- What upgrades are feasible?
The N sets in use on the sg have been upgraded and re-furbished. This includes air conditioning with a greater cooling capacity . The remaining 41 cars on bg could be similarly upgraded.
- Can they currently run at 130kph? Or do they need new bogies to do this?
The sg sets had altered springing and dampers fitted so as to permit operation on the Albury sg line as loco hauled at 130kmh.
The on going disgraceful condition of the North East sg lines has to date prevented 130kmh loco hauled operation from being introduced . No new bogies are not required, just modifications to achieve 130 kmh on the Vickers Ruwolt bogies.
- Is it really worth trying to keep the very old Z sets going? Or should we just let them be replaced with newer rolling stock?
Well they are not Z sets, rather Z cars that have been upgraded interior wise to N car standards, then re-classified as BZN or BTN . These two car classes provide both the disabled wheelchair spaces, and a wheelchair accesible toilet in each N car consist (as required by law). . As such under normal circumstances one BZN or BTN car is usually included in each bg N set as either a fourth or fifth car .
It is a damning endightment on VLP that the saga of new bogie frames for the Z cars has dragged on so long . Why it is taking so long to get these new frames from wherever is just ridiculous after 3 years plus.
The N/Z cars are 30 - 60 years old and as such we should probably be looking for a more modern early replacement for the Inter City services to Warrnambool, Swan Hill, Albury and Bairnsdale . When the N cars were built they were intended as Inter Urban cars, and were based on the 1950,s Z car design but fitted with underfloor diesel alternators . For new stock we should probably look at either 5 car Inter City V/Locity type consists or 5 car push/pull Inter City consists like the NSW XPT sets . 13 x 5 car sets would cover both gauges with spares . (Shepparton would be best upgraded to Class 2 track and operated with V/Locity sets achieving a 2 hour travel time with 130kmh operation.)