Service Cuts to Overland - GSR Press Announcement

 
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Heath Loxton it is a simple case of use or lose it and as others have said it is 11 hours per trip sitting up that can be done in a much shorter time by flying. If it go's, it go's, GSR are not running a service for Gunzels no matter what you think, it pays or it gets cut, they are in business and any business will trim the dead wood back if they want to stay in business that is. Read the financial section of any paper and you will probably see one or two company's scaling back their operations a lot simply to survive. Otherwise this type of thing can eventually pull the whole company down and put all their employee's out of a job not just some here and there.

With others on here I am amazed that it has lasted this long actually. The two governments can not prop it up forever. So there is no need to get hot under the collar and resort to swearing and shouting to make a point. It will not change the decision that GSR has made, so you might as well go and hit your head on the wall or something as it will not change a thing.

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  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
looking at wood laminate or similar would have most people going postal by the time they hit geelong or murray bridge.
benscaro
I'd be surprised if I made it to Goodwood (departing Keswick).
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

On the practical side to GRS it allows the car set to be serviced mid week and not on Sunday. The savings in servicing cost would well off set any lost revenue.

Then there are the other savings. Staff will have to be redeployed; but with only 4 day running only one full crew would be needed.
  futuredriver Junior Train Controller

Location: Victoria
I travelled on the overland in 1999 after two hours after we left Adelaide the train pulled to a stop.......................I though it was Coonalpyn but nope Murray Bridge Sad slow slow slow surprised its last this long.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Wikipedia (the font of all reliable knowledge) says that the Victorian Govt contributes $1.5 million a year to keep it running and also that as part of that agreement V-Line has 64 seats on permanent reservation - presumably for intra-state travel.  There's no info about the SA Govt contribution but I'm fairly sure they kick in a significant amount - someone here may know the exact figure?  I recall they paid GSR extra some years ago to add Bordertown as a stop, not sure how successful that went in terms of use.

Given the money both governments pay out to keep the existing service going would that money be better spent elsewhere on the rail network, for example, in finishing Gawler electrification (for SA)?  Similarly I'm sure V-Line could find better uses for that money, even a daily return DMU from Dimboola to Ararat or Geelong would be money better spent than a two-day a week tourist train.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

On the practical side to GRS it allows the car set to be serviced mid week and not on Sunday. The savings in servicing cost would well off set any lost revenue.

Then there are the other savings. Staff will have to be redeployed; but with only 4 day running only one full crew would be needed.
steam4ian
Interesting that you bring up the issue of Sundays. It would be, in my opinion, better to run the return leg from Melbourne on a Sunday instead of a Saturday. One of the major reasons that people like to travel to Melbourne is for big concerts and sporting events that aren't on in Adelaide or the regional areas in between.

Ticket prices for Melbourne-Adelaide flights on a Sunday are expensive, and those flights have almost no seats allocated to low fares because they fill up even with full prices. If the Overland was to operate the return journey on the Sunday instead of the Saturday, it opens up at least a little bit of competition against very high airfares compared to Saturdays when flights are underbooked and cheaper airfares are available. It could herald a return to the days of less than 10 years ago when the Overland was a quite normal form of transport for Adelaide Crows fans and the members received a small discount as part of GSR's sponsorship of the club.

For a big game or a show in Melbourne on a Saturday (day or night), I would seriously consider the Overland as a viable option if I could stay in a YHA not far from Southern Cross over Saturday night and get on the train the next morning. Hell, even a reclining seat on a midnight departure arriving back in Adelaide around 10am on Sunday morning would be better than paying $100+ extra for a Sunday flight.



yikes.  seriously?

is one able to exercise a choice for a window seat, with them not taking your booking and money if they don't have one?  

if they don't have that, then the risk would certainly put me off.  that the trip is not scenic i'd agree, but 11 hours looking at wood laminate or similar would have most people going postal by the time they hit geelong or murray bridge.
benscaro
On their web booking system there certainly isn't a seat map before you get to the point where they start asking for personal information. Unless it's a surprise bonus page that's not in the booking step progress list at the top of the screen, there isn't one after the point of no return either. They also lose points in my book for being even more opaque about their various service fees and charges than even the average airline.

