XPT Replacement Discussion

 
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Had a bit of a play with with my own config of a sleeper cabin over-night.  Have got 9 cabins with a shower, basin, bed, desk and hanging space.  If you can make a comfy bunk, then this is 18 people to the carriage, otherwise it's the same loading as the current XPT sleeper cars.
"PDCL"


I think you're being slightly more generous with space here than I was. By using a drop-down table and tip up/down bunks etc, and a very compact bathroom unit, I managed to squeeze 10 in, but I think 9 cabins is good enough, and should give a tad more space.

In Spain on their HSR routes only some trains are kitted out in a 3 class arrangement.  So some are Club (1st), Preference (business), Tourist (Economy) others are just Preference and Tourist.  I get where you're coming from in wanting to offer a first on all journeys, but I think working on the basis of having consistent labelling of a particular level of service is a better way to go, otherwise customers will get confused about precisely what they are buying.  Basically I don't think there's an issue if there's no first class offered on a particular service.
"PDCL"


Fair enough - that works too. I know KTM in Malaysia offers only First cabins and Third seats on day trains; Second open sleepers are night-only.

...calculation wok...
"Watson374"


Most Asian phrase I have ever heard, brilliant, I lolled.
"PDCL"


I know right ;P coming from an Asian student who teaches maths part time xD


Yep, don't see why not initially at least.  Of the market starts going gang busters that when you can review.
"PDCL"


Yup. Spare trailers won't hurt; they could even be shunted to other parts of the country for loco-hauling.

Train sets...well, depends how you do it, ignoring the Canberra run for the moment.  2 services a day each way to Brisbane and Melbourne needs 4 trains (8 power cars).  You then need to have a set rostered on maintenance, and it's nice to have a spare loco in case smeg hits the fan (so now that's 11 power cars).
"PDCL"


Quite so. I'm assuming we're ditching the trips to Casino, Grafton, Dubbo and Griffith.




Now a minimal set configuration to start with is one 1st, one business, one diner/lounger and two economy...soo that means we need 5 sleepers, business, lounge/diner and 10 economy. Again it's nice to have spares, so let's say one extra of each. Lets call this Option A.

Option A
Power = 11
1st Sleeper = 6
Business = 6
Economy = 11
Lounge/Diner = 6
Fewer sets, but you're a bit limited on configuration options and have zero capacity to expand.  This also lacks any checked luggage capacity, which you may or may not agree with.
"PDCL"


A bit too squeezy for my taste. Feels iffy. If we use just five sets, I'd insert one extra First or Business (depending on demand) and one extra Economy.

Checked luggage doesn't have to be offered, so long as First and Business have access to generous car-end racks and Economy has overhead racks.

Option B - separate day and night services, but still two each way a day. This need 8 trains to run, basic config would be 1st, 1st, lounge/diner, econ, econ for night services and business, business, lounge/diner, econ, econ during the day.  Thus we end up with...
Power = 17
1st sleeper = 9
Business = 9
Economy = 17
Lounge/Diner = 9
So bigger more expensive fleet, but more you can do with it and room to push it harder if expansion allows.
"PDCL"


Quite so. We end up with an XPT2 fleet similar in size to the current XPT.

Ok I'll bring Canberra back in here, to get the hourly service I'm taking about, achieving a 2hr-2.5hr run, necessitates about 6 active sets and well one in the shop, so to include that run you're looking at:
Power = 12
Business = 12
Economy = 18
Lounge/Diner = 6
on top of whatever else you have decided on...you could start with a cut down arrangement such as removing a business and/or economy car like so:
Power = 12
Business = 6
Economy = 12
Lounge/Diner = 6
this seems a waste of motive power, but there's no where to turn a loco in Canberra quickly and easily, so you need a front and back.
"PDCL"


For Canberra, I would ditch First altogether. I'll retain Business since I think there's a market for it. Probably would suffice to have one Business and three Economy.

Since the train will be pretty short, I would suggest using a single power car and a driving trailer at the other end, running push-pull. This was actually part of the original XPT concept, according to the old Railpage XPT page. This arrangement could also be used to replace the Xplorer services, but that requires a bit of thought regarding where the Business section goes.

at the moment I wouldn't want to be taking a shower on the bumpy trip that is the main south. Might hit my head. I am 6 foot 3 inches with a bad back so leg room is extremely important.


showers at either central, southern cross, roma street, albury, casino and other major stations for xpt service passengers only instead of on the train.
"jedimasterc"


Passengers with requirements like yours are why I proposed the landside shower at lounges.

Sponsored advertisement

  fixitguy Chief Train Controller

Location: In Carriage 4 on a Tangara
heres what i come up with so far. its a bit rough as i'm using paint for now. photoshop is comming soon.
and i can't seem to get a good door design, left them blank

[img]http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicholasnothing/7306946418/[img]


  a6et Minister for Railways


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.

"PDCL"


For some reason I have not had the the thread linked as a watched one, so its gone over too far to try & go through it all.  But based on a couple of areas mentioned as well as the replies above

Someone mentioned timings for day & night services & whether or not people will travel dependant on arrival times etc.  When looking at that, lets not forget the timings of the old Aurora, given the load it hauled with a couple of 44's ex Sydney, stopping at Goulburn & Junee, Crew changes, & loco change at Albury, it still ran a 13 hour go to woe service at max speed of 115 Km/h.  What is the current TT for the down XPT, & stopping patterns to compare with the Aurora? 

The XPT is lets not forget a 160Km/h capable train a fair deal faster than the old, it also has a better acceleration/deceleration ability & better brakes as well, as the old Aurora had special speed boards for it based on the position of distant signals, to allow a safe margin to enable the train to be controlled & brought to a stand at a home signal in case it was at stop, as it could be if the distant was at caution.

Given that for some time the Aurora was also pushed to the business traveller with in city arrival & depatures time to get to meetings etc & arrive refreshed after nights travel it worked for some time, & lets not forget decent meals on board & the dining car was open from 6.00pm for travellers & guests, with 8pm departure & 915 arrivals. The 8pm departure was no issue, the problem however was that  its arrival would sit right on the outer edge of the morning peaks, a disadvantage for todays rail operators & governments.

The reality is that the XPT is no longer able to do the running it was designed to do, not because of the trains inability to do so but for the following reasons.
1:  Track condition.  No matter which way anyone looks at it, the track today is in far worse condition than it used to be, & the XPT is affectivelly throttled because of it, just as every other train is as well.   This not just applies to the Southern line but to each of the main lines it runs over.

2: Actual speed boards.  When the XPT came into service owing to the various problems with it, & that was the overheating issues & inability to run as desired, the TT's were altered as were the speed boards across the board in areas that they ran, owing to them being not that much faster than the loco hauled trains of the time.  What happened that almost every old speed board applicable to a locomotive hauled train that was below 90Km/h was reduced in speed by an average of 10Km/h with the XPT boards also reduced to the same speed or a mere 5Km/h over the older loco boards under 80Km/h.  A consequence was that the ordinary loco hauled trains ended up being slowed down & the timetables extended.

3:  Interstate or Country service requirements.  The XPT when it came out was meant as a means to revitalise Rural rail transport, in other words it was meant to run to the major inland cities & replace existing daylight servives to & from them. In other words they were meant to be the old daylight express in updated convenience & speed, but perhaps they are better said to be in drag.
When they started running interstate & this is leaving a big gap in their saga, especially with the need to run overnight on the Melbourn & Brisbane services, they were not just meant to be interstate trains such as the Aurora/SOP & Brisbane Limited but also replacements for the almost all stations Mail train services. The reasoning being of course giving rural services a boost to run to all locations, & be everything to everyone. A big mistake, as it really does not meet those needs adequately.

So, since I left the railways & my career finished on the XPT's as senior relief on them, certainly things have gotten worse, I still travel on them but generally avoid them owing to the timings of them, & terrible seating over extended travel times. To sit up all night to Brisbane from Sydney is terrible, but the 1 1/2 hours better off by getting on at Wyong helps, but then again isn't that where I cam in above.
 
How come, when travelling on a main interstate train does it have to stop at such locations as Wyong & Fassifern? That is a minor point but surelly time tabling a service to NCLE to allow interstate passengers to get there not long before the XPT on the down or chang at BMD for those stations is better, more inconvenient for me, but none of those old daylight & O/night services stopped their in the past.

If & when the XPT is ever replaced with another train, it matters not, & will not change without track work & alignment upgrades, likewise a real rethink about what the service is actually supposed to be & where the patronage is going to come from.  On that score, there really needs to be seperate trains that are configured differently for interstate & intrastate running, that way a decision is DMU or loco hauled, if the latter, then its a big call for exclusive engines in that sort of work.  Again looking at the ACT situation, DMU really is the best option & probably the same for the NW area where the trains split at WCK.


