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

 

Location: Donald
I think the problem though is separating the "I want a railway line" with "I'll use the railway line". This was the problem with Leongatha - everyone wanted it but hardly anyone was using it. I'm more than happy to sign a petition to get the train back to Mildura - just can't see myself ever using it though!

And as I said (and you pointed out with past consists of The Overland) - if the patronage on that has dwindled considerably, what proof is there that the same won't have happened with The Vinelander?
Ballast_Plough

I live in DONALD along with approx. 1600 people in the area. A lot of us really WANT and would USE passenger trains on our line as we don't live anywhere near Swan Hill or Mildura. We DONT have a plane service to catch. The day bus service from Donald is fine if you can sit in one spot for over 2 hours, and if you don't have small children to load on or are a person with a physical handicap. If you need to make a visit to the toilet well, the bus doesn't stop long enough anywhere to give you time to go. Not even Maryborough Station toilets are open. I know there is provision on the bus for such activities but really. Try getting clothes straightened with the bus rock and rolling you in a tiny space. I got heaps of bruises and I am not a large person. To catch the night bus from Mildura is a nightmare. First you have to fight your way to a seat, (after being told by the driver to find an empty seat) over sleeping bodies spread everywhere, who don't and wont move, even if they are on the seat you have been made to book. As for the cost. No one can show me where the rule is that says Public Transport has to be run at a profit. In fact I have read recently that VLine is a Not For Profit Government run organisation, I can suggest that even the buses are not run at a profit to VLine. What has happened to our Governments running a SERVICE for its people. NOT all travellers are concession holders as most correspondents seem to think. NOT everyone can drive a car to Melbourne and then fight and pay lots, to park it. This fight for the train is not just about Mildura, its for those people who live further down the line, to Ballarat!!!!! I am not winging, just stating the facts as I know them..  Also I did travel on the Vinelander regularly and remember the joy of my children in being able to do this to visit our family in Melbourne.

Sponsored advertisement

  Mr. Lane Chief Commissioner

What has actually changed since the line was closed to passengers that would warrant its return? If the patronage is not going to be significantly higher than it was when the line was closed I don't see the case for reopening it.

Better off spending the money to improve the infrastructure on lines that already run.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
I suggest you read the links I provided...
The Vinelander

Right, so that person who suggested the highway was a death trap musn't have been on it in a while...

Location: Donald
What has actually changed since the line was closed to passengers that would warrant its return? If the patronage is not going to be significantly higher than it was when the line was closed I don't see the case for reopening it.

Better off spending the money to improve the infrastructure on lines that already run.
Mr. Lane

The Line is still being used for Freight. The Line has continually been used for Freight and was never shut.
Just Passenger Trains were taken of with no warning by Jeff Kennett.  And sure we would welcome the spending of money on the infrastructure. This is not a fight that has just started, it has been going on since 2009 but is new people fighting for it now!!
  raudteejaam Junior Train Controller

I find that the Calder is in MUCH better condition than the Sunraysia, that's for sure. Could the Calder be repaired and done up? Sure it could. But it's far from the worst major highway I regularly drive on (that award goes to the South Gippsland Hwy...where the resumption of rail would certainly alleviate some of the heavy freight on that road!)
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
I'm going to go into armchair mode hear for a moment:

Run a 6 trip a week service:
DOWN 1, Monday night down departure (Melbourne) Tuesday morning down arrival (Mildura),
UP 1, Tuesday night up departure (Mildura) Wednesday morning up arrival (Melbourne),
DOWN 2, Wednesday night down departure (Melbourne) Thursday morning down arrival (Mildura),
UP 2, Thursday night up departure (Mildura) Friday morning up arrival (Melbourne),
DOWN 3, Friday night down departure (Melbourne) Saturday morning down arrival (Mildura),
UP 3, Sunday night up departure (Mildura) Monday morning up arrival (Melbourne).
Then repeat weekly.

