Future of Overland train service in doubt

 
Topic moved from News by dthead on 25 Nov 2019 19:16
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland


As a comparison, the XPT doesn't seem to be be under threat, what's the difference, similar distance, why does it seem to be operating ok ?
BigShunter
The main reason Is population centres along the route, the XPT between Sydney and Melbourne captures a fair few local passengers between Wagga Wagga and Melbourne.

Where as the Overland would of have very limited local passengers from the Adelaide end, due to the slow running through the Hills and poor passenger terminal location.

The Sydney - Brisbane XPT Is just about shot at the Brisbane end, as Translink doesn't want the standard gauge train clogging up their Gold Coast line.
There seems no desire to promote rail travel between Brisbane and places like Coffs Harbour.

Sponsored advertisement

  Crossover Train Controller

Location: St. Albans Victoria


As a comparison, the XPT doesn't seem to be be under threat, what's the difference, similar distance, why does it seem to be operating ok ?The main reason Is population centres along the route, the XPT between Sydney and Melbourne captures a fair few local passengers between Wagga Wagga and Melbourne.

Where as the Overland would of have very limited local passengers from the Adelaide end, due to the slow running through the Hills and poor passenger terminal location.

The Sydney - Brisbane XPT Is just about shot at the Brisbane end, as Translink doesn't want the standard gauge train clogging up their Gold Coast line.
There seems no desire to promote rail travel between Brisbane and places like Coffs Harbour.
Nightfire
Plus the fact that the XPT Sydney to Melbourne is twice a day in both directions compared to the totally passenger unfriendly frequency of the Overland
  gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic
To the Gippslander.

It seems from what you are saying that you booked through the Journey beyond site, not the PTV site...could you please clarify.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Mike

I am guilty of booking on the Journey Beyond site.

However, the PTV site is not particularly user friendly and the map doesn't even
show a rail option. It doesn't appear to have any booking capacity, like V/Line which has
some sort of World War2 arrangements where paper tickets are booked and mailed.

Anywhere outside of Myki land is ticketing-unfriendly, just try and book a 1st class seat on the one and only Bairnsdale service!
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Trying to be helpful here @don

the 3:32 bus from Ararat to Ballarat meets the Overland. It's tight and don't know if the bus driver will wait for the Overdue.
If concerned ring the Ararat station , but it's a nice enough town to while an hour's wait.

Returning to Adelaide, the Ballarat train arrives Ararat @ 10:59 to meet the 11:15 Overland.

Love to hear any comment of your experience.

cheers
John
justarider
I suppose I could bugger around with trying to meet that V/line bus at Ararat 3.33pm as you say, seems utterly stupid that they scheduled it that way, reminiscent of the old MMTB buses taking off from a railway station just as a VicRail train pulled in with intending passengers swearing beneath their breath. Ararat's main street isn't far from the station - either that I could walk down the street at Ararat and have something to eat and/or read whatever book I'm reading; the next train to Ballarat is supposedly only 1hr 20 mins.

Last time I went over I managed to get two books in actually, Jimmy Barnes "Working Class Boy" (excellent) and a book by Brad Nornington called "Planet Jackson" which is about the corruption in the Health Services Union late 2000's to about 2012/13 when half of the senior management (Michael Williamson, Craig Thomson) went to jail. Really appalling actually, not saying that this sort of corruption doesn't also happen in government or private sector but the really disgusting thing was the grossly flagrant spending on themselves when they're supposed to be representing members - Kathy Jackson's procurement of union funds to settle her divorce and Michael Williamson's daily boozy lunches were particularly egregious. Also the connections with Gillard, Rudd and Dastyari are quite interesting.

Anyway if I actually do use the Overland next time for at least one leg I'll be sure and report back on it - and I'll try and be as even handed as I can possibly be...
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Slightly to the side, I found this photo recently of the Overland in two trains at Adelaide Station in 1952.



Why the two trains?
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
There was often 2 divisions of The Overland.
  SinickleBird Chief Train Controller

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
Interesting that the 520 has only 2 carriages and guard’s van. Pretty good power-to-weight ration there.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
To the Gippslander.

