You could say the Ghan runs through less than nothing if the Inland runs through nothing!Extending to/from Adelaide I thought of but same as you, Overland isn't a money winner and the Ghan extension was stopped assume for same reason.
It could have merit. But perhaps something like a Melbourne-Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne routing. If the Qld NCL was SG, id say run Cairns-Melbourne but an east coast Triangle would work too.
The inland is a sub 24 hour run for freighters. Perhaps the train could stop somewhere at night for a few hours so as to maximise the out of window opportunities? Or perhaps you could run a high quality sitter/lounge car train (high qual meals included) and have overnight stops say in Parkes, then Brisbane, then Sydney. Though that is going to be pretty inconvenient for pax to train and detrain each night. Not sure how many sitters there are either. I wonder if it could also perhaps link in Adelaide in this format. Though the Overland isn't seemingly generating the premiums to justify its existence so maybe that model isn't a goer either.
What about a Perth-Brisbane of some sort? Second IP?? Or a round trip of some sort say PER-BNE-SYD-MEL-ADL? Or just the BNE-SYD-MEL-ADL section?
Adelaide to Brisbane via Parkes....didn't think of this, but I'm also concerned its replicating an existing route that if there was demand GSR would service and previously read the numbers are less on IP from Sydney compared to Adelaide to west.
I think it has to be as much as possible different to anything on offer now by either GSR or a govt operator. Lets assume the Westlander doesn't survive or even if it does, the route is only common for the first 150km or so. There is obviously a significant overlap from southern NSW to Melbourne, but can only work with so much. Running the entire East Coast route, not so sure.
North trip (actually day before above)
Leave Melbourne before evening peak so dinner in Vic country side arrive Parkes for Sydney bound IP, staying at Parkes for 30min or so to enable engine to change ends and on to Brisbane with Breakfast coming down the range arriving after AM Peak.
Depart from Brisbane to run via Parkes arriving again at Perth bound IP time 11pm. Enables a cosy run up the range having afternoon tea and a beer. Connection with IP means option for those travelling to Perth. Figured no point connecting from train from Melbourne as they can go via Overland now and southern corridor of Inland is less likely to attract bodies.
Dinner would be around Southern Qld crossing the border to Moree then on to Parkes staying at Parkes for 30min or so to enable engine to change ends on to Melbourne arriving after peak and enabling Breakfast while travelling through mid Victoria countryside.
Train is stabled in Melbourne and this enables easy transfer of rolling-stock using Overland to/from Adelaide as assume its all leased from GSR.
If there is no significant interest connecting with IP, then timetable is far more flexible.