Spirit of Queensland

 
  Mufreight Train Controller

Location: North Ipswich
Today say the launch of the new Spirit of Queensland service which replaces the Cairns Tilt train service.
The first train set is a refurbished and updated diesel tilt set, the next set will be a completely new train and when it enters service the second existing set will be refurbished and upgraded giving three diesel tilt train sets in service and will see the end of the existing loco hauled Sunlander service.

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  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
Today say the launch of the new Spirit of Queensland service which replaces the Cairns Tilt train service.
The first train set is a refurbished and updated diesel tilt set, the next set will be a completely new train and when it enters service the second existing set will be refurbished and upgraded giving three diesel tilt train sets in service and will see the end of the existing loco hauled Sunlander service.
Mufreight
RIP the Sunlander in 2014 and with it civilised rail travel between Brisbane & Cairns... Crying or Very sad
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
RIP the Sunlander in 2014 and with it civilised rail travel between Brisbane & Cairns... Crying or Very sad
The Vinelander
You still have the weekly Qldlander.

For me, better seats, a bed in every set and something to watch on the seat in front apart from 50 years of grime to keep the kiddies entertained (and me especially once the sun goes down) is welcome to the 21st century and civilisation.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
You still have the weekly Qldlander.
RTT_Rules
I'm not sure where you are getting that from? It's not my understanding, however I could be wrong...
  qr3900 Chief Commissioner

Location: Gold Coast, QLD
I've said it numerous times: Although this new train is state of the art and has all the mod cons (wifi, built in entertainment systems in each seat, etc), but to me, it's just a glorified aeroplane on rails! The soon to be retired loco hauled service has a more nostalgic and romantic feel to it? I'm not sure if those are the correct words but it's what I think it is. it has character. Sure it may be slow and out of date but it's what train travel is/was/should be. Having a sleeper cabin, meals in the dining car, listening to the rhythic "clackety-clack, clackety-clack, clackety-clack" as it bounces/trundles along the rails.....

Another downside to the new train IMO is the fares for QLD pensioner concessions. Premium economy will cost $50 with 2 vouchers each way, and railbed will cost about $170 with 2 vouchers and meals included each way between Brisbane & Townsville and $200 with 2 vouchers and meals included between Brisbane and Cairns. The current Sunlander fares are $25 with one voucher each way for economy seat, $105 with 1 voucher each way for triple sleeper and $160 each way with 2 vouchers for 1st class roomette and twinette sleepers. I personally like my space, which is why I got a sleeper on the old train last year. you can just simply shut the door and have a pleasent sleep (unless your cabin is above the bogies and the carriage has a flat wheel) Also, I somehow don't think that riding in the railbed section on the new train would be any benefit. Sure you get to lay flat on your back but you still have other people who may snore in the railbed next to your or behind you.

As for entertainment, I had my phone and just plugged that into the powerpoint on the wall in my cabin, sat back and listened to a very long playlist while looking out the window at the scenery and other trains. That was fun enough for me.
  phil_48 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Wynnum North
Agree entirely qr3900.  After 25 years of Sunlander travel, the last 10 years in my own roomette, I won't be travelling on this new one.  It will be back to braving the Bruce Holeway again...
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

And at $519 for a single railbed to Cairns, don't expect to see too many full fare paying X or Y gens riding this train either. The pricing for a glorified sofa beggars belief.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I've said it numerous times: Although this new train is state of the art and has all the mod cons (wifi, built in entertainment systems in each seat, etc), but to me, it's just a glorified aeroplane on rails! The soon to be retired loco hauled service has a more nostalgic and romantic feel to it? I'm not sure if those are the correct words but it's what I think it is. it has character. Sure it may be slow and out of date but it's what train travel is/was/should be. Having a sleeper cabin, meals in the dining car, listening to the rhythic "clackety-clack, clackety-clack, clackety-clack" as it bounces/trundles along the rails.....

Another downside to the new train IMO is the fares for QLD pensioner concessions. Premium economy will cost $50 with 2 vouchers each way, and railbed will cost about $170 with 2 vouchers and meals included each way between Brisbane & Townsville and $200 with 2 vouchers and meals included between Brisbane and Cairns. The current Sunlander fares are $25 with one voucher each way for economy seat, $105 with 1 voucher each way for triple sleeper and $160 each way with 2 vouchers for 1st class roomette and twinette sleepers. I personally like my space, which is why I got a sleeper on the old train last year. you can just simply shut the door and have a pleasent sleep (unless your cabin is above the bogies and the carriage has a flat wheel) Also, I somehow don't think that riding in the railbed section on the new train would be any benefit. Sure you get to lay flat on your back but you still have other people who may snore in the railbed next to your or behind you.

