XPT Replacement Discussion

 
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
WARNING: Foaming Thread

Since this thread has derailed into a discussion of how to fit out a CountryLink overnight interstate train (a NSW topic), I decided to start this thread to allow that thread of mine to serve its original intended purpose or die, as per the Raichase Thread Derailment Mitigation Procedure (RTDMP).

Now, as for the actual topic at hand, the question is, 'How do we replace the XPT?' The power cars are creeping into the 'clapped out' zone, and something has to be done.

We have a number of options at this juncture, and it's quite open as RailCorp is broken up into separate entities and not just separate brands. I shall now begin the Dribbly Foamer Mode (DFM) and start rambling on how to replace the XPT. For simplicity's sake, I'll call it XPT2. (I will do the Xplorers/Xploders soon.)

To me, I feel that we're going to have to retain the existing layout of top-and-tail power cars, as it actually works quite well - better than a single monster of a locomotive (distributed traction, less track wear) but also better than underfloor diesels (noise, vibration).

As for the passenger side of things, there are two distinct approaches that can be taken: the full-service carrier model and the budget carrier model. For the XPT2, I'll go full-service, since the travel time is around 11-12 hours for both the Melbourne and Brisbane XPTs. Since the journeys are so long, we'll assume it's preferable to run them as overnight trains and get the passengers to sleep it; thus, the entire model is built around overnight runs.

There will be three classes of travel. For simplicity's sake, I'll call them First, Business and Economy.

First class will be sleepers, in compartments with two bunks (stacked, obviously) and a private attached bathroom. Some space will be provided to place luggage, probably under the lower bunk.

Business class will be 2+1 in massive, squashy seats that can recline fully into a flatbed, with some level of encapsulation to provide some level of privacy. Shared bathrooms (multiple private units) will be at one end of the car.

As I understand it, the bathrooms provided on the XPT sleepers have a shower unit. I do not believe it to be feasible to maintain showers on board the train, particularly if we are going to run night services. I therefore propose for landside facilities be provided, to allow passengers to freshen up before and after their journey, complimentary for First and Business passengers (and possibly available to Economy passengers for a nominal fee, or with frequent traveller club membership).

Since the facilities will be used fairly frequently, we can bring back in a limited fashion the refreshment room in the form of a small lounge. The lounge would provide the aforementioned freshening-up facilities (showers, lavatories), some F&B (paid separately, besides a complimentary drink for First/Business) and plenty of squashy armchairs and magazines/newspapers (with CountryLink's on-time performance...). (I would segregate First and Business from Economy.) The F&B at the stations could be used to replace the buffet car, but the question is then open as to how to divide Business/First from Economy (staff-only doors? A lounge car?).

Oh, before I forget. Economy. Economy will have comfortable 2+2 seating that can recline to an extent, and shared bathrooms (multiple private units, but less kitted-out than the Business one) at one end of the car. That's about it.

All seats regardless of class will have a plugpoint, and WiFi will be free and unlimited.

Begin expanding or trashing this, if you will, Right Honourable Members.

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  zordmaker Train Controller

Location: NSW
Give'em BCS Cattle trucks to ride in!

(p.s. they're all riding for free anyway!)

ZM
  fixitguy Chief Train Controller

Location: In Carriage 4 on a Tangara
since the trread has moved here i shall post here from now.

as the previous forum has suggested. we have narrowed it down to a

  • sleeper train which i formally support to melb and bris

  • a day train to canb.

  • diesel trains in push pull config also capiable of using OWH.

  • 8 carriages

  • 3 class system



i find no faults in this desig  except the fact this train should be tilted (no expensive track upgrades + i am a fan of HSR + titling trains especially the APT which didn't fail as the government canned the near complete project) and green to a extent. ie it is very efficient, low CO2,etc. this should make greenpeace and enviromentalists happy if we plan on running more services.

hopefully Julia biulds her HSR and not just another wasted study that recommends the same route but at an increased cost (inflation and rising land prices). she not so lets press on.
  5814 Chief Train Controller

OK. What should replace the XPT is a big pile of razor blades and other metal recycling and some nice clear paths for useful freight trains.

But setting that aside, why on earth all the crap about business travel??? Sheer nonsense.

If there are viable markets Syd - Mel overnight they are  to be found either in premium or ultra economy tourist travel. Start looking at European overnight trains mate. Combination of the very nice and the very basic couchette cars.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
OK. What should replace the XPT is a big pile of razor blades and other metal recycling and some nice clear paths for useful freight trains.
"5814"


Oh yes, oh yes. MOAR PLANES. MOAR COACHES.

Rolling Eyes

But setting that aside, why on earth all the crap about business travel??? Sheer nonsense.
"5814"


Please justify your assertion. I'm currently considering scrapping FIG's three-class system and replacing it with a two-class system with sub-classes.