It seems from what you are saying that you booked through the Journey beyond site, not the PTV site...could you please clarify.

Mike.
Mike

I am guilty of booking on the Journey Beyond site.

However, the PTV site is not particularly user friendly and the map doesn't even
show a rail option. It doesn't appear to have any booking capacity, like V/Line which has
some sort of World War2 arrangements where paper tickets are booked and mailed.

Anywhere outside of Myki land is ticketing-unfriendly, just try and book a 1st class seat on the one and only Bairnsdale service!
gippslander

Thanks for the reply. I utilise the V/Line website for my Mildura sojourns and the first class option isn't difficult. Though I often opt for the mail option for my paper ticket OR one can roll up with the reservation number and get the ticket at the booking window. V/Line doesn't seem to be able to manager smartphone tickets, however most long distance conductors accept the concept, well on the Swan Hill line they do at least.

Herein is the link:

https://www.vline.com.au/Plan-trip-buy-tickets?from=Horsham+Station&to=Melbourne%2c+Southern+Cross&date=02%2f12%2f2019

Unfortunately by not utilising this site, you will inadvertently be paying a higher fare instead of sitting in the V/Line car.

Mike.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Slightly to the side, I found this photo recently of the Overland in two trains at Adelaide Station in 1952.



Why the two trains?
bevans

Fantastic image Exclamation

In 1952, the aircon cars on the left of image were the first roomette and twinette sleepers introduced from 1948. The cost of upgrading would definitely be worth it as 1st and 2nd sitting were definitely lower standard of travel with minimal sound and dust proofing and no heating/cooling...except perhaps a footwarmer in winter.

Mike.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
Are you sure that the 520 is going up the hill?
They were used more on the Port Pirie & Broken Hill lines.   More in keeping with the load.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE


As a comparison, the XPT doesn't seem to be be under threat, what's the difference, similar distance, why does it seem to be operating ok ?The main reason Is population centres along the route, the XPT between Sydney and Melbourne captures a fair few local passengers between Wagga Wagga and Melbourne.

Where as the Overland would of have very limited local passengers from the Adelaide end, due to the slow running through the Hills and poor passenger terminal location.

The Sydney - Brisbane XPT Is just about shot at the Brisbane end, as Translink doesn't want the standard gauge train clogging up their Gold Coast line.
There seems no desire to promote rail travel between Brisbane and places like Coffs Harbour.
Nightfire
Nothing wrong with the terminal station location. How many people do you think will actually walk to their destination or arrival point. Hell I'd prefer the intercity trains to stop out of the CBD if I'm picking someone up or dropping them off. COuld you imagine driving to pick someone up from Central if it didn't stop in the outer stations?

I'm sure there is demand for rail travel to/from Brisbane from the NSW nth coast however there is limited opportunity to do so and timing is hardly friendly. There is also only a few places on the NSW Nth coast suited to rail even if timetable friendly. Sth of Grafton you are almost in the mid point between Brisbane and Newcastle or Sydney with 3 services a day return.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Interesting that the 520 has only 2 carriages and guard’s van. Pretty good power-to-weight ration there.
SinickleBird
The original super shunter?
  neillfarmer Chief Train Controller

Interesting that the 520 has only 2 carriages and guard’s van. Pretty good power-to-weight ration there.
The original super shunter?
justapassenger
The 520s were usual power on the Tailem Bend passenger in steam days, the train only had 2 or three cars.
  gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic
Thanks for the reply. I utilise the V/Line website for my Mildura sojourns and the first class option isn't difficult. Though I often opt for the mail option for my paper ticket OR one can roll up with the reservation number and get the ticket at the booking window. V/Line doesn't seem to be able to manager smartphone tickets, however most long distance conductors accept the concept, well on the Swan Hill line they do at least.

Herein is the link:

https://www.vline.com.au/Plan-trip-buy-tickets?from=Horsham+Station&to=Melbourne%2c+Southern+Cross&date=02%2f12%2f2019

Unfortunately by not utilising this site, you will inadvertently be paying a higher fare instead of sitting in the V/Line car.