As for entertainment, I had my phone and just plugged that into the powerpoint on the wall in my cabin, sat back and listened to a very long playlist while looking out the window at the scenery and other trains. That was fun enough for me.
I think you are comparing apples with oranges. Your description is of train travel from an era when train travel was a common means of transport, something basically anyone under the age of 40 can barely relate to and also a style of travel that exists mostly on non govt subsidised routes all round the world. Its also a style of travel that few are willing to pay for anymore. Hence why the Sunlander is full of discount ticket holders and not FF.

Also the old clicky clack is not even relevant as rails are now continuously welded and such sound is actually a weak spot in the track developing that reducing the smoothness of the ride that will need maintenance and potentially cause a derailment.

Qld govt through QR has a requirement to provide a rail public transport system that is suitable for the 21st century and something most people would enjoy using and meets the taxpayer requirements of reducing the longterm subsidy.

Its the 21st century, the window of the train is no longer what the public want or demand.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I've said it numerous times: Although this new train is state of the art and has all the mod cons (wifi, built in entertainment systems in each seat, etc), but to me, it's just a glorified aeroplane on rails! The soon to be retired loco hauled service has a more nostalgic and romantic feel to it? I'm not sure if those are the correct words but it's what I think it is. it has character. Sure it may be slow and out of date but it's what train travel is/was/should be. Having a sleeper cabin, meals in the dining car, listening to the rhythic "clackety-clack, clackety-clack, clackety-clack" as it bounces/trundles along the rails.....

Another downside to the new train IMO is the fares for QLD pensioner concessions. Premium economy will cost $50 with 2 vouchers each way, and railbed will cost about $170 with 2 vouchers and meals included each way between Brisbane & Townsville and $200 with 2 vouchers and meals included between Brisbane and Cairns. The current Sunlander fares are $25 with one voucher each way for economy seat, $105 with 1 voucher each way for triple sleeper and $160 each way with 2 vouchers for 1st class roomette and twinette sleepers. I personally like my space, which is why I got a sleeper on the old train last year. you can just simply shut the door and have a pleasent sleep (unless your cabin is above the bogies and the carriage has a flat wheel) Also, I somehow don't think that riding in the railbed section on the new train would be any benefit. Sure you get to lay flat on your back but you still have other people who may snore in the railbed next to your or behind you.

As for entertainment, I had my phone and just plugged that into the powerpoint on the wall in my cabin, sat back and listened to a very long playlist while looking out the window at the scenery and other trains. That was fun enough for me.
I think you are comparing apples with oranges. Your description is of train travel from an era when train travel was a common means of transport, something basically anyone under the age of 40 can barely relate to and also a style of travel that exists mostly on non govt subsidised routes all round the world. Its also a style of travel that few are willing to pay for anymore. Hence why the Sunlander is full of discount ticket holders and not FF.

Also the old clicky clack is not even relevant as rails are now continuously welded and such sound is actually a weak spot in the track developing that reducing the smoothness of the ride that will need maintenance and potentially cause a derailment.

Qld govt through QR has a requirement to provide a rail public transport system that is suitable for the 21st century and something most people would enjoy using and meets the taxpayer requirements of reducing the longterm subsidy.

Its the 21st century, the window of the train is no longer what the public want or demand.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
You still have the weekly Qldlander.

For me, better seats, a bed in every set and something to watch on the seat in front apart from 50 years of grime to keep the kiddies entertained (and me especially once the sun goes down) is welcome to the 21st century and civilisation.
I don't know what you are talking about Shane...AFAIK the Queenslander section of the Sunlander will have ceased, with the cessation of the last Sunlander by this time next year...hence my post RIP the Sunlander in 2014.

Better seats may be wonderful to you in the new Spirit of Queensland, however as I spend a significant part of my day whilst travelling on the Sunlander in the lounge car, which BTW if the new lounge car is to be compared with the lounge section...hardly a car, of the existing tilt train set, will have very hard seats designed to have you moving back to your allocated seat as soon as your bu.m starts to ache (usually around 30 mins).

