Sunlander rail journey to end next year

 

News article: Sunlander rail journey to end next year

THEY say nothing lasts forever and for the world-renowned Sunlander rail journey, that is now true.

  1978Prime Junior Train Controller

Location: Perth
THEY say nothing lasts forever and for the world-renowned Sunlander rail journey, that is now true.



The Sunlander's 1700-km journey down the east coast of Queensland will end next year, opening the tracks to a new modernised fleet.



The Cairns-to-Brisbane iconic rail journey will be renamed the Spirit of Queensland, Transport Minister Scott Emerson will announce on Thursday8/8, and be home to three new tilt trains.



The trains - one new, two refurbished - will start journeys in late 2014.



Mr Emerson said the new fleet was part of a $200 million boost in long distance travel.
Sunlander rail journey to end next year

I was hoping to take a ride of that some day.
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  TheSneakiness Beginner

Location: Brisbane
Wife works with QR Travel and she's not that impressed with the cocoon style pods in sleeper cab.

It's just too bad the cars can't be upgraded for the new disability code.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Lie-flat seats are the future.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
as in airline style seats for say Business Class?
  1978Prime Junior Train Controller

Location: Perth
Are the sleeper seats meant to be cheaper than a sleeper cabin ?
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
as in airline style seats for say Business Class?
"bevans"
Correct, and you might be surprised at how comfortable some of them can be.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
I was hoping to take a ride of that some day.
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1978Prime
There's still plenty of time...the clock stops for the Sunlander in 12 months time...as a railfan if you don't do it, you'll regret for the rest of your days that you didn't Exclamation

Mike.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Lie-flat seats are the future.
Watson374
...of airline travel Exclamation

Agreed, lie-flat beds are great on airlines (Business class) where space is at a premium..indeed I'm flying Business class to the UK in a few days.

However, there's no reason whatsoever short of an insufficient budget allocation, the replacement Sunlander trains couldn't have a 21st century design private Sleepers as a part of their consist.

Why was the introduction of air-con sleeping cars for long overnight train journeys over 60 years ago so far sighted that in today's world they are a bridge too far Question

Mike.
  1978Prime Junior Train Controller

Location: Perth
There's still plenty of time...the clock stops for the Sunlander in 12 months time...as a railfan if you don't do it, you'll regret for the rest of your days that you didn't Exclamation

Mike.
The Vinelander
I've been on the Indain pacific a couple of times, how does it compare with that ?
In the pat when I've looked at fares, the QR trains seem a lot cheaper than the IP, even for a sleeper.
Its a pity that the QR trains are the other side of the country from where I live, but should probably look into it.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
I've been on the Indian Pacific (IP) a couple of times, how does it compare with that ?
In the past when I've looked at fares, the QR trains seem a lot cheaper than the IP, even for a sleeper.
Its a pity that the QR trains are the other side of the country from where I live, but should probably look into it.
1978Prime
Completely different to the IP. For a start you will be travelling through tropical Queensland in air-con carriages up to 60 years old. You'll have the choice of seats, economy or 1st Class sleepers or Queenslander class if you can front up with around $900.00 each direction.

QR fares don't cover the full cost of running the train like GSR fares, consequently they are cheaper.

Air fares are cheap...plan on riding the Sunlander soon  Wink

Mike.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE

QR fares don't cover the full cost of running the train like GSR fares, consequently they are cheaper.


Mike.
The Vinelander
And hence why the state has choosen at this time with high levels of debt and a retracting mining industry that providing private sleeper cabins at signiifcant cost to the taxpayer in both capital and operating cost is not within the scope of Taxpayer funded train.

However, personally i cannot see why they don't offer a private operator to provide these cars in the CTT set.
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
Sad news! The Same mistake that was made on the NSW North Coast in the early 1990s.

I think that there is at times too much emphasis on mimicking airlines at the expense of the advantages that rail has.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Sad news! The Same mistake that was made on the NSW North Coast in the early 1990s.