If there are viable markets Syd - Mel overnight they are  to be found either in premium or ultra economy tourist travel. Start looking at European overnight trains mate. Combination of the very nice and the very basic couchette cars.
"5814"


That is why there is First and Economy...
  PDCL Chief Train Controller

I was wondering how long it would take to for the thread to make a shift like this, well...

Ok so class structure...

I vote two class (Business/Economy) on the dedicated day services (ie just to Canberra etc) purely because I don't think there is any market for a more substantial offering.

The over-nighters to Melbourne and Brisbane I take your point 5814 about the euro trains, but I thin a 3 class configuration is appropriate.  The business option is really more for intermediate passengers rather than those doing the full journey...the balance of first and business will be what needs to be managed relating to demand, what I have proposed is a bit of a balance between providing the overnight sleeper cabin for the full journey and sufficient capacity for shorter runs...not doing a proper study of this means my idea of this split is less than precise.  More sleepers and fewer business is always an option.

First class, I'm cool with there being a two bunk cabin, but I would be of the opinion that the cabin should be sold as a single unit, ie same price with one or 1 person or 2, given the type of market this would be getting aimed at.  I think to really be viable at the high end, showering facilities need to be provided on board for the first class cabins.  Really in a single deck design there is heaps of room to accommodate these sort of facilities.  Both first and business would need to have a meal for dinner and breakfast included in the fare, economy has the dining car.  Station club facilities would have to be provided to First Class passengers as well as separately for business and frequent travellers I'd suggest.

That's enough for now, I'll post some more at a later date.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
I vote two class (Business/Economy) on the dedicated day services (ie just to Canberra etc) purely because I don't think there is any market for a more substantial offering.
"PDCL"


I was thinking exactly the same thing. I briefly considered non-flatbed recliners for the day trains, but decided that we should stick to a standard set of carriages.

The business option is really more for intermediate passengers rather than those doing the full journey
"PDCL"


Absolutely, but it also works for those who don't mind sleeping in a common, if pleasant, area. All in, it's quite a neat intermediate option - but it will have to be balanced against sleepers.

First class, I'm cool with there being a two bunk cabin, but I would be of the opinion that the cabin should be sold as a single unit, ie same price with one or 1 person or 2, given the type of market this would be getting aimed at.
"PDCL"


That works quite well, actually, as long as it isn't too expensive; it could be attractive to the passenger willing to pay for a good night's sleep in privacy as well as a trip. Oh, and the shower.

I think to really be viable at the high end, showering facilities need to be provided on board for the first class cabins.  Really in a single deck design there is heaps of room to accommodate these sort of facilities.
"PDCL"


I still don't think a shower in every unit is the most practical idea, but I will concede it. Will there be a set of shared shower units for Business?

Both first and business would need to have a meal for dinner and breakfast included in the fare, economy has the dining car.  Station club facilities would have to be provided to First Class passengers as well as separately for business and frequent travellers I'd suggest.
"PDCL"


I wouldn't imagine the volumes being, well, voluminous, so I think it should be feasible, at least at the largest stations. I believe CountryLink has restrictions on when and where you can board sleepers - this could be extended to First class limitations, which would also reduce the number of First class lounges, so some stations would only have Business class lounges, if at all. Frequent traveller club members would be permitted to use the Business class lounge even if on Economy for that trip, I would suggest.

Since the train departs at night and arrives in the morning, I was thinking of having the meals served at the station lounges. It then occurred to me that there are, in fact, intermediate passengers.

We can retain the dining car, and provide meal tickets to First and Business class passengers as well as members of the club, for supper and breakfast. I shall retain my complimentary station lounge drink (non-alcoholic, preferably).

EDIT: Insertion

I've managed to contrive a First class sleeper cabin, with 10 twinettes per car, each with its own attached bathroom (toilet, sink and shower).

I'm having problems constructing a Business class cabin that has flatbeds in a 2+1 config. as I'm trying to apply a BA-style forwards-backwards style of seating on the side with two seats, as I'm quite bent on giving the window seat easy aisle access. With toilets at one end, my calculations give me just 21 flatbed seats per car.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
I'm surprised you even went down the road with this thread .

Firstly you have to assume the state and federal governments have an interest in replacing the current XP sets , big assumption .
Secondly you speak as if the money to buy new country trains is on hand , again big assumption .
Thirdly no matter what you run on ARTCs crumbling infrastructure the ride will be rough and the transit times slow .

I think you can forget attracting Mr Mrs and their kids to rail because most people in this era see trains as slow and boring . Those using it often do so for financial reasons or because there is no alternative option at the time .