That tells me that the Dubbo service cannot stand on its own, so it too would need to be DMU, certainly something that is more customer friendly than the Explorer.  Of course the NCL & the Daylight service to Casino, & even the Grafton train is a long trip & really Grafton is the outer comfort limit for XPT travel, therefore a real need for probably a tilt train type there.


Interstate services

If Melbourne's Spencer street is too short for what is affectivelly a 9car train with locomotive on it, then it needs to have something done about it, to allow a longer train with either the current push - pull XPT/DMU configuration or, a 10 car train with passenger locomotives up front.
 
Such services really end up needing a fast timetable that runs at times that could be slightly slower for the overall run overnight, & no more than a 12 hour duration, & arrive at destinations around the 0830 mark.  Daylight services need to be no more than 11 hours duration & arrive in their destinations no later then 7.30 pm. Certainly where they stop at has to be looked at for both picking up & set downs.
IF loco hauled trains were considered, then the only way they could be considered being viable is if there were enough of them to ensure they were positioned at locations to ensure there was never a delay awaiting a loco, this is where the XPT type has an advantage as its a complete unit train.  The only way to save a long stand by time at each end was to have them operate on some other service locally or perhaps express guaranteed freight services, but I don't see that happening.
 
To cut it back then, I see 2 primary types of trains. Updated DMU's that operate to such locations as Canberra, Dubbo, & the NW/NT split at WCK.  A fast tilt type train that would service the top end of the NCL as well as being used on the interstate trains. Each with better seating designed for long distance, something akin to airline seating that is appearing in the A 380's but even then with a bit more leg room.
The current use of Day nighter carriages to continue perhaps with more on a train & offer sleeping services at better prices.
Still the thing comes back to the track & alignments.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Someone mentioned timings for day & night services & whether or not people will travel dependant on arrival times etc.  When looking at that, lets not forget the timings of the old Aurora, given the load it hauled with a couple of 44's ex Sydney, stopping at Goulburn & Junee, Crew changes, & loco change at Albury, it still ran a 13 hour go to woe service at max speed of 115 Km/h.  What is the current TT for the down XPT, & stopping patterns to compare with the Aurora?
"a6et"


The current run is about 11 hours for the Melbourne XPT - 11:13 for the morning down train and 10:55 for the down night train.


The XPT is lets not forget a 160Km/h capable train a fair deal faster than the old, it also has a better acceleration/deceleration ability & better brakes as well, as the old Aurora had special speed boards for it based on the position of distant signals, to allow a safe margin to enable the train to be controlled & brought to a stand at a home signal in case it was at stop, as it could be if the distant was at caution.
"a6et"


In theory. It hasn't been able to run that fast for a while, I believe.

Given that for some time the Aurora was also pushed to the business traveller with in city arrival & depatures time to get to meetings etc & arrive refreshed after nights travel it worked for some time, & lets not forget decent meals on board & the dining car was open from 6.00pm for travellers & guests, with 8pm departure & 915 arrivals. The 8pm departure was no issue, the problem however was that  its arrival would sit right on the outer edge of the morning peaks, a disadvantage for todays rail operators & governments.
"a6et"


Unfortunately, it's true that to time the arrival nicely with an XPT-style train, it has to arrive just before or during morning peak. Working on 11-hour runs, I estimated that an 8:30pm departure would give a 7:30am arrival. Would that be too early to arrive?

I know there are in fact people who do use the current overnight Melbourne XPT for the trip down, so they can get some good rest before working in Melbourne for the day, then fly back to Sydney.

The reality is that the XPT is no longer able to do the running it was designed to do, not because of the trains inability to do so but for the following reasons.
1:  Track condition.  No matter which way anyone looks at it, the track today is in far worse condition than it used to be, & the XPT is affectivelly throttled because of it, just as every other train is as well.   This not just applies to the Southern line but to each of the main lines it runs over.
"a6et"


Sadly, and since the chance of it being fixed by the feds isn't the best, we don't need to plan big speed.

2: Actual speed boards.  When the XPT came into service owing to the various problems with it, & that was the overheating issues & inability to run as desired, the TT's were altered as were the speed boards across the board in areas that they ran, owing to them being not that much faster than the loco hauled trains of the time.  What happened that almost every old speed board applicable to a locomotive hauled train that was below 90Km/h was reduced in speed by an average of 10Km/h with the XPT boards also reduced to the same speed or a mere 5Km/h over the older loco boards under 80Km/h.  A consequence was that the ordinary loco hauled trains ended up being slowed down & the timetables extended.
"a6et"


How did this affect the XPT?

3:  Interstate or Country service requirements.  The XPT when it came out was meant as a means to revitalise Rural rail transport, in other words it was meant to run to the major inland cities & replace existing daylight servives to & from them. In other words they were meant to be the old daylight express in updated convenience & speed, but perhaps they are better said to be in drag.
When they started running interstate & this is leaving a big gap in their saga, especially with the need to run overnight on the Melbourn & Brisbane services, they were not just meant to be interstate trains such as the Aurora/SOP & Brisbane Limited but also replacements for the almost all stations Mail train services. The reasoning being of course giving rural services a boost to run to all locations, & be everything to everyone. A big mistake, as it really does not meet those needs adequately.
"a6et"


Yes, there's a slight problem in that one. The original concept of the XPT also included shorter trains that had a driving trailer at the other end instead of a second power car. This would have made shorter XPT trains viable, and could have been a better solution to a number of routes where an XPT is overkill (Dubbo?) and where an Xplorer is a bit lacking (Griffith?)

So, since I left the railways & my career finished on the XPT's as senior relief on them, certainly things have gotten worse, I still travel on them but generally avoid them owing to the timings of them, & terrible seating over extended travel times. To sit up all night to Brisbane from Sydney is terrible, but the 1 1/2 hours better off by getting on at Wyong helps, but then again isn't that where I cam in above.
"a6et"


Things always get worse in NSW...
 

How come, when travelling on a main interstate train does it have to stop at such locations as Wyong & Fassifern? That is a minor point but surelly time tabling a service to NCLE to allow interstate passengers to get there not long before the XPT on the down or chang at BMD for those stations is better, more inconvenient for me, but none of those old daylight & O/night services stopped their in the past.
"a6et"


Who knows? Considering the speed limits, would there be much time gained by skipping Wyong and Fassifern? Granted, Wyong passengers can board at Gosford and Fassifern passengers at Broadmeadow with correct use of Wyong and Newcastle trains, so...

If & when the XPT is ever replaced with another train, it matters not, & will not change without track work & alignment upgrades, likewise a real rethink about what the service is actually supposed to be & where the patronage is going to come from.  On that score, there really needs to be seperate trains that are configured differently for interstate & intrastate running, that way a decision is DMU or loco hauled, if the latter, then its a big call for exclusive engines in that sort of work.  Again looking at the ACT situation, DMU really is the best option & probably the same for the NW area where the trains split at WCK.
"a6et"




Probably. I still think an intermediate solution should be found for long runs like Griffith; I would suggest an XPT-like solution for the interstate runs, and a truncated version thereof for long intrastate runs, and then a DMU for shorter intrastate runs which can also be used for regional runs in areas like the Southern Highlands and the Hunter.


That tells me that the Dubbo service cannot stand on its own, so it too would need to be DMU, certainly something that is more customer friendly than the Explorer.  Of course the NCL & the Daylight service to Casino, & even the Grafton train is a long trip & really Grafton is the outer comfort limit for XPT travel, therefore a real need for probably a tilt train type there.
"a6et"




Tilt would be good, so long as it delivers real benefit in terms of running speed, but speed is important only to day services; night services need time for a good kip. (The supreme irony of my declaration here is that the morning XPT to Melbourne takes 18 minutes longer than the overnight one...)


If Melbourne's Spencer street is too short for what is affectivelly a 9car train with locomotive on it, then it needs to have something done about it, to allow a longer train with either the current push - pull XPT/DMU configuration or, a 10 car train with passenger locomotives up front.
"a6et"




Considering we've cooked up a plan to involve landside lounges, platform extensions shouldn't be an issue. That having been said, how long is Southern Cross? My calculations give me a two-loco, seven-trailer interstate train that would need a 220m long platform.
 

Such services really end up needing a fast timetable that runs at times that could be slightly slower for the overall run overnight, & no more than a 12 hour duration, & arrive at destinations around the 0830 mark.  Daylight services need to be no more than 11 hours duration & arrive in their destinations no later then 7.30 pm. Certainly where they stop at has to be looked at for both picking up & set downs.
"a6et"


This, and optional stops too. I was thinking of both running 11-hour Melbourne runs, if possible. Brisbane takes longer, though.




