[TR] My First First - SYD-MTL

 
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
All we need is a method of paying for decent infrastructure when there are only 23 million people to do the paying.
Would you be happy with an infrastructure tax.

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  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Absolutely, POSITIVELY, not! Having travelled several time XPT 1st class (worth the money just to avoid "feral class", besides any so-called comfort benefits), I've just returned from France/UK having travelled TGV/Eurstar (3 x journeys in France TGV including "long" trip Lille to Avignon, and Eurostar return journey Paris - London) I can safely say with experience XPT 1st class pales into into insignificance with even the basic standard (none of this "premium" comparison needed) 2nd class accommodation, especially on TGV (Eurostar was a bit disappointing, but still .....). Just the little things, like at the end of every carriage there's a seating booth to make your mobile phone calls, almost airline-type reclining seats, fully adjustable tables for each seat, power connections for computers, tablets, phones. etc.

The electrification of the network makes it unfair to make any comparison with regard smoothness, speed, noise (lack of), timeliness, etc.

Cost-wise, just like booking a plane fare. Online, booking in advance (February), there was a range of fares Paris  London E40 - E160 odd (chose E40 each way using the trains with the cheapest fare). On the morning of departure, the fare was E178 (single). Admittedly, France/UK/Europe has the larger the population to use these services, but on most lines there were more - or as many - high-speed services (TGV, Thalys, etc) on any given route than on a single suburban line on the Sydney network. Booking online also includes choosing your own seat - facing (2x2), frontwards, backwards, aisle, window).

The cafe/bar/lounge (on the upper deck of train) .....



Interesting to be told so many regional airports closed as various high-speed rail services were introduced. Maybe that would solve Sydney (domestic) airport's over-crowding problem.

Now, all we need is some decent infrastructure .....
steam3801
As you said France/UK/Europe have a much larger and more dense population, so how can you then justify indicating this is what we should have or even compare to.

I think everyone would agree the Rail infrastructure along the east coast of Australia is not up to the task to move freight efficently.
I think most would agree it also lacks what is required to move the regional to city and regional to regional pax efficently.

However this is an enormas gap between fixing what is required for above freight and regional pax needs and building HSR.

My view what the south line needs
- Dual track to Wagga
- Realignment to keep the freighters on 80km/hr or above, pax non-tilting get a 25% speed bonus
- Passing lanes further south until the dual track in Vic and south of Seymour
- Track quality that supports Pax services sustaining 160-200km/hr on straights
- Extensive higher speed cross overs for 80km/hr or above to enable easy passing.

This should get freights down run time down to enable overnight delivery and pax services, even using XPT down to about 8hr.

Regards
Shane
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I think everyone would agree the Rail infrastructure along the east coast of Australia is not up to the task to move freight efficently.
I think most would agree it also lacks what is required to move the regional to city and regional to regional pax efficently.

However this is an enormas gap between fixing what is required for above freight and regional pax needs and building HSR.

My view what the south line needs
- Dual track to Wagga
- Realignment to keep the freighters on 80km/hr or above, pax non-tilting get a 25% speed bonus
- Passing lanes further south until the dual track in Vic and south of Seymour
- Track quality that supports Pax services sustaining 160-200km/hr on straights
- Extensive higher speed cross overs for 80km/hr or above to enable easy passing.

This should get freights down run time down to enable overnight delivery and pax services, even using XPT down to about 8hr.

Regards
Shane
RTT_Rules

I don't entirely disagree but I think the priority should be lowering grades.

6 or 7 mostly modest deviations on the DOWN should get the ruling grade on the main south from 1:40 to 1:60/1:66, and another 4 (including 2 on the UP) would get it to 1:80.  It's 20-30-km of new track that *should* enable greatly increased tonnage and/or reduced freight rates => more revenue for ARTC and perhaps even funds to look at genuine alignment easing.  In some cases, but not all, this would result is shorter/straighter alignments, at least in the DOWN direction.

On the NCL there are really only 2 1:40 grades: the Cowan Bank and Fassifern (and that's only 1km with a flat approach).    Red Hill @ Coffs is 1:70, Border Loop is 1:75.  There is a new 2-3km 1:50 grade at Lawrence Rd (between Grafton and Casino) that from the looks of things was relatively recently installed I presume as part of a curve easing program.  The Fassifern Bank has already been deviated in the UP direction (adding 5min to everyone's run time) and the logical deviation here is a restoration of the original alignment but with a deeper cut at 1:80.  