To fix CLs woes you need more direct alignments as well as pass priority . Roads to many of CLs station stops are more direct and if you have wings well the most direct route is - straightforward .
  a6et Minister for Railways

I'm surprised you even went down the road with this thread .

Firstly you have to assume the state and federal governments have an interest in replacing the current XP sets , big assumption .
Secondly you speak as if the money to buy new country trains is on hand , again big assumption .
Thirdly no matter what you run on ARTCs crumbling infrastructure the ride will be rough and the transit times slow .

I think you can forget attracting Mr Mrs and their kids to rail because most people in this era see trains as slow and boring . Those using it often do so for financial reasons or because there is no alternative option at the time .

To fix CLs woes you need more direct alignments as well as pass priority . Roads to many of CLs station stops are more direct and if you have wings well the most direct route is - straightforward .
"BDA"


I have to agree with BDA on this.

I also think the carriages are ok but need a refit with more leg room & better seating options. 

As for the engines themselves, depending on how the overall frame & associated workings are on them, they could do with a motor upgrade or instead of the costs of a whole new train which wont happen any time soon, perhaps a program of new loco's that are higher HP & better for our conditions than the current lot are, that allow for use on the existing carriage fleet, & perhaps even an extra carriage or two on the long distance/interstate services.

As for family travels, the cost of a family of 4 is prohibitive, & cheaper to travel by car.

If no new carriages are to be built, the better option would be to order some new country train sets to take over the Western XPT, & have the cars & engines as spares & allow for better service options.

Still as BDA says, nothing going to change even if all of that & more was done until the tracks & alingments are fixed, so I wont see it.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
The Federal Govt has no responsibility at all in the provision of public transport in a State.
If the XPT fleet has to be replaced, the State Govt will have to foot the entire bill.
  VRfan Moderator

Location: In front of my computer :-p
Do you actually need to completely replace the XPT's in the forseeable future? The carraiges themselves are still relatively modern in design and unless there are serious structural problems they could continue for quite a few years.

If the power cars are "clapped out" mechanically, then what about a complete strip down to frame and then a total rebuild using new mechanical and electrical components? If they are "clapped out" structurally, then what about building new power cars?
  jedimasterc Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned
As far as I'm concerned the seating issues on the xpt watson are not the 2+2 layout. The problem is the spacing to the seat infront and behind not allowing enough legroom for a proper recline. If this is done to allow an extremely comfortable trip then 2+2 becomes a non issue. 2+1 becomes a waste of space.

As for the xpt's the issues for them to me are the following

1. The state of the goat track.
2. Limiting what services they are used for.
3. The frequency of there use.
4. length of the trip.

The following questions need to be asked about the xpt's.

What condition are the xpt's really in?
Can we extend the life of the xpt's by reducing the runs to brisbane and melbourne?
What sort of new rolling stock should be used to replace them? (don't say old british 125's or 225's. modern solutions need only apply)

My personal beliefs are that an xplorer service (or new rolling stock) should be doing the dubbo run. More hunters should be built to replace endeavours on the southern highland line and for the proposed bathurst service. the small amount of single line from kiama to bombaderry should just have the line electrified. This way c's or k's can do this run and more local runs on the south coast and newcastle lines with the remaining vsets and oscars providing faster and limited stops services into central.

the endeavours could be converted to xplorers for a new dubbo service with the broken hill service linking up once or twice a week.
  fixitguy Chief Train Controller

Location: In Carriage 4 on a Tangara
As far as I'm concerned the seating issues on the xpt watson are not the 2+2 layout. The problem is the spacing to the seat infront and behind not allowing enough legroom for a proper recline. If this is done to allow an extremely comfortable trip then 2+2 becomes a non issue. 2+1 becomes a waste of space.

As for the xpt's the issues for them to me are the following

1. The state of the goat track.
2. Limiting what services they are used for.
3. The frequency of there use.
4. length of the trip.

The following questions need to be asked about the xpt's.

What condition are the xpt's really in?
Can we extend the life of the xpt's by reducing the runs to brisbane and melbourne?
What sort of new rolling stock should be used to replace them? (don't say old british 125's or 225's. modern solutions need only apply)

My personal beliefs are that an xplorer service (or new rolling stock) should be doing the dubbo run. More hunters should be built to replace endeavours on the southern highland line and for the proposed bathurst service. the small amount of single line from kiama to bombaderry should just have the line electrified. This way c's or k's can do this run and more local runs on the south coast and newcastle lines with the remaining vsets and oscars providing faster and limited stops services into central.

the endeavours could be converted to xplorers for a new dubbo service with the broken hill service linking up once or twice a week.
"jedimasterc"


thats a good idea. nut the HST's are being replaced along with the newer 225s are due to be replaced. the XPTs should too. the 225s are fairly new being built in the 90s and the XPTs 80s. i do think we should upgrade the track. i also believe that Julia should build her HSR. sereiously. guys. every study we had outlined the same route. except its now more expensive (land prices and inflation, etc)we don't need more studies. we need more work. just today i read an article. the howard govt wasted 200 billion dollars of our mining boom profits. thats a lot of money in paying of debts and the baby bonus. seriously our govts a joke.

rant over.


  alltrainzfan Chief Commissioner

Location: Here
Who said the XP power cars are clapped out? What evidence is there for that? Its age can't be a factor since similar-aged locos and passenger cars are running fine in NSW, while they have only just emerged from refurbishment by United Group.

