The future of the Australind Train

 
  emu201 Beginner

I see on the Transwa webb site  that the state govt is going to carry out a reveiw of the Australind train service due to falling numbers. Will this spell the end of this train? The old girl must be ready for new rolling stock and this govts haterid of rail i wonder is this the beging of the end for the Australind?  

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  thewaratahtrain Chief Train Controller




I see on the Transwa webb site that the state govt is going to carry out a reveiw of the Australind train service due to falling numbers. Will this spell the end of this train? The old girl must be ready for new rolling stock and this govts haterid of rail i wonder is this the beging of the end for the Australind?

"emu201"

that's really disappointing, replace with a coach service typical liberal government,  I can't find a link anywhere

  Mouse Chief Train Controller

Location:
Can't find anything on the Transwa site, but there's a mention in the annual report: http://www.pta.wa.gov.au/portals/0/annualreports/2012/report/transwa.html (under "Transwa Trains"):

Australind passenger numbers fell 4.9 per cent to 115,835, with a major contributing factor being the continuing impact of the Forrest Highway (which has significantly reduced the time of road travel between Bunbury and Perth) and delays caused by the completion of the concrete re-sleepering program between Armadale and Mundijong. The service will be reviewed in 2012-13 to see how it can better meet community expectations.
PTA Annual Report 2011/12


At the end of the day, disappointing as it would be (from a railfan point of view) to lose services like this, the continuously declining patronage (150 000 in 2007-08 down to 115 000 2011-12) seems to me to indicate the current arrangement clearly isn't working - after all, it is a rather old train achieving none-too-special journey times over an alignment that takes the long way to Bunbury, terminating way out from the actual Bunbury CBD. All this as against a newly-constructed dual carriageway freeway/highway bypassing Mandurah for extra speed. Pretty much a la the suburban network in the 70's and 80's.

It will be interesting to see which way things go from here, especially considering the long term plan for the high-speed train terminating in Bunbury and not whoop-whoop land. I guess one possibility might be to revisit the 2006 proposal to cancel the early Bunbury-Perth and evening Perth-Bunbury trains and replace both with coaches to Mandurah and Armadale, while keeping the "middle" Australind trains as a day-tripper service from Perth.
  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle

The one thing that the Australind has going for it is that the drive from Perth to Bunbury is one of, if not the, most mind numbingly boring, fatigue inducing, suicide tempting, drives in the entire country. Sydney-Canberra probably pips it for that title, only because Sydney-Canberra is close to 3 hours vs 1.5-1.75 hours for Perth-Bunbury.



If I'm going to Bunbury and don't need a car - and if the train travel time is reasonable, i.e. within 30min or so of the car trip from the CBD, I'd probably take it.

Unfortunately that paragraph outlines exactly why it is so difficult to generate patronage. From a Perthite perspective, there's very little to do in Bunbury without a car, so you are almost forced to drive in order to bring the car. For Bunbury-Perth trips, there's pretty decent PT originating in Perth CBD so that's less of an issues, but Bunbury's population is tiny in the scheme of things (as are the towns en route) so patronage will never be high.

In terms of regional rail, I've long been an advocate for encouraging hire car companies to set up in the big regional rail terminals - much as they do at airports - to give people the option of a train + drive holiday. I think that's where rail needs to go to attract the holiday/weekender market - market it as a way of avoiding that horrible slog there/home; relax instead and pick up your car closer to home. For example, a 2 hour train ride to Bunbury then a 40min drive to Busselton or Dunsborough is much more appealing than hitting the Forrest Highway with our without the morons that come out only for the long weekend.

  Southwest Locomotive Fireman

The Australind is too slow and infrequent to be of any real use any more. Whenever I need to catch public transport down south I take the bus, it's quicker with the express service down the freeway and there are 6 a day to chose from now (between Transwa and Southwest Coachlines). One day there will probably be a new train from Perth to Busselton or something. If the train is frequent enough so that people don't have to book, at least 200 kmph and can be intergraded into the smartrider system then I can see the new service being a success.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Are the numbers dropping because people are choosing the bus to catch the train from Mandurah and train it from there?
  morerail Locomotive Driver

Location: Donnyrook WA

I think patronage is dropping because whoever runs the train wants it to fail.

