Flagships?

 
  vinelander Junior Train Controller

Can someone please explain what a "Flagship" service is and what makes it that? Is there only one up and down per day on each country service? I don't think I've heard of this on interstate services but I'm certainly prepared to stand corrected.
I always choose to learn something every day!!

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  doyle Junior Train Controller

I would imagine 'flagship' would be a service that arrives at its destination at the optimal time, whatever that maybe,
To me it seems quite silly, it's a service like any other. Unsure if this term is used elsewhere
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Can someone please explain what a "Flagship" service is and what makes it that? Is there only one up and down per day on each country service? I don't think I've heard of this on interstate services but I'm certainly prepared to stand corrected.
I always choose to learn something every day!!
vinelander
Merriam-Webster Dictonary definition of "FLAGSHIP" is :-

  1. The ship that carries the commander of a fleet and flies the commander's flag
  2. The finest, largest, or most important one of a series, network, or chain (In this case a passenger train)
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy

Merriam-Webster Dictonary definition of "FLAGSHIP" is :-
  1. The ship that carries the commander of a fleet and flies the commander's flag
  2. The finest, largest, or most important one of a series, network, or chain (In this case a passenger train)
"Pressman"

V Line's definition is a train that manages to run most of the time when it's supposed to, and stays within spitting distance of keeping to the timetable.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Can someone please explain what a "Flagship" service is and what makes it that? Is there only one up and down per day on each country service? I don't think I've heard of this on interstate services but I'm certainly prepared to stand corrected.
I always choose to learn something every day!!
vinelander
The term flagship service was dreamt up by some Victorian  Government wxxxxr  to describe the trains that met the near unachievable target travel times set by the Government of the day to the 4  RFR  corridors to Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and  Traralgon . That was in the early 2000's  .

Ony one service was scheduled Up in the am Peak and Down in the  PM Peak in each corridor .  They were supposed to be express but right from day one VLP started putting extra stops into and extending the schedules to appease every intermediate squeaking wheel  (weak VLP management ). The schedules were virtually un achievable and some of the timings were crazy like  0530 Up ex Bendigo, so in the best railway traditions they ran at times to suit V/Line not when they would get maximum loadings to the stations at the end of the line as expresses to / from Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Traralgon .

As such they were a gimmick for the Government Spin Doctresses to play with , but pretty useless to the long suffering punters .  The worst flagship was the Traralgon with so many stops it may as well have stopped all stations . the time keeping was pretty pathetic .  To the larger degree the flagship services have dissapeared altogether or been dumbed down by VLP so much with extra stops that they are useless as express services . Politicians playing trains .  Sounded good 45  minute trip to Geelong but there were only two a day and then they couldn t keep time.  The steam hauled Geelong Flyer did it in 52 minutes in 1937  reliably every day .
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

The concept of advertising the fastest train on the route (and scheduling the fastest train for the advertisements) had existed in the rail world for well over a century before the RFR project. The only thing potentially unique to V/Line would be that they actually used the term 'flagship service' in publications for public consumption, instead of that term being a working title for internal use with the marketing for public consumption outsourced to proper PR professionals.

Advertising a 'best time' is still useful though, because rail in Australia needs every little bit of help it can get when it is so uncompetitive against road transport over inter-urban distances. But it's best to make actual improvements, so the 'best time' train can be good enough to use for advertising while still serving enough stations to be a practical option for real people.

Related tactics can be found elsewhere using service quality (e.g. enjoy chef-cooked meals with real crockery - but only on a couple of trains a day) and service price (e.g. fly to Sydney from $29 - so long as you are among the first five to book, fly at 4:30am on a Thursday and don't bring luggage) available only some of the time while constituting the lion's share of the advertising spend.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Can someone please explain what a "Flagship" service is and what makes it that? Is there only one up and down per day on each country service? I don't think I've heard of this on interstate services but I'm certainly prepared to stand corrected.
I always choose to learn something every day!!
 The steam hauled Geelong Flyer did it in 52 minutes in 1937  reliably every day .
kuldalai
And the Flyer went from Flinders Street too, didn't it?
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

Flagship was indeed a term used to designate a service that would comply with the parameters set in the RFR contracts.

