XPT Replacement Discussion

 
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Two years into this fred and still no closer to a replacement.

The guvmnt seems content with the current arrangements and not in a hurry to order new trains.
cootanee

for one reason, there is nothing wrong with the XPT that warrants replacement now. Yes maintenance costs are higher than 20 years ago. I'm sure that applies to all locos and compared to the former govt rail operators the private operators seem quite content to run older stuff longer, obviously doing the sums and acting accordingly.

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  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Don'ttellmywife's last post and all of page 34 has suddenly disappeared after I read. But pretty much on the costs and other I totally agree.

The govt in the 90's didn't just replace the aging loco hauled with XPT to pisss off the punters. It was done to save the interstate. Its been stated many a time post XPT the interstate services increased ridership. The old loco hauleds were burning money big time and would never have survived cheap air fares. if people want to see what would have happened, look no further than Qld.

Qld continued to run loco hauled until now (and for only a short time longer). The reality is the trains are dying. They are less than half their length (in 2009 when I last looked0 than they were in 1998 when I moved to Qld, and they don't get the big discount airfares like interstate capital to capital.

I am not sure how true the statements were, but we used to here it was cheaper for the govt to fly people interstate first class (airlines used to have FC) than use the train. I don't think such costs should be born by the taxpayer, especially when there is a practical alternative that can offer the same if not more. ie flying. The govt got rid of the loco hauled for financial reasons, the XPT saved the interstate. GSR and GPSE have both tried and failed running any sort of regular interstate service in the traditional loco hauled.

The old comment you wake up refreshed for a meeting using a sleeper rather than catching an early flight is marginal. For some yes, not all of us. Also it implies that you want to spend 3 days/2nights away from family. Personally I'd rather wake up slightly earlier and then get home for dinner. Typically when I have flown interstate for meeting, at airport between 6 and 7, on plane arrive office 9-10, finish 4-5. I don't walk into a meeting with my eyes hanging out of my head and often get a light doze on home found flight. If I wasn't so tall I might sleep better. If the day needs to be longer/earlier start, then it may involve overnight at a hotel. But you can leave very late the night before after spending some time with kids.  Syd - Brisb doesn't offer reasonable overnight travel due to duration.

while travelling home from uni by chance at Uni caught one of the last Syd-Mel O/N trains. I remember sitting in the dinning car with the protest going around for people to sign and listening to some business type guys talk on how this was the wrong thing to do using the above reasons why it should stay. I wonder how quick they would be to come back?

Personally I do think it would be nice to see  Amtrak/sleeper style service running between the east coast capitals with a much improved running time to Brisbane. Both leaving after 7-8pm, but arriving around 7am. If it could work for less than 25% subsidy on FF ticket and train was >50% FF tickets I'd say give it a go, but it won't.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Really , you don't have a clue do you - so much BS .

XPTs bought to be cheaper than the loco hauled and the savoir of long distance travel ie Brisbane and Melbourne ?
I worked on the tools at Meeks Road in the middle 1980s and the term Expensive Plastic Toy was an understatement . The hundreds of millions those ship boxes cost AFTER purchase and the "preventative" maintenance had to be seen to be believed , sometimes near a full block of cylinder sets going in overnight and changing out 3 to 5 was an every day occurrence . Can you image how long EDI or United would stay in business if EMD or GE diesels were like this ?
Second hand welded and ground axles supplied out of Blighty until Comsteel started making them locally .
And the Napier turbos that literally blew up with monotonous regularity .
Every second day the aluminium cooling groups cracked and gushed green blood , great ugly lumps of welded and re-welded aluminium to try to seal them up .
X power cars were an unholy uneconomic POS for many many years and only the threat of egg on face kept the ginormous costs hidden from the public . Comenge Revenge doesn't only relate to 80 classes .

And then guess what ? The dear new running times didn't look so good did they so in their wisdom rail management reduced the loco hauled trains speed boards in an attempt to make the new flop look a tad better !
If a bit more effort went into the loco hauled trains they would have performed better . The 81s and Gs could have gone on them from the outset and should have replaced the Alco wheeze bags on the North trains from the same time .
I know what the Melbourne Express felt like to drive with a single G up the highlands and it was pathetic , they really needed two engines and SRA could have got more than 80 81 classes in the day . Be interesting to know what an 81 cost compared to an X power car back then .  

And we're back to comparing Sydney Melbourne/Brisbane trains to planes , not much good to rural folks - planes ...
Semis beat the X to Melbourne - by several hours , busses are looking better and cheaper .
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
So the trains purchased by ALP govt were so bad the opposition never brought this to the media in opposition or only a few years later as govt. The LNP then a few years later bought some more and expanded these diasastors to the interstate capitals and basically introduced the backbone of their very intensive shedule today and removed the loco hauled at same time.

