, the 8-10 yr time frame you mention is when I have always focused on when the XPT and not far behind the XPLR will be looked at for replacement. At which time the XPLR's while not fully aged would be used to operate the V-set services on the mountains and boost the other NSW commuter DMU services. This then This then provides the clean slate for the current CL services. Hence why I think focusing only on XPT is not looking at the big picture.DiFO1
Ok I understand your proposal. DM-T-DM with bogies Powered-Trailer-Trailer-Powered. Yeah I think you can make this work and get the weight right. The DMU would have two engines each past mid point towards the drivers cab. All the other heavy bits such as traction motors or hydraulic hang over the non-shared bogie under drivers cab.
Seats wise, sorry long haul has to be 2+2. Hop on plane flight for 5-12hr and see what they offer. Arm rest is a must and the "middle seat is only used when really busy" doesn't work. If I travel with my family, I want four seats together so there will be three of us spread across + 1 on another seat. If we have the 5th seat used by another, then they will be sitting in between us or to side, my kids will smeg if they don't have a window or this person will be on the aisle seat with us talking and moving across them. Even for other passenger combinations I see this as being a complete mess. Again this is not a short haul up the mountains/coast for which the family would use this 5th seat. If this train platform is used on commuter services, like the ENVR, it can be fitted with 2+3, but they are not compatible. 2+3 also doesn't leave much room with wise, something that does come into play over long haul as people change the position of their bum and try and sleep.
Double decker, I'm not a structural engineer but I think the requirements for DD and SD trains in design are chalk and cheese so there is little point in trying to design for both. You will and have (your words) made a number of compromises to enable this and now you are making the worst of both worlds. DD, NSW has a design, it works and if they need more they can buy them and would be cheaper than a green field design. The only issue with DD is the V-set route over the mountains where the current design won't fit. Cost wise, grabbing the XPLR's and refitting them and/or digging up the Velocity or Hunter design will be cheaper. The issue is also the O/H.
Doors, the compromise is impacting on efficiency that you will wear for 30 years. The train should have doors for the driver and emergency exit for pax at leading end. 1 door on one side on the DM at non driver end and the other side is catered for by a door on the trailer can on opposite side. So starting from front.
DM front - Drivers both sides used by driver and emergency exit for pax.
DM rear - Left side
trailer front - Right side
trailer rear - left side
DM car is now reversed and means the door is now right side
Drivers end as above.
With a modern articulated train the floor through the connection is smooth, very wide, no doors and suitable for prams, wheel chairs and luggage no issue. I'e seen plenty of examples even on articulated buses.
Exit doors are all Disabled width
Luggage racks would occupy the space directly opposite the door entrance where the other door is normally.
Toilets, pretty much opposite the exit doors next to luggage racks on the DM cars only, 2 both disabled rated.
As the DM's have less seats due to toilets and engine, they only need one luggage rack. Trailer has two sets and it has two doors, so fine.
Middle of trailer is the Buffet, being in middle it helps break the length of the car and noise levels by pax. Also central on the train. Vending machines are also placed next to luggage racks
Trains are DOO, 30 years of safe DOO operation by XPT and XPLR demonstrates no issue. But I see your point on a flexible workforce and maybe you have a train crew of 3 with at least 2 trained drivers to enable longer haul operation without having depo's as closely spaced. The idea of the driver securing the train to assist pax loading, no! I know what happens in Mel, but that's different. Once on train the pax need more services than a suburban service. You need to check tickets, seating, alert people for upcoming stops and assist with luggage, prams and less able bodies. In mean time they sell food and drinks. From safety aspect you will probably struggle to drop below 2-3 anyway. Suburban trains can operate DOO, but they are in suburbia where assistance is close by.
First class can be one DM and food is part of their ticket price as is now, but EC needs to be optional to keep costs down for them. Buying food as per now is no big deal. Attendants only come to seats of FC, rest of train it done as PA or light indication at seat.
Being 3 cars as I mentioned above, you will probably find seating is close to current 3 car Can explorer (158 people). Maybe slightly less if you have to reduce car length to keep axle loads within check. But I believe the result will be less dead weight per pax so cheaper to run. The "one" set approach is not as flexible as single cars, but should be a bit cheaper to build and operate, ie two engines and two Aux gensets compared to current three for similar number of bodies and overall less train.
As you said, the 3 car will suit Armidale, Can and Broken Hill for XPLR services. For XPT you just join 2 sets together with further option to join 3 sets. Still not as flexible as individual cars, but also very common in Europe to operate this way and again I assume cheaper. As fore Moree and Griffith, well political will would seem these towns gets a train so I don't want to argue the right or wrong on this now and what is likely in future, also Moree is actually not expensive to service as the train is a trailer to Werris Creek and providing capacity to there. Even if it wasn't to travel further and you put the bodies on a bus, it has to wait for the return Armidale service next day, so you are saving fuel and staff on a train and using it on a bus. Griffith is a bit different though. Perhaps a more attractive train with better mod cons, will attract more users, especially if between now and then time tables can be squeezed one way or another. If the new 3 car DMU has slightly less bodies then the gap between what's used now and proposed won't be much different.
I think a fixed set of 200-250 is probably getting too big and reduces the required flexibility for operational and maintenance purposes. The current XPT is 268 people in 6 car arrangement for day service. So a fixed train of 130-150 capacity is probably on the money to suit the 2 car services, 3 car and larger XPT services. Canberra going to 3 services a day would help provide both extra seats if the new 3 car is slightly smaller but also greater choice for additional users. For the likes of when say Armidale needs 4 car cars, you could simply provide a bus connection from the Moree service if the numbers didn't justify a extra set.