I recall the Thiess Alstom consortium rebuilding both the Geelong and Ballarat tracks to comply with the time the Government of the day set for it.  Geelong was something like 47 minutes and Ballarat was about 62 minutes to Sunshine.

There was a nervous day or two as speed trails were done at the completion of the trackwork.  Both tracks complied.  However, it seems that the contract only required that at least one train a day be able to manage that timetable.  Thus, Thiess Alstom left wooden sleepers in the track between Corio and Geelong as there was no gain in speed with their conversion to concrete.

At the time, many in the railways recognised that the state of the main interurban tracks was appalling.  It was then accepted that, whilst it was ridiculous that contracts were written with that one public publicity style objective, the end result would be far better tracks that would also require less maintenance in the future.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Can someone please explain what a "Flagship" service is and what makes it that? Is there only one up and down per day on each country service? I don't think I've heard of this on interstate services but I'm certainly prepared to stand corrected.
I always choose to learn something every day!!
 The steam hauled Geelong Flyer did it in 52 minutes in 1937  reliably every day .
And the Flyer went from Flinders Street too, didn't it?
YM-Mundrabilla
Yes the  Down Flier departed Flinders St and terminated at Geelong .  The afternoon Up Flyer actually originated at Camperdown for some years .
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Flagship was indeed a term used to designate a service that would comply with the parameters set in the RFR contracts.

I recall the Thiess Alstom consortium rebuilding both the Geelong and Ballarat tracks to comply with the time the Government of the day set for it.  Geelong was something like 47 minutes and Ballarat was about 62 minutes to Sunshine.

There was a nervous day or two as speed trails were done at the completion of the trackwork.  Both tracks complied.  However, it seems that the contract only required that at least one train a day be able to manage that timetable.  Thus, Thiess Alstom left wooden sleepers in the track between Corio and Geelong as there was no gain in speed with their conversion to concrete.

At the time, many in the railways recognised that the state of the main interurban tracks was appalling.  It was then accepted that, whilst it was ridiculous that contracts were written with that one public publicity style objective, the end result would be far better tracks that would also require less maintenance in the future.
DalyWaters
The RFR  projects were poorly specced on the part of Government, there was this blind expectation that  Private Enterprise would come up with some magical solutions to reduce travel times at marginal cost that professional engineers in house had not thought of . As a result  Class - 2 track  North Shore - Corio when it should have been Class - 1,  ditto  one track out to Kyneton and  Pakenham to Moe of which one track on each line is Class - 2 . Nothing whatsoever was done within the Metro area where largely Class - 3 track in poor condition still prevails .

The requirement was that the set journey time express had to be achievable on each corridor . It was Government that chose to limit the flagship concept to one return trip a day, and that was largely dictated by lack of peak suburban paths . And in the case of Traralgon from day one Government & VLP bowed to every squeaking wheel and put in stops everywhere including  Garfield  (for the Drovers dog to get off ). Also after about week 1  metro Train Controllers gave absolutely no pririty to the VLP Flagship services when Metro was up the creek .  So just a politicians gimmick, doomed to fail through lack of adequate infrastructure .
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Can someone please explain what a "Flagship" service is and what makes it that? Is there only one up and down per day on each country service? I don't think I've heard of this on interstate services but I'm certainly prepared to stand corrected.
I always choose to learn something every day!!
 The steam hauled Geelong Flyer did it in 52 minutes in 1937  reliably every day .
And the Flyer went from Flinders Street too, didn't it?
Yes the  Down Flier departed Flinders St and terminated at Geelong .  The afternoon Up Flyer actually originated at Camperdown for some years .
kuldalai

I think some may be pleasuring themselves somewhat and thinking the old Geelong Flyer was akin to a TGV...

1928 Geelong Flyer, taking 63 minutes departs Spencer Street:

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/1928country/45_46.html

1954 Geelong Flyer, taking 55 minutes departs Spencer Street:

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/1954/1954ttipage37.html

Thanks again to Mark Bau's VR website.

Mike.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Flagship was indeed a term used to designate a service that would comply with the parameters set in the RFR contracts.