The privacy of a cabin is really only for sleeping and leaving ones luggage where its easily accessible, writing and making phone calls in privacy.

You say we have moved into the 21st century and the sleeping cars of old are now out of date, yet AMTRAK's long distance trains, the Coast Starlight, The California Zephyr, the South West Chief, The Empire Builder, The Texas Eagle, The Lake Shore Ltd and other long distance overnight trains in the USA are increasing in patronage all the time, yet they all have full service dining cars, lounge cars and roomette and twinette sleepers.

The 'improved' Spirit of Queensland service will almost certainly fail as the 'romance' of rail is what tourists want, not an aeroplane on wheels as has accurately described of the new tilt train service.

Mike.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I don't know what you are talking about Shane...AFAIK the Queenslander section of the Sunlander will have ceased, with the cessation of the last Sunlander by this time next year...hence my post RIP the Sunlander in 2014.

Better seats may be wonderful to you in the new Spirit of Queensland, however as I spend a significant part of my day whilst travelling on the Sunlander in the lounge car, which BTW if the new lounge car is to be compared with the lounge section...hardly a car, of the existing tilt train set, will have very hard seats designed to have you moving back to your allocated seat as soon as your bu.m starts to ache (usually around 30 mins).

The privacy of a cabin is really only for sleeping and leaving ones luggage where its easily accessible, writing and making phone calls in privacy.

You say we have moved into the 21st century and the sleeping cars of old are now out of date, yet AMTRAK's long distance trains, the Coast Starlight, The California Zephyr, the South West Chief, The Empire Builder, The Texas Eagle, The Lake Shore Ltd and other long distance overnight trains in the USA are increasing in patronage all the time, yet they all have full service dining cars, lounge cars and roomette and twinette sleepers.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Ok, my understanding is that the tilt was to run 6 days aweek and the Qlder was to return as a weekly service. Things have changed a lot on this so what ever, its there or not? I guess we will see. There is nothing on QR website saying Qlder is going or staying.

As for the standard of the new train. Yep lots of complaints, lots of complaints about the standard of the current aging rollingstock as well. Fact is there is no where near enough FF pax to justify the standard of service that you are seeking and how much money should the taxpayer throw as the standard of travel used by the discount ticket holder.  For rail to survive as a means of travel for the next gens, the train as to target the local travel and medium range travel user, which is what this new train is all about. I don't imagine too many FF are saying lets catch the train all the way to Cairns!

Until recently, the current coastal route is a hotch botch of services and timetables. The move to 6 or 7 days a week with one train on a standard timetable is the only sensible thing to do. If the silver service, sleeper trains are so good, where are the FF users? I moved to Gladstone in 1998, the coastal trains and SOTO were long, requiring multiple stops at the reasonable length Gladstone station. When I left in 2009, the trains often fitted on the platform in one movement. In early 2000's, many people in Gladstone travelled by train to Brisbane, even to catch a plane as local flights were very expensive, now very few do this as there is minimal saving for the time taken. This style of transport is dying and dying rapidly in popularity. GSR has made it work, but the two routes are very popular well known niche markets, yet they cannot make it work on the Overlander using the same model, service and rolling stock.

I applaud the current and previous govts for having the balls to replace the aging Sunlander and I think the fact they changed the name is a good example of what has happened to the market and wanting to distance themselves from the Sunlander's aging rolling stock. The removal of the sleepers from CTT was I'm sure a decision based on mostly common sense. When first announced by previous govt I was surprised they were making so much effort for such a small part of the market and that costs so much, few FF's would be using it or afford to be able to use it. The new train beds work well on planes and I'm sure as a compromise will be welcomed by more than the sleepers lost. Yes the Sunlander is going and so another rail route in Australia has lost a historic and classic means of transport, but reality bites and dollars count. If the new Spirit fails to attract the numbers, then yes the XPT will be the last inter-capital train on the east coast and our clear sign our population and lifestyle doesn't long distance rail travel in sufficient numbers to make it viable even heavily subsidised apart from the hotels on wheels.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
Ok, my understanding is that the tilt was to run 6 days aweek and the Qlder was to return as a weekly service. Things have changed a lot on this so what ever, its there or not? I guess we will see. There is nothing on QR website saying Qlder is going or staying.