IF loco hauled trains were considered, then the only way they could be considered being viable is if there were enough of them to ensure they were positioned at locations to ensure there was never a delay awaiting a loco, this is where the XPT type has an advantage as its a complete unit train.  The only way to save a long stand by time at each end was to have them operate on some other service locally or perhaps express guaranteed freight services, but I don't see that happening.
"a6et"


No, loco-hauled isn't too viable. Not unless you have a driving trailer at the other end for push-pull, and that brings us back to what has been discussed earlier.
 

To cut it back then, I see 2 primary types of trains. Updated DMU's that operate to such locations as Canberra, Dubbo, & the NW/NT split at WCK.  A fast tilt type train that would service the top end of the NCL as well as being used on the interstate trains. Each with better seating designed for long distance, something akin to airline seating that is appearing in the A 380's but even then with a bit more leg room.
"a6et"


Yes, for Economy. For First and Business, we're still open to suggestions on how to accommodate them.




The current use of Day nighter carriages to continue perhaps with more on a train & offer sleeping services at better prices.
"a6et"


Hmm - I was even considering offering an all-sleeper night train, using something along the lines of a European couchette car that would form sitting compartments, or even a class of fixed triple-bunk open compartments like the Chinese 'hard sleeper' trains.

But that wouldn't be Economy class anymore.

Still the thing comes back to the track & alignments.
"a6et"


Sadly. Be nice to rocket up the North Coast.

EDIT: Nicked from the VIC forum, a 2008 post indicates we do have a market for this overnight service we're cooking up here. Business Class fares might have to be lower, though (alternatively, a corporate rate?).

By way of background, I fly a LOT between SYD and MEL, I am a member of a few social circles who also fly a LOT between SYD and MEL, and I have also been a travel agent with a large number of corporate clients, who also flew a LOT between SYD and MEL.
The information I have been able to gather is that an overnight rail service, appropriately priced and marketted, with a suitable schedule, would be a massive winner as far as the corporate clientele goes.

The current situation is that those travelling to SYD/MEL for a meeting have to either arise at OMG o'clock in order to be on the first flight or two, or fly down the night before and incur accommodation costs. The first option is not conducive to people operating at their fullest potential, the second option is not good for the company and the bottom line.

Operating an overnight sleeper train, at the same price as a flexible airfare (Flexi-Saver with Qantas, currently around $350 each way) with meals included, would allow business travellers to do whatever they have to do in a better condition than if they had flown down that morning, OR at less cost than if they had flown down the night before.

Again, speaking to a lot of people who do this run a lot, if there was a viable train service operating to a decent schedule, they would use it (it would need to be appropraitely marketted, of course).

By decent scehedule, the old SNora schedule would not pass muster - 2000-0900 would not work. 2000-0800 might though.
"thadocta"


  jedimasterc Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned
If we are talking about xpt replacement the only solution that I would be looking at are the diesel pendolino's. The class 222's as apparently they can be converted to emu's and apparently bombardier are looking into creating a hybrid version.

Unless someone else has another option similar to these.
  WhittonAlignmnt Junior Train Controller

My solution: Import HST power cars from the UK & retrofit the original Paxmans with the original exhaust arrangement.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsl2LciSFXE

('tis a foaming thread!)  Smile
  a6et Minister for Railways

Someone mentioned timings for day & night services & whether or not people will travel dependant on arrival times etc.  When looking at that, lets not forget the timings of the old Aurora, given the load it hauled with a couple of 44's ex Sydney, stopping at Goulburn & Junee, Crew changes, & loco change at Albury, it still ran a 13 hour go to woe service at max speed of 115 Km/h.  What is the current TT for the down XPT, & stopping patterns to compare with the Aurora?
"a6et"


The current run is about 11 hours for the Melbourne XPT - 11:13 for the morning down train and 10:55 for the down night train.

The XPT is lets not forget a 160Km/h capable train a fair deal faster than the old, it also has a better acceleration/deceleration ability & better brakes as well, as the old Aurora had special speed boards for it based on the position of distant signals, to allow a safe margin to enable the train to be controlled & brought to a stand at a home signal in case it was at stop, as it could be if the distant was at caution.
"a6et"


In theory. It hasn't been able to run that fast for a while, I believe.

Given that for some time the Aurora was also pushed to the business traveller with in city arrival & depatures time to get to meetings etc & arrive refreshed after nights travel it worked for some time, & lets not forget decent meals on board & the dining car was open from 6.00pm for travellers & guests, with 8pm departure & 915 arrivals. The 8pm departure was no issue, the problem however was that  its arrival would sit right on the outer edge of the morning peaks, a disadvantage for todays rail operators & governments.
"a6et"


Unfortunately, it's true that to time the arrival nicely with an XPT-style train, it has to arrive just before or during morning peak. Working on 11-hour runs, I estimated that an 8:30pm departure would give a 7:30am arrival. Would that be too early to arrive?

I know there are in fact people who do use the current overnight Melbourne XPT for the trip down, so they can get some good rest before working in Melbourne for the day, then fly back to Sydney.

The reality is that the XPT is no longer able to do the running it was designed to do, not because of the trains inability to do so but for the following reasons.
1:  Track condition.  No matter which way anyone looks at it, the track today is in far worse condition than it used to be, & the XPT is affectivelly throttled because of it, just as every other train is as well.   This not just applies to the Southern line but to each of the main lines it runs over.
"a6et"


Sadly, and since the chance of it being fixed by the feds isn't the best, we don't need to plan big speed.

2: Actual speed boards.  When the XPT came into service owing to the various problems with it, & that was the overheating issues & inability to run as desired, the TT's were altered as were the speed boards across the board in areas that they ran, owing to them being not that much faster than the loco hauled trains of the time.  What happened that almost every old speed board applicable to a locomotive hauled train that was below 90Km/h was reduced in speed by an average of 10Km/h with the XPT boards also reduced to the same speed or a mere 5Km/h over the older loco boards under 80Km/h.  A consequence was that the ordinary loco hauled trains ended up being slowed down & the timetables extended.
"a6et"


How did this affect the XPT?

3:  Interstate or Country service requirements.  The XPT when it came out was meant as a means to revitalise Rural rail transport, in other words it was meant to run to the major inland cities & replace existing daylight servives to & from them. In other words they were meant to be the old daylight express in updated convenience & speed, but perhaps they are better said to be in drag.
When they started running interstate & this is leaving a big gap in their saga, especially with the need to run overnight on the Melbourn & Brisbane services, they were not just meant to be interstate trains such as the Aurora/SOP & Brisbane Limited but also replacements for the almost all stations Mail train services. The reasoning being of course giving rural services a boost to run to all locations, & be everything to everyone. A big mistake, as it really does not meet those needs adequately.
"a6et"


Yes, there's a slight problem in that one. The original concept of the XPT also included shorter trains that had a driving trailer at the other end instead of a second power car. This would have made shorter XPT trains viable, and could have been a better solution to a number of routes where an XPT is overkill (Dubbo?) and where an Xplorer is a bit lacking (Griffith?)

So, since I left the railways & my career finished on the XPT's as senior relief on them, certainly things have gotten worse, I still travel on them but generally avoid them owing to the timings of them, & terrible seating over extended travel times. To sit up all night to Brisbane from Sydney is terrible, but the 1 1/2 hours better off by getting on at Wyong helps, but then again isn't that where I cam in above.
"a6et"


Things always get worse in NSW...
 

How come, when travelling on a main interstate train does it have to stop at such locations as Wyong & Fassifern? That is a minor point but surelly time tabling a service to NCLE to allow interstate passengers to get there not long before the XPT on the down or chang at BMD for those stations is better, more inconvenient for me, but none of those old daylight & O/night services stopped their in the past.
"a6et"


Who knows? Considering the speed limits, would there be much time gained by skipping Wyong and Fassifern? Granted, Wyong passengers can board at Gosford and Fassifern passengers at Broadmeadow with correct use of Wyong and Newcastle trains, so...

If & when the XPT is ever replaced with another train, it matters not, & will not change without track work & alignment upgrades, likewise a real rethink about what the service is actually supposed to be & where the patronage is going to come from.  On that score, there really needs to be seperate trains that are configured differently for interstate & intrastate running, that way a decision is DMU or loco hauled, if the latter, then its a big call for exclusive engines in that sort of work.  Again looking at the ACT situation, DMU really is the best option & probably the same for the NW area where the trains split at WCK.
"a6et"




Probably. I still think an intermediate solution should be found for long runs like Griffith; I would suggest an XPT-like solution for the interstate runs, and a truncated version thereof for long intrastate runs, and then a DMU for shorter intrastate runs which can also be used for regional runs in areas like the Southern Highlands and the Hunter.