Seat selection is something that is a normal everyday part of life on regular timetabled commuter services in other countries, it's astonishing that a trans-national megacorp like Serco can't do it for trains that they apparently think are luxury hotels on wheels.

I'd be surprised if I made it to Goodwood (departing Keswick).
Aaron
The time I would last could be that short, but it could depend on how long they take faffing around with the Motorail wagons and what sedatives I had conned some doctor into prescribing.

Of course, if our luxury hotels on wheels (more accurately a divey roadhouse on wheels for the Overland) had at-seat power sockets and onboard wifi access like many inter-regional trains do in Europe then people might be able to survive that a little longer instead of having to ration the battery life of their favoured electronic device/s over the course of the journey.



Given the money both governments pay out to keep the existing service going would that money be better spent elsewhere on the rail network, for example, in finishing Gawler electrification (for SA)?  Similarly I'm sure V-Line could find better uses for that money, even a daily return DMU from Dimboola to Ararat or Geelong would be money better spent than a two-day a week tourist train.
don_dunstan

This constant talk of funding electrification with every tiny cut is approaching the ridiculous. I wouldn't bet on getting any more than 25 metres of wiring from axing the Overland subsidy.

A better option would be to turn off the golden tap and kill the GSR Overland pitched at the blue rinse crowd, then resurrect the name for an SA-subsidised V/Line service using gauge-convertible DEMUs running from Adelaide station and using the direct route via Ballarat. Add in 140-160 km/h running on the good sections of the route through western Victoria and south-east SA and a competitive trip time needing only one meal en route becomes possible.
  Typhon Assistant Commissioner

Location: I'm that freight train tearing through the sky in the clouds.
Add in 140-160 km/h running on the good sections of the route through western Victoria

There arent any.
  Railnthusiast Chief Commissioner

Location: At the computer
Interesting that you bring up the issue of Sundays. It would be, in my opinion, better to run the return leg from Melbourne on a Sunday instead of a Saturday. One of the major reasons that people like to travel to Melbourne is for big concerts and sporting events that aren't on in Adelaide or the regional areas in between.

Ticket prices for Melbourne-Adelaide flights on a Sunday are expensive, and those flights have almost no seats allocated to low fares because they fill up even with full prices. If the Overland was to operate the return journey on the Sunday instead of the Saturday, it opens up at least a little bit of competition against very high airfares compared to Saturdays when flights are underbooked and cheaper airfares are available. It could herald a return to the days of less than 10 years ago when the Overland was a quite normal form of transport for Adelaide Crows fans and the members received a small discount as part of GSR's sponsorship of the club.

For a big game or a show in Melbourne on a Saturday (day or night), I would seriously consider the Overland as a viable option if I could stay in a YHA not far from Southern Cross over Saturday night and get on the train the next morning. Hell, even a reclining seat on a midnight departure arriving back in Adelaide around 10am on Sunday morning would be better than paying $100+ extra for a Sunday flight.

A better option would be to turn off the golden tap and kill the GSR Overland pitched at the blue rinse crowd, then resurrect the name for an SA-subsidised V/Line service using gauge-convertible DEMUs running from Adelaide station and using the direct route via Ballarat. Add in 140-160 km/h running on the good sections of the route through western Victoria and south-east SA and a competitive trip time needing only one meal en route becomes possible.
justapassenger
Hi Just A Passenger,
I agree that there needs to be a Sunday service, as I have had to catch the train to Melbourne, then fly out.
I also agree that faster running times are a necessity, however just a few questions for anyone who may know;
-Do we have existing locos that are geared/able to go to 160km/ph +?
-Is there anything law wise (such as something in the Railsafety Act or any other sort of written law) that prevents or limits the speeds trains could run at. I seem to recall a law being put in place a few years back to limit the top speeds of trains after a train/car crash, but I could be totally wrong.
-Although a Sunday service would definitely be worth the extra running costs of staffing for Grand Finals, would it be affordable for every Sunday? Are track access fees higher on a Sunday?
Thanks
That's all from me.
R
  fabricator Chief Commissioner

