Twenty (20) years...plus a few months since the demise of the Vinelander

 
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
800+ members and there is not a single post on there what a pathetic group.
Black Hoppers
It's a closed group, but half of the members would be b*tchy gunzels who are like: "EHMEERGERD LETZ GEH BECK TO DA BLU N GOLD DAYS CAUSE ITZ BETTER BUT I'M ONLY UNDER 30"

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  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
The significant point surely is that, when the Kennett government withdrew the Mildura rail service, the ALP kicked up one helluva fuss and indicated that a Labor government would restore the service yet, after gaining power and ruling for a decade, they did nothing to restore it.
PClark

Now Peter, let's not rewrite history...

Our infamous Premier of the time and occasional traveller on the Vinelander, Mr Jeff Kennett axed the Vinelander due to low passenger numbers.

With hindsight, the early 90's were a low ebb in all of Australia's state railways, and Victoria was no exception. Patronage on all
V/Line services has increased exponentially since that time, and even exceeded my prediction in these pages some years ago of a renaissance in travellers using Victoria's regional railways.

When the Kennett Liberal/Coalition government axed the Vinelander, truncated other regional railways and attempted to close others, that government also privatised the freight operation of V/Line.

When Pacific National (PN) picked up the freight operation on the Mildura line, although it was obliged to maintain the standard of the track to the same as it inherited, it did not.

Moving along a few years to 1999, the election of the Bracks Labor Government, and the election of Independent MP for the seat of Mildura, Mr Russell Savage who promised to support the Bracks government if that government supported the reintroduction of the Vinelander train.

The Bracks government had an extensive review to ascertain the cost of reinstating a passenger train to Mildura. The Vinelander's sleeping cars by this time were 52 years old and I was told the stainless steel fluting that was part of those ex Overland cars had harboured damp and had caused severe corrosion behind the fluting, consequently the opportunity to reintroduce an overnight passenger train including constructing new cars was going to be expensive.

Meanwhile PN who had run the 450+ Km line from Ballarat to Mildura into the ground which by now had MANY speed restrictions imposed, as low as 50 KPH in parts and over many lengthy sections.

Moreover, PN who had sole operating rights over the now much degraded track, could name its own price if the Bracks government wanted to buy it back from them. The Bracks government backed away due to the cost of re-acquisition, however in later years PN bailed out of sole use due in part to the expense of upgrading the track.

I believe V/Line & VicTrack now have the line back under government control which explains the maintenance on some of the northern freight lines after the Fisher review, however since the Kerang disaster and the line of sight(read more expense) concerns for train drivers with over 60 crossings between Maryborough and Mildura, in addition to somewhat improved but not to the degree it was before 1993 condition of the track; it's now a very expensive proposition as per the most recent report which was undertaken in the dying days of the former Brumby Labor government.

The report and its attachments is enclosed below...

http://ptv.vic.gov.au/projects/rail-projects/mildura-rail-feasibility-study/

The list of submissions from Mildura Rural City Council and the general public, I'll add as another link...

http://ptv.vic.gov.au/assets/PTV/PTV%20docs/Mildura/Mildura-Rail-Feasibility-Study-Final-Report.pdf

Meanwhile community and local government support in the still growing Sunraysia region of north west Victoria continues for the return of the train service.
It may be my 'one trick pony', however despite the investment expense, the economic development of a substantial part of Victoria will be enhanced by the inevitable track upgrade and return of passenger trains to Mildura. That's something aeroplanes cannot achieve for the region as a whole.

Mike.
  gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic
Maybe the big chance for Mildura would be if the proposed sg line to join the transcontinental line is built. The existing line would be upgraded as part of that project. Given the fact there are so many competing transport priorities (particularly in Melbourne), it's difficult to imagine that a passenger proposal would otherwise get up.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
What type of passenger service are Mildura people lobbying for ?

The chances of getting a passenger train that exceeds 80 km/h along the Maryborough - Mildura track would be very slim.