I can't see any point in investing in new rollingstock until you get the right infrastructure. We can get beautiful sexy trains but no point if they're stuck on the present track. There's nothing wrong with XPTs or Xplorers: just the current infrastructure and crap policies like restricting train services to 120km/h past level crossings. Until we get that fixed, XPTs and Xplorers can continue in their present roles without replacement until they literally do clap out (not for at least a few more decades, especially Xplorers and later-build XPTs).
  fixitguy Chief Train Controller

Location: In Carriage 4 on a Tangara
Who said the XP power cars are clapped out? What evidence is there for that? Its age can't be a factor since similar-aged locos and passenger cars are running fine in NSW, while they have only just emerged from refurbishment by United Group.

I can't see any point in investing in new rollingstock until you get the right infrastructure. We can get beautiful sexy trains but no point if they're stuck on the present track. There's nothing wrong with XPTs or Xplorers: just the current infrastructure and crap policies like restricting train services to 120km/h past level crossings. Until we get that fixed, XPTs and Xplorers can continue in their present roles without replacement until they literally do clap out (not for at least a few more decades, especially Xplorers and later-build XPTs).
"alltrainzfan"


who's replcing the infrastructure if it does get done. Federal or State. either way the state wants NWRL, SWRL and everything in sydney before Country and the federal wants to hand out more tax rebates and schemes.
  Freddo Chief Commissioner

Location: Junee NSW
Interesting thoughts, but let a few truths come out.  You cannot have 8 cars on the Melbourne run (Push Pull Configeration), will not fit on platform 1 in Melbourne. No, there is no other place to refuel only on the BG side, but that is not going to happen. Class seating, hmm, thye tried that on the Prospector and it did not work at all. Entertainment is the big issue, Radio and Free Movies, to keep people busy, works everwhere else in Australia with the same type of service.  The train is life expired, trust me, and if it was not for the boys and girls at the XPT Center, they would rust to the rails, but they do a great job in keeping them going. No good going overseas for any new type, would take about 10 years if that to get it up and running, so the V'Line V's set up in County Links configeration would do just fine, but then again it will not be called Country Link for much longer but come under the Banner of NSW Trains, which will also include the Lithgow, Broadmedows, Goulburn services, fact.

So no day trains, don't think so, people demand Day Services and they demand Night services, regardless wo they are or what type of ticket is paid for, free or other wise, a lot of people forget the free tickets are for people that have worked all their lives and that is a benefit of all the tax's they have paid, some on the other hand are just outright non workers and a wate of good Australian Air, never the less, they have a say and this is not a commo country.

You will see units the same as the Prossie and the Volisity. Why, these are off the shelf and available now. Then and only then you can get a 8 or 9 cars on platform 1 in Melbourne. As for showers I have no idea, but they do need a lounge car, but that is in the future.
  DrArtherGunzel Junior Train Controller

Location: Marsden NSW
For a start they need a over head powered and diesel power driving car that can do 250 to 300 klm an hour for when or if ever they up grade the track.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
Does anyone see the NSW guvmnt repeating an XPT type project ($$$).

Road coaches with rail wheels as a private sector initiative.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
This thread was started as a hypothetical foaming zone, but anyway...

Do you actually need to completely replace the XPT's in the forseeable future? The carraiges themselves are still relatively modern in design and unless there are serious structural problems they could continue for quite a few years.
"VRfan"


Certainly. One option I've heard floated is for the XPT cars to be hauled by regular locos on hook-and-pull contracts with the freight companies. No fleet renewal there. In the long run, CountryLink could procure its own fleet of locomotives.

If the power cars are "clapped out" mechanically, then what about a complete strip down to frame and then a total rebuild using new mechanical and electrical components? If they are "clapped out" structurally, then what about building new power cars?
"VRfan"


I'd think that if the trailer fleet was to be used further, loco-hauling it would make more sense.

Who said the XP power cars are clapped out? What evidence is there for that? Its age can't be a factor since similar-aged locos and passenger cars are running fine in NSW, while they have only just emerged from refurbishment by United Group.
"alltrainzfan"


Apparently, keeping up the current fleet will be extremely expensive - I don't have the figures to hand right now, however.

