Just follow the Hume all the way from Douglas Park, less property resumptions as the line will fit most of the time in the Hume corridor, its also fairly straight and probably good for +200 km/h running if there was something that fast. That bridge is almost 90 deg to the direction so two bends required.
Yes, there needs to be critical mass to justify additional MTCE centres.I again will say that the Government should look at ordering more of these trains as with the economic saving they could make Griffith and Parkes a daily service at the very least.
Agree the govt will no doubt buy more as the END/XPLR cars are not end of life and will solider on for another 5 - 10 years plus any growth the new trains enable and other options. And yes at some point a 2nd depo location maybe justified, but it would need to be a terminus location so Broadmeadow is out unless used for replacing the current DMU fleet with CAF. But for now Dubbo being the major centre with light work done in Sydney is the go.
I think the fleet ordered is a like for like replacement needed to maintain the existing services, and nothing more. It presumes the Hunter railcars will service the Hunter, with I think is possible, just not without rejigging the timetable a bit. Any suggestion of extra services presume electrification somewhere to free up DMUs.
I'm not convinced the extra fleet requirements of having the maintenance centre at Dubbo were considered with the order - that was thrown in last minute (I suspect). Offering the Bathurst Bullet as an Explorer grade service is the only real upgrade to services this new fleet offers. Again, all very short term thinking IMHO.
The Dubbo announcement came at the same time and I think because of the contract arrangement it would have been in the scope for sometime. For example if I'm correct the vender is providing the Maintenance requirements to an availability contract which includes transfers. Anyway, its of little consequence as a rotational arrangement to Dubbo is well within the current Dubbo/Bathurst timetabling so I wouldn't be concerned.
I think while the future status of the XPT was well known by all, the future status of the END/XPL fleet has been confused or lost in translation and there was always an intent to keep the still viable fleet, albeit with reduced demand to suit the fleet as it enters their 4th decade of operation on arrival with CAF.
The benefit of retaining the XPL/END fleet is to provide flexibility in growth as its cheaper to buy additional CAF sets in bulk. Anyway, agree with Sim's comments. provided the CAF's perform as expected there will be more and there will need to be more in about 5 - 8 years to enable the retirement of the remainder of the XPL and END fleets.
Going back to Sim's bypass and your previous comments on Mittagong.
Provided the so called Picton by-pass just parrallel's the Hume which will then provide a near straight alignment for over 17km allowing trains to operate at their max speed from curve to curve on the existing corridor. Now we are in a great position to consider what you said before.
The by-pass would be additional dual track to Macuthur with the track from Macuthur to Douglas Park being improved alignment also allowing higher speeds if not max train speed.
Mittagong to Macuthur via Picton, likely all sparked.
The Canberra/Goulburn services would then be all to Mittagong with lightly used stations being stop only on request, then take the By-pass and next stop Campbelltown and express to Central.