why should the xpt have priority.

However, with the new trains, they will definitely order enough to allow 2 brisbane services a day.  And they will have enough trains so they don't have to be turned as ASAP just to keep the timetable.
Hopefully they get a tilting train and set up the routes to allow this where the loading gauge permits.   This would easily shave 1 hour off the trip, plus there would be overall performance improvements as well.  

Eg new train trip bris-syd takes 13 hours while under a tight timetable.
~7am and ~5pm departures from sydney.  Arrive brisbane ~8pm and ~6am.  
Depart brisbane ~7am and ~9pm and arrive sydney 10am and 8pm.  stables until next morning.

Ideally you would have a group of sets dedicated to the each of the NCL and main south services (5 car super Voyagers for example) and have dedicated 3 car sets for the western, northern, canberra . Only swap them out for maintenance.  

They could also choose to be clever and reuse (still think its in use anyway) part of the murwillumbah line to provide stabling at casino for 1 or 2 trains.   1 day and 1 night service to brisbane, 2 day services to casino and 1 day service to grafton.  (not the most efficient use of rollingstock, but it would provide services at times when people want them)

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