None of this will do much harm but not much good for CL type services.

What would help a tiny bit - and something I think is a worthwhile project - is restoration of the Hilltop loop line for PAX services as part of sparking to Mittagong.

The big problem with an 8hrs Syd-Mlb run is conflicts with other services.  That's a lot of potential freight tonnage capacity being sacrificed to shave a few hours off a still large air/ground speed differential.  Getting the Syd-Mlb runtime down to lt or eq 11 hours for PAX and ~12 hours for freighters means CL could reliably operate Syd-Melb with just two dedicated sets, rather than the rotation they have to use now.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
That has got to be the best story of traveling on a train I have ever heard. Makes me want to go on the XPT right now... Smile
"Speedbird1"
Again, thank you very much. I suppose I should take it as a compliment that my trip report has you actually wanting to ride the XPT? I jest, of course!

Of course there could be slight improvements to the train, but it still sounds pretty good for 90's engineering compared to some of the OSCARs and other Cityrail stock.
"Speedbird1"
Oh, of course. It compared very, very favourably with the CityRail InterCity trip back on a V set - hard product alone, never mind the fact that there was an assault aboard (feral vs. bogan) between Woy Woy and Hornsby...

But while our long-haul rail services compare unfavourably with those overseas - particularly the attention-grabbing high-speed railways - my focus here is more about the cabin product. Which is still rubbish, but it's a different area of focus compared to my other XPT thread, where we've been whinging about the state of the track for over a year.

The seats are indeed airline-style, just like Eurostar and TGV and so on; but just as I noted in the main report, the XPT hard product is stuck in the early nineties, and that's pretty much where the entire seated hard product issue stems from.

That having been said, if it was possible for a conventional train to get to Melbourne in eight to nine hours, it'd be much more appealing. But that's not the focus of this report, mainly because I was only going to Maitland.

EDIT: djf01, I've responded to your response to RTT_Rules in the
other XPT thread
.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
The seats are indeed airline-style, just like Eurostar and TGV and so on; but just as I noted in the main report, the XPT hard product is stuck in the early nineties, and that's pretty much where the entire seated hard product issue stems from.
Watson374
I think that's a bit harsh - airlines had far better seating product in the early nineties.  It's taken some quite specific skill on the part of the designer of CountryLinks' seats to them recline in a way that minimises comfort.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
I think that's a bit harsh - airlines had far better seating product in the early nineties.  It's taken some quite specific skill on the part of the designer of CountryLinks' seats to them recline in a way that minimises comfort.
"donttellmywife"
Apologies - you're quite right!

Now that you mention it, I dare suggest that CountryLink makes me salivate at the thought of Singapore Airlines' old Ultimo recliner... Mr. Green (though at that age and size, it mattered little - but Haagen Dazs in the lounge hit the spot.)
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
Done the trip from Grafton to Hornsby departing Grafton at 2100 and arriving at Hornsby at 0700.

What a nightmare!
bullring
I did Sawtell to Strathfield on the same service, slept the entire way.

Mind you, I finished my commitments in Sawtell at around 1300, spent most of the afternoon in the Sawtell RSL, then caught a cab to Coffs Harbour and spent the remaining time in a pub. No longer I slept the entire way (also slept most of the way from Strathfield to Katoomba).

Sawtell to Strathfield was in economy too!

Dave
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
As you said France/UK/Europe have a much larger and more dense population, so how can you then justify indicating this is what we should have or even compare to.

I think everyone would agree the Rail infrastructure along the east coast of Australia is not up to the task to move freight efficently.
I think most would agree it also lacks what is required to move the regional to city and regional to regional pax efficently.

However this is an enormas gap between fixing what is required for above freight and regional pax needs and building HSR.

My view what the south line needs
- Dual track to Wagga
- Realignment to keep the freighters on 80km/hr or above, pax non-tilting get a 25% speed bonus
- Passing lanes further south until the dual track in Vic and south of Seymour
- Track quality that supports Pax services sustaining 160-200km/hr on straights
- Extensive higher speed cross overs for 80km/hr or above to enable easy passing.

This should get freights down run time down to enable overnight delivery and pax services, even using XPT down to about 8hr.

Regards
Shane
RTT_Rules
Comparing apples with oranges.

Sydney to Melbourne is the third most heavily trafficked air corridor in the world, and Sydney Airport is rapidly approaching capacity (if it isn't already there - there is heaps of additional capacity available, but it would be political suicide to use it).