This would provide the ability for people in Melbourne to leave Southern Cross on a Friday night, arrive on a Saturday morning to spend the weekend, then depart on a Sunday night and be back in Melbourne for work on Monday morning. My plran would have the train leave Melbourne at about 1945, run express via the straight non stop from Southern Coss to Maryborough, then stop at Dunolly, St Arnaud, Donald, Birchip, Ouyen and finally arriving at Mildura at about 0815, and of course the reverse order for the return journey A leisurly 12.5 hour journey might not be everybodies cup of tea, but there would still be plenty of takers. Not everyone wants to fly, or drive themselves.

Sure, This would mean acquiring a new sleeper set, maybe building a new set with 3 or 4 sleeper carriages, or even converting some of those old S cars being stored out the back of Newport. Plus maybe you could include a dining car (maybe run as a private/public partnership), aswell as the use of a couple of economy saloon cars (N or Z cars).

The plus side with this is that the track wouldn't need to be upgraded much past what it should be for freight anyway (class 4, top speed of 80 km/h) as the 12 hour trip wouldn't be too much of a negative with an overnight sleeper train.

The only other work that would need to be done is an upgrade to the stations that require a stop, at a guess, Dunolly, St Arnaud, Donald, Birchip, Ouyen and of course Mildura, nothing too over the top, just new signage, and a resurfacing of the platforms. As far as I am aware these stations are all still largely in tact. They wouldn't need to be staffed (with the possible exception of Mildura).

There are already sufficient locomotives to run this service, with 3 A class in storage and little need at the moment for the 4 PH vans, they could run a double headed A class with a pair of PH vans.

Recap of what's required:
1. Build or conversion and refurbishment of 4 sleeper carriages,
2. Build of a dining carriage (OPTIONAL)
3. Allocation of 4 N or Z economy carriages, (something that will be easily possible when the 40 new vlo carriages currently promised arrive)
4. Basic refurbishment of 6 stations (Dunolly, St Arnaud, Donald, Birchip, Ouyen, Mildura)
5. Allocation of staff to run train as well as Mildura station staff
6. Allocation of 3 A class locomotives and 3 PH power vans (3 of each would provide an adequate maintenance roster)
7. Funds for regular maintenence of said train.

The reality is that while this wouldn't cost all that much to implement, and is not beyond the reach of V/Line, I fear the current Napthine Government is showing a complete lack of interest in country rail beyond the Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour, Traralgon boundary, so I feel that it wouldn't matter how feasible any plan was.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
... The reality is that while this wouldn't cost all that much to implement, and is not beyond the reach of V/Line, I fear the current Napthine Government is showing a complete lack of interest in country rail beyond the Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour, Traralgon boundary, so I feel that it wouldn't matter how feasible any plan was.
Gman_86

Interesting post and I was giving you some credit for interesting thinking... until you last paragraph which gave your motive away as partisan political point scoring. Sad BTW, the mob that are currently the state government have several rural railway initiatives to their credit including Talbot station which is beyond the boundaries you defined.

I'm not overly fussed who people vote for, but when someone's prime motive is politics rather than thinking out policy, then their objectivity has to be questioned. Sad
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Interesting post and I was giving you some credit for interesting thinking... until you last paragraph which gave your motive away as partisan political point scoring. Sad BTW, the mob that are currently the state government have several rural railway initiatives to their credit including Talbot station which is beyond the boundaries you defined.

I'm not overly fussed who people vote for, but when someone's prime motive is politics rather than thinking out policy, then their objectivity has to be questioned. Sad
Bogong

Governments of both political leanings have been deficient in their respect offered to the people of the north west on the subject of improving PT services to Mildura. The Bracks government had to deal with PN which became WAY too expensive after the preliminary negotiations failed. However they did implement the game changing RFR (Regional Fast Rail)

The Brumby government at least held the comprehensive Mildura line review however the cheapest option for returning pax trains wasn't that cheap and the Brumby government lost office before any worthwhile momentum was started. However we (I) will be eternally pleased the Brumby government implemented the now almost completed RRL (Regional Rail Link)

The Baillieu/Napthine government has been concerned about keeping the books in the black after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) remember that Question
So the current governments claim of improving PT extends to Talbot station, a few new(cheapest available) sparks, 43 new VLocity cars (soon to be rolled out), a few level crossings eliminated, and a slowing of METRO & V/Line timetables to artificially make the trains run on time.