So that really only leaves a 12 hour overnight service, that's schedule has plenty of flexibility to account for delays by other trains, major speed restrictions, etc.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me

Was Mildura ever serviced by a passenger train from Adelaide?  I have always wondered this?
"oldghan"

No
As there is no connection to the Adelaide line and the mildura line terminates at mildura.
"Black Hoppers"


Couple of items
1. The Mildura line actually terminates at Yelta(Silos), some 25kms west of Mildura, with a main container transfer yard at Merbein (12kms west of Mildura)
2. Never been a rail connection toward Adelaide or any old SAR tracks (bar via Ouyen / Pinnarro). Closest SAR track to Mildura would have been at Yamba (SA) on the old Berri (Renmark) Line.
3. Mildura is only 398 kms from Adelaide via the Sturt Hwy (National Route 20) Google Maps list it as 4.5 hours driving time.
I often travel from Port Adelaide to Mildura to perform service work, (often in the Red Cliffs area) and if the service call is going to be less than 4 hours on site, I'll do it as a day trip.
  Barrington Womble Photo Nazi

Location: Banned
This subject has been done to death, and the end results are always the same.

Locked.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Passenger Train in 1978 passing through the Warrenheip Station for Mildura. Another great shot from Malcolm Hillier



  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Another great shot of the Mildura service from Malcolm Hillier. Complete with Motorail.

A66 is in an interesting livery?  I have not seen this paint scheme previously.  What is it?

  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Another great shot of the Mildura service from Malcolm Hillier. Complete with Motorail.

A66 is in an interesting livery? I have not seen this paint scheme previously. What is it?

bevans

It's the Bicentenary paint scheme - 1788 to 1988.

Mike.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
That's the Bi-Centennial livery. See here: http://www.victorianrailways.net/motive%20power/adie.html Three photos down.

Sorry Mike, we were posting at the same time.
  Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic
Few points.

1. First picture by Malcolm Hillier is actually bound for Melbourne and not Mildura.

2. Second picture of the bicentennial A class is actually a photograph that I took years ago and posted on Facebook recently. This is obviously where Malcolm ripped my photo and added his own caption. Quite amazing actually seeing as I have no record of the date. Apparently it was the daytime Sunraysia anyway. It was also climbing Warrenheip on the Up and wasn't heading towards Ballarat at all.

Makes me wonder whether the Warrenheip shot was actually Malcolm's in the first place. Twisted Evil
  vlinecars V/Man - "Yeah!"

Location: Here, there, everywhere!
Few points.

1. First picture by Malcolm Hillier is actually bound for Melbourne and not Mildura.

2. Second picture of the bicentennial A class is actually a photograph that I took years ago and posted on Facebook recently. This is obviously where Malcolm ripped my photo and added his own caption. Quite amazing actually seeing as I have no record of the date. Apparently it was the daytime Sunlander anyway.

Makes me wonder whether the Warrenheip shot was actually Malcolm's in the first olace.
Ballast_Plough

To add to that, A66 certainly wasn't in that livery on 12th March 1985!

Weston Langford has a photo of it in V/Line livery in September 1987:
http://www.westonlangford.com/images/photo/116215/

Pretty certain a daylight Mildura train didn't exist in 1985 either..............
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
...... Apparently it was the daytime Sunlander anyway.
Ballast_Plough

Err...not quite, unless you were going to write that it was the 'Mildura Sunlight' but that used to run via North Shore...maybe you were intending for it to read the 'Sunraysia'  Question

Mike.
  Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic
Passenger Train in 1978 passing through the Warrenheip Station for Mildura. Another great shot from Malcolm Hillier



bevans

Malcolm must have been standing right next to Mark Bau when he took this shot - although Mark correctly shows that it is an up Dimboola pass and not a down Vinelander.

http://www.victorianrailways.net/photogallery/westsou/warrenheip/warrenheip.html
  transam Junior Train Controller