Location: Gawler
Interesting that you bring up the issue of Sundays. It would be, in my opinion, better to run the return leg from Melbourne on a Sunday instead of a Saturday. One of the major reasons that people like to travel to Melbourne is for big concerts and sporting events that aren't on in Adelaide or the regional areas in between.
justapassenger

I have to agree with this also, was looking at the cost of going to Melbourne for a one off event. The extra cost of the Overland tickets added to the extra accommodation costs killed off the idea. At there time there were no specials on Overland tickets, which was odd and made me suspect GSR were loosing money on it again.

In an ideal world, SG conversion of the Ballarat route, a new set of carriages (with sleeper carriages) and a 130km/hr loco would fix things up nicely. Of course all of this would have to come from over the boarder, but I suspect Vline would get other benefits from it. Any of the timetable experts want to hazard a guess what sort of travel times/frequency could be run with this setup ?
  greasyrhys Chief Commissioner

Location: MacDonald Park, SA
I think the AN class locos can go 140km/h (correct me if I'm wrong). But we all know GSR only wants NR's on their trains, the PN drivers are the same.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
It's hard to envisage how you would keep the Overland going without major change.

THIS is turning into a bit more of an "armchair" thing but suppose the government/s involved and/or Commonwealth decided they wanted to bring the train up to the standard of driving.  It's 8 hours if you stop for one or two short breaks in your car.  What sort of engineering works would be necessary?  More importantly, what kind of market would that attract (if any) ?
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Don't quote me on this but I thought the maximum speed was 115Kph on good unspeed reduced sections, so if it is still taking 11 hours to do it, there is a huge section of track or likely many large sections of track that the speed is greatly reduced on. So crawling along on another trains red lights or something is not going to help speed the service up. What it actually might need is to get priority over other trains but I cannot see that happening at all.


In SAR days this used to get done, everything had to get out of the way of the Overland as it was the prestigious train of the then railways, these days it is just another train on the track to the controllers, so it might as well be a cattle train or a container train than a passenger train.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

-Do we have existing locos that are geared/able to go to 160km/ph +?
Railnthusiast
Apart from the XPT, no. That's why I suggested a post-GSR revived Overland (could be called something else if GSR don't want to hand back the name) would run new-build DEMU sets using off-the-shelf variable gauge technology as used in eastern Europe and the Iberian peninsula on a daily basis, married with a body shell fit for our loading gauge.

Although a Sunday service would definitely be worth the extra running costs of staffing for Grand Finals, would it be affordable for every Sunday?
Railnthusiast
Yes. There's lots of stuff on in Melbourne every weekend, not just the last Saturday in September. That the



I think the AN class locos can go 140km/h (correct me if I'm wrong). But we all know GSR only wants NR's on their trains, the PN drivers are the same.
greasyrhys

Wikipedia says 150 km/h, citing VicSig as its source. Whether they would be allowed to hit their designed top speed today is a completely different issue.

That's exactly why I suggested hanging GSR (and PN with their heavy freight loco tow truck service) out to dry and rebuilding the service from scratch, with variable gauge DEMUs running through Ballarat and one of those non-stop gauge converters just outside Ararat. If GSR didn't want to allow access to APT, they could be bypassed and another non-stop gauge converter built to allow entry to Adelaide Station.
  SAR520SMBH Junior Train Controller

Agree with your last post 100% David Peters.
I knew in the SAR days passenger trains had priority and I'm pretty sure they had priority in the AN days too. I was under the impression they still did today. Maybe I'm wrong.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
I'm not sure to what extent the state governments have input or any degree of theoretical control over the service these days.  They have had a financial interest which may remain and as such may have the final say in whether a service stays or goes and indeed who runs it.  I also don't know the ownership details of Keswick Terminal in Adelaide but so far as Southern Cross is concerned any operator authorised to run in Victoria should be able to negotiate access arrangements.  