That tells me that the Dubbo service cannot stand on its own, so it too would need to be DMU, certainly something that is more customer friendly than the Explorer.  Of course the NCL & the Daylight service to Casino, & even the Grafton train is a long trip & really Grafton is the outer comfort limit for XPT travel, therefore a real need for probably a tilt train type there.
"a6et"




Tilt would be good, so long as it delivers real benefit in terms of running speed, but speed is important only to day services; night services need time for a good kip. (The supreme irony of my declaration here is that the morning XPT to Melbourne takes 18 minutes longer than the overnight one...)


If Melbourne's Spencer street is too short for what is affectivelly a 9car train with locomotive on it, then it needs to have something done about it, to allow a longer train with either the current push - pull XPT/DMU configuration or, a 10 car train with passenger locomotives up front.
"a6et"




Considering we've cooked up a plan to involve landside lounges, platform extensions shouldn't be an issue. That having been said, how long is Southern Cross? My calculations give me a two-loco, seven-trailer interstate train that would need a 220m long platform.
 

Such services really end up needing a fast timetable that runs at times that could be slightly slower for the overall run overnight, & no more than a 12 hour duration, & arrive at destinations around the 0830 mark.  Daylight services need to be no more than 11 hours duration & arrive in their destinations no later then 7.30 pm. Certainly where they stop at has to be looked at for both picking up & set downs.
"a6et"


This, and optional stops too. I was thinking of both running 11-hour Melbourne runs, if possible. Brisbane takes longer, though.




IF loco hauled trains were considered, then the only way they could be considered being viable is if there were enough of them to ensure they were positioned at locations to ensure there was never a delay awaiting a loco, this is where the XPT type has an advantage as its a complete unit train.  The only way to save a long stand by time at each end was to have them operate on some other service locally or perhaps express guaranteed freight services, but I don't see that happening.
"a6et"


No, loco-hauled isn't too viable. Not unless you have a driving trailer at the other end for push-pull, and that brings us back to what has been discussed earlier.
 

To cut it back then, I see 2 primary types of trains. Updated DMU's that operate to such locations as Canberra, Dubbo, & the NW/NT split at WCK.  A fast tilt type train that would service the top end of the NCL as well as being used on the interstate trains. Each with better seating designed for long distance, something akin to airline seating that is appearing in the A 380's but even then with a bit more leg room.
"a6et"


Yes, for Economy. For First and Business, we're still open to suggestions on how to accommodate them.




The current use of Day nighter carriages to continue perhaps with more on a train & offer sleeping services at better prices.
"a6et"


Hmm - I was even considering offering an all-sleeper night train, using something along the lines of a European couchette car that would form sitting compartments, or even a class of fixed triple-bunk open compartments like the Chinese 'hard sleeper' trains.

But that wouldn't be Economy class anymore.

Still the thing comes back to the track & alignments.
"a6et"


Sadly. Be nice to rocket up the North Coast.

EDIT: Nicked from the VIC forum, a 2008 post indicates we do have a market for this overnight service we're cooking up here. Business Class fares might have to be lower, though (alternatively, a corporate rate?).

By way of background, I fly a LOT between SYD and MEL, I am a member of a few social circles who also fly a LOT between SYD and MEL, and I have also been a travel agent with a large number of corporate clients, who also flew a LOT between SYD and MEL.
The information I have been able to gather is that an overnight rail service, appropriately priced and marketted, with a suitable schedule, would be a massive winner as far as the corporate clientele goes.

The current situation is that those travelling to SYD/MEL for a meeting have to either arise at OMG o'clock in order to be on the first flight or two, or fly down the night before and incur accommodation costs. The first option is not conducive to people operating at their fullest potential, the second option is not good for the company and the bottom line.

Operating an overnight sleeper train, at the same price as a flexible airfare (Flexi-Saver with Qantas, currently around $350 each way) with meals included, would allow business travellers to do whatever they have to do in a better condition than if they had flown down that morning, OR at less cost than if they had flown down the night before.

Again, speaking to a lot of people who do this run a lot, if there was a viable train service operating to a decent schedule, they would use it (it would need to be appropraitely marketted, of course).

By decent scehedule, the old SNora schedule would not pass muster - 2000-0900 would not work. 2000-0800 might though.
"thadocta"


"Watson374"


How the heck do you block the replies with replies now?  I have been unable to find the method as the interface has changed, prefer the simpl older way of doing it by selecting  the section & include it as a quote.

1 & 2

The overnight train with an 2030 dep & 9730 is ok for the Mlb- Syd- Mlb train, combines convenient times at both ends, not too late departure & not too early arrival especially in the winter.    

I think 0730 departure is a tad early for the Melbourne service & suggest 0800. dep & Melbourne no later than 1830. 1900 at the latest.

If one is to be faster it has to be the day train in order to cut down the depart & arrival times outside both peaks, thus an 0900 dep & 1900 arrival is what should be targetted for,  no more than 10hours overall.  I believe that there is a need to cut down some of the stops on the train especially tha small as required stations. While I disagreed with this previously, the overall patronage has to be considered, thus major stops only, Strathfield, Campbelltown- MV? - Glbn, Yass, Harden? Coota, Junee, Albury. Seymour Melbourne. & reverse.. 

The theory that the XPT has not been able to achieve its potential speed is my point. The stupiditiy of current levels of things such as full type Rova Mech is hindering the services as well. without taking actual weather patterns in place. 

If there are people who are prepared to use the train one way, then if the said convenience, & fares were right they would likely travel both ways or encouraged with return fare package & frequent user discount.

3 & 4:Big speed?  I am only talking 160K's . If looking at big speeds then we go further down the track & go High speed, & thats been discussed too much.  & my last say is that the existing route needs fixing, whether by feds, state or dare I even go down the path of suggesting a user levy such as applied years ago to motorise as a 3x3 on petrol that went solely into road. An extra $2.00 fare, & some other figure for freight users to go into a pool that would be used solely for Realignment & track UPgrade for everyones overall benefit. It will be the only way to get things done.  Although I am wary of going down that path as both govs would then have an excuse to scale back their current pathetic rail investment & put it into road, therfore relying on the levy for work.

Only affect it had on the XPT was for publicity purposes & showed how much faster it was than the ordinary loco hauled trains. A 5 minute more in running times over set sections was not really notices, & there was always a built time recovery in the XPT tt, to allow for weather & track conditions, & just added headway to it.  The means justifies any end.

5 Tilt.  I see a seperate need for the Brisbane train owing to the distance & somehow the times have to be reduced, even if it means a different set for it, such as tilt, if the times could be got back to an 11 hour run it would be huge, even 12hours would help.

Platforms & train length. Problem with push pull XPT style is that the platform has a locomotive on the rear taking up passenger space.

When I talk locomotive I am talking of ones that are more Passenger & speed specific. China rail has variations to their old standard DF4 that operate on the faster pax trains. When the XPT trials I conducted on the Main north we used 42220 with approval to run at 130-135 Km/h, how hard would it be to have a fleet of that time of loco, that could run at up to 160? with better running times & arrival at Melburne means the lead engines can be removed & a small shunt done to release them prior to be ready for boarding.

Dare I even suggest that the train could also offer Motorrail services for passengers, & not just sleeping car users.

Again, If Spencer street needs extending so be it.

When looking at the Chines option of hard & soft sleeper, I don't see a lot of advantage with it as how many fit in the compartment now? 4 sleepers & 6 in seats, that is reasonable.  The only benefit is to offer first class no more than 4 in the compartments for day as well as night. Problem with that is you reduce available seating capacity.  The only solution would be to make the compartments smaller for 2 beds with upper & lower & 2/3 seats for daylight travel, similar to the old style sleepers.

ATM, the XPT on arrival at Mlbn has short turnround to refuel, clean & restock the train. being able to get a better run time, means some leeway there with the 2000 departure, that is my big concern with the limited amount of trains available. No way is a full 8 car set going to sit there waiting all day for the next run as in the old days so somehow that has to change.

As I said in the first post, to have loco's that can operate at the higher speeds needed for passenger trains they could be used on return freight services after getting to their destination & have new ones ready for the return, could save some times at the far end.

I would get the XPT off the Dubbo run, & the motors & cars could be spares, that allows more mainenance time for the motors, & possible extend their lives. A fleet of new DMU's for the Dubbo service & I would actually suggest a retiming of the western trains to start from the Dubbo end or maybe even Nyngang & run to Sydney. Exploders could go to Coota, & Junee for connections to Temora & Griffith.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.


If we are talking about xpt replacement the only solution that I would be looking at are the diesel pendolino's. The class 222's as apparently they can be converted to emu's and apparently bombardier are looking into creating a hybrid version.


Unless someone else has another option similar to these.
"jedimasterc"


Yes, we could yank Brit DMUs. The problem with DMUs is comfort, as they have several hundred horsepower roaring under your seat/bunk. Not fun.