Hi Mike
         What used to be even better with the "Vinelander" that on the Thursday evening before Good Friday
         2 Vinelanders ! Great spectacle through Geelong, now these poor souls probably have a long Bus
         ride on the Calder Hwy to look forward to now!
              Cheers
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
Hi Mike
What used to be even better with the "Vinelander" that on the Thursday evening before Good Friday
2 Vinelanders ! Great spectacle through Geelong, now these poor souls probably have a long Bus
ride on the Calder Hwy to look forward to now!
Cheers
transam

They wish the bus ride was on the Calder, but unfortunately for them it is the Sunraysia Hwy that hosts the buses.   Living proof as to why 100 km/h is the speed limit on non-freeway open roads!
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Hi Mike
What used to be even better with the "Vinelander" that on the Thursday evening before Good Friday
2 Vinelanders ! Great spectacle through Geelong, now these poor souls probably have a long Bus
ride on the Calder Hwy to look forward to now!
Cheers
transam

Sadly generational change and the lack of a train for over 20 years, the progeny of the people who took the train at that time most often fly....and pay exorbitant fares accordingly.

I have seen 3 divisions arrive in Mildura of the overnight 'The Vinelander' in the 1970's...what in railway terms was known as 'Black Thursday', the busiest day of the railway calendar.

The first division was a compulsory booked seat/berth airconditioned service and usually had at least 5 sleeping cars and usually 2 BZ and 1 AZ sitters.
The second division, non-compulsory booked service used to have the original reduced cost wooden bodied air-con sleeping cars (no breakfast in bed or en-suite facilities) and a mixture of aircon and non aircon usually corridor sitters.

The third division was always non-aircon corridor cars and carried the fruit pickers, usually assigned to the special train by the CES (Commonwealth Employment Service), the forerunner to Centrelink.

I seem to remember the first two divisions of the train always having two MotoRail wagons each attached as well.

Mike.
  allambi_mk2 Locomotive Fireman

Location: South Yarra, Victoria
Sadly generational change and the lack of a train for over 20 years, the progeny of the people who took the train at that time most often fly....and pay exorbitant fares accordingly.

I have seen 3 divisions arrive in Mildura of the overnight 'The Vinelander' in the 1970's...what in railway terms was known as 'Black Thursday', the busiest day of the railway calendar.

The first division was a compulsory booked seat/berth airconditioned service and usually had at least 5 sleeping cars and usually 2 BZ and 1 AZ sitters.
The second division, non-compulsory booked service used to have the original reduced cost wooden bodied air-con sleeping cars (no breakfast in bed or en-suite facilities) and a mixture of aircon and non aircon usually corridor sitters.

The third division was always non-aircon corridor cars and carried the fruit pickers, usually assigned to the special train by the CES (Commonwealth Employment Service), the forerunner to Centrelink.

I seem to remember the first two divisions of the train always having two MotoRail wagons each attached as well.

Mike.
The Vinelander

Hi Mike.

I thought you and other Railpagers would be interested in these consists - quoted from 1976 Newsrail over the Easter long weekend on Thur 15/04/76. These are the Mildura consists ex Melbourne.

20:20 - Extra Pass
B74-T360-AX8-AX17-ALX214-51BE-16AS-Sleeper10-Sleeper8-Sleeper1-Sleeper2-Sleeper3-Sleeper5-30CE

21:20 - The Vinelander
B82-GNX1969-SAX18-BKX11910-6BZ-6AZ-2VAC-1VAM-Roomette12-Twinette13-35CE

23:00 - Extra Pass
B60-T338-BKX11877-AX9-10ABE-39BU-27BE-42BW-36BW-1BW-22AW-19BE-7AZ-Sleeper7-Sleeper9-Sleeper4-37CE

Cheers
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Them was the days !
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
They wish the bus ride was on the Calder, but unfortunately for them it is the Sunraysia Hwy that hosts the buses. Living proof as to why 100 km/h is the speed limit on non-freeway open roads!
Donald

Is the Sunraysia a particularly bad road?  It's the overnight bus direct to Melbourne that uses that road isn't it?
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Is the Sunraysia a particularly bad road? It's the overnight bus direct to Melbourne that uses that road isn't it?
don_dunstan

The Sunraysia Highway, particularly after around St Arnaud to a point somewhere north of Speed has some shocking undulations which in my MINI are fun to drive over, however in an overnight bus would be like being in a boat on the high seas.