I think that there is at times too much emphasis on mimicking airlines at the expense of the advantages that rail has.
GeoffreyHansen
The Mull'bah and Brisbane loco hauled services were dying. The XPT actually increased numbers over their previous operations. Reason it was a more modern train and they didn't have sleepers straight away. The bulk of the users don't get sleepers or eat in costly dinning cars nor these days want it or will pay for it. They sit in cattle class and eat basically take-away and thats because its the cheapest option available. The travelling public don't care about what the nosiey thing up the front is or if there is one at the back or if they are used to haul freighters. They want a comfortable seat on a train that at least looks, feels and sounds modern'ish.

In the 21st century, Long haul day and O/N PT services just need comfortable seats, reasonable choice and type of food, eaten in their seats and ISE, a clean and tidy crapper with the option of having a shower (which I think few actually use). The CTT will also provide the option of a lounge for those who want to socialise. The high end option dropped from this train is for a minority of users and its loss won't impact on riders a great deal (me thinks) especially if a same time daily CTT service is on the offering as opposed to the last 10 years hotchpotch timetable which did nothing to attract users.

The "rail" experience such as GSR hotel on wheels is on offer, but as GSR, GPSE and I beieve QR (Qlder train) have found out, the demand along the east coast is minimal and certainly died off over the last 20 years as other options have become available. If more people wanted to travel between Syd and Brisbane with the high end rail experience, I'm sure GSR will or would have filled this gap. Meanwhile for those travelling on the tax payers generosity, the CTT is a high quality, comfortable train that caters for much of its potential market offering I think a good deal considering the taxpayer is footing the bulk of the cost of the trip.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
I agree with everything RTT_Rules has said, but I feel compelled to point out that the all-"business" Cairns Tilt Train is already a little luxurious. If we really wanted to serve the proles with cattle class, we'd need a proper economy cabin too - perhaps the Rockhampton Tilt Train?

I'm sure it's possible to install roomette accommodation as a sort of sleeping car - if you were to use double-bunk roomettes with a zig-zag corridor, you could probably fit around 36 berths in a car. (Or spread a similar number over two cars with other facilities, such as a lounge, dining area and/or showers/bathrooms). Whether or not you can fill them all with paying passengers is a different story.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I agree with everything RTT_Rules has said, but I feel compelled to point out that the all-"business" Cairns Tilt Train is already a little luxurious. If we really wanted to serve the proles with cattle class, we'd need a proper economy cabin too - perhaps the Rockhampton Tilt Train?

I'm sure it's possible to install roomette accommodation as a sort of sleeping car - if you were to use double-bunk roomettes with a zig-zag corridor, you could probably fit around 36 berths in a car. (Or spread a similar number over two cars with other facilities, such as a lounge, dining area and/or showers/bathrooms). Whether or not you can fill them all with paying passengers is a different story.
Watson374
I think you are right, the CTT seating is too spacious for the whole train. But perhaps it gets down to the technology of the track, being skinny gauage and skinny above rail profile. The RTT may rule as a train, but EC seating on that train absolutely sucks. The spacing is too tight in leg room and the narrow width doesn't help comfort for 5-6hr trips I have used it. Actually puts me off using the train. BC yes, like the airlines there was intially a big gap between the two in price and service. Removal of the silver service brought the cost down to make it more viable.

I'd dearly like to see the EC seats on the RTT improved, perhaps they have since the refit, I have not used it since. Ok I'm tall, but it needs another few inches of leg room, so remove 1-2 rows of seats and then maybe you could make the recline a bit more. The narrow car bodies limit the width. The same would then be suitable for the CTT and fit the car with only overhead TV's like RTT, but I think only the desperate would travel the full distance, but would be great for shorter haul at lower cost.

I know its all relative and many smeg about the XPT and while I have only used the sitters a few times, really for a tall person I thought it was great. We were in car 7 and travelled in the 90's, so fairly sure it was EC. Since then I've only done sleeper because it was cheap at the time.

I don't know how many twin berths you'd get, I doubt you'd get 36 people. the XPT sleeper only has 18 beds, getting rid of the 5 dunnies/showers shared between two cabins with a dunny at each end + 1 shower at one might save some space. The XPT users the older style 4 exits doors per car where as the CTT cars only have twin doors which saves a bit of space.