 
How the heck do you block the replies with replies now?  I have been unable to find the method as the interface has changed, prefer the simpl older way of doing it by selecting  the section & include it as a quote.
"a6et"


It's to do with fiddling with the BBCode. I've gotten quite good at it, with the technique of paragraph-to-paragraph replying being quite neat. If it's done more than once, however, it degenerates into a stack of quote tunnels.

The overnight train with an 2030 dep & 9730 is ok for the Mlb- Syd- Mlb train, combines convenient times at both ends, not too late departure & not too early arrival especially in the winter.

I think 0730 departure is a tad early for the Melbourne service & suggest 0800. dep & Melbourne no later than 1830. 1900 at the latest.
"a6et"


Sounds good.

If one is to be faster it has to be the day train in order to cut down the depart & arrival times outside both peaks, thus an 0900 dep & 1900 arrival is what should be targetted for,  no more than 10hours overall.  I believe that there is a need to cut down some of the stops on the train especially tha small as required stations. While I disagreed with this previously, the overall patronage has to be considered, thus major stops only, Strathfield, Campbelltown- MV? - Glbn, Yass, Harden? Coota, Junee, Albury. Seymour Melbourne. & reverse..
"a6et"


Sounds good. I was also thinking of rationalising the stopping of the Brisbane service.

The theory that the XPT has not been able to achieve its potential speed is my point. The stupiditiy of current levels of things such as full type Rova Mech is hindering the services as well. without taking actual weather patterns in place.
"a6et"


Sadly.

If there are people who are prepared to use the train one way, then if the said convenience, & fares were right they would likely travel both ways or encouraged with return fare package & frequent user discount.
"a6et"


That's why we invented the Frequent Traveller Club.

3 & 4:Big speed?  I am only talking 160K's . If looking at big speeds then we go further down the track & go High speed, & thats been discussed too much.  & my last say is that the existing route needs fixing, whether by feds, state or dare I even go down the path of suggesting a user levy such as applied years ago to motorise as a 3x3 on petrol that went solely into road. An extra $2.00 fare, & some other figure for freight users to go into a pool that would be used solely for Realignment & track UPgrade for everyones overall benefit. It will be the only way to get things done.  Although I am wary of going down that path as both govs would then have an excuse to scale back their current pathetic rail investment & put it into road, therfore relying on the levy for work.
"a6et"


I'd fear that too, but yes, we need to fix the track so we can run 160kph; alternatively, we could soup up the track and try to get 200kph out of it, only forty-plus years since the Brits did it...

Only affect it had on the XPT was for publicity purposes & showed how much faster it was than the ordinary loco hauled trains. A 5 minute more in running times over set sections was not really notices, & there was always a built time recovery in the XPT tt, to allow for weather & track conditions, & just added headway to it.  The means justifies any end.
"a6et"


Well, it does have a top speed of 160kph, over 115kph.

5 Tilt.  I see a seperate need for the Brisbane train owing to the distance & somehow the times have to be reduced, even if it means a different set for it, such as tilt, if the times could be got back to an 11 hour run it would be huge, even 12hours would help.
"a6et"


Do you? I'm trying to cut down the number of bespoke trains running loose. It would be nice if the Brisbane fast tilt was run by QR, but considering the history...

If we want the Brisbane service to tilt, so should the Melbourne service. The problem with my design is that now everything tilts...

Platforms & train length. Problem with push pull XPT style is that the platform has a locomotive on the rear taking up passenger space.

When I talk locomotive I am talking of ones that are more Passenger & speed specific. China rail has variations to their old standard DF4 that operate on the faster pax trains. When the XPT trials I conducted on the Main north we used 42220 with approval to run at 130-135 Km/h, how hard would it be to have a fleet of that time of loco, that could run at up to 160? with better running times & arrival at Melburne means the lead engines can be removed & a small shunt done to release them prior to be ready for boarding.
"a6et"


Yes, the British have some locos that crank out 6,000hp at one end of the train and have a DVT at the other, rocketing down the line at over 200kph. It's possible, but they also chose two locos for the InterCity 125 because it's more distributed, and apparently wears out the track less.

Dare I even suggest that the train could also offer Motorrail services for passengers, & not just sleeping car users.

Again, If Spencer street needs extending so be it.
"a6et"


Motorail can be considered, but I wouldn't put it on the cards just yet. Our objective has to be to carry passengers.

When looking at the Chines option of hard & soft sleeper, I don't see a lot of advantage with it as how many fit in the compartment now? 4 sleepers & 6 in seats, that is reasonable.  The only benefit is to offer first class no more than 4 in the compartments for day as well as night. Problem with that is you reduce available seating capacity.  The only solution would be to make the compartments smaller for 2 beds with upper & lower & 2/3 seats for daylight travel, similar to the old style sleepers.
"a6et"


Yes, I was planning on retaining twinettes (twin-bed compartments, perpendicular). Would you consider roomettes (single-bed compartments, parallel) viable?

ATM, the XPT on arrival at Mlbn has short turnround to refuel, clean & restock the train. being able to get a better run time, means some leeway there with the 2000 departure, that is my big concern with the limited amount of trains available. No way is a full 8 car set going to sit there waiting all day for the next run as in the old days so somehow that has to change.
"a6et"


Quite so. I too am strongly opposed to trains sitting around. That's why an 11 hour run time Mel-Syd is critical, so we have an hour to turn the thing around. Every minute of time saving goes into turnaround. This is so the trains can literally run around the clock, non-stop, back and forth, until maintenance calls. We want to get the maximum out of the fleet.

As I said in the first post, to have loco's that can operate at the higher speeds needed for passenger trains they could be used on return freight services after getting to their destination & have new ones ready for the return, could save some times at the far end.

I would get the XPT off the Dubbo run, & the motors & cars could be spares, that allows more mainenance time for the motors, & possible extend their lives. A fleet of new DMU's for the Dubbo service & I would actually suggest a retiming of the western trains to start from the Dubbo end or maybe even Nyngang & run to Sydney. Exploders could go to Coota, & Junee for connections to Temora & Griffith.
"a6et"


Hmm - also viable. Really, the Dubbo XPT is a bit of a joke, and seriously needs a driving trailer.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Ok, all the fancy streamline power cars are designed for long trains travelling at speed. Hence they need lots of grunt and aerodynamics. None of which is required here. NSW needs a flexible go anywhere fleet that can get to 160 and accelerate from 40-60 range to 120-140 quickly to make up for corners.

Like much of regional Europe away from HSR, this is the home of the DMU. Trains that can change with the traffic volumes and onboard requirements quickly and easily. Both XPT and XPL should be replaced with a single fleet of DMU's that collectively sleeper, buff, first class and 2nd class seaters, baggage.

The only choice is are they are all 1 car sets that are joined together and have full walk through capability, or are they permanently coupled 2, 3 and 4 car sets added together as required. ie - 4 car sets has say baggage, Buff, sleeper, 1st and 2nd class seaters. Buffet car may also contain a small lounge section.- 3 car sets have same minus sleeper- 2 car sets have small buff, baggage and 2nd class seaters, maybe a small section (1-2 rows) of 1st class seats as per many European DMU's and regional commuter trains.

All seats and cabins have full In seat Entertainment and WIFI. No justification for more than 2 classes of seats

So for example the - BRisbane/Melbourne service maybe a 4 car set + 2, 3 or 4 car depending on demand- Grafton 3 car + what ever else demand requires- NW, 2+2 or 2+3 or 3+3- Dubbo, 3, 2+2, 2+3- Griffith, etc- Canberra, etc

Tilting to get a bit more speed on bends would be a bonus

Forget the fancy looking and completely unsuitable, expensive and infelxible nose trains. We have DMU in Aus now capable of 160-200. I have riden a fairly basic 2 car DMU in Sweden that had 2 classes of seating, toilets + four vending machines and room to store bikes, luggage etc in centre. They save space by only have a single mid car double door. So no real vestible. In same entrance is the vending machines and dubby and storage area.

regards

Shane
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Not sure why you posted this exact reply in both threads, but I'll reply to this one only.

Ok, all the fancy streamline power cars are designed for long trains travelling at speed. Hence they need lots of grunt and aerodynamics. None of which is required here. NSW needs a flexible go anywhere fleet that can get to 160 and accelerate from 40-60 range to 120-140 quickly to make up for corners.
"RTT_Rules"


Quite so. This is precisely why I'm working towards as few variations as possible. This is actually why we came up with a hypothetical DEMU with two power cars but all axles motored (electric). The whole reason why I'm avoiding underfloor diesels is because I don't want to have people forking over good money to travel a premium class and have a restless journey because of several hundred horsepower roaring under their bed.

