Apologies Mike, let’s give that another whirl. (Edit: RP does not like this URL!)https://www.vline.com.au/Escape-with-V-Line/Preview-Event/Destination-Details?id=661
And I’m not convinced cost incentive is sufficient here: think, for instance, of short-haul air fares, where a large number of people will pay a little more because they want to arrive in Sydney at 6pm rather than 12 noon just because it’s the cheapest option.
No, rail has to compete with the car on amenity value as well as price point - and that means something to convince people reduced flexibility in their travel is offset. For anything north of 3h IMHO that makes catering/first class a necessity, not to mention things that SHOULD be introduced like free wifi (I understand the coverage and cost issues but it adds massively to said amenity value).
Given the choice between a 3h drive to Mel via the Monash Carpark and a 3.30 train trip with a coffee and cake on the way while working/studying, there are a LOT of people who could be persuaded to make the switch for occasional trips. And that goes for all the long-hauls, both existing and potential. On top of that, first class adds value for semi-regular travellers and could be enhanced further, perhaps with the provision of something like in-seat power.
Of course V/Line has to work out how to get the trains from A to B all the time first!