I can't see any point in investing in new rollingstock until you get the right infrastructure. We can get beautiful sexy trains but no point if they're stuck on the present track. There's nothing wrong with XPTs or Xplorers: just the current infrastructure and crap policies like restricting train services to 120km/h past level crossings. Until we get that fixed, XPTs and Xplorers can continue in their present roles without replacement until they literally do clap out (not for at least a few more decades, especially Xplorers and later-build XPTs).
"alltrainzfan"


Of course, but we can still discuss what we want when they really do clap out. I do agree that the infra needs a lot of work, though.

Does anyone see the NSW guvmnt repeating an XPT type project ($$$).
"cootanee"


I should point out the XPT was a derivative of the HST to begin with.

As far as I'm concerned the seating issues on the xpt watson are not the 2+2 layout. The problem is the spacing to the seat infront and behind not allowing enough legroom for a proper recline. If this is done to allow an extremely comfortable trip then 2+2 becomes a non issue. 2+1 becomes a waste of space.
"jedimasterc"


For day travel, certainly.

My personal beliefs are that an xplorer service (or new rolling stock) should be doing the dubbo run. More hunters should be built to replace endeavours on the southern highland line and for the proposed bathurst service. the small amount of single line from kiama to bombaderry should just have the line electrified. This way c's or k's can do this run and more local runs on the south coast and newcastle lines with the remaining vsets and oscars providing faster and limited stops services into central.
"jedimasterc"


If you're going to spam Mk II Hunters, I'd suggest building as functionally an Xplorer Mk II fleet, so they too can be converted back and forth as needed.

the endeavours could be converted to xplorers for a new dubbo service with the broken hill service linking up once or twice a week.
"jedimasterc"


More Xplorer routes and less XPT routes, you say?

Interesting thoughts, but let a few truths come out.  You cannot have 8 cars on the Melbourne run (Push Pull Configeration), will not fit on platform 1 in Melbourne. No, there is no other place to refuel only on the BG side, but that is not going to happen.
"Freddo"


The plan was for 7.

Class seating, hmm, thye tried that on the Prospector and it did not work at all.
"Freddo"


What went wrong?

Entertainment is the big issue, Radio and Free Movies, to keep people busy, works everwhere else in Australia with the same type of service.
"Freddo"


Indeed. I hadn't got that far, but yes, entertainment is a necessity. Unless we want to gamble on providing charging jacks and WiFi and letting the passengers entertain themselves off those two resources.

The train is life expired, trust me, and if it was not for the boys and girls at the XPT Center, they would rust to the rails, but they do a great job in keeping them going. No good going overseas for any new type, would take about 10 years if that to get it up and running, so the V'Line V's set up in County Links configeration would do just fine, but then again it will not be called Country Link for much longer but come under the Banner of NSW Trains, which will also include the Lithgow, Broadmedows, Goulburn services, fact.
"Freddo"


Yes, I was thinking using the VLocity; it is, after all, derived from the Xplorer.

So no day trains, don't think so, people demand Day Services and they demand Night services, regardless wo they are or what type of ticket is paid for, free or other wise, a lot of people forget the free tickets are for people that have worked all their lives and that is a benefit of all the tax's they have paid, some on the other hand are just outright non workers and a wate of good Australian Air, never the less, they have a say and this is not a commo country.
"Freddo"


Day services can always be provided - the Business class cabin was intended to also function as luxury day travel. I even considered it First Sitter, and First class as First Sleeper, but decided that was being pedantic.

You will see units the same as the Prossie and the Volisity. Why, these are off the shelf and available now. Then and only then you can get a 8 or 9 cars on platform 1 in Melbourne. As for showers I have no idea, but they do need a lounge car, but that is in the future.
"Freddo"


What's with the need for 8 cars, exactly? I'll agree about the lounge car.
  johnboy Chief Commissioner

Location: Up the road from Gulgong

For a start they need a over head powered and diesel power driving car that can do 250 to 300 klm an hour for when or if ever they up grade the track.

"DrArtherGunzel"

As they will never upgrade the track in NSW it would be a waste of money to buy a train for speed. 


  PDCL Chief Train Controller

I'll break things up into responding to who said what from about my last post.  Warning, rather long post... 


Watson374

Lounges I'd suggest be a first class lounge then a business/frequent traveller lounge and would only be in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.  As for what they have, I think standard airline lounge type set up, food and beverage available at your whim, complimentary newspapers, etc.  First Class lounge would of course have a higher standard of fair.  IF there starts to be substantial traffic coming from a particular intermediate stop, then a lounge can be considered for that location.  Would probably need to discourage the taking of drinks from the lounge to the train, starts making ordinance a little messy and difficult to keep track of.