But it just goes to show, in the XPT there are 18 beds in a sleeper, EC has 68 seats, hence the ticket price needs to be nearly 4 x higher for the railway to cover the cost. For a FF pax, you really need to love train travel to pay that over EC for a 1500km trip instead of flying. XPT FC is just over 1.2 x the price and hence not much to upgrade for more legroom and better seats.

regards
Shane
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
I think you are right, the CTT seating is too spacious for the whole train. But perhaps it gets down to the technology of the track, being skinny gauage and skinny above rail profile. The RTT may rule as a train, but EC seating on that train absolutely sucks. The spacing is too tight in leg room and the narrow width doesn't help comfort for 5-6hr trips I have used it. Actually puts me off using the train. BC yes, like the airlines there was intially a big gap between the two in price and service. Removal of the silver service brought the cost down to make it more viable.
"RTT_Rules"
Because I'm not a Queenslander, I can't go measure this myself, but do you (or anyone here?) know what the seat width and seat pitch are for Economy on the RTT? According to The Intercity Platform, the average width is 2.837m, or 9'3.7". This is slightly narrower than the usual NSW width of 2.89m, or around 9'7". This could clip a bit of seat width, but surely there's still enough room for seats around 18.0" in width.

I'd dearly like to see the EC seats on the RTT improved, perhaps they have since the refit, I have not used it since. Ok I'm tall, but it needs another few inches of leg room, so remove 1-2 rows of seats and then maybe you could make the recline a bit more. The narrow car bodies limit the width. The same would then be suitable for the CTT and fit the car with only overhead TV's like RTT, but I think only the desperate would travel the full distance, but would be great for shorter haul at lower cost.
"RTT_Rules"
You could introduce and market additional-legroom seats in Economy.

I know its all relative and many smeg about the XPT and while I have only used the sitters a few times, really for a tall person I thought it was great. We were in car 7 and travelled in the 90's, so fairly sure it was EC. Since then I've only done sleeper because it was cheap at the time.
"RTT_Rules"
The seat pitch on the XPT is excessive.

I don't know how many twin berths you'd get, I doubt you'd get 36 people. the XPT sleeper only has 18 beds, getting rid of the 5 dunnies/showers shared between two cabins with a dunny at each end + 1 shower at one might save some space. The XPT users the older style 4 exits doors per car where as the CTT cars only have twin doors which saves a bit of space.
"RTT_Rules"
Roomette means that I'm imitating the LAN cars of the SNora - the berths are parallel to the principal axis of the train, and assuming a 7' long berth you'd get nine berths for the length of the train. Double that (since there's one on each side), and double that again (since you're double-bunking) and voila, 9x4 = 36 berths! (Or more accurately, 18 cabins, since with that much supply, I'd go with selling cabins so that people don't have to share. I'd also split it over two cars - which could allow a rise up to 20 cabins, 10 per car - in order to also fit in facilities such as showers, bathrooms and possibly a lounge. Hey, this is a premium cabin!)

But it just goes to show, in the XPT there are 18 beds in a sleeper, EC has 68 seats, hence the ticket price needs to be nearly 4 x higher for the railway to cover the cost. For a FF pax, you really need to love train travel to pay that over EC for a 1500km trip instead of flying. XPT FC is just over 1.2 x the price and hence not much to upgrade for more legroom and better seats.
"RTT_Rules"
Eeeeexactly. That's sort of why J fares cost that much more than Y fares.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Don't know the width of the seats, but you will find they are narrow. The width of the train is a bit deceiving as the Qld trains don't have the full width profile high and low on the train like NSW. Hence they tapper up and down of the widest point. The Tilting aspect maybe requires this more so than standard cars. Hence I think there is an issue with a high level sleeper bunk running sideways perpenticular to the direction of the travel.

These two photos show it somewhat

http://media2.apnonline.com.au/img/media/images/2013/04/09/GGT_10-04-2013_EGN_05_GYM040913train7976_fct1024x630x64_t460.jpg

http://i626.photobucket.com/albums/tt348/NZJeremy/QRTiltTrain.jpg

compare that to this

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-gt3GWlwULBs/UA05HhkSg4I/AAAAAAAABAg/JnReNsWxe8A/s400/04+XPT+-+Don+Jones.jpg

This maybe why (I think) the proposed sleepers were not the usual bunks or different arrangement to the usual we see on QR and XPT.

If the bed is 6" long (XPT are slightly shorter than my 6'4"), then even at the max width, there is barely just over 3 feet (90cm) for the car wall thickness, cabin internal wall, corridore and some minor space at the ends of the bed. Potentially the lack of sleepers are simply a victim of the QR skinny gauage and the car tappering for the tilt requirements.


Edit: I've used both XPT and QR sleeper and I'm fairly sure the passage way on the QR sleeper's is much narrower. If I recall, I believe I have an image of Catrina Rowntree from Ch9 Getway in formal get up looking a tad uncomfortable as yes squeezed past a guy on the GSPE and while she is tall with a nice rack, she is hardly fat, hence I think the CTT cars with their tappered sides would be worse.

I think the CCT cars are about 22m long, so allow 2m for each berth and a spot at the end for dunny and shower and door you have say 20m of usable space. so 9-10 berths each side. Say 1m for the bed width, thats 2m of the width gone already and you only have 2.7-2.8m to play with. In India they do this but there are no cabins in Economy sleeping, just open bunks.  (First Class sleepers are however the best sleep I have ever had on a train. Very wide and more than adequete for my 1.92m length and surprising long for a short'ish population.) So no I don't think you can have two rows following the length of the train.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
Don't know the width of the seats, but you will find they are narrow. The width of the train is a bit deceiving as the Qld trains don't have the full width profile high and low on the train like NSW. Hence they tapper up and down of the widest point. The Tilting aspect maybe requires this more so than standard cars. Hence I think there is an issue with a high level sleeper bunk running sideways perpenticular to the direction of the travel.

These two photos show it somewhat

http://media2.apnonline.com.au/img/media/images/2013/04/09/GGT_10-04-2013_EGN_05_GYM040913train7976_fct1024x630x64_t460.jpg

http://i626.photobucket.com/albums/tt348/NZJeremy/QRTiltTrain.jpg

compare that to this

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-gt3GWlwULBs/UA05HhkSg4I/AAAAAAAABAg/JnReNsWxe8A/s400/04+XPT+-+Don+Jones.jpg

This maybe why (I think) the proposed sleepers were not the usual bunks or different arrangement to the usual we see on QR and XPT.
"RTT_Rules"
Yeeeeah, but the cars used for the sleeper trains don't have the tapered sides.

If the bed is 6" long (XPT are slightly shorter than my 6'4"), then even at the max width, there is barely just over 3 feet (90cm) for the car wall thickness, cabin internal wall, corridore and some minor space at the ends of the bed. Potentially the lack of sleepers are simply a victim of the QR skinny gauage and the car tappering for the tilt requirements.
"RTT_Rules"
That's why I suggested longitudinal rather than transverse berths.

Say you have 9' inside the car after all the 'stuff' is accounted for. If we give each bed 30" (2'6"), we still have 4' which we can rationalise using a zig-zag corridor to provide useful additional space.

Edit: I've used both XPT and QR sleeper and I'm fairly sure the passage way on the QR sleeper's is much narrower. If I recall, I believe I have an image of Catrina Rowntree from Ch9 Getway in formal get up looking a tad uncomfortable as yes squeezed past a guy on the GSPE and while she is tall with a nice rack, she is hardly fat, hence I think the CTT cars with their tappered sides would be worse.
"RTT_Rules"
lol @ rack reference

Only one way to find out, really, and that's to take a measuring tape up to Brissy... (and yes, I once walked onto an XPT at Sydney Terminal, measured the seats, noted down the values in inches and alighted.)

I think the CCT cars are about 22m long, so allow 2m for each berth and a spot at the end for dunny and shower and door you have say 20m of usable space. so 9-10 berths each side. Say 1m for the bed width, thats 2m of the width gone already and you only have 2.7-2.8m to play with. In India they do this but there are no cabins in Economy sleeping, just open bunks.  (First Class sleepers are however the best sleep I have ever had on a train. Very wide and more than adequete for my 1.92m length and surprising long for a short'ish population.) So no I don't think you can have two rows following the length of the train.
"RTT_Rules"
Yes you can, use a zig-zag corridor as per the LAN cars of the SNora.

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