Mike.
The
You are quite right - the operator fare is double that of V/Line! 20 people joined today at Horsham station, which is looking very neglected - no obvious Overland or V/Line timetable signage. Even the V/Line buses stopped calling at the newish bus shelter in 2013. Unless there is some sort of State Government rescue, it will be an even quieter place after December. Passed a grain train being loaded at Dooen freight hub, grain harvesting in progress - crops look pretty good. Only one person on at Stawell, half a dozen at Ararat where we have just arrived.
  class400railcar Junior Train Controller

Location: Zig Zag
To the Gippslander.

It seems from what you are saying that you booked through the Journey beyond site, not the PTV site...could you please clarify.

Mike.
Mike

I am guilty of booking on the Journey Beyond site.

However, the PTV site is not particularly user friendly and the map doesn't even
show a rail option. It doesn't appear to have any booking capacity, like V/Line which has
some sort of World War2 arrangements where paper tickets are booked and mailed.

Anywhere outside of Myki land is ticketing-unfriendly, just try and book a 1st class seat on the one and only Bairnsdale service!

Thanks for the reply. I utilise the V/Line website for my Mildura sojourns and the first class option isn't difficult. Though I often opt for the mail option for my paper ticket OR one can roll up with the reservation number and get the ticket at the booking window. V/Line doesn't seem to be able to manager smartphone tickets, however most long distance conductors accept the concept, well on the Swan Hill line they do at least.

Herein is the link:

https://www.vline.com.au/Plan-trip-buy-tickets?from=Horsham+Station&to=Melbourne%2c+Southern+Cross&date=02%2f12%2f2019

Unfortunately by not utilising this site, you will inadvertently be paying a higher fare instead of sitting in the V/Line car.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Hi Mike

This is really interesting what you've said about there being a V/Line car.

I'm actually travelling all the way from Melbourne to Adelaide on the 21st of December Overland for the first time (I live in Sydney and it's always been impossible to catch it without an overnight stay in Melbourne so not the most convenient for me).
But anyway I noticed on that date the Journey Beyond website says there is only 1 seat left on the train for the entire journey(and no seat selection), but I had a look on the V/Line website at Southern Cross to Nhill and not only do they have an entire empty carriage available for that section, but they allow one to actually choose their seat in it (and of course it's significantly cheaper than Journey Beyond).

I guess I'm asking if this means there's an entire carriage available only for V/Line customers within Victoria and what you know about all of this? (Would it mean there's always an empty carriage between Nhill and Adelaide?)

Cheers, Nic
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
When I travelled on The Overland from Adelaide this week, the way it was put by the staff on board was that there is a section of 1 carriage that is booked by V/Line and that those seats are then available for V/Line customers to purchase at any time, including as late as the day of the trip.

It was not an entire carriage, more like a third of one carriage.
  class400railcar Junior Train Controller

Location: Zig Zag
When I travelled on The Overland from Adelaide this week, the way it was put by the staff on board was that there is a section of 1 carriage that is booked by V/Line and that those seats are then available for V/Line customers to purchase at any time, including as late as the day of the trip.

It was not an entire carriage, more like a third of one carriage.
Gman_86
Thanks! Yeah that makes more sense, it'll be interesting to see if that section ends up being empty after Nhill.
  class400railcar Junior Train Controller

Location: Zig Zag
Actually Gman_86, I just had another look on the vline website and on the 21st they have 15 rows of seats available (which I think would be a whole carriage) but on the 24th they have only 5 rows available (which would be roughly a third like you said). I think it will be very interesting to see what ends up happening when I go!
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
The original super shunter?
justapassenger
What's that, Yep I'm here, just observing......

I reckon your alright too, justapassenger............Razz

BigShunter.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Interesting that the 520 has only 2 carriages and guard’s van. Pretty good power-to-weight ration there.
The original super shunter?
The 520s were usual power on the Tailem Bend passenger in steam days, the train only had 2 or three cars.
neillfarmer
And on those steep grades through the Hills a 520 did the job much better than an RX class. Lighter on their feet than a 500 they could also be used on the branch lines which ran off the South line as well.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
To the Gippslander.

It seems from what you are saying that you booked through the Journey beyond site, not the PTV site...could you please clarify.