Im not chalenging the issues with engines in early days. But 30yrs later they still work what is probably the most intense diesel schedule out there. Would be interesting to compare their average annual km to PNs average for its loco fleet. So they cannot be that bad now.
  Transtopic Assistant Commissioner

I agree with Trainplanner that all intrastate regional services should be operated by Explorers or their equivalent and upgraded XPT's be focused on the interstate routes to Melbourne and Brisbane with increased frequency, say, 3 times a day to Melbourne and twice a day to Brisbane.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Im still waiting for someone to actually explain why the XPT needs to be replaced.
Not just supposition and railfan hearsay, but some actual facts.
MD


Because if things continue to blunder on as they do now, at some stage someone will find stress fractures in the XP frames, and that will be it for the rail service.

Further, while CL continues to cost so much more than busses doing the same thing, there is going to be pressure to axe the rail service.

If those aren't good enough reasons, what is?
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

yes, certainly good reasons to have replacement options on the radar.

But I would add that it is not just the XPT showing its age.

The Xplorer units also seem to have 'mechanical' and 'operational' issues with relentless regularity. The poor old Moree service for example gets cancelled on a regular basis, as do various Canberra runs. Can you really imagine the Xplorers staggering on for another decade?
The silence from the government on replacement options is deafening. They would be all too aware of the issues, and so we await their next move. Meanwhile, whoever has the emergency XPT/Xplorer bus replacement contracts must be doing very nicely. Regular work and no doubt handsomely paid.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Because if things continue to blunder on as they do now, at some stage someone will find stress fractures in the XP frames, and that will be it for the rail service.

Further, while CL continues to cost so much more than busses doing the same thing, there is going to be pressure to axe the rail service.

If those aren't good enough reasons, what is?
djf01

Who says its a blunder? The govt past and present have the performance data. $X many billion have been allocated for other rail upgrades such as V-set + NWRL + LR etc etc. Perhaps the kitty is simply bare. Just because some proponents say the XPT's are stuffed doesn't mean they are and even if so the govt has the ability to do anything about it right now. If anything it will be an election announcement, which means announced next year for replacement starting within the next 4 years.

Replacement may not actually mean the cost will drop below that of a bus!
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
RTT the story was that NSW threw bulk bux at the X in the way of genuine parts and they just kept failing again and again and again .
Eventually CL sourced some locally made parts and basically tossed the Paxman WSMs in the bin and started using settings from other things . Slowly but surely they got more reliable but engineering over design often gives that result in an under developed product .
I'll bet you weren't there at Meeks to see half a dozen annihilated Paxmans changed out with brand new crate engines free of charge inc labour when they spilled their guts all over the engine room floor .
Australian mechanical and engineering brains are considered to be pretty good and you'd think 30 years worth of "after sales" development would eventually iron out the bugs .
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
RTT the story was that NSW threw bulk bux at the X in the way of genuine parts and they just kept failing again and again and again .
Eventually CL sourced some locally made parts and basically tossed the Paxman WSMs in the bin and started using settings from other things . Slowly but surely they got more reliable but engineering over design often gives that result in an under developed product .
I'll bet you weren't there at Meeks to see half a dozen annihilated Paxmans changed out with brand new crate engines free of charge inc labour when they spilled their guts all over the engine room floor .
Australian mechanical and engineering brains are considered to be pretty good and you'd think 30 years worth of "after sales" development would eventually iron out the bugs .
BDA

Thanks and agree.

Now do you think the XPT is the only project to have the same issue. Maybe by opinion of "yes it happens and life has moved on" is driven very hard by what I am seeing right now today at the plant and project I am working on. Nothing to do with rail and diesel engines, but the parallels are amazing. Project Team is trying to get vendor to fix their system. Ops (me) want them to close the contract get the vendor in off the site so we can do what needs to be done faster and without the company politics.

Now, the Wran ALP govt had a path it wanted to go with the XPT and yes they got sold some lemon's, but with the skill of the locals they have been made reliable. As far as I know, two separate LNP govts since have not use this issue as amo against the former ALP govt on buying crap, so assume the issues were contained and resolved.

Now today, is the XPT that unreliable that it must be replaced urgently?
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

[Quote="rtt_rules"]who says its a blunder[/quote]

I do obviously.  I think it you'll be pushing uphill to describe NSWs approach to rolling stock procurement in any other way.