The maximum speed of a train is governed as much by the track as the stock.  115kph over an inland route is not competitive with 100 - 110 kph on a more direct road.  Road traffic doesn't get put into loops to await crosses on single lines.  It doesn't have to brake for extended periods approaching turnouts nor does it always have to slow down over rougher sections of route.

The railway requires a wholesale rebuild in order to retain its role as a critical freight corridor.  As a part of that line speeds can be improved.  Freight isn't likely to run at 160kph and a passenger train which does may catch up with slower freights ahead.  There is nothing to prevent it overtaking if suitable loops exist and priority is arranged.  Sure it takes longer for a 1500m freighter to come to a stand and to re-start than a much shorter passenger train and that is one reason sometimes advanced for freight being given the nod.  But freight (as cargo - the crew have normal human needs) doesn't need to consider meal times, sleeping or even in most cases being within a few minutes of advertised time.  

With track passed for 160kph or more we cold have a rather more attractive end-to-end journey time of perhaps 7 - 8 hours.  That's still never going to compete with air but could compete with private motoring.   It could also be rather more attractive for those regional towns in between which is where I believe a revived rail operation should be looking for new business.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
........

The railway requires a wholesale rebuild in order to retain its role as a critical freight corridor.  As a part of that line speeds can be improved.  Freight isn't likely to run at 160kph and a passenger train which does may catch up with slower freights ahead.  There is nothing to prevent it overtaking if suitable loops exist and priority is arranged.  Sure it takes longer for a 1500m freighter to come to a stand and to re-start than a much shorter passenger train and that is one reason sometimes advanced for freight being given the nod.  But freight (as cargo - the crew have normal human needs) doesn't need to consider meal times, sleeping or even in most cases being within a few minutes of advertised time.  

With track passed for 160kph or more we cold have a rather more attractive end-to-end journey time of perhaps 7 - 8 hours.  That's still never going to compete with air but could compete with private motoring.   It could also be rather more attractive for those regional towns in between which is where I believe a revived rail operation should be looking for new business.
Gwiwer

ARTC holds the key.  As you say, the States don't have any control any longer but in the future the corridor should be upgraded substantially by the Commonwealth so that it can remain freight competitive against B-triples (only a matter of time now till they're a fact of life between the capitals).  If they don't upgrade within 5-10 years much more of the interstate freight task will be lost to the trucking industry.

Apart from upgrading track so that DMU passenger services cruise at 160kph you would also have to give serious consideration to elimination of level crossings where ever possible and (perhaps) half a dozen long passing loops of around 5-8 km in length so that freight and passenger services can overtake or pass each other without having to completely stop.

You might also consider a by-pass of Horsham to save time (this has been talked about for many years) but you would also be missing one of the largest trip generators on the line.  I agree with you that the towns in-between are a large potential trip generator but the current standard gauge by-pass of Ballarat will continue to hamper that potential market anyway; the best you could do would be to always time the trains to meet the current Ararat/Ballarat V-Line service.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I think the AN class locos can go 140km/h (correct me if I'm wrong). But we all know GSR only wants NR's on their trains, the PN drivers are the same.
greasyrhys
I am pretty sure a DL is the quickest loco getting around.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
ARTC holds the key.  As you say, the States don't have any control any longer but in the future the corridor should be upgraded substantially by the Commonwealth so that it can remain freight competitive against B-triples (only a matter of time now till they're a fact of life between the capitals).  If they don't upgrade within 5-10 years much more of the interstate freight task will be lost to the trucking industry.

Apart from upgrading track so that DMU passenger services cruise at 160kph you would also have to give serious consideration to elimination of level crossings where ever possible and (perhaps) half a dozen long passing loops of around 5-8 km in length so that freight and passenger services can overtake or pass each other without having to completely stop.