Mike.
Mike

I am guilty of booking on the Journey Beyond site.

However, the PTV site is not particularly user friendly and the map doesn't even
show a rail option. It doesn't appear to have any booking capacity, like V/Line which has
some sort of World War2 arrangements where paper tickets are booked and mailed.

Anywhere outside of Myki land is ticketing-unfriendly, just try and book a 1st class seat on the one and only Bairnsdale service!

Thanks for the reply. I utilise the V/Line website for my Mildura sojourns and the first class option isn't difficult. Though I often opt for the mail option for my paper ticket OR one can roll up with the reservation number and get the ticket at the booking window. V/Line doesn't seem to be able to manager smartphone tickets, however most long distance conductors accept the concept, well on the Swan Hill line they do at least.

Herein is the link:

https://www.vline.com.au/Plan-trip-buy-tickets?from=Horsham+Station&to=Melbourne%2c+Southern+Cross&date=02%2f12%2f2019

Unfortunately by not utilising this site, you will inadvertently be paying a higher fare instead of sitting in the V/Line car.

Mike.
Hi Mike

This is really interesting what you've said about there being a V/Line car.

I'm actually travelling all the way from Melbourne to Adelaide on the 21st of December Overland for the first time (I live in Sydney and it's always been impossible to catch it without an overnight stay in Melbourne so not the most convenient for me).
But anyway I noticed on that date the Journey Beyond website says there is only 1 seat left on the train for the entire journey(and no seat selection), but I had a look on the V/Line website at Southern Cross to Nhill and not only do they have an entire empty carriage available for that section, but they allow one to actually choose their seat in it (and of course it's significantly cheaper than Journey Beyond).

I guess I'm asking if this means there's an entire carriage available only for V/Line customers within Victoria and what you know about all of this? (Would it mean there's always an empty carriage between Nhill and Adelaide?)

Cheers, Nic
class400railcar

In a word...yes Exclamation

Moreover, in Vic we can choose our seat for our V/Line journeys which require reservations.

V/Line actually pay to have a sole Economy Overland car operate both directions so Victorian pax can travel within Victoria at V/Line fares...

It's a very unique arrangement, possibly the only instance of two operators operating within a single train anywhere in Australia.

Mike.
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

Yes Mike, the ability to select seats on the V/Line site is one of the things that V/Line get right.
I do wish that NSW TrainLink offered the same service....

Actually, a couple of months ago I tried to book a trip (by phone to their call centre), and made my usual seat request.
The operator initially refused...saying that seat choice is no longer offered, even by  phone!
The call was not very pleasant and quite curt. Basically, just shut up and be grateful for what you get.

I promptly filed a complaint to the online feedback form, and a few days later got a call from someone at TrainLink.
The caller said that this was indeed a new policy...and that nevertheless, she would take on board my feedback.
She did indicate that the policy was not popular with passengers!

All very odd, and all very bad form with respect to customer service (especially for regular full fare passengers).
What the heck is going on?

Normally when booking on-line I add my 'special request' for a window seat (often in Car A on XPT services), and even if the computer initially books me someplace else, a day or so later I get another email with my new preferred request. All good.

But, in the last couple of months (September to be precise), that seems to have stopped, or at least become much less reliable.

It has now put me off travelling, and I will probably make my current 6 month pass with them my last.


Just to bring this back to the Overland:
A couple of years ago I booked a V/Line seat on the Overland to go to Ararat (just for the run....I am a train fan after all!).
I chose my seat carefully. But, when I arrived at Southern Cross to board the Overland, the staff ignored the V/Line seating plan and just allocated us V/Line passengers seats as they saw fit. No room for any discussion about it. My experience with Great Southern staff (based also on IP and Ghan trips) is that on the surface they are all smiles, but they will insist that passengers shut up and do exactly what they are told.