My brother in law returned from Cambodia by air and was to catch the Australind to Bunbury where we would meet him.
He paid for his ticket and was told there was a fee for his excess luggage he was carrying. He thought it was a joke and the
fee was far more than the original ticket.
He explained that he was from overseas and that the airline did not charge extra for his bags.

The end result was that we drove to Forrest Place and collected him from there.

Apart from the fact that the train does not go to Bunbury anymore any visitor or shopper  is discouraged from using the service.



  WAGR Chief Commissioner




I think patronage is dropping because whoever runs the train wants it to fail.

My brother in law returned from Cambodia by air and was to catch the Australind to Bunbury where we would meet him.
He paid for his ticket and was told there was a fee for his excess luggage he was carrying. He thought it was a joke and the
fee was far more than the original ticket.
He explained that he was from overseas and that the airline did not charge extra for his bags.

The end result was that we drove to Forrest Place and collected him from there.

Apart from the fact that the train does not go to Bunbury anymore any visitor or shopper is discouraged from using the service.



"morerail"


Well lets face it times are a changing. The location of Bunbury terminal 2km from the CBD is not in the equation like where is the arrival point for the Prossie and Avon Link East Perth or whatever they call it these days. What we have in the South West is a great Coach Service be it Transwa or Southwest Coach Lines. If im flying out of or into Perth Airport i am offered down here  by Southwest coach lines 4 return services services a day to the major terminals at Perth Airport. Why in the hell would i want to catch the "Australind" and go through all the changes. When  i can catch a coach down the road and go direct

With the constuction and opening of the Bunbury By Pass from Woods Rd Gelorup through to Hynes Rd another heap of minutes will be cut from the journey from all points South  just like the time slash on the Forest Highway  by passing Mandurah.

As the man said thats Life

  dw54 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Devonport, Tas

I think we need to refocus on one of the reasons cited for reduced patronage in the past 12 months: disruptions caused by the relaying of the track between Mundijong and Armadale. Add that to the disruptions that occurred when several bridges between Mundijong and Pinjarra were replaced, and you have an unreliable, disjointed service.

It will take probably 12 months for patronage to regain confidence in the service.

The point about the terminus being well out of the CBD are well made. Perhaps the service should be rerouted via Koombana Beach into the old Station?

Suggestions about integration with Transperth fares are misplaced. Consider the stop at Armadale. If you have a 3-zone ticket, you can travel from Perth Central to Armadale. But would Transwa want their train's seats filled by metro local pax? But if the Smartrider system can combine dedicated Australind fares with travel around Perth and the Greater Bunbury/SW region then that would be a good idea.

The excess luggage business seems to be basically bad PR, and needs revisiting by someone with brains.

Loading the train at Armadale seemed to me to be a woefully long-winded process, contributing to slow running.

The bus services via Mandurah and continuing to Perth Airport are an important factor, but they get caught up in the Kwinana Freeway traffic snarls same as everybody else driving through there.

Finally, between Mundijong and the Bunbury Port Junction, the Australind shares the tracks with freight - with all the issues of timekeeping that brings. Any suggestion of 200km/h running would be limited to the dedicated sections of line - probably not worth the extra capex to get high speed units.

DW in Devonport

  62440 Chief Commissioner

I used to use the Australind regularly as it had a good connection to the Dunsborough bus. They stopped the connection which became a matter of luck so either I had my partner drive from Dunsborough to pick me up and the occasional annoyance of having been able to make the connection or I caught the train to Mandurah and connected to the South West Coachlines as the TransWA bus had a half hour ciggi break not long after Mandurah. The Australind with bus connection was very much my preference but TransWA lost most of my business. This was a while back but I suggest the bus connections are still not there.
  1978Prime Junior Train Controller

Location: Perth

I used to catch the Australind to Bunbury and then swap over to the coach to Busselton. Now I drive. If I decided to make a day trip  to Bunbury for some reason , I think the train would be the last option, because the train station being out at Walliston is a major put off. I can remember they were talking about bringing the Australind back to the CBD even back in the mid nineties. I cant help wonder why it is so difficult for them to take action  and build just 300 meters of railway.