By comparing it with Europe/UK, which has heaps of additional patronage options by way of lineside communities, you are ignoring the fact that 3.5 hours SYD-MEL would almost eliminate O&D (Origin/Destination, i.e. those travelling purely SYD-MEL, as opposed to those connecting to/from somewhere else at one end or the other, or both) traffic.

Under current operating conditions, Sydney needs a new airport, Political imperatives will ensure that current restrictions on operations at SYD will not be removed, and the only way to increase capacity is with a new airport, which will cost BILLIONS of dollars to construct.

Why not spend the BILLIONS of dollars required on a new high speed line instead, removing a huge amount of the demand from SYD, and thereby eliminating the need for a second Sydney airport?

Just look at London-Paris/Brussels, whereby almost all of the O
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Why not spend the BILLIONS of dollars required on a new high speed line instead, removing a huge amount of the demand from SYD, and thereby eliminating the need for a second Sydney airport?
thadocta
Because billions "saved" on an a second airport won't cover the tens of billions required for a HSR line, and "eliminating the need for a second Sydney airport" is a false premise.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Because billions "saved" on an a second airport won't cover the tens of billions required for a HSR line, and "eliminating the need for a second Sydney airport" is a false premise.
"donttellmywife"
This.
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
This.
Watson374
Come on Watson, as someone who has an interest in aviation you should know better, please try and back it up with your own arguments.

Look at what has happened between London and Paris/Brussels, rail has captured the overwhelming majority of the travel market to the extent that hardly anybody flies between these cities, mainly O/D traffic, or those who can afford to fly out of LCY and who value the convenience of an airport in the Docklands.

For everybody else who wants to travel *purely* London to Paris or London to Brussels, they use the train, as the overall travel time is around the same, without the hassle of flying, and has markedly greater reliability.

Translating that to SYD-CBR-MEL, if you take out QF's half-hourly services SYD-MEL, VA's hourly services (more frequent during the peaks), plus SYD-CBR, as well as other flights to places like Wagga Wagga and Albury, along with the return movements, you are taking out a large chunk of YSSY's movements. If you also take out SYD-BNE and SYD-OOL, as well as everything on the north coast (Taree, Port Macquarie, Grafton, Ballina, etc), then you are taking out another large chunk of movements.

Aviation experts (REAL experts, not "armchair experts" like me) have repeatedly stated that a VFT from the Sunshince Coast, through Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Newcastle to Sydney, and onwards to Canberra and Melbourne, would remove so much of the traffic from YSSY that there would never be a need for a second airport for the Sydney basin.

YSSY would be left basically with an occasional flights SYD-MEL/CBR/BNE (but if built properly, with VFT stations at the airport, as Frankfurt and Charles de Gaulle (Paris) have done, you could also eliminate the need for these domestic flights) and some regional NSW destinations. The rest - NSW regional destinations NOT served by the VFT - and other Australian cities - ADL, PER, HBA, LST, TSV, CNS, ASP, DRW, BME (can't think of many others) and international flights, would not even come close to using the capacity of YSSY, let alone still requiring a second airport for the Sydney basin. And this is coming from REAL aviation experts.

So, as I said Watson, how about making some arguments of your own, instead of quoting someone else's and merely adding the word "This".

Dave
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Cost of building Badgerys Creek Airport $7 - $11 billion.
Cost of HSR $114 billion.
Which would you pick.
Explain why spending $114 billion to fix a $11 billion dollar problem makes any sense.
And that assumes that the money exists, which it doesnt.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Building a 100 billion dollar high speed rail network seems a rather expensive way of getting an improvement in CountryLink's hard product, but as history often shows the combination of "it is in NSW" and "it involves rail" often requires extreme measures.  But, like this thread, I digress.  I apologise to the OP for continuing the topic derailment.

First - the cost side of things - to have an appreciable impact on available slots you need to get a HSR line all the way through to Melbourne - so you are looking at about $50 billion in today's money - see the recent HSR reports for support.  That should buy you maybe four or five international standard, fully featured, equivalent-to-or-better-than-the-current, new Sydney airports, including some allowance for transport links.  For the foreseeable future we only need at most one, and in the medium term (next couple of decades) it doesn't necessarily have to be all that whizz-bang - $5 billion would probably cover it nicely.  You can also build it within ten years, comfortably.  Beyond that we can talk about who ultimately pays for this airport, versus who ultimately pays for a HSR line.