As for the standard of the new train. Yep lots of complaints, lots of complaints about the standard of the current aging rollingstock as well. Fact is there is no where near enough FF pax to justify the standard of service that you are seeking and how much money should the taxpayer throw as the standard of travel used by the discount ticket holder.  For rail to survive as a means of travel for the next gens, the train as to target the local travel and medium range travel user, which is what this new train is all about. I don't imagine too many FF are saying lets catch the train all the way to Cairns!

Until recently, the current coastal route is a hotch botch of services and timetables. The move to 6 or 7 days a week with one train on a standard timetable is the only sensible thing to do. If the silver service, sleeper trains are so good, where are the FF users? I moved to Gladstone in 1998, the coastal trains and SOTO were long, requiring multiple stops at the reasonable length Gladstone station. When I left in 2009, the trains often fitted on the platform in one movement. In early 2000's, many people in Gladstone travelled by train to Brisbane, even to catch a plane as local flights were very expensive, now very few do this as there is minimal saving for the time taken. This style of transport is dying and dying rapidly in popularity. GSR has made it work, but the two routes are very popular well known niche markets, yet they cannot make it work on the Overlander using the same model, service and rolling stock.

I applaud the current and previous govts for having the balls to replace the aging Sunlander and I think the fact they changed the name is a good example of what has happened to the market and wanting to distance themselves from the Sunlander's aging rolling stock. The removal of the sleepers from CTT was I'm sure a decision based on mostly common sense. When first announced by previous govt I was surprised they were making so much effort for such a small part of the market and that costs so much, few FF's would be using it or afford to be able to use it. The new train beds work well on planes and I'm sure as a compromise will be welcomed by more than the sleepers lost. Yes the Sunlander is going and so another rail route in Australia has lost a historic and classic means of transport, but reality bites and dollars count. If the new Spirit fails to attract the numbers, then yes the XPT will be the last inter-capital train on the east coast and our clear sign our population and lifestyle doesn't long distance rail travel in sufficient numbers to make it viable even heavily subsidised apart from the hotels on wheels.
RTT_Rules
The Overland is working quite well according to GSR and the only reason it's been reduced to twice a week is the exorbitant track access charges levied by ARTC.

Cheap air fares are available in the USA as well and the increasing patronage on AMTRAK's trains wasn't answered in your reply...Hence the marketing in Australia and Queensland in particular seems to be the problem. That and a need to tap into the green tourism market which AMTRAK successfully seems to have done.  We all know there's nothing 'green' about flying.

When I travel in the US I constantly meet pax (American citizens) who make a conscious decision not to fly due to a number of factors, seeing their country, a chance to slow down, sharing travel experience with other pax etc...the fear of flying doesn't really appear to be one of them, unless they prefer not to mention that. AMTRAK has recently let a huge tender for more sleepers, diners and lounge cars as well.

The Sydney - Brisbane XPT will go the way of the dodo with the current arrival time into BNE of 3:55 am.

You know Shane...pax these days travel with their own entertainment by way of laptops and other devices that I care or know little about. The fact that one is attached to the seat in front of me either on a train or on an aeroplane means little. I prefer the scenery, reading or interacting with other pax depending on the mode of travel.

Mike.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
The Overland is working quite well according to GSR and the only reason it's been reduced to twice a week is the exorbitant track access charges levied by ARTC.

Cheap air fares are available in the USA as well and the increasing patronage on AMTRAK's trains wasn't answered in your reply...Hence the marketing in Australia and Queensland in particular seems to be the problem. That and a need to tap into the green tourism market which AMTRAK successfully seems to have done.  We all know there's nothing 'green' about flying.

When I travel in the US I constantly meet pax (American citizens) who make a conscious decision not to fly due to a number of factors, seeing their country, a chance to slow down, sharing travel experience with other pax etc...the fear of flying doesn't really appear to be one of them, unless they prefer not to mention that. AMTRAK has recently let a huge tender for more sleepers, diners and lounge cars as well.

The Sydney - Brisbane XPT will go the way of the dodo with the current arrival time into BNE of 3:55 am.

You know Shane...pax these days travel with their own entertainment by way of laptops and other devices that I care or know little about. The fact that one is attached to the seat in front of me either on a train or on an aeroplane means little. I prefer the scenery, reading or interacting with other pax depending on the mode of travel.