Since the Austalind has to share the track with freight trains, would duplicating the line make heaps of difference to the travel time and make 160-200 km phr consistantly possible? and maybe a spur line to Mandurah would make a mandurah to Bunbury service possible.

  doggie015 Junior Train Controller

Location: On a bus going from esplanade busport to canning bridge so I can catch a train to Esplanade station



I used to catch the Australind to Bunbury and then swap over to the coach to Busselton. Now I drive. If I decided to make a day trip to Bunbury for some reason , I think the train would be the last option, because the train station being out at Walliston is a major put off. I can remember they were talking about bringing the Australind back to the CBD even back in the mid nineties. I cant help wonder why it is so difficult for them to take action and build just 300 meters of railway.

Since the Austalind has to share the track with freight trains, would duplicating the line make heaps of difference to the travel time and make 160-200 km phr consistantly possible? and maybe a spur line to Mandurah would make a mandurah to Bunbury service possible.

"1978Prime"

They should go one better and send the Australind out via the Mandurah line. Not only would this allow for higher speed running but it also provides an incentive to update the train's exterior to more closely resemble the other TransWA trains which is long overdue and would most likely cause a decent increase in patronage on the service.

  burt007 Chief Train Controller

Location: On the Road Somewhere...

My opinion would be to have a rail line extended from Mandurah to Bunbury alongside the Highway, and running the equivilant cars as the Prospector - i.e. 160+kph. Get the Australind away from the freight traffic on the South West line.

Speed is the only answer to getting people to use the Australind - in todays world it's just too slow.

  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle

Speed is the only answer to getting people to use the Australind - in todays world it's just too slow.
"burt007"


According to Professor Doggie15, making it look nicer on the outside will make people use it. Perhaps a racing stripe will convince people it goes fast?

  1978Prime Junior Train Controller

Location: Perth



Speed is the only answer to getting people to use the Australind - in todays world it's just too slow.
"burt007"


According to Professor Doggie15, making it look nicer on the outside will make people use it. Perhaps a racing stripe will convince people it goes fast?

"drwaddles"

I remember when the current rail cars were new, they had a campian that said " The train that thinks its a plane",  but it probally  was the fastest way to get to Bunbury back then.

  WAGR Chief Commissioner






Speed is the only answer to getting people to use the Australind - in todays world it's just too slow.
"burt007"


According to Professor Doggie15, making it look nicer on the outside will make people use it. Perhaps a racing stripe will convince people it goes fast?

"drwaddles"

I remember when the current rail cars were new, they had a campian that said " The train that thinks its a plane", but it probally was the fastest way to get to Bunbury back then.

"1978Prime"


Yes and the Spin Doctors and the "PR" guys were right but forgot to tell the people that they were referring to Tiger Moths and Cessnas 172

  doggie015 Junior Train Controller

Location: On a bus going from esplanade busport to canning bridge so I can catch a train to Esplanade station







Speed is the only answer to getting people to use the Australind - in todays world it's just too slow.
"burt007"


According to Professor Doggie15, making it look nicer on the outside will make people use it. Perhaps a racing stripe will convince people it goes fast?

"drwaddles"

I remember when the current rail cars were new, they had a campian that said " The train that thinks its a plane", but it probally was the fastest way to get to Bunbury back then.

"1978Prime"


Yes and the Spin Doctors and the "PR" guys were right but forgot to tell the people that they were referring to Tiger Moths and Cessnas 172

"WAGR"

That wasn't referring to the speed but rather the smoothness of the ride. Having been on it myself I can safely say that it is actually SMOOTHER than a plane (No turbulance!). The acceleration and braking have none of the jerkiness associated with other trains of the time and the braking has about the same rate as a modern day commercial airliner (The acceleration is a little slower). New cars combined with a new line from Perth to the Bunbury CBD via Mandurah and a marketing campaign along those lines will cause a rise in patronage as people in both cities will be able to use the service as a convenient means for a day trip in either city.

If the marketing focuses on the experience of the journey and the cheap fares ($59.80 for transport there and back is rather decent! (You will need some more money if you plan on using the onboard snack bar!). Besides which; how often do you get to go past frieght trains an arm's lenth away in Western Australia!) then they should be able to revive the service. It would require significant investment but it can be done and the two cities really need to be linked via high-speed rail!


  1978Prime Junior Train Controller

Location: Perth
Does any one remember how long the old australind used to take and what speeds it used to reach. And what is the maximum speed of the current rail cars, I've always assumed it went at 120 km phr.
  WAGR Chief Commissioner


[quote="1978Prime"]

Does any one remember how long the old australind used to take and what speeds it used to reach. And what is the maximum speed of the current rail cars, I've always assumed it went at 120 km phr.

[/quote[
Old Australind Dep Perth 0930 Arr Bunbury 1240. Dep Bunbury 1500 Arr Perth 1810. Max Speed 80kph. Current railcar speed is i think 110KPH

  GSRailway Chief Train Controller
  WAGR Chief Commissioner


[quote="WAGR"]

[quote="1978Prime"]

Does any one remember how long the old australind used to take and what speeds it used to reach. And what is the maximum speed of the current rail cars, I've always assumed it went at 120 km phr.[/quote]
Old Australind Dep Perth 0930 Arr Bunbury 1240. Dep Bunbury 1500 Arr Perth 1810. Max Speed 80kph. Current railcar speed is i think 110KPH

  DBclass Chief Commissioner

Location: Western Australia

[quote="WAGR"]

[quote="WAGR"]

[quote="1978Prime"]

Does any one remember how long the old australind used to take and what speeds it used to reach. And what is the maximum speed of the current rail cars, I've always assumed it went at 120 km phr.[/quote]
Old Australind Dep Perth 0930 Arr Bunbury 1240. Dep Bunbury 1500 Arr Perth 1810. Max Speed 80kph. Current railcar speed is i think 110KPH

[/quote]

Last time I was talking to someone who knew I was told that it runs up to 115, and the brakes come on at 118. But this is on the cab speedometer. The GPS was a couple kph different, so it may be faster or slower depending on the calibration of the cab speedometer.

  drwaddles In need of a breath mint

Location: Newcastle
That render for the Bunbury waterfront station is pretty sexy
  doggie015 Junior Train Controller

Location: On a bus going from esplanade busport to canning bridge so I can catch a train to Esplanade station



That render for the Bunbury waterfront station is pretty sexy

"drwaddles"


If they build that and actually run trains to it then as the station is actually close to stuff then it should provide more incentive to use the service. It's also hard to miss the overhead wires... are they seriously thinking of electrifying it from Perth to Bunbury or will it be a hybrid-esque system with the start and end of the journey being run via overhead and the rest on diesel?

Here is a link to the render: http://www.landcorp.com.au/_document/Bunbury-Waterfront/artists-impressions-and-images/Koombana-North---Possible-Future-Railway-Platform.jpg

  DBclass Chief Commissioner

Location: Western Australia

I wonder what Newcastle thinks about this idea. Bunbury is much like Newcastle. Port, 100miles from a major city, prone to flooding. Just not quite as big yet. Interesting we are hoping for better rail, they are trying (not the users i gather) to get rid of it.

If the line does eventually come to Bunbury, probably be called greater Metronet or something pointless like that, will it be standard gauge? I wonder why the Joondalup - Mandurah was not made standard gauge. Would have been very, um un narrow minded. The midland line runs mostly on dual gauge, the Armadale would then just need dual gauging. Would have been a good opportunity to make things right. Then you could have larger rolling stock and a faster run. Being a suburban only system the regauging would not have mattered one bit. Has the past 100 years taught us nothing.

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