This is caused by the ever shifting clay soils of the region which also makes per way maintenance an ongoing headache and is the prime reason why the 2010 report on Mildura rail options suggested a high speed line from Swan Hill to Piangil to Ouyen to Mildura instead of persevering with the current alignment through Birchip.

Kuldalai and others have written extensively about the clay soils issue in the past.

Mike.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Hi Mike.

I thought you and other Railpagers would be interested in these consists - quoted from 1976 Newsrail over the Easter long weekend on Thur 15/04/76. These are the Mildura consists ex Melbourne.

20:20 - Extra Pass
B74-T360-AX8-AX17-ALX214-51BE-16AS-Sleeper10-Sleeper8-Sleeper1-Sleeper2-Sleeper3-Sleeper5-30CE

21:20 - The Vinelander
B82-GNX1969-SAX18-BKX11910-6BZ-6AZ-2VAC-1VAM-Roomette12-Twinette13-35CE

23:00 - Extra Pass
B60-T338-BKX11877-AX9-10ABE-39BU-27BE-42BW-36BW-1BW-22AW-19BE-7AZ-Sleeper7-Sleeper9-Sleeper4-37CE

Cheers
allambi_mk2

Thanks for the train notice which brings back memories. It's a wonder there was room in the Mildura yard for the 30+ pax cars. I'm surprised by the number of sleeping cars, many of which were from the Train of Knowledge...perhaps there was a tour booked which utilised those sleeping cars.

Nevertheless... thanks again.

Mike.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Hi Mike.

I thought you and other Railpagers would be interested in these consists - quoted from 1976 Newsrail over the Easter long weekend on Thur 15/04/76. These are the Mildura consists ex Melbourne.

20:20 - Extra Pass
B74-T360-AX8-AX17-ALX214-51BE-16AS-Sleeper10-Sleeper8-Sleeper1-Sleeper2-Sleeper3-Sleeper5-30CE

21:20 - The Vinelander
B82-GNX1969-SAX18-BKX11910-6BZ-6AZ-2VAC-1VAM-Roomette12-Twinette13-35CE

23:00 - Extra Pass
B60-T338-BKX11877-AX9-10ABE-39BU-27BE-42BW-36BW-1BW-22AW-19BE-7AZ-Sleeper7-Sleeper9-Sleeper4-37CE

Cheers

allambi_mk2

That is magnificent. Black Thursday at its best. !!
On top of the three Milduras I assume that there would have been two Adelaides and three or four Sydneys which usually ran on Black Thursday back in the days.
It was a different culture then in providing a service, unlike today.
Note the use of Victorian, NSW, South Australian and Commonwealth car carriers.
  vinelander Junior Train Controller

Ah the Pickers' Train!
It is possible that this needs to be a new thread.
I remember the train in the mid '60s. I'm sure that there are urban myths associated to this train but let me see what I can remember from my perspective...
It started on Station Pier, Melbourne on a Friday in the second week in Feb and ran non stop to Red Cliffs, I think, then Irymple, Midura and Merbein. It's prime reason was to bring unskilled labour to Sunraysia to pick the sultana crop which was then dried.
It was free but if you wanted a free trip home you had to work for a blockie for 2 weeks. He then signed a form and you got your ticket back to Melbourne.
VR used the most dilapidated cars available on what I recall to be a 12 car train. Story is that it was hosed out once it was stabled in Mildura.
The allocation process for pickers to a fruit block owner at each town mentioned was as close as you could get to a slavery trade allocations in the Deep South of  America.
Politically incorrect now but all part of the wonderful fabric that makes up this incredible country.

Bruce McLean do you have more accurate information?

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