I recall the Thiess Alstom consortium rebuilding both the Geelong and Ballarat tracks to comply with the time the Government of the day set for it.  Geelong was something like 47 minutes and Ballarat was about 62 minutes to Sunshine.
DalyWaters

Not quite correct.....Exclamation

Thanks to the related thread regards the early RFR timetables, it's interesting to note that the Ballarat line timetable, on the DOWN at least has only been extended by 2 minutes, but has had an extra two stops (Sunshine & Ballan) added.

Below is the inaugural Ballarat RFR timetable which excludes the stops at Ballan and Sunshine - Melbourne to Ballarat - 64 mins.

http://web.archive.org/web/20060820235338/http://www.vline.com.au/pdf/projects/nsp/ballarat.pdf

Today's 16:33 down Ballarat train, formerly the 'flagship' service stops at Sunshine and Ballan and completes the Melbourne to Ballarat journey in 66 mins, an excellent achievement in my opinion and often arrives a minute early into Ballan.

Moreover the most recent RFR timetable has been further improved with the addition of two more services which complete the Melbourne to Ballarat trip also in 66 mins.

Unfortunately the former UP flagship service has been slowed by 8 mins due to the additional stops at Ballan, Bacchus Marsh and Sunshine and the 65KPH points on the upside of the new Caroline Springs station which diverts all up services to the north line and not to mention the scheduled congestion on the RRL.

Of note is the original criticisms about the flagship services operating to suit V/Line and not the passengers. As the flagship service on the Ballarat line is part of the overall schedule, the numbers of passengers on that train is no less than the numbers of passengers on all the other services IE, heavily loaded.

Mike.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Can someone please explain what a "Flagship" service is and what makes it that? Is there only one up and down per day on each country service? I don't think I've heard of this on interstate services but I'm certainly prepared to stand corrected.
I always choose to learn something every day!!
 The steam hauled Geelong Flyer did it in 52 minutes in 1937  reliably every day .
And the Flyer went from Flinders Street too, didn't it?
Yes the  Down Flier departed Flinders St and terminated at Geelong .  The afternoon Up Flyer actually originated at Camperdown for some years .

I think some may be pleasuring themselves somewhat and thinking the old Geelong Flyer was akin to a TGV...

1928 Geelong Flyer, taking 63 minutes departs Spencer Street:

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/1928country/45_46.html

1954 Geelong Flyer, taking 55 minutes departs Spencer Street:

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/1954/1954ttipage37.html

Thanks again to Mark Bau's VR website.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Hi Mike

That 1954 Geelong Flyer you mentioned, was that hauled by one of the new diesel B Class that were running at the time?

Duncan
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

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

That 1954 Geelong Flyer you mentioned, was that hauled by one of the new diesel B Class that were running at the time?

Duncan
Duncs


Yes.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Hi Mike,

That 1954 Geelong Flyer you mentioned, was that hauled by one of the new diesel B Class that were running at the time?

Duncan


Yes.
The Vinelander
THANKS
  62440 Chief Commissioner

As another of the Railpage Australia™ club involved in the RFR, yes, the flagships were a contractual requirement and the required timing had to be demonstrated and modelled. However, on the Bendigo line for sure and probably on the others, the timing was to Sunshine, not SSS and a time was deemed for the run in. Every curve was analysed and the line studied in detail with every saving of a few seconds knocked off the time. There was one curve with a bridge part way along, which had a speed restriction. The line was singled so the curve could be eased, saving about 15 seconds. Other short cuts included using bidirectional signalling so only one track was upgraded to concrete and the flagships would run on the upgraded section. I did similar for Drouin.
There was a flurry of activity, similar to now with level crossings, as we were also doing what we called Regional Slow Rail at the same time, upgrading Mildura, Leongatha, Ballarat-Ararat and Bairnsdale to passenger standard. Koo Wee Rup swamp was the nail in the coffin for Leongatha.
In common with all these projects was doing the minimum necessary to achieve objectives with spot repairs instead of face reconstruction, from recent observation, something which has not changed.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

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

That 1954 Geelong Flyer you mentioned, was that hauled by one of the new diesel B Class that were running at the time?