Last year I did the full Overland trip to Adelaide, and it was fine, but the inability to select seats was not great....and you just have to hope that on the day the staff will look kindly upon you.....As it turned out I got lucky, and had a great seat for the trip, and had a pleasant day reading, dozing, gazing outside, and eating myself silly.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Interesting that the 520 has only 2 carriages and guard’s van. Pretty good power-to-weight ration there.
The original super shunter?
The 520s were usual power on the Tailem Bend passenger in steam days, the train only had 2 or three cars.
And on those steep grades through the Hills a 520 did the job much better than an RX class. Lighter on their feet than a 500 they could also be used on the branch lines which ran off the South line as well.
BrentonGolding
Hey Brenton - just so you know there's been a lot of SAR stuff in auctions around Adelaide recently, not sure if I mentioned on Railpage before but I have bronze Alco engineering and SAR rolling-stock plates and a few other minor things in my 'man cave' and I've been the under-bidder on lots of relatively rare SAR stuff like long-gone railway station signs, amazing how many collectors there are out there for this kind of stuff but I guess 40+ years since its demise its become quite rare.
  class400railcar Junior Train Controller

Location: Zig Zag
Yes Mike, the ability to select seats on the V/Line site is one of the things that V/Line get right.
I do wish that NSW TrainLink offered the same service....

Actually, a couple of months ago I tried to book a trip (by phone to their call centre), and made my usual seat request.
The operator initially refused...saying that seat choice is no longer offered, even by  phone!
The call was not very pleasant and quite curt. Basically, just shut up and be grateful for what you get.

I promptly filed a complaint to the online feedback form, and a few days later got a call from someone at TrainLink.
The caller said that this was indeed a new policy...and that nevertheless, she would take on board my feedback.
She did indicate that the policy was not popular with passengers!

All very odd, and all very bad form with respect to customer service (especially for regular full fare passengers).
What the heck is going on?

Normally when booking on-line I add my 'special request' for a window seat (often in Car A on XPT services), and even if the computer initially books me someplace else, a day or so later I get another email with my new preferred request. All good.

But, in the last couple of months (September to be precise), that seems to have stopped, or at least become much less reliable.

It has now put me off travelling, and I will probably make my current 6 month pass with them my last.


Just to bring this back to the Overland:
A couple of years ago I booked a V/Line seat on the Overland to go to Ararat (just for the run....I am a train fan after all!).
I chose my seat carefully. But, when I arrived at Southern Cross to board the Overland, the staff ignored the V/Line seating plan and just allocated us V/Line passengers seats as they saw fit. No room for any discussion about it. My experience with Great Southern staff (based also on IP and Ghan trips) is that on the surface they are all smiles, but they will insist that passengers shut up and do exactly what they are told.

Last year I did the full Overland trip to Adelaide, and it was fine, but the inability to select seats was not great....and you just have to hope that on the day the staff will look kindly upon you.....As it turned out I got lucky, and had a great seat for the trip, and had a pleasant day reading, dozing, gazing outside, and eating myself silly.
craigfitz1
Oh really? It's been about 1 year since I last travelled on an XPT/XPL service and hearing this really changes everything. I've always loved how they let you select seats over the phone and I was actually planning to make a few trips over the next few months, but now I'm not so sure. Hopefully they get enough complaints that change it back to the way it was before.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

Just to bring this back to the Overland:
A couple of years ago I booked a V/Line seat on the Overland to go to Ararat (just for the run....I am a train fan after all!).
I chose my seat carefully. But, when I arrived at Southern Cross to board the Overland, the staff ignored the V/Line seating plan and just allocated us V/Line passengers seats as they saw fit. No room for any discussion about it. My experience with Great Southern staff (based also on IP and Ghan trips) is that on the surface they are all smiles, but they will insist that passengers shut up and do exactly what they are told.

Last year I did the full Overland trip to Adelaide, and it was fine, but the inability to select seats was not great....and you just have to hope that on the day the staff will look kindly upon you.....As it turned out I got lucky, and had a great seat for the trip, and had a pleasant day reading, dozing, gazing outside, and eating myself silly.
craigfitz1

Depending on the number of V/Line pax offering, it's often the case the V/Line car gets shut down or becomes the train staff recreation car and the V/Line pax are integrated into the Economy section of the remainder of the train.

When I travel it's often as part of a group and we usually travel in the V/Line car.

Mike.

Sponsored advertisement

Display from: