Re-opening the Cobram line to Passenger Traffic

  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Mikelander: I have a "bias against regional rail" as I have looked at the history of the VR and have done so without rose-coloured glasses, and quite frankly the history of regional passenger travel is littered with discreet pork-barrelling as a passenger service, nor did any expansion of "rail services increase the patronage on any given service".  
"Deep Throat"

 Thankyou for admitting your bias Deep Throat  Exclamation

The pass service to Tocumwal was underpatronised in the 1960's and less so in the 1980's when it went to Cobram.  I can cite - and did cite - a report that was written in 1985 stating this.
"Deep Throat"

 Of course it was under-patronised, anybody with more than a passing interest would know that.

The question that needs to be asked, today is WHY was it along with other similar type services under-patronised QuestionIdea A few answers if I may.

1. Services operated when they suited VR, not the travelling public. There was NO surveying of pax in those days.
The minimal service ran, you used it or you didn't. Most drove, petrol was cheap. Trains and buses were particularly 'un-cool'

2. Trains were slow, the DERM wouldn't have exceeded 80KPH, unless it had a tailwind and was going downhill and unless you travelled in the motor, you didn't even get a heater in winter.

3. Cars were preferable; if it was summer you stopped and went to the pub, had a few beers to wash the dust down, and then kept going.  
.05, what's that, it never existed in those days, people routinely drank and drove.

4. PT was actively discouraged by the parents of that 60's & 70's  generation who were glad when the price of cars, Holden 48-215's and FJ's became cheaper than the earlier, imported Chevy's and Fords et al. Holden's were mass produced to the point of everyone being able to afford one, the parents included, who were joyous of their new found freedom.

Hardly a ringing endorsement for PT, agreed Question

5. Where did the now popular Griffith bus connection depart, Shepparton or Tocumwal Question  Nowhere, I bet because I don't believe it existed.

6. Though I keep stating it ad nauseum, and the pax agree because they are voting with their feet, though many posters don't want to admit it, more, many more pax are using Vline services these days, including, apparently the Griffith service.

AND PT , particularly trains are now seen to be a 'cool' mode of transport, with a much less environmental footprint than cars, buses and particularly trucks

(More about that LATER, under Kevin '07)

Though I'm an expansionist and you have a bias against regional rail, praise be that you weren't officially consulted for the RFR, I can see little or no point whatsoever in upgrading or re-opening for example, Horsham to Yaapeet, Lubeck to Bolangum, Numurkah to Picola or Timboon to Timboon Jcn, or other branch lines of that ilk.

PS, many years have have passed since your report, it's somewhat out of date in today's very much changed world.


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  Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
This board has become a sad place - to paraphrase Kim Beasley Snr, the cream of gunzeldom has become the dregs of foamerdom.

Before proposing one more 'let's reopen the passenger service to Upper Dingdangdongalong West' thread - some facts:

-Australia is a failed 'European settler land' project, despite 200 years of work by colonial and state/national politicians

-Australia is not a fertile land. Apart from a narrow coastal strip and the island of Tasmania, it is a mix of savannahland and desert. The northern half is in a monsoonal rain shadow of New Guinea, and the southern half near unusually cold ocean currents that yield little rain. What rain does fall is intercepted by coastal ranges not 2 hours by road from the coast.

-Neither the European or North American settler model worked because of this

-Colonial and then national politics was skewed to the advantage of conservative farmers' parties and their alliance with city-based business and property interests. The payoff was that conservative farmers' party's members' mothers could come down and visit them on an occasional slow passenger train, at least until the point when the road and air networks were able to take over. Then they were redundant.

-Where in Europe we have millenia of decentralisatioin (usually around Roman soldiers camps) and in the USA we have hundreds of years of independent cities and states in the 100000-1000000 population range (an artifact of their very decentralised political system and cultural lean towards the individual) we have a somewhat viable network of rural rail lines, in Europe used for passengers and in the USA for freight

-Australia never had decentralisation. The only decentralisatoin built into the system was the states. Each therefore had to have a capital which