Governments always want the biggest bang for the smallest $$ regards PT, hence the cheap sparks even though arterial roads cost lots more and move WAY less people than PT, particularly in peak hours in Melbourne and environs.

I like the thought put into Gman_86's efforts even though some aspects are a bit 'out there'

Mike.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Meanwhile, thanks to the blokes up near Bronzewing...

http://www.sunraysiadaily.com.au/story/2066147/rail-line-back-in-business/?cs=1511
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Interesting post and I was giving you some credit for interesting thinking... until you last paragraph which gave your motive away as partisan political point scoring. Sad BTW, the mob that are currently the state government have several rural railway initiatives to their credit including Talbot station which is beyond the boundaries you defined.

I'm not overly fussed who people vote for, but when someone's prime motive is politics rather than thinking out policy, then their objectivity has to be questioned. Sad
Bogong


Please don't confuse those comments with those of partisan political point scoring, as it was intended more as a comment on the current mob that are in office. My opinion of their Labor predecessors is just as negative. Don't forget they are the party that promised to return passenger trains to Mildura, and they never delivered, furthermore their waste of resources probably sealed the deal by insuring the next couple of governments after their own would have no spare coin to implement any NEW services to the far north of the state.

Perhaps I was a bit harsh, and I do agree they have re-opened Talbot station (like it or not, personally I am in favour of any new rail infrastrucure), and they are increasing capacity on the Warrnambool line (something else I had forgotten about last night) with the new passing loop.

As I said it was more a comment of the current government, as they are the ones in the position to do something now.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
A lot of us really WANT and would USE passenger trains on our line as we don't live anywhere near Swan Hill or Mildura.
Aussietrish1

How many?  2 per day?

Try getting clothes straightened with the bus rock and rolling you in a tiny space.
Aussietrish1

Most seem to manage on planes.

As for the cost. No one can show me where the rule is that says Public Transport has to be run at a profit.
Aussietrish1

Where's the rule saying it should run at obscene defecit?

Putting money into an empty Sunraysia train is wasting money that could be spent on several packed trains in the city.
  Flygon Train Controller

Location: Australia
Most seem to manage on planes.
ZH836301

Planes don't tend to be rocky or hit potholes. And don't get me started on some of the gearboxes... and then there's the steering, too.

Room size isn't the only issue here. I've been on aircraft, and I've been on long distance coach even more. Trust me, aircraft have it good.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Planes don't tend to be rocky or hit potholes. And don't get me started on some of the gearboxes... and then there's the steering, too.

Room size isn't the only issue here. I've been on aircraft, and I've been on long distance coach even more. Trust me, aircraft have it good.
Flygon

Don't be riled by ZH who is trying to compare apples with oranges.

Mike.
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
if mildura was to receive its train service back once again the best service would still be to provide a plush locomotive hauled passenger service like many others across the world and over the same distances. i believe times have changed and the idea of basic rail services are not longer an option for longer distances.

new rollingstock and locomotives would be the best option with bar and dinning car facilities on the service.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
if mildura was to receive its train service back once again the best service would still be to provide a plush locomotive hauled passenger service like many others across the world and over the same distances. i believe times have changed and the idea of basic rail services are not longer an option for longer distances.

new rollingstock and locomotives would be the best option with bar and dinning car facilities on the service.
JimYarin

And $500 fares per person one way to match - like many others across the world...
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Does the fare really need to be $500? There are many train services who sell discount fares. Why does mildura need to completely recover costs or are you saying this amount includes the rail operators profit?
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Does the fare really need to be $500? There are many train services who sell discount fares. Why does mildura need to completely recover costs or are you saying this amount includes the rail operators profit?
freightgate

A "plush locomotive hauled passenger service" ... "with bar and dinning car facilities" sounds exactly like the sort of service that should be expected to completely recover its costs.  That doesn't sound like a "CSO" style service, it sounds like a boat cruise on steel wheels.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
If you are going to compete with the airlines and road transport from such a long distance location, you don't need or want a "plush" service - you need a fast and efficient one. That means track rated at 160 kmh for its entire length, without level crossings, and fast but comfortable trains which could achieve that speed. Anything less and you will not attract passengers, regardless of fare pricing - the days of leisurely overnight rail travel to/from Mildura are gone, unfortunately.