As for restrictions on when you board a sleeper, not certain this is necessary if the cabins are well insulated.  On top of that I don't anticipate enormous demand outside of the full inter-capital run, so this should be too much of an issue.  Food service I think it should be on-board, with dinner being available up to a point and breakfast served an hour before arrival.  For First and Business I think this should be to the seat/cabin, while the dining car would provide a round the clock food and beverage service.  The sleepers could have a mini-bar to generate a little extra revenue, while taking Freddo's idea, if the dining car gets half turned into a lounge for first/business there can be complimentary nibbles (thinking nuts etc), water and juice as well as a range of more substantial food and beverage items available for sale.

As for your attempts to fit seats in the business class cabin, you could try doing a Cathay Pacific type approach with a 1+1 angled seating arrangement, see if that gives you a better result.  Might mean we need to take a creative approach to the windows.


BDA
I'm assuming the Fed's will Fix the track.  As for alignment, well I know it'll be like getting blood from a stone, but I'm barracking on them also straitening the alignment through the highlands as far as Goulburn.  This is more for getting day services to Canberra, which if they're allowed to really put the hammer down, the current X's could do the run in a 2-2.5hr time frame.  Beyond this alignment is fine and actually useful in slowing the trains.  At 1000km (well -ish) away, both Melbourne and Brisbane are just a little too close for a quick sleeper car.  Ideally one would arrive at the destination between 7:30 and 8am, a 12hr journey time suits this overnight trip, but you're still squeezing in the meals at each end.  If you speed the service up to say 160km/h then 1000km's ticks by in about 7hrs (including slow running on exit/entry of the cities), this would mean a midnight departure which is less than desirable.

A future of fixed track and improved alignments world would probably see the sort of service I'm proposing running Melbourne-Brisbane and Melbourne or Sydney to the lower to mid Queensland coast.


a6et

Some relevant stuff in my response to BDA, ortherwise...

I'm not convinced either that the XPT's are about to die, but others on this forum have suggested that the older end of the fleet will be life expired in the next 5-10 years.  35-40 years is not an unreasonable life span, so I suppose such claims could be accurate, but I'd agree that unless there are major structural issues, their life should be able to be extended.

I'd actually like to pull all the XPT's (bar 2 and a bit), to be running 8 and 10 car consists down to Canberra at pace on an improved alignment to Goulburn where they can let it rip.  Really the alignment improvements (from the funding side at least) is more about getting better Melbourne-Sydney inter-capital freight transit times, I just want the X's to be able to use it.


MD

Agreed.  The point of what I'm proposing here is mostly to focus on three core inter-capital runs which I think have to potential to turn a profit from the perspective of buying, running and maintaining the trains only (ie not considering infrastructure construction and maintenance costs).

As for if the XPT needs to be replaces, see the first half of my response to a6et.


VRfan

See the first half of my response to a6et.  Short answer is yes, relatively soonish, so it doesn't hurt to consider such things.


jedimaster

The 2+1 is going off other systems around the world (which use similar width rolling stock) and once you put in a full sized business class chair, having 4 of them limits the aisle space somewhat.  Remember this is a premium offering, so wasting a bit of space isn't so much of an issue.  If we were talking about economy then I would definitely agree with you, but this is a different type of service.

I agree with your numbered points 1, 2 and 3, have a look at my response to BDA up the top for my view on 4.

I agree with building more Hunters to release Endeavours for conversion to Explorers and I'd say run them to Griffith/Albury (split/combined at Cootamundra), Bathurst/Forbes (split/combined at Orange), Moree/Armidale (split/combined at Werris Creek) and then the North Coast.  Converting all the Endeavours should provide enough sets to allow 2 trains each way each day (ie a morning and and afternoon to Sydney and also from Sydney).  This is more to allow day trips in either direction, as people in the regions seem to be calling for (eg included in the talk about a cityrail service to Bathurst), as well as increasing maintenance downtime.

As for specifically replacing the XPT's, I've mentioned my D-EMU concept, I may talk more about things below...but this is getting very long so maybe in another post and maybe not tonight.


fixitguy

IMO the only real way you are going to get HSR down the east coast any time soon is if the powers that be decide they want to retain Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport as an international hub.  If they build a second airport, then naturally international traffic would be the first to be shifted out there as it is less time sensitive than domestic.  Building a Brisbane-Gold Coast-Far North Coast-Newcastle-Sydney-Canberra-Wagga Wagga-Albury-Melbourne HSR service would cut regular public transport movements at Sydney Airport by about half (note the stations I have chose are just ones with air links to Sydney, also cutting Gold Coast, Far North Coast, Newcastle, Wagga Wagga and Albury from the list has a fairly minimal impact on that half-ish figure).  So if you didn't want to build the second airport now (it will be needed eventually anyway) this would be a more expensive option.

alltrainzfan

See the first half of my response to a6et.