Then, in terms of HSR "saving" you from building the second airport, some quotes from some recent reports:

The current consideration of a future east coast High Speed Rail (HSR) system linking Sydney to other major cities does not remove the need to provide additional aviation capacity. HSR and expanding aviation services are not mutually exclusive and HSR will not address many of the key drivers for aviation growth at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport. The extent to which HSR would reduce the demand for air travel to Sydney will depend on the relative effectiveness (in terms of price, frequency and travel times) of the HSR services offered and the timing of its construction.

The cost to governments of the construction and operation of the HSR system would be high relative to the cost of providing additional capacity expansion of the aviation system. HSR will not provide the services to fully address the growth of international and domestic peak business traffic and the limits on aviation capacity. Meanwhile, the associated economic costs to NSW and Australia of limited aviation capacity are rising quickly.
Joint Study on Aviation Capacity in the Sydney Region

(The above is from the executive summary - you can read pages 114 to 116 for their rationale, which to be honest is a bit weak.)


Even with the introduction of HSR, with no additional aviation capacity constructed, Sydney Airport is likely to be operating at capacity...
High Speed Rail Study - Phase Two Report
Constructing HSR will defer the requirement for a second airport, but at some stage you are still going to hit a capacity limit, for any reasonable forecast of future aviation demand.  This is the case even if you get a large scale shift in mode across to HSR - which, if you build it, is very much likely to be the case.  The problem with deferral is one of timeframe - the capacity limit, and the negative consequences from that on things like tourism and the attractiveness of Sydney as a place to site your business, is very much likely to be hit very hard before you reasonably could have constructed and commissioned a Sydney to Melbourne (let alone Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane) HSR system.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Challenge accepted, thadocta. I'll deliver my soapbox tonight after work.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Constructing HSR will defer the requirement for a second airport, but at some stage you are still going to hit a capacity limit, for any reasonable forecast of future aviation demand.  This is the case even if you get a large scale shift in mode across to HSR - which, if you build it, is very much likely to be the case.  The problem with deferral is one of timeframe - the capacity limit, and the negative consequences from that on things like tourism and the attractiveness of Sydney as a place to site your business, is very much likely to be hit very hard before you reasonably could have constructed and commissioned a Sydney to Melbourne (let alone Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane) HSR system.
donttellmywife

Not that I'm an advocate of HSR (yet), HSR would mean Sydney's airport could be built up to 300km away from Sydney and still be more accessible that Badgeries Creek for most people in Sydney.

With all due respect to the broad gaugers, I just don't think Syd-Mlb will ever be a viable HSR route - at least not this century.  Perhaps with a superconducting 600kph maglev system.

To go even more off topic I think Australia's HSR System should be:

Jervis Bay - Shoalhaven - South Coast - Illawarra - Sydney Airport - Sydney City - North Sydney - Central Coast - Lake Macquarie - Newcastle City - Port Stephens (read Williamstown Airport) - Manning - Maclay - Port Macquaire - Coffs Harbour - Clarence - Ballina - Tweed - Gold Coast - Brisbane City - Glasshouse (Caboolture Nth) - Sunshine Coast - ??? - Hervey Bay.

That's where our population growth is going to be (there will be 30mil+ living there by 2060), plus it will be dispersed *and* along a linear corridor.

3+3 double deck seating with dedicated 3.6m wide loading gauge, 400m long bifurcated platforms and up to 4000 seat per train, 60kpax/hr peak capacity.  500mil trips a year churning out at least $10bil a year (in today's dollars) revenue.  

Sydney would still have it's single "premium" airport, but overflow (read majority) "budget" airports with Air New Zealous Virgins flying in and out of Shoalhaven+Balina and triple decker A390s running hourly shuttles from Gympie International to Guangshou.

Now, I dare anyone to take this even further off topic!
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Come on Watson, as someone who has an interest in aviation you should know better, please try and back it up with your own arguments.
"thadocta"
Now that I've knocked off, had ribs for dinner, gelato for dessert and a nice STA bus ride home, here we go!

Look at what has happened between London and Paris/Brussels, rail has captured the overwhelming majority of the travel market to the extent that hardly anybody flies between these cities, mainly O/D traffic, or those who can afford to fly out of LCY and who value the convenience of an airport in the Docklands.