Mike.
The Vinelander

"Overlander going quite well" How is a train with 3-4 sitting cars of pax for 700km doing quite well? Also the fees charged by ARTC are not excessive, they don't even provide a return on investment.

Australia is not the USA. Jam in another 150m people on the eastern states and you might get what they have.
  PClark Chief Commissioner

I cannot see what the market for the RailBed is.

The full fare is $60 higher than a fully-flexible economy with Qantas.

No person in their right mind is going to $519 to travel in a sitting car, no matter how comfortable, for 25 hours when they can fly in 140 minutes for $459.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
I cannot see what the market for the RailBed is.

The full fare is $60 higher than a fully-flexible economy with Qantas.

No person in their right mind is going to $519 to travel in a sitting car, no matter how comfortable, for 25 hours when they can fly in 140 minutes for $459.
PClark
Talk to your conservative friends in the Qld government Peter...it's they who cancelled the order for the sleeping cars.

I've got one more trip booked in Queenslander class next April and that's it for me permanently for travel by rail between BNE - CNS.

Mike.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Talk to your conservative friends in the Qld government Peter...it's they who cancelled the order for the sleeping cars.

I've got one more trip booked in Queenslander class next April and that's it for me permanently for travel by rail between BNE - CNS.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Agree, the state cancelled the sleepers due to one reason, cost.

Pclark mentioned what the market is for the rail bed? The same as the market for those wanting to travel by train to Cairns by any other means or any long haul train where planes are significantly faster. Just because the train runs from A to B doesn't equal that is the target market, its city to regional, regional to regional. However when you get on the train at 2am to travel say 4-6hr or more if you choose, its nice to be able to comfortable and get reasonable sleep without costing a fortune to either passenger or the taxpayer.

If sleepers were a significant portion of the market and/or were at least semi finaically viable, I'm sure they would be there. But the reality is they are a hole in the taxpayer's wallet and in decreasing demand. I'm caught them quite a few times as a single between Sydney and Gladstone in mid 2000's and very rarely have I had to share. Yes the single's are usually booked.

I too would like to seem them remain, but what is the market for them. No.1 Tourism with a distant second being any form of CSO for travellers with special needs which for most flying is actually better, so let a tourist operator like GSR try and make it work with what ever equipment they choose to use on a commerical basis. Meanwhile the upgraded CSO service, CTT is providing a fairly modern and reasonable and regular standard of travel for all those who want to use the train between and two stations between Brisbane and Cairns.

Regards
Shane
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
Agree, the state cancelled the sleepers due to one reason, cost.

I too would like to seem them remain, but what is the market for them. No.1 Tourism with a distant second being any form of CSO for travellers with special needs which for most flying is actually better, so let a tourist operator like GSR try and make it work with what ever equipment they choose to use on a commercial basis. Meanwhile the upgraded CSO service, CTT is providing a fairly modern and reasonable and regular standard of travel for all those who want to use the train between and two stations between Brisbane and Cairns.
RTT_Rules
Agreed...

By next April when the Sunlander is at deaths door, no doubt some of the Queenslander class on-train crew who will by then be facing termination of their positions will have heard if there has been any discussion by a private operator in taking on a diesel hauled operation for the seemingly untapped land-cruise market.

IMO there's still a market out there for pax who want a non-airline style journey, even if it's an Orient Express/Northern Belle/British Pullman type operation.

http://www.orient-express.com/web/uktr/northern_belle.jsp

Mike.
  PClark Chief Commissioner

On my several experiences of travelling in Queenslander Class on the Sunlander I found the patronage to be high (sometimes booked out)  Nearly all of the passengers were travelling the whole way and a big majority would have been paying full-fare.

The journey was an “experience” and most passengers regarded the journey as an integral part of their holiday rather than just transportation between two points.  The food, drinks and on board service were (and probably still are) exceptional.

The Sunlander with Queenslander Class is probably the most socially diverse train I have ever travelled on, catering for a broad range of passengers from the impoverished to affluent tourists.

That being said, it is a ramshackle affair with many carriages approaching their life’s end.

My personal opinion is that the money spent on the GSPE and the CTT would have been better spent on conventional carriages to update the traditional loco-hauled train.
  br30453 Chief Train Controller

On my several experiences of travelling in Queenslander Class on the Sunlander I found the patronage to be high (sometimes booked out)  Nearly all of the passengers were travelling the whole way and a big majority would have been paying full-fare.