Essentially there have been virtually no changes in productivity since the early 1990s.  There is no questio this was a vast improvement over the 1980s.  But some of that legacy remains.  For instance the Casion xpt is really the Gold Coast Motor Rail in the timetable, just no-one has dared formerly cancel it, it's been done by stealth.  Since then it's been a case of noone daring to rock the boat.  The excessive costs of CL were laid bare in the Parry report which is nearly 15 years old.  And He raised the issue of the need to replace the xpt as wel as its hih maintenance costs.

As for being more expensive than busses, my view is that if rail operations are to have a sustainable future, this is far more important than nominating "thre trains a day minimum".
  a6et Minister for Railways

When the XPT was designed & promoted the concept pushed was that it simply was meant as a regional replacement train for the old DEB sets & similar.  The Tag of Intercity Express train was also applied, the design was a modification of the BR HST intercity expresses & that tag stuck, just the title of the train changed from HST to XPT.

Early on there was a lot of issues to overcome especially the factor of the HST as a straight replacement  would & could not cope with the terrain of the NSW track, grades as well as climate, more especially the heat, bare in mind that if the temperature in the UK gets above 29 degrees its classed as heat wave & extreme weather.

Initial areas to receive the train were Albury owing to it being the only line where once it got past Junee & limited spots south of Glbn, it could show its speed, if CTC was in operation, thus the gimick of the Highway patrol speed readout of of 184Km/h, next was Grafton for the NC Dayligh- Dubbo & Armidale. Some other lines were to have train connections but primarilly a vast network of bus connections was had, somewhat succesfull but likewise not.

In the early stages they suffered badly in the heat, & the overall bringing out of the British equipment on them. The talk of smooth ride etc, was another furphy, yep was nice when sitting down but the roughness of the old tracks, & not much better these days would through people around when walking through the aisles.  When I walked the aisles it reminded me of trying to balance & fire steam loco's especially 36 & 38cl at speed as the tender went one way & the engine the other.

The initial buffet service was good, today, a shame.

Point is, that those trains were incapable of providing the services running to just the regional areas, without seperate & extra spares, something picked up on early. The Paxman motors were high maintenance & a credit to those who serviced them but they were not really up to the extensive work they did. Only the High speed abilities on the far south provided them with any real potential.

Todays Daylight to Casino is just the extension of the old loco hauled daylight, the overnight service to Brisbane is a purpose built train designed & tabled to lose out & be done away with owing to stupid times.  The middayish service to Grafton also is a pathetic TT & does not provide the same service as the old one.

The CWE or Dubbo XPT is a waste, & always was owing to the return timings, for those from the rural centres.

The Melbourne services for mine are too long & also seating poorly designed for a train of that timing, same applies to the Brisbane service, if 3 hours were cut off not so much a problem.  The factor that the Victorian government wanted the extra train & sleepers meant one spare XP was built to cover the whole fleet.

Today, while they still fail, consider the mileage they still do over track that has only 2 primary differences to the 80's & probably 90's, all heavier & welded rails, & concrete sleepers, yet the speed is lower.  The majority of the grades have not changed one iota, either both are huge handicaps.

Governents are there to make the electorate laugh, or perhaps cry in the end, as they promise the world when in election mode, tell how wide they consult their constituents, yet in the main they just hand shake the faithfull, kiss & make babies spew & try to turn away, & walk past the ordinary elector especially one who is after answers to their questions.

If & when the XPT & even Explorers end up being replaced, it will be by whatever convenient means those people who know everything, & let on nothing will decide, be it a straight replacement of a similar but more modern design, construction & equipment, same conditions with a DMU style like the Exploders, or buses on our wonderul rural highways, competing with & avoiding the masses of expanding heavy high speed trucks.

If they decide on rail as the option to go for, they will only work if the timetables reflect the needs of those who use them, be they old farts & families, younger people, tourists or whoever, also some effort to get them to run at a reasonable enough speed to get to the destinations in reasonable times.
  boromisa Junior Train Controller

The CWE or Dubbo XPT is a waste, & always was owing to the return timings, for those from the rural centres.

The Melbourne services for mine are too long & also seating poorly designed for a train of that timing, same applies to the Brisbane service, if 3 hours were cut off not so much a problem. The factor that the Victorian government wanted the extra train & sleepers meant one spare XP was built to cover the whole fleet.

a6et

I agree. Seating is a big issue. Even in the first class. Some consultant thought European model of train travel would be appropriate for 10+ hour trips.