Duncan


Yes.
THANKS
Duncs
Would I be correct in assuming that the B on this train would have worked through to Port Fairy, please?
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

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

That 1954 Geelong Flyer you mentioned, was that hauled by one of the new diesel B Class that were running at the time?

Duncan


Yes.
THANKS
Would I be correct in assuming that the B on this train would have worked through to Port Fairy, please?
YM-Mundrabilla

Difficult to know without some first hand experience.

Below is the 1954 timetable from Mark Bau's website for Geelong-Port Fairy.

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/1954/1954ttipage40.html

There was a 15 min stop at Geelong where loco's may have been changed, however as there was no refreshments on the train in those days, 15 mins would have also been to down a cup of scalding hot tea, a pie and a sticky bun.

Mike.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Hi Mike,

That 1954 Geelong Flyer you mentioned, was that hauled by one of the new diesel B Class that were running at the time?

Duncan


Yes.
THANKS
Would I be correct in assuming that the B on this train would have worked through to Port Fairy, please?

Difficult to know without some first hand experience.

Below is the 1954 timetable from Mark Bau's website for Geelong-Port Fairy.

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/1954/1954ttipage40.html

There was a 15 min stop at Geelong where loco's may have been changed, however as there was no refreshments on the train in those days, 15 mins would have also been to down a cup of scalding hot tea, a pie and a sticky bun.

Mike.
The Vinelander
The 1961 tt  showed an 0825  departure from Spencer St with 15 minutes Refresh at Geelong, 5 minutes Refresh at Colac, followed by a further 15 minutes Refresh at Camperdown, reaching Warrnambool at  1305 and finally Port Fairy at  1355 . The Up was away from Port Fairy at 1505  Warrnambool at  1550, then 15 Refresh at Camperdown, 15 Refresh at Geelong reaching Spencer St  at  2033 .  

Passengers on these slow (as the late Tom Murray's prized herd of tortoises) services were awash with coffee and railway pies by the end of their travels .  Some said it was all a plot by the then Commissioners to increase the turnover in the Refreshment Rooms beyond Geelong .

Colac Refresh was in reality the towns fourth pub and the bar turnover there was huge, as Colac only had 3 hotels servicing a population of 10,000 plus in those days.

In days of steam especially early 1950's R class steam locos were changed at Geelong, often for an A2 or even a K Class.
With the then new  B class  diesel electrics they ran right through,  70mph to Warrnambool and 60mph on the last section to  between Warrnambool and Port Fairy.  (In the last 6 months or so of  Warrnambool - Koroit - Port Fairy operation the line speed was dropped as low as 50mph in the early 1970's ).
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Passengers on these slow (as Tom Murray's prized herd of tortoises) services
"kuldalai"
Sadly, as of 24th December, it is the late Tom Murray. He had not been in good health and died on Christmas Eve.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Passengers on these slow (as Tom Murray's prized herd of tortoises) services
Sadly, as of 24th December, it is the late Tom Murray. He had not been in good health and died on Christmas Eve.
Valvegear
Yes, funeral on Monday.

Two of Tom's quotes will stay with me for ever:

'Herd of Turtles/tortoises'.  (I recall them as 'turtles' but no matter)
'They can't do it anymore..'

One of life's and the rail industry's characters. There are fewer of them every year and no new ones.Sad
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

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

That 1954 Geelong Flyer you mentioned, was that hauled by one of the new diesel B Class that were running at the time?

Duncan


Yes.
THANKS
Would I be correct in assuming that the B on this train would have worked through to Port Fairy, please?

Difficult to know without some first hand experience.

Below is the 1954 timetable from Mark Bau's website for Geelong-Port Fairy.

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/1954/1954ttipage40.html

There was a 15 min stop at Geelong where loco's may have been changed, however as there was no refreshments on the train in those days, 15 mins would have also been to down a cup of scalding hot tea, a pie and a sticky bun.