Freddo

I think we mostly agree in your first paragraph, I am prepared for infrastructure changes to be made if necessary, such as extending platforms, I mean I intend having a lounge at either end so modifications are a necessity.  There will also need to be some sort of facility I presume to restock the showers etc in Melbourne, which I imagine may need to happen somewhere other than Spencer Street (...I mean Southern Cross).  Agree that entertainment is essential, but given that we are currently suggesting free wifi and a power point for every seat, might look at hiring out tablets or similar on request in economy, while the business and first would have and entertainment set-up included.


I also agree we should have day trains, which I think is clear from my earlier posts.  A lounge car is an idea, but the train is starting to turn into the Eurostar here, that or the needs to be a balance between paid and complimentary spaces in the train (ie replacing a passenger car for a lounge).  Some sort of double deck arrangement could perhaps solve this space issue, although I'd be amenable to the other half of the dining car being a Business/First Class lounge.

As for your suggestion re the replacement set, I suspect you are almost certainly right that this will be what happens, those or a SG variant of the QR tilt train for the reason you state.  My D-EMU idea is more of a technically curiosity than necessarily my suggestion of the best way to go, there are some useful features to it that would be nice to see.  From the 'available stock' my personal preference is more towards the SG tilt-train solution due to the better passenger amenity from reduced noise, particularly for the overnight sleeper trains.




DrArtherGunzel

Probably see what I said to fixitguy, but generally, I don't think there is a need as yet for a loco capable of getting a passenger train to 300+km/h here, 200km/h (which all the new Australian diesels can do) is sufficient for the current tasking.  There is some merit to the idea of buying something like a TGV Duplex to do the sparked Intercity runs if it looks like HSR is on the way.


cootanee

lol at the suggestion, but seriously never going to happen.  Believe it or not, people (ie the general public) love trains too much and members get rolled if services disappear.  So there is going to have to be a replacement of some sort.


Watson374-mkII

I think we've basically replied to all the same stuff, similar ideas sooo, read all of the above^

  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Warning, Right Honourable Members, as I reply to PDCL's extremely long post (as his ideas are spread around it).

Lounges I'd suggest be a first class lounge then a business/frequent traveller lounge and would only be in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. As for what they have, I think standard airline lounge type set up, food and beverage available at your whim, complimentary newspapers, etc.  First Class lounge would of course have a higher standard of fair.  IF there starts to be substantial traffic coming from a particular intermediate stop, then a lounge can be considered for that location.  Would probably need to discourage the taking of drinks from the lounge to the train, starts making ordinance a little messy and difficult to keep track of.
"PDCL"


Wait - so there's a First lounge and a Business/Club lounge, but only at the major termini? Sounds good. Some of the bigger intermediate locations might justify a limited Business/Club lounge - we'll see.

Plenty of squashy armchairs, unlimited consumables, etc. We could even also supply landside showers.

As for restrictions on when you board a sleeper, not certain this is necessary if the cabins are well insulated.  On top of that I don't anticipate enormous demand outside of the full inter-capital run, so this should be too much of an issue.
"PDCL"


Fair enough. Considering we're selling twinettes as twinettes and not individual bunks (a great idea), it makes plenty of sense. Factoring in my rough design where each twinette has its own bathroom, insulation should solve everything.

A problem arises when the First beds convert back into a daysitter, as these appear less comfortable than a flatbed in Business. Would First be a night-only offering?

Food service I think it should be on-board, with dinner being available up to a point and breakfast served an hour before arrival.  For First and Business I think this should be to the seat/cabin, while the dining car would provide a round the clock food and beverage service.  The sleepers could have a mini-bar to generate a little extra revenue, while taking Freddo's idea, if the dining car gets half turned into a lounge for first/business there can be complimentary nibbles (thinking nuts etc), water and juice as well as a range of more substantial food and beverage items available for sale.
"PDCL"


I'm not entirely sure that First and Business should be made to eat in their cabins; somehow, it seems like a worker eating at his desk. I would suggest using the club half of the dining car for meals, but I suppose eating in privacy could work too.

For Economy, perhaps a croissant and cuppa on the seat-back tray-table. (Megabus in the UK has breakfast on their London-Glasgow sleeper service - interesting read.)

As for your attempts to fit seats in the business class cabin, you could try doing a Cathay Pacific type approach with a 1+1 angled seating arrangement, see if that gives you a better result.  Might mean we need to take a creative approach to the windows.
"PDCL"


I tried that too. Didn't work very well, either. I calculated that we could actually carry more passengers by using twinettes without attached bathroom than by 2+1 flatbeds (26 vs 21). If we paired twinettes into compartments, it could actually provide a reasonable experience.