Open cabin is also an issue for longer trips. You can stand conversations, people blowing their noses and kids crying only for so long.  I think that at least in first class there should be some sort of comfort. I would be happy with OBB RailJet premium seating in first class.

http://www.vagonweb.cz/fotogalerie/A/OeBB_Afmpz-8090-7.php

Overall I would be happy if XPT was replaced by it, with one exception that seating needs to be improved in second class and possibly have a sleeper for O/N services.

I also find it difficult that XPT gets overwhelmed with diesel fumes especially if you are close to loco. Traveled on ICE TD and this was not the case.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Overall I'd be happy if somebody else paid for me to travel everywhere in relative luxury.  But it would be bloody rude of me to expect that.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I agree. Seating is a big issue. Even in the first class. Some consultant thought European model of train travel would be appropriate for 10+ hour trips.

Open cabin is also an issue for longer trips. You can stand conversations, people blowing their noses and kids crying only for so long. I think that at least in first class there should be some sort of comfort. I would be happy with OBB RailJet premium seating in first class.

http://www.vagonweb.cz/fotogalerie/A/OeBB_Afmpz-8090-7.php

Overall I would be happy if XPT was replaced by it, with one exception that seating needs to be improved in second class and possibly have a sleeper for O/N services.

I also find it difficult that XPT gets overwhelmed with diesel fumes especially if you are close to loco. Traveled on ICE TD and this was not the case.
boromisa

Never had an issue myself with diesel fumes, but not saying it doesn't happen especially in tunnels or if the wind is just wrong at a certain location. I looked up the ICE TD, its basically a 4 car DMU permanently coupled together with each car having an underfloor Prime Mover 560kW powering electric traction motors. So each car has a small exhaust which would reduce the fumes for the front cars and enable easier dispersion. The XPT has two units, one doing the bulk of the pulling at the front with a 1500kW prime mover, so maybe this is why. But having a single 3000kW diesel at the front shouldn't make it better.

Not the view by the Germans of the ICE TD "The ICE TD units were plagued by technical problems from the start". And within a few years of being commissioned they were mothballed for a few years until demand increased. So perhaps the Germans want to sell them?


Anyway this is the type of train I was thinking would be the potential replacement for the XPT. 3 and 4 car sets to provide flexibility for different routes and can be joined together. I believe there may also be a move towards not running all engines equally in this style configuration, rather the lead car engine opens up first and if more power is required, the 2nd car engine cuts in and so on. This is supposed to save fuel and overall engine hours. The computer manages the engines and delivers the power the driver asks for in the most economical way.


Seats and interior can be improved on to control noise better than XPT fit out.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
for one reason, there is nothing wrong with the XPT that warrants replacement now.
RTT_Rules



The SMH printed this 2 years ago:

"A confidential analysis into CountryLink reveals the state's ageing long-distance train fleet is suffering ''fatigue and corrosion issues'' and replacement parts are becoming difficult to obtain. The report was prepared last year at the request of the head of Transport for NSW, Les Wielinga. It says planning for a new fleet is urgent because it could take up to seven years to receive a new train.
''The existing XPT fleet requires either replacement or a significant upgrade by 2018 to ensure the continuation of reliable country rail services in NSW,'' the report says."

Then TrainLink put this out a year ago, which does not mention any concept of 'replacing them', just keep them going until they die.

Penny Sharpe keeps going on about how they need to be replaced.

I strongly believe more and more that 'this' government has no intention of replacing them with another state operated train.
  boromisa Junior Train Controller

Overall I'd be happy if somebody else paid for me to travel everywhere in relative luxury. But it would be bloody rude of me to expect that.
donttellmywife

If you think that it is all doom why do you even bother commenting on passenger related topics?
  boromisa Junior Train Controller

Never had an issue myself with diesel fumes, but not saying it doesn't happen especially in tunnels or if the wind is just wrong at a certain location. I looked up the ICE TD, its basically a 4 car DMU permanently coupled together with each car having an underfloor Prime Mover 560kW powering electric traction motors. So each car has a small exhaust which would reduce the fumes for the front cars and enable easier dispersion. The XPT has two units, one doing the bulk of the pulling at the front with a 1500kW prime mover, so maybe this is why. But having a single 3000kW diesel at the front shouldn't make it better.

Not the view by the Germans of the ICE TD "The ICE TD units were plagued by technical problems from the start". And within a few years of being commissioned they were mothballed for a few years until demand increased. So perhaps the Germans want to sell them?


Anyway this is the type of train I was thinking would be the potential replacement for the XPT. 3 and 4 car sets to provide flexibility for different routes and can be joined together. I believe there may also be a move towards not running all engines equally in this style configuration, rather the lead car engine opens up first and if more power is required, the 2nd car engine cuts in and so on. This is supposed to save fuel and overall engine hours. The computer manages the engines and delivers the power the driver asks for in the most economical way.