You might also consider a by-pass of Horsham to save time (this has been talked about for many years) but you would also be missing one of the largest trip generators on the line.  I agree with you that the towns in-between are a large potential trip generator but the current standard gauge by-pass of Ballarat will continue to hamper that potential market anyway; the best you could do would be to always time the trains to meet the current Ararat/Ballarat V-Line service.
don_dunstan

Is there really any compelling reason (commercial/cost justified) for significant upgrades. The feds are not going to put more (any?) money into rail over the next few years. Indeed I wouldn't be surprised if ARTC is offloaded at some point.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Is there really any compelling reason (commercial/cost justified) for significant upgrades. The feds are not going to put more (any?) money into rail over the next few years. Indeed I wouldn't be surprised if ARTC is offloaded at some point.
cootanee

You have a good point.  Privatising the infrastructure failed in Victoria and Tasmania (and the UK for that matter) but I'm not sure the cash-strapped Commonwealth will care.

All the interstate corridors need big $$$ spending on them to bring them closer to road transport times with the exception maybe of the trans-continental and NT line.  Whether it actually happens or not will remain to be seen - privatisation is a distinct option under any government given the current revenue situation but there's no way any private buyer will be interested in spending money as their first task of ownership.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

You have a good point.  Privatising the infrastructure failed in Victoria and Tasmania (and the UK for that matter) but I'm not sure the cash-strapped Commonwealth will care.

All the interstate corridors need big $$$ spending on them to bring them closer to road transport times with the exception maybe of the trans-continental and NT line.  Whether it actually happens or not will remain to be seen - privatisation is a distinct option under any government given the current revenue situation but there's no way any private buyer will be interested in spending money as their first task of ownership.
don_dunstan

That might depend on the conditions under which they can purchase the rail assets.

The worst case would be Government retain ownership with maintenance going private to the lowest bidder (read the bidder who gets it wrong).

The Chinese are investing in our power infrastructure, why not rail?

UK failed because they did not choose the right model. Australia is working, not because the track is still Commonwealth owned, but because of the model.

That said, I would prefer that both ownership and maintenance was held by the government as for roads.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
...
That said, I would prefer that both ownership and maintenance was held by the government as for roads.
steam4ian

Apparently as far as the feds go roads are supposed to be different... something to do with knitting Laughing

Regardless of who owns (or manages) and maintains the track - it needs money and wishful thinking won't change that reality.
  Black Hoppers Chief Train Controller

Location: Banned
[quote="Pressman"]Heath Loxton, Time you learnt to control yourself. Swearing doesn't impress anyone.

Funny how he has found capital letters and full stops.
  mynameismike Deputy Commissioner

Location: /dev/adelaide/magill
Crying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sad  PLEASE TELL ME DEAR LORD WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO MY STATES LOVELY OVERLAND CONNECTING MY FAVOURITE CITYS PLEASE JAY WEATHERALL YOU CANT BE DOING THIS TO ME BECAUSE FIRST IT WAS NIGHTLY, THEN THRICE WEEKLY, NOW TWICE WEEKLY THEN MAYBE ONCE WEEKLY OR NONE AT ALL. ITS NOT FAIR WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE OF MURRAY BRIDGE, BORDERTOWN, NHILL, DIMBOOLA, HORSHAM, STAWELL, ARARAT AND NORTH GEELONG, THEY LOVE THE OVERLAND AND THEY ARE ALL CRYING. PLEASE CANT THIS GOVERNEMT LET MY STATE KEEP SOMETHING WE LOVE :'(








Im sorry for f*cking posting in capital but im shocked at this bullsh*t news!!!
Heath Loxton

It would appear that your keyboard is broken.
  VRfan Moderator

Location: In front of my computer :-p
A better option would be to turn off the golden tap and kill the GSR Overland pitched at the blue rinse crowd, then resurrect the name for an SA-subsidised V/Line service using gauge-convertible DEMUs running from Adelaide station and using the direct route via Ballarat. Add in 140-160 km/h running on the good sections of the route through western Victoria and south-east SA and a competitive trip time needing only one meal en route becomes possible.
justapassenger

That's a bit difficult when there is a break of gauge at Ararat.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

That's a bit difficult when there is a break of gauge at Ararat.
VRfan
Which is exactly why I suggested using a variable gauge  DEMU set. Try reading for comprehension.

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