Like much of regional Europe away from HSR, this is the home of the DMU. Trains that can change with the traffic volumes and onboard requirements quickly and easily. Both XPT and XPL should be replaced with a single fleet of DMU's that collectively sleeper, buff, first class and 2nd class seaters, baggage.
"RTT_Rules"


I don't disagree with you on what cars should be in the consist, but unless a way can be found to mitigate the considerable noise and vibration experienced with underfloor diesels, I still believe a push-pull train is superior, just like how many people believe the InterCity 125 is superior in this regard to the DMUs that initially replaced them (initially, because they didn't work out and had 125's replace them).

I'm not closed to DMUs, but I need better justification as to why they are superior to a top-and-tail train in terms of serving passengers.

The only choice is are they are all 1 car sets that are joined together and have full walk through capability, or are they permanently coupled 2, 3 and 4 car sets added together as required. ie - 4 car sets has say baggage, Buff, sleeper, 1st and 2nd class seaters. Buffet car may also contain a small lounge section.- 3 car sets have same minus sleeper- 2 car sets have small buff, baggage and 2nd class seaters, maybe a small section (1-2 rows) of 1st class seats as per many European DMU's and regional commuter trains.
"RTT_Rules"


Errrr. I'd say fixed sets are too inflexible for country operation. They're great for suburban use, but not country.

Full walk-through is mandatory - that I don't dispute. Combinations of single cars is how the Xplorer fleet works, anyway. I am not, however, too keen on a fleet that is effectively an Xplorer kitted out as an XPT.

All seats and cabins have full In seat Entertainment and WIFI. No justification for more than 2 classes of seats
"RTT_Rules"


I would make it where only premium classes having at-seat entertainment, but WiFi for all. Also, there are only two seat classes and one sleeper class.

So for example the - BRisbane/Melbourne service maybe a 4 car set + 2, 3 or 4 car depending on demand- Grafton 3 car + what ever else demand requires- NW, 2+2 or 2+3 or 3+3- Dubbo, 3, 2+2, 2+3- Griffith, etc- Canberra, etc
"RTT_Rules"


Man, that's sparse.

Tilting to get a bit more speed on bends would be a bonus
"RTT_Rules"


For all?

Forget the fancy looking and completely unsuitable, expensive and infelxible nose trains. We have DMU in Aus now capable of 160-200. I have riden a fairly basic 2 car DMU in Sweden that had 2 classes of seating, toilets + four vending machines and room to store bikes, luggage etc in centre. They save space by only have a single mid car double door. So no real vestible. In same entrance is the vending machines and dubby and storage area.
"RTT_Rules"


I wouldn't call them unsuitable; and the nose is for aerodynamics. There'll be end cars and middle cars, and so the ends of the end cars can have a nice front.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
Watching the patonage today (including those smoking on platforms... is prohibited... fines apply etc) you could hand the lot over to DOCS and be done with it. They probably have most of the passengers on its books anyway Wink

Seriously, does anyone really believe NSW will find the money to replace the XPTs. The guvmnt would be better off doing a Sydney Ferries deal (should be something left to shoot at). That might get you some new equipment. Idea
  fixitguy Chief Train Controller

Location: In Carriage 4 on a Tangara
Watching the patonage today (including those smoking on platforms... is prohibited... fines apply etc) you could hand the lot over to DOCS and be done with it. They probably have most of the passengers on its books anyway Wink

Seriously, does anyone really believe NSW will find the money to replace the XPTs. The guvmnt would be better off doing a Sydney Ferries deal (should be something left to shoot at). That might get you some new equipment. Idea
"cootanee"


privatising the sydney ferries would be a good start. but unlike what went wrong with melb and metro and v/line there should really be a strict guideline on how the ferries operate like
same timetable or better
cost (in line with current fairs and post opal fares)
able to use opal
good service
basically it means putting customer service over profit or be booted

the problem is will the rent be reasonable enough to buy some new trains with the made in Australia sticker to replace XPT and Xploaders and V set (if there is enough) with a years worth of rent (the govt wouldn't save the money, they probably spend it on something else cheaper like going on holidays)
  a6et Minister for Railways


If one is to be faster it has to be the day train in order to cut down the depart & arrival times outside both peaks, thus an 0900 dep & 1900 arrival is what should be targetted for,  no more than 10hours overall.  I believe that there is a need to cut down some of the stops on the train especially tha small as required stations. While I disagreed with this previously, the overall patronage has to be considered, thus major stops only, Strathfield, Campbelltown- MV? - Glbn, Yass, Harden? Coota, Junee, Albury. Seymour Melbourne. & reverse..
"a6et"


Sounds good. I was also thinking of rationalising the stopping of the Brisbane service.

Best way around the blocking thing.

Problem is which stations to cut out. Wyong does have a fair few passengers, more so than Fassifern. As there are not a lot of stops anyway its hard to cut many but, I would suggest at least on the Brisbane train, the folllowing Fassifern, Maclean, Repton, Urunga & Sawtell.  Dungog does not have many get on or off, Gloucester is worse but not sure if it stops there anymore, likewise Wingham. Passengers from Maclean can get to Nambucca as its not that far for the few who use it, likewise Repton, Urunga & Sawtell passengers could get on/off at Coffs.


3 & 4:Big speed?  I am only talking 160K's . If looking at big speeds then we go further down the track & go High speed, & thats been discussed too much.  & my last say is that the existing route needs fixing, whether by feds, state or dare I even go down the path of suggesting a user levy such as applied years ago to motorise as a 3x3 on petrol that went solely into road. An extra $2.00 fare, & some other figure for freight users to go into a pool that would be used solely for Realignment & track UPgrade for everyones overall benefit. It will be the only way to get things done.  Although I am wary of going down that path as both govs would then have an excuse to scale back their current pathetic rail investment & put it into road, therfore relying on the levy for work.
"a6et"


I'd fear that too, but yes, we need to fix the track so we can run 160kph; alternatively, we could soup up the track and try to get 200kph out of it, only forty-plus years since the Brits did it...
And we used to be only 10 years behind overseas, says a lot for how things have detiriated


Only affect it had on the XPT was for publicity purposes & showed how much faster it was than the ordinary loco hauled trains. A 5 minute more in running times over set sections was not really notices, & there was always a built time recovery in the XPT tt, to allow for weather & track conditions, & just added headway to it.  The means justifies any end.
"a6et"


Well, it does have a top speed of 160kph, over 115kph. & 42220 was allowed 130/135km/h. With super series motors, & better gearing, the same type of engine could do at least 150 if not 160, as they rode well & good to work on/in & reliable.

5 Tilt.  I see a seperate need for the Brisbane train owing to the distance & somehow the times have to be reduced, even if it means a different set for it, such as tilt, if the times could be got back to an 11 hour run it would be huge, even 12hours would help.
"a6et"


Do you? I'm trying to cut down the number of bespoke trains running loose. It would be nice if the Brisbane fast tilt was run by QR, but considering the history...

The big need for Brisbane is to get the times down significantly, & by that I mean a minimun of 2hours or better. I don't disagree with the total use of tilts as it would certainly improve things overall. But how many do you get? I think the XPT to Grafton is ok, & to take over similar routes, even the train to Casino is ok but if that even goes to Lismore if that part of the line is opened, then a tilt is needed for it to get the overall times down, although it would be good for it too.


When I talk locomotive I am talking of ones that are more Passenger & speed specific. China rail has variations to their old standard DF4 that operate on the faster pax trains. When the XPT trials I conducted on the Main north we used 42220 with approval to run at 130-135 Km/h, how hard would it be to have a fleet of that time of loco, that could run at up to 160? with better running times & arrival at Melburne means the lead engines can be removed & a small shunt done to release them prior to be ready for boarding.
"Watson374"


Yes, the British have some locos that crank out 6,000hp at one end of the train and have a DVT at the other, rocketing down the line at over 200kph. It's possible, but they also chose two locos for the InterCity 125 because it's more distributed, and apparently wears out the track less.
I don't like that concept at all, as a push set up is not that comfortable on passengers when the loco's on the rear. The push pull is much better. If loco's are used then, they should pull both directions, meaning an engine change at terminals, but in this day & age that does not take long. In fact the carriages are more useable on a continual basis that way rather than the XPT setup whereas they have to go to Meeks for serving at Sydney Turn rounds. A fresh set of front end donks would not require that.

Dare I even suggest that the train could also offer Motorrail services for passengers, & not just sleeping car users.

Again, If Spencer street needs extending so be it.
"a6et"


Motorail can be considered, but I wouldn't put it on the cards just yet. Our objective has to be to carry passengers.
Motorail is an attraction that could entice people back onto the train, it worked in the past to MBWH, as well as Melbourne. With better covered carriers & car protection, & being capable of faster running they would not be a hindrance at all, but another service option.