Mike.
The 1961 tt  showed an 0825  departure from Spencer St with 15 minutes Refresh at Geelong, 5 minutes Refresh at Colac, followed by a further 15 minutes Refresh at Camperdown, reaching Warrnambool at  1305 and finally Port Fairy at  1355 . The Up was away from Port Fairy at 1505  Warrnambool at  1550, then 15 Refresh at Camperdown, 15 Refresh at Geelong reaching Spencer St  at  2033 .  

Passengers on these slow (as the late Tom Murray's prized herd of tortoises) services were awash with coffee and railway pies by the end of their travels .  Some said it was all a plot by the then Commissioners to increase the turnover in the Refreshment Rooms beyond Geelong .

Colac Refresh was in reality the towns fourth pub and the bar turnover there was huge, as Colac only had 3 hotels servicing a population of 10,000 plus in those days.

In days of steam especially early 1950's R class steam locos were changed at Geelong, often for an A2 or even a K Class.
With the then new  B class  diesel electrics they ran right through,  70mph to Warrnambool and 60mph on the last section to  between Warrnambool and Port Fairy.  (In the last 6 months or so of  Warrnambool - Koroit - Port Fairy operation the line speed was dropped as low as 50mph in the early 1970's ).
kuldalai
Around 600 km day return for a single B Spencer Street - Port Fairy X R would have been good use of the loco and a major improvement over steam utilisation on the route. Not hard to imagine an engine change at Geelong (and elsewhere ??) in both directions with steam.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Hi Mike,

That 1954 Geelong Flyer you mentioned, was that hauled by one of the new diesel B Class that were running at the time?

Duncan


Yes.
THANKS
Would I be correct in assuming that the B on this train would have worked through to Port Fairy, please?

Difficult to know without some first hand experience.

Below is the 1954 timetable from Mark Bau's website for Geelong-Port Fairy.

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/1954/1954ttipage40.html

There was a 15 min stop at Geelong where loco's may have been changed, however as there was no refreshments on the train in those days, 15 mins would have also been to down a cup of scalding hot tea, a pie and a sticky bun.

Mike.
The 1961 tt  showed an 0825  departure from Spencer St with 15 minutes Refresh at Geelong, 5 minutes Refresh at Colac, followed by a further 15 minutes Refresh at Camperdown, reaching Warrnambool at  1305 and finally Port Fairy at  1355 . The Up was away from Port Fairy at 1505  Warrnambool at  1550, then 15 Refresh at Camperdown, 15 Refresh at Geelong reaching Spencer St  at  2033 .  

Passengers on these slow (as the late Tom Murray's prized herd of tortoises) services were awash with coffee and railway pies by the end of their travels .  Some said it was all a plot by the then Commissioners to increase the turnover in the Refreshment Rooms beyond Geelong .

Colac Refresh was in reality the towns fourth pub and the bar turnover there was huge, as Colac only had 3 hotels servicing a population of 10,000 plus in those days.

In days of steam especially early 1950's R class steam locos were changed at Geelong, often for an A2 or even a K Class.
With the then new  B class  diesel electrics they ran right through,  70mph to Warrnambool and 60mph on the last section to  between Warrnambool and Port Fairy.  (In the last 6 months or so of  Warrnambool - Koroit - Port Fairy operation the line speed was dropped as low as 50mph in the early 1970's ).
Around 600 km day return for a single B Spencer Street - Port Fairy X R would have been good use of the loco and a major improvement over steam utilisation on the route. Not hard to imagine an engine change at Geelong (and elsewhere ??) in both directions with steam.
YM-Mundrabilla
It was common practice at Geelong in those days on the Down to detach cars with the steam loco ex Melbourne and attach a fresh R  withinin 10 minutes. On the Up detach steam loco ex Warrnambool and attach extra cars to the train on the Up end with a fresh steam loco in 15 minutes maximum.  An this was all done whilst passengers safely occupied the train at the paltform .  None of todays  Nanny State  nonsense .
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Does the morning Up service ex Ararat and Maryborough still join at Ballarat with passengers onboard?
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
If they had to change Warnambool bound train R class at Geelong in the 1950's, how come West Coast Railway ran their Rs on scheduled Saturday services the whole distance at the turn of this century? Was it the improvements that have now, sadly, been removed like the double chimneys, etc?

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