Chances of any of that happening? Zilch, because the massive expenditure could never be justified, and because there are worthier applications for the limited funds available for rail infrastructure.

A "Palace on Wheels" type of train would not work either.  Unlike the Ghan or the Indian Pacific, the route is not long enough to be an attraction in its own right, and such a train would be of dubious attraction to most tourists, especially at the prices it would need to charge.  Better to get to Mildura, which is a tourist attraction, by plane or in your own car, or even using the existing train/bus service via Swan Hill - which actually isn't all that bad ..
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia


27/10/1903 First Train to Mildura Photo obtained from (Picture Victoria)
  billybaxter Deputy Commissioner

Location: Bosnia Park, Fairfield
Seems that there are just under 30 services to and from Mildura each week at the moment. A resinstituted rail service would provide three, maybe six per week. Are people prepared to accept a five or ten fold reduction in the number of services or will they expect the train to provided in addition? I'm betting they'll expect the latter. They'll argue that it's their right to have a service to Swan Hill and Bendigo so that bus service should stay and just the overnight bus service be scrapped. The Donald and the Ouyen buses would certainly get the chop too. I'd even wager that given the choice between the current bus/train via Swan Hill and a 12 hour train trip, loading on the bus might still exceed the train.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
According to the timetable, the train/bus trip via Swan Hill takes about 7.5 hours and can be done largely in the daytime.  That has to be better than 12 hours overnight.

If the tracks and rolling stock were in A1 condition, a direct train could do it in about 5 hours - but that's wishful thinking and will never happen.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
The day bus service from Donald is fine if you can sit in one spot for over 2 hours, and if you don't have small children to load on or are a person with a physical handicap. If you need to make a visit to the toilet well, the bus doesn't stop long enough anywhere to give you time to go.
Aussietrish1

Aren't there toilets on the bus?
Not even Maryborough Station toilets are open.
Aussietrish1

That most likely because of a lack of staff.
No one can show me where the rule is that says Public Transport has to be run at a profit.
Aussietrish1

Where's the rule saying it should run at obscene defecit?
Putting money into an empty Sunraysia train is wasting money that could be spent on several packed trains in the city.
ZH836301

Public transport is already run at an obscene deficit (I seem to remember the overall subsidy being 75%). The money that would otherwise be spent on reinstating this service would be better spent on improving services across the state, especially non-V/Line buses, so that public transport can make truckloads more money by increasing patronage.
What has happened to our Governments running a SERVICE for its people.
Aussietrish1

Unfortunately you are right with this - it seems to be the case across the state, but we need to get the priorities right and a train to Mildura is not one of them.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
What has happened to our Governments running a SERVICE for its people.
Aussietrish1

The government do run a service, it's called a bus. We must get over the "I" need trains EVERYWHERE.
  Casper1975 Station Master

Location: Ouyen, Victoria
"Over 500 letters and submissions"

So, over 500 people have submitted some sort of a demand to bring this train back? What's the population of Mildura? I not a politician, but I'm fairly certain 500 submissions is a laughable effort, unless those 500 people were to catch the train every day of the week...
Highrise

Just because there was only 500 submissions doesn't mean that there is little Interest you will find that that most people In Mildura & those who live along the line support the re-introduction of passenger rail.
  Casper1975 Station Master

Location: Ouyen, Victoria
If I ever need to go to Mildura; I'll fly...

Those figures you boast are actually horrible and good reason to not reintroduce a costly and most certainly little used and lengthy train.
VBAndy

Times have changed & Mildura has grown North Western Victoria has inadequate public transport & It might be easy for people living In Mildura to get a flight down to Melbourne but spare a though for those living down the line In towns like Ouyen, Woomelang & Birchip, There are no real options for them & over the 20 years there has been continuing demand to get back a service which was wrongfully taken away from the community & this is a issue which will never go away.  Now before you all start talking about profits well guess what public transport is not meant to make a profit because it's operated by the government so really when you pay for tickets it's to keep the service operating.

Sponsored advertisement

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.