The journey was an “experience” and most passengers regarded the journey as an integral part of their holiday rather than just transportation between two points.  The food, drinks and on board service were (and probably still are) exceptional.

The Sunlander with Queenslander Class is probably the most socially diverse train I have ever travelled on, catering for a broad range of passengers from the impoverished to affluent tourists.

That being said, it is a ramshackle affair with many carriages approaching their life’s end.

My personal opinion is that the money spent on the GSPE and the CTT would have been better spent on conventional carriages to update the traditional loco-hauled train.
PClark
If we build a narrow gauge tilt train then all the other narrow gauge railways will flock to Maryborough with orders for more of the same and the workers will have jobs.

Such was the deluded thinking of the time.
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
And at $519 for a single railbed to Cairns, don't expect to see too many full fare paying X or Y gens riding this train either. The pricing for a glorified sofa beggars belief.
Sulla1

one would assume qr did a lot of market research on what the new service should offer?
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

one would assume qr did a lot of market research on what the new service should offer?
"JimYarin"


I doubt they did any market research at all. These 'sleeper seats' have been installed for the simple political reason that the government didn't want to take any heat from removing sleeping cars from the 1650km NCL corridor...what ever ticked the box to fulfil that political imperative got the nod. I have yet to meet anyone in Townsville without an interest in rail who is interested in using this service. "These prices are twice that of an airline seat that has a two hour trip instead of 24"...that's what the market is going to say.
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
the idea of keeping sleeper services on a long journey is surely the correct one. the problem really is was the upgrade necessary?  could the sunlander have been retained and perhaps refurbished?  are we talking about a much better service having made the change?
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

the idea of keeping sleeper services on a long journey is surely the correct one. the problem really is was the upgrade necessary?  could the sunlander have been retained and perhaps refurbished?  are we talking about a much better service having made the change?
JimYarin

Easiest answer is that it's complicated. The M series sleeping cars date back to 1952 and no longer comply with a bunch of state and federal regulations including Disability Access so were up for replacement...it doesn't sound like rebuilding has been considered practical. Most people using this service nowadays are either on concessions, are travelling to or between intermediate destinations or 'want' a train experience. There are 1,552,538 living along the NCL corridor between Nambour and Cairns, with another 2,842,759 within the Brisbane catchment. Biggest growth in the future for 'full-fare' passengers is likely to be Brisbane-Rockhampton, intermediate to intermediate (Gympie/Maryborough/Bundaberg/Gladstone to Rockhampton/Mackay/Townville/Cairns) and Mackay-Townsville-Cairns. The tilt trains can offer a late afternoon seats from Brisbane to Rockhampton (3,702,155 people served), plus a morning seat from Mackay to Townsville (415,053 people served) and afternoon return (Townsville is North Queensland's principle health, service and education hub) and a daylight Mackay to Cairns service (693,139 people served). Basically, with seats and three sets, the Tilt train can serve the three most important regional intercity routes in Queensland at more convenient times than the Sunlander, but you end up using a commuter ferry to replace a cruise liner. The 'sleepers' end up a sideshow for the few who really want to travel the whole way by train.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
The M series sleeping cars date back to 1952 and no longer comply with a bunch of state and federal regulations including Disability Access so were up for replacement...it doesn't sound like rebuilding has been considered practical.
Sulla1
Yet a Heritage Railway can apparently refurbish them and use them. I assume they will have to do so in a compliant manner.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Contrary to some posts, I can see a market for the sleeper seats, and hence I think their installation is a sensible move.  But I don't think the target should be the long distance Brisbane-Cairns market that's adequately served by airlines - instead you are going for the intermediate distance market (perhaps between points that aren't directly served by airlines) and going for those willing to spend more money to make their trip worthwhile.

As a relatively frequent user of intermediate distance rail services (only a ~4 hour trip) I'd quite happily pay the 2x premium on the standard fare to get this sort of improvement in seating.

The issue I have given that context is that service frequency and/or consistency is poor, considering the range of longer distance QR services.  Timing is also not ideal for many intermediate trips.

It remains to be seen whether there's a sufficient market to make this worthwhile.  The bigger the market between any two points and the more likely it is that you'll find QantasLink turning up and having you for lunch.

Those who want a hotel on wheels type experience need to be prepared to pay the fares that cover the cost of providing that experience.

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