Then again, being a premium offering, does capacity really matter? If not, we'll go with the individual flatbeds.

Ideally one would arrive at the destination between 7:30 and 8am, a 12hr journey time suits this overnight trip, but you're still squeezing in the meals at each end.
"PDCL"


Exactly. The journey has to be around 10-12 hours, to neatly fit in supper, a good night's sleep, and breakfast. Oh, and a shower (or two). Day trains could be scheduled to run faster, of course.

Assuming 11 hours to Melbourne, I'm thinking two trains a day each way - a morning train, leaving around 9:30am and arriving 8:30pm, and a night train, leaving 9:30pm and arriving 8:30am, or some slightly shifted variation thereof. Because there's an hour turnaround at each end, in theory it should be possible to run it using two sets per route, running back and forth, rotating sets in and out for maintenance.

Brisbane takes longer, though, doesn't it?

The point of what I'm proposing here is mostly to focus on three core inter-capital runs which I think have to potential to turn a profit from the perspective of buying, running and maintaining the trains only (ie not considering infrastructure construction and maintenance costs).
"PDCL"


Since the tracks are run by the feds, they ought to bear the infra costs - bit like a federal road, really. If CountryLink just ran inter-capital trains as a business, they could do a lot better (how they do with other country services is a different story).

The 2+1 is going off other systems around the world (which use similar width rolling stock) and once you put in a full sized business class chair, having 4 of them limits the aisle space somewhat.  Remember this is a premium offering, so wasting a bit of space isn't so much of an issue.  If we were talking about economy then I would definitely agree with you, but this is a different type of service.
"PDCL"


Quite so. I briefly considered the 1+1+1 layout, but the aisles would be too narrow. Because this is a premium offering, aisle access is crucial, hence my serious consideration of the BA forwards-backwards design.

As for Economy, the current train width is good enough for reasonably generous 2+2 seating; in any case, current seat width is greater than most el cheapo airlines anyway...

As for specifically replacing the XPT's, I've mentioned my D-EMU concept, I may talk more about things below...but this is getting very long so maybe in another post and maybe not tonight.
"PDCL"


From the technical aspect, it's not a bad idea, but we're talking service here, not the engineering aspects of it...


I am prepared for infrastructure changes to be made if necessary, such as extending platforms, I mean I intend having a lounge at either end so modifications are a necessity.  There will also need to be some sort of facility I presume to restock the showers etc in Melbourne, which I imagine may need to happen somewhere other than Spencer Street (...I mean Southern Cross).  Agree that entertainment is essential, but given that we are currently suggesting free wifi and a power point for every seat, might look at hiring out tablets or similar on request in economy, while the business and first would have and entertainment set-up included.
"PDCL"


Hmm - infrastructure changes will have to be made at the ends, that's for sure. I too was hoping that WiFi and power would suffice, but perhaps the dining car could rent portable gaming devices.


I also agree we should have day trains, which I think is clear from my earlier posts.  A lounge car is an idea, but the train is starting to turn into the Eurostar here, that or the needs to be a balance between paid and complimentary spaces in the train (ie replacing a passenger car for a lounge).  Some sort of double deck arrangement could perhaps solve this space issue, although I'd be amenable to the other half of the dining car being a Business/First Class lounge.
"PDCL"


A DD inter-capital train is definitely possible so long as it actually can fit, but going DD may preclude tilting (tilting upstairs must be great fun...). Sure, at our current speeds, tilting is fairly useless, and building the train to be of V set dimensions could be done.


I think half the dining car being a premium mobile lounge is viable, particularly on day trains. However, we do want to keep the number of car types as low as possible, so it'll be present on night trains as well.

  raymond Deputy Commissioner

Location: Gladstone, Queensland
I take it that none of you have ever been on the diesel tilt train in Qld,the showers are that spacious that you could hold a party
in one.
The DTT could be made for standard guage in Auatralia.

    RAYMOND
  raymond Deputy Commissioner

Location: Gladstone, Queensland
I take it that none of you have ever been on the diesel tilt train in Qld,the showers are that spacious that you could hold a party
in one.
The DTT could be made for standard guage in Australia.

    RAYMOND
"raymond"
  jedimasterc Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned
The current seats in the xpt's aren't bad. It is the spacing in front and behind that is the issue. If the person in front wants to recline their seat. it inclines right back onto my knees at present. We will have to do an xpt trip just so I can show you, r44 and others my problem with the spacing.

I did however like the sleepers in day tripper mode. lots of leg room and side room. and a comfortable louinge to sit in as well.

These suggestions of mine are only my theories on if nothing is done to the current rail line. ie no high speed rail or my personal favourite, maglev.

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