When looking at the Chines option of hard & soft sleeper, I don't see a lot of advantage with it as how many fit in the compartment now? 4 sleepers & 6 in seats, that is reasonable.  The only benefit is to offer first class no more than 4 in the compartments for day as well as night. Problem with that is you reduce available seating capacity.  The only solution would be to make the compartments smaller for 2 beds with upper & lower & 2/3 seats for daylight travel, similar to the old style sleepers.
"a6et"


Yes, I was planning on retaining twinettes (twin-bed compartments, perpendicular). Would you consider roomettes (single-bed compartments, parallel) viable?

Parallel beds are shockers, but single roomets, would be ok option for a business class scenario.  The normal width bedding allows for them to become a deluxe sitting cabin again for business class on day services. Fare should include internet & other connections included in the far, breakfast served in sity as well.

ATM, the XPT on arrival at Mlbn has short turnround to refuel, clean & restock the train. being able to get a better run time, means some leeway there with the 2000 departure, that is my big concern with the limited amount of trains available. No way is a full 8 car set going to sit there waiting all day for the next run as in the old days so somehow that has to change.
"a6et"


Quite so. I too am strongly opposed to trains sitting around. That's why an 11 hour run time Mel-Syd is critical, so we have an hour to turn the thing around. Every minute of time saving goes into turnaround. This is so the trains can literally run around the clock, non-stop, back and forth, until maintenance calls. We want to get the maximum out of the fleet.

A 1 hour turn round at each end gives some leeway for late arrivals not affecting the departure too much.  However we come to the situation with the XPT type push pull concept of whole train servicing & running back to Meeks road when arriving in Sydney.  If unit carriage service were used, along with locomotives, a faster turn round can be achieved there.
But where are we looking at tilts, HST types or loco hauled? I know most are against the later but there are benefits.

As I said in the first post, to have loco's that can operate at the higher speeds needed for passenger trains they could be used on return freight services after getting to their destination & have new ones ready for the return, could save some times at the far end.

I would get the XPT off the Dubbo run, & the motors & cars could be spares, that allows more mainenance time for the motors, & possible extend their lives. A fleet of new DMU's for the Dubbo service & I would actually suggest a retiming of the western trains to start from the Dubbo end or maybe even Nyngang & run to Sydney. Exploders could go to Coota, & Junee for connections to Temora & Griffith.
"a6et"


Hmm - also viable. Really, the Dubbo XPT is a bit of a joke, and seriously needs a driving trailer.[/quote]

As I suggested the constant use of just a pusher unit in one direction is not a good idea.

Has anyone thought along the lines of a dedicated single unit type train, in the form of a modern style of the old Silver City Comet?  The power car being a single diesel unit with driving cabs each end, which at the turn round station it can run round the train & return in the lead in each direction?  Given some of the services around, such as the Western XPT it would be ideal.

It could also work on the NW/NT train with a 2nd unit in the middle & still split at WCK. It iliminates the underfloor motors & the associated discomforts in the carriages.

  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Best way around the blocking thing.

Problem is which stations to cut out. Wyong does have a fair few passengers, more so than Fassifern. As there are not a lot of stops anyway its hard to cut many but, I would suggest at least on the Brisbane train, the folllowing Fassifern, Maclean, Repton, Urunga & Sawtell.  Dungog does not have many get on or off, Gloucester is worse but not sure if it stops there anymore, likewise Wingham. Passengers from Maclean can get to Nambucca as its not that far for the few who use it, likewise Repton, Urunga & Sawtell passengers could get on/off at Coffs.
"a6et"


Since we're running trains twice daily, I gave serious consideration to differing stopping patterns, or even a stopping Grafton/Casino train and a fast Brisbane train, but scrapped it because it still doesn't cut the time down to 11 hours. We can make many of these stops optional stops, or even run a shorter Grafton train stopping for these stops, once daily. Because the run takes more than 12 hours, it is mathematically impossible to run it using just two trains, and that's before turnaround.

I think we can't run away from the reality that even with tilts (which could deliver significant improvements), to maintain a twice-daily service, the Brisbane trip will probably need at least three trains running full-time, but they will have more resting time than the two shuttling between Melbourne and Sydney - those two will be run very hard, and so they'll probably be the shortest deployment before being cycled out for maintenance and/or a different run.

Having said that, I'm holding out hope that the Brisbane route can be rocketed with tilts, giving a run of 11 hours. If so, it would be possible to run it twice daily using two trains, and the Melbourne route too (which with tilts could probably get more breathing space).

And we used to be only 10 years behind overseas, says a lot for how things have detiriated
"a6et"


Says a lot, eh?

& 42220 was allowed 130/135km/h. With super series motors, & better gearing, the same type of engine could do at least 150 if not 160, as they rode well & good to work on/in & reliable.


Yes.

The big need for Brisbane is to get the times down significantly, & by that I mean a minimun of 2hours or better. I don't disagree with the total use of tilts as it would certainly improve things overall. But how many do you get? I think the XPT to Grafton is ok, & to take over similar routes, even the train to Casino is ok but if that even goes to Lismore if that part of the line is opened, then a tilt is needed for it to get the overall times down, although it would be good for it too.
"a6et"


Lismore's on the Murwillumbah line isn't it? I'm not going down that one...

The problem with using a combination of tilt and non-tilt is that we run into a problem where we then yet another type of train, which is terrible for such a small fleet. Sydney Ferries has this problem, with so many different classes of ferry (Freshwater, Collaroy, First Fleet, Lady Northcott, Lady Wakehurst, RiverCat, HarbourCat, SuperCat...). This is why the Walker report suggested 8 Lady Northcott-sized ferries and 18 First Fleet-sized ferries to cover all SFC's needs.

Likewise, we're running a relatively small fleet, so as little variation as possible is desirable. This is why I want a design we can use on the longer, heavier routes, and one we can use on the shorter, lighter routes. Still, problems crop up with long, light routes (Broken Hill, anyone?) and short, heavy routes (Canberra if sold right).

I don't like that concept at all, as a push set up is not that comfortable on passengers when the loco's on the rear. The push pull is much better. If loco's are used then, they should pull both directions, meaning an engine change at terminals, but in this day & age that does not take long. In fact the carriages are more useable on a continual basis that way rather than the XPT setup whereas they have to go to Meeks for serving at Sydney Turn rounds. A fresh set of front end donks would not require that.
"a6et"


Since we're implementing some pretty serious infra changes at Sydney Terminal to accommodate stuff likes lounges, I was thinking of setting up turnaround facilities there. Certainly, locomotive end-changing can be done fairly quickly using the escape tracks at Sydney Terminal.

What do the XPTs go to Meeks for?

Motorail is an attraction that could entice people back onto the train, it worked in the past to MBWH, as well as Melbourne. With better covered carriers & car protection, & being capable of faster running they would not be a hindrance at all, but another service option.
"a6et"


Perhaps. I suppose it could work for those who need to drive at the other end; else, we could even offer deals like a discount on a Myki or summat.

Parallel beds are shockers, but single roomets, would be ok option for a business class scenario.  The normal width bedding allows for them to become a deluxe sitting cabin again for business class on day services. Fare should include internet & other connections included in the far, breakfast served in sity as well.
"a6et"


You realise roomettes have their beds parallel to the principal axis of the train, right?

A 1 hour turn round at each end gives some leeway for late arrivals not affecting the departure too much.  However we come to the situation with the XPT type push pull concept of whole train servicing & running back to Meeks road when arriving in Sydney.  If unit carriage service were used, along with locomotives, a faster turn round can be achieved there.
But where are we looking at tilts, HST types or loco hauled? I know most are against the later but there are benefits.
"a6et"


My concept of a tilt would be of a HST-type train or a DMU in any case, so it's not an issue about train layout.

What do they actually go to Meeks for? I'm sure that in an hour, inbound passengers can be detrained, the interior serviced and the outbound passengers can boarded. The facilities are what's needed, as fresh everything has to be restocked and the waste tanks have to be flushed.

As I suggested the constant use of just a pusher unit in one direction is not a good idea.
"a6et"


The idea is that it functionally is a loco-hauled service in one direction, it's just pushed back the other way. The best option really is a DEMU, with diesels concentrated in power cars or under certain cars, with the electric traction distributed across the entire train. Unfortunately, this is purely theoretical nowadays as this hasn't been done for a while.

The British have done this before, and some of their old SR DEMUs apparently had diesel-electric power cars, trailer cars and electric motor cars. I'll investigate this tonight, as this could be very helpful.


  5814 Chief Train Controller

urrrgh, drowning in foam

Seriously shouldnt this be on a model railways thread?
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
urrrgh, drowning in foam

Seriously shouldnt this be on a model railways thread?
"5814"


You're not exactly adding to this discussion. I specifically put a foaming warning at the beginning of this thread. Unfortunately for your suggestion, this is a discussion about real trains, as in a rake of 24m stainless steel boxes rocketing down the Main South.

