Dear 52440 et al,
I know everyone would love to see HVR or anyone else with general passenger trains back out on the Main Line steam and/or diesel. As much as this may be desirable, I'm sorry to have to say it but you all really do need to get over it...... sniped..
Can we please end the dialouge about possible main line services because, as things stand in WA, they are not possible.
firstly i'd like to thank ian for explaining the details of running mainline steam in the post above. it's clear from the tone in his post he's as frustrated with the red tape and bureaucracy involved in runing mainline HVR services as is everyone else. but it's great that the readers of the post now see what's involved and i thank him for his time puting it up.
the most important part of what he said is the last line. if people would like to see tourist operators on the net, then proding and poking HVR with not help at all. they would clearly love to do it as much as many here wish to see and experience it.
what needs to change is the as things stand in WA. and we all know who the people to talk to about that are. it will happen with changes made in the network access rules and how they are interpreted. and these occur though lobbying of political entities. maybe that is where members of this forum should post their queries rather than the very busy HVR? we all know HVR have had a load on their plate fro some time now.
I should expand and clarify my words - "as things stand in WA"
Firstly and foremostly, please don't think I am refereing in any way to network access or any associated interpretations. Both PTA and WestNet Rail have been very accommodating to HVTR in ways quite frankly too numerous to mention. We saw our access as a privilege where they saw it as a right and one they genuinely wanted to fulfil.
In the more bureaucratic areas such as government and agencies, we and other T & H operators in WA have in reality been given significant support.
The multiple issues in WA that make mainline operations awkward and/or difficult to sustain are what they are and most are not readily changeable. Some are, plus many will change and others will become more manageable as time goes by, just maybe not in my lifetime. Right now, its "as things stand".
To give you all at least some idea of what I am trying to say, consider the following;
Low Population: (comparably) - Less volunteers, less enthusiasts, less patronage.
Mostly Single Line: - Less train paths, greater risk of delaying other other services.
Intense Line Usage: - Same issues as Single Line but also limited stopping times at stations, sidings & other stopping places.
Limited Infrastructure: - Fewer sidings, almost no stations/platforms.
Increased Operational Protocols: - Higher speeds, ATP, advanced comms systems, high train crew skills needed such as multiple road knowledge & rules etc , plus greater train examination CoP's etc particularly for any DIRN lines.
Low Fare Expectations: - Here in WA there is a much lower expectation on fares by the general public. Mainline services in for example NSW & Vic are generally at least double the fare value that became sellable in WA for a similar tour.
Insurance: - Although we have one of the lowest indemnity level requirements in WA, we are also one of the few states that have no state cover assistance for the upper levels of indemnity, that is the cover required in excess of the basic 10 to 20mil bringing it to the minimum rail requirement of $200+mil. (HVR's requirement is $100mil as a result of special risk analysis of our limited access & use needs).
Limited Asset Resources: Again, in many other states, quite apart from a much higher general sponsorship and donation support, there is greater state & institutional commercial support for proprietary maintenance, overhauls, asset aquisitions or construction. This is not to say WA has none, because we do have some and HVR has received a good share.
Low Human Rescources: - Volunteering is under pressure everywhere but it still remains largely a 'numbers thing' basicaly the number available is some percentage of the total persons. See first issue - Low Population.
There are of course many other things which affect the non-main line operations and some of the above affect them just as much too but its the order of magnitude and manageability that counts in the two contexts - Main Line or Non Main Line.
In essence, it currently requires as much input here in WA, maybe a little more, to operate any rail service but we have some of the lowest resources in terms of asset, human & financial to do it with plus a smaller earning oportunity. This all impacts adversly on viability and sustainability.
I hope this latest sharing of information and explanation helps us to put the Main Line T & H trains in WA to bed for a while.