For everybody else who wants to travel *purely* London to Paris or London to Brussels, they use the train, as the overall travel time is around the same, without the hassle of flying, and has markedly greater reliability.
"thadocta"


The biggest issue, already raised, is that the high-speed railway option has a projected cost running past the hundred-billion dollar mark. The "alternative", which is a Badgerys Creek airport, has a projected cost barely in the tens of millions. From the financial point of view, the airport is a lot more attractive. On top of this, the much smaller cost can be borne by the private-sector investors in such an airport, and there is a good prospect this cost will be recovered through exorbitant parking and duty-free. Meanwhile, the government's expenditure on high-speed rail is not believed to ever be seen again.

Then there is the issue of effectiveness. The high-speed railway is supposed to take three hours SYD-MEL. My favourite retort here is to ask, in an appropriately incredulous tone of voice, "So we're spending a hundred billion to get to Melbourne no faster than we do now?" Before you crucify me, I realise this is an oversimplification - it reflects that I live in the inner suburbs and that I'm a big fan of a compact carry-on.

But beyond that, I believe it emphasises that it's not really doing all that much for the customer besides moving them from a metal tube zooming along at thirty thousand feet to a metal tube zooming along at ground level. Sure, it's nicer, but is it really doing so much for to justify spending a hundred billion dollars that will never be seen again?

Translating that to SYD-CBR-MEL, if you take out QF's half-hourly services SYD-MEL, VA's hourly services (more frequent during the peaks), plus SYD-CBR, as well as other flights to places like Wagga Wagga and Albury, along with the return movements, you are taking out a large chunk of YSSY's movements. If you also take out SYD-BNE and SYD-OOL, as well as everything on the north coast (Taree, Port Macquarie, Grafton, Ballina, etc), then you are taking out another large chunk of movements.
"thadocta"
The problem is that this defers the need for a second airport. At least according to the projections I've read, it doesn't replace it. Ultimately, we'll still need to build it anyway.

On top of this, airport capacity can be used in any way that is deemed appropriate. Sure, HSR might reduce the need for slots to destinations like Coffs Harbour, but you can't reshuffle your HSR timetable to create international slots.

Aviation experts (REAL experts, not "armchair experts" like me) have repeatedly stated that a VFT from the Sunshince Coast, through Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Newcastle to Sydney, and onwards to Canberra and Melbourne, would remove so much of the traffic from YSSY that there would never be a need for a second airport for the Sydney basin.

YSSY would be left basically with an occasional flights SYD-MEL/CBR/BNE (but if built properly, with VFT stations at the airport, as Frankfurt and Charles de Gaulle (Paris) have done, you could also eliminate the need for these domestic flights) and some regional NSW destinations. The rest - NSW regional destinations NOT served by the VFT - and other Australian cities - ADL, PER, HBA, LST, TSV, CNS, ASP, DRW, BME (can't think of many others) and international flights, would not even come close to using the capacity of YSSY, let alone still requiring a second airport for the Sydney basin. And this is coming from REAL aviation experts.
"thadocta"
I'm going to have to ask for a citation here, because I really don't buy this. For starters, I've repeatedly read statements that claim that these flights will never be fully eradicated.

The problem is this. Infrastructure costs aside, the service simply costs far too much to provide. This means that if we are to align HSR fares to be competitive with airfares, we are almost certainly stuffed; never mind that the airlines can simply invoke a fare war with the HSR and undercut them like they're undercutting each other (i.e. like there's no tomorrow). This would wreck the HSR's commercial prospects and only cement its position as a perpetual black hole.

From the commercial point of view, it's a no-go. The alternative, the second airport, provides more flexibility and growth, is much, much cheaper and can be completely handled by the private sector who can recover its costs and operate it profitably. I don't buy social reasons either, since HSR obviously doesn't work if it's aligned to serve every little Sth Whoop Whoop.

I like the idea, but I don't buy it here.

Now, I dare anyone to take this even further off topic!
"djf01"
I like pie.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
HSR - we're off (yet again Rolling Eyes )

Does anyone really believe with all the other cost pressures governments are under that a HSR is going to be funded. Crikey they struggle over a few billion $ for 'core' areas.

HSR could be a Railpage initiative. $1 per word in every HSR post - should get billions in no time Idea
  Speedbird1 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Wyee
I like pie
Watson347
Me too Smile
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Me too Smile
"Speedbird1"
On the pie note, going back to my trip...

...I asked for a meat pie and got a basic gravy pie with no questions asked. Do CountryLink no longer stock other flavours such as curry, or am I just a bit dim for not asking?
  tezza Chief Commissioner

I dont think Countrylink would be stocking curry pies on a train where you cant open the windows
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
I dont think Countrylink would be stocking curry pies on a train where you cant open the windows
"tezza"
LOL

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