Anyway. The QR Tilt project as a whole is pretty instructive for us slowpokes in NSW. They pursued the correct strategy, which is to re-engineer the line to allow better freight running, while keeping it compatible with high-speed passenger runs. Freight is very important, and the benefit of being able to run fast passenger trains is a side bonus. I'm pretty sure this is what PDCL advocated, at least from the funding angle.

The service itself would probably be best run as a business owning, upkeeping and running the service (and its trains) to carry passengers.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
Haven't we gone down this refurbished, rebadged loco hauled rollingstock before and how long did that last - why did it stop?




  David10 Station Master

The HSTs were assessed a few years ago and it was agreed that they should last until 2035 without too much drama.  So if these which are worked much harder in a harsher climate are ok for another 20 years, can't see why the XPTs would be life expired.

I think when the time does come to replace them, loco hauled stock would be best.  Would only be marginally slower than an XPT equivalent and we have never had the infrastructure to exploit an XPT's capability.  Far more preferable to an underfloor engined DMU which is probably the only other option.
  a6et Minister for Railways



What do the XPTs go to Meeks for?

"Watson374"


Fuel, service checks of brakes & any general serving/repairs in the carriages & motors, exchange, add remove carriages as needed.

It is needed as they are out on the road a fair while between these checks, if nothing else a reason there are problems with the fleet as they are really utilised very heavily.
  bigdee1 Station Staff

Location: campbelltown nsw
I have been reading this thread with interest,I am not a railway person,but have a lot of interest in them.
I saw that mention was made that Southern Cross would need lengthening for a replacement of the XPT.A bit of checking  shows that the Overland regularly has 9 cars,plus loco,so surely this would not be shorter that an XPT, Just an observation from a lay person.


  jedimasterc Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned
Watching the patonage today (including those smoking on platforms... is prohibited... fines apply etc) you could hand the lot over to DOCS and be done with it. They probably have most of the passengers on its books anyway Wink

Seriously, does anyone really believe NSW will find the money to replace the XPTs. The guvmnt would be better off doing a Sydney Ferries deal (should be something left to shoot at). That might get you some new equipment. Idea
"cootanee"


I agree. I don't think the problem is the trains at the moment it is the alignment and the fact the xpt spends most of it's time not doing the 160km/h it should be.

Dubbo should be an xplorer service with a broken hill split at orange 1 or 2 times a week.

All endeavours should be converted to xplorers and more hunter rail cars built to replace the services the endeavours currently run and the possible future bathurst run.

But the main issue is that the lines need to be fixed. That is what is holding back the xpt and xplorer.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
The HSTs were assessed a few years ago and it was agreed that they should last until 2035 without too much drama.  So if these which are worked much harder in a harsher climate are ok for another 20 years, can't see why the XPTs would be life expired.

I think when the time does come to replace them, loco hauled stock would be best.  Would only be marginally slower than an XPT equivalent and we have never had the infrastructure to exploit an XPT's capability.  Far more preferable to an underfloor engined DMU which is probably the only other option.
"David10"


They've been regularly patched up to keep in service. The HST is thirty-six years old and while undeniably a classic train, is showing its age. The XPT was never worked as hard as the HST, and so problems occurred less often; but I'm not aware of the XPTs being patched up as much as the HSTs.

Also, about that 2035 figure, apparently it's the Mark 3 coaching stock only, not the power cars.

Certainly, a DMU with underfloor engines is the least preferable, and loco-hauled in some form is best (the HST are loco-hauled, in a sense, and this is why they're preferred over the newfangled DMUs/DEMUs). A DEMU with distributed motored bogies but a single big generator at the Economy end would be nice, though.

What do the XPTs go to Meeks for?
"Watson374"


Fuel, service checks of brakes & any general serving/repairs in the carriages & motors, exchange, add remove carriages as needed.

It is needed as they are out on the road a fair while between these checks, if nothing else a reason there are problems with the fleet as they are really utilised very heavily.
"a6et"


Does this have to be done every time it returns to Sydney? This seems to fall under general maintenance, which would be carried out on a rotational basis, while the trains running the route would run flat out with short turnarounds. Far from ideal, but we can't afford to splash out on lots of trains sitting around idle.

I have been reading this thread with interest,I am not a railway person,but have a lot of interest in them.

I saw that mention was made that Southern Cross would need lengthening for a replacement of the XPT.A bit of checking  shows that the Overland regularly has 9 cars,plus loco,so surely this would not be shorter that an XPT, Just an observation from a lay person.
"bigdee1"


Err, XPT cars are 80' long and it has two locos, one at each end; this all adds up, but I'm a foamer as far as this thread goes.

I agree. I don't think the problem is the trains at the moment it is the alignment and the fact the xpt spends most of it's time not doing the 160km/h it should be.

Dubbo should be an xplorer service with a broken hill split at orange 1 or 2 times a week.

All endeavours should be converted to xplorers and more hunter rail cars built to replace the services the endeavours currently run and the possible future bathurst run.

But the main issue is that the lines need to be fixed. That is what is holding back the xpt and xplorer.
"jedimasterc"


Absolutely, the lines need to be fixed to allow good running of both passengers and freight. QR has managed a good fixing of their line up to Cairns, doing just that. With good track and tilt, an XPT replacement could rocket down to Melbourne and up to Brisbane, and then it would justify having two power cars...

Unfortunately for us, that track's under the feds.
  fixitguy Chief Train Controller

Location: In Carriage 4 on a Tangara


Absolutely, the lines need to be fixed to allow good running of both passengers and freight. QR has managed a good fixing of their line up to Cairns, doing just that. With good track and tilt, an XPT replacement could rocket down to Melbourne and up to Brisbane, and then it would justify having two power cars...

Unfortunately for us, that track's under the feds.
"Watson374"


thats the problem, canberrra wont do anything but give handouts and convince barry to build a second airport and PERL. but since Railpage is listed as a resourceful site maybe they will look here. or we could write a leter get people to sign a petition
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
Watching the patonage today (including those smoking on platforms... is prohibited... fines apply etc) you could hand the lot over to DOCS and be done with it. They probably have most of the passengers on its books anyway Wink

Seriously, does anyone really believe NSW will find the money to replace the XPTs. The guvmnt would be better off doing a Sydney Ferries deal (should be something left to shoot at). That might get you some new equipment. Idea
"cootanee"


I agree. I don't think the problem is the trains at the moment it is the alignment and the fact the xpt spends most of it's time not doing the 160km/h it should be.
...
But the main issue is that the lines need to be fixed. That is what is holding back the xpt and xplorer.
"jedimasterc"


The lines in NSW took 30 years to get to the state where they needed to be flick passed to ARTC (and c/link reliability wasn't great anyway!).

ARTC the great white hope, but it was only brought into being:

1. for interstate freight
2.because the libs and state freight operators didn't want NRC owning the track
3. to cost less than AN, Vline, RIC/RAC

Not so much for XPTs and Xplorers!

It will take them at least another 5 years at current budget to fix the drainage / ballast issues (allowing for El Nino).

In the meantime we now have millions of sleepers capable of holding two rails together, Wagga bridge (and other bridges) replaced, a stack of extended/new passing loops and CTC at the border.

So lets be positive, 30 years to run the lot down, ARTC have had 8 years - give 'em another 22 to bring it back.
You may also have your XPT replacement just in time Wink


  fixitguy Chief Train Controller

Location: In Carriage 4 on a Tangara
Watching the patonage today (including those smoking on platforms... is prohibited... fines apply etc) you could hand the lot over to DOCS and be done with it. They probably have most of the passengers on its books anyway Wink

Seriously, does anyone really believe NSW will find the money to replace the XPTs. The guvmnt would be better off doing a Sydney Ferries deal (should be something left to shoot at). That might get you some new equipment. Idea
"cootanee"


I agree. I don't think the problem is the trains at the moment it is the alignment and the fact the xpt spends most of it's time not doing the 160km/h it should be.
...
But the main issue is that the lines need to be fixed. That is what is holding back the xpt and xplorer.
"jedimasterc"


The lines in NSW took 30 years to get to the state where they needed to be flick passed to ARTC (and c/link reliability wasn't great anyway!).

ARTC the great white hope, but it was only brought into being:

1. for interstate freight
2.because the libs and state freight operators didn't want NRC owning the track
3. to cost less than AN, Vline, RIC/RAC

Not so much for XPTs and Xplorers!

It will take them at least another 5 years at current budget to fix the drainage / ballast issues (allowing for El Nino).

In the meantime we now have millions of sleepers capable of holding two rails together, Wagga bridge (and other bridges) replaced, a stack of extended/new passing loops and CTC at the border.

So lets be positive, 30 years to run the lot down, ARTC have had 8 years - give 'em another 22 to bring it back.
You may also have your XPT replacement just in time Wink

"cootanee"


my design  (exterior (looks only)) is going quite well so far. so hopefully someone can get the interior done. i'm not good at that.

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