Seats and interior can be improved on to control noise better than XPT fit out.
RTT_Rules


ICE TD is so quiet you don't even get impression that you are traveling on a diesel set. I traveled between Copenhagen and Berlin on one of these. It is very nice although comfort is limited as they tried to condense a classic ICE set into 4 car setting. One of the reasons for this is so that it can fit on a ferry between Putgarden and Rodby.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY6vVMd4RJM

Most of these (I think 6 sets) have been transferred to DSB and I understand that they are very happy with them (or at least they have less problems than IC4).

http://www.bahnbilder.de/1200/gut-schaut-er-aus-mit-777926.jpg

They will be decommissioned when the undersea tunnel is built between Denmark and Germany in few years time.

I would prefer RailJet rather than ICE TD, simply because you have ability to add or subtract cars as you need rather than have a permanent fixture.... and comfort is much better.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xvzrz-Litpk

The only difficulty is that Taurus loco is currently available only in electric edition but that shouldn't be a problem since they are building locos for Amtrak.

http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/traction-rolling-stock/single-view/view/siemens-selected-for-200-kmh-us-passenger-locomotive-order.html
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
The ICE TD didn't seem to get raving commentary in Wiki.

But yes agree, comments by some about DMU's being noisy and lots of vibration is really referencing older or more poorly design and/or maintain DMU's.

About 7 years back when my boy was pushing 2 we used to go down to the Callomunda coal terminal (near Gladstone) and watch trains into and out of the coal terminal and the adjacent main line and behind us 100m away through the thick trees was the Moura line. One day we had a three way lash up of empty 2300's go past on Moura, an electric empty coalie leave the terminal and then a loaded 4000/4100 class come from a hill start towards the terminal. Guess which was the quietest by far? Those 4000/4100 almost sound like they are electric with a distinct but very quiet whine to them. No thumbing or what appears to be vibration.

The only reason I suggest semi permanent sets over individual rail cars is I think you can get a better fit out and through car connection. Looking a few similar styled modern models, it also appears the trains are better setup electrically and mechanically for traction as the cars share certain facilities rather assume they have to be 100% self contained on nearly everything. The gang ways should also be better designed thus giving that modern open access through the train. May also be cheaper? But open to correction. Are the Vline Velocity cars moved around around that much?

If replacing the both EXPLR and XPT trains over a single period, you could acquire a series 2, 3 and 4 car sets as you have a fleet of something like 70-80 cars which provide plenty of flexibility.

For example
4 car sets maybe set up for the interstate services with
- Driver-Sleeper
- FC seater - Buffet
- EC seater
- EC-luggage-crew-Driver

3 car set for both interstate and intrastate
- Driver - FC seater - Buffet
- EC seater
- EC-luggage - crew - Driver

2 car set for  intrastate
- Driver - FC seater - Buffet
- EC-luggage - crew - Driver

Perhaps the divider for EC seating and luggage is adjustable to enable luggage requirements to match the set length. Thus in the two car model you would have as much space for luggage as the 3/4 car set model.
  boromisa Junior Train Controller

The ICE TD didn't seem to get raving commentary in Wiki.


The only reason I suggest semi permanent sets over individual rail cars is I think you can get a better fit out and through car connection. Looking a few similar styled modern models, it also appears the trains are better setup electrically and mechanically for traction as the cars share certain facilities rather assume they have to be 100% self contained on nearly everything. The gang ways should also be better designed thus giving that modern open access through the train. May also be cheaper? But open to correction. Are the Vline Velocity cars moved around around that much?

If replacing the both EXPLR and XPT trains over a single period, you could acquire a series 2, 3 and 4 car sets as you have a fleet of something like 70-80 cars which provide plenty of flexibility.

For example
4 car sets maybe set up for the interstate services with
- Driver-Sleeper
- FC seater - Buffet
- EC seater
- EC-luggage-crew-Driver

3 car set for both interstate and intrastate
- Driver - FC seater - Buffet
- EC seater
- EC-luggage - crew - Driver

2 car set for intrastate
- Driver - FC seater - Buffet
- EC-luggage - crew - Driver

Perhaps the divider for EC seating and luggage is adjustable to enable luggage requirements to match the set length. Thus in the two car model you would have as much space for luggage as the 3/4 car set model.
RTT_Rules

I think fit outs are pretty similar on trains these days. Having traveled on both RailJet and ICE TD I must say that RailJet wins for comfort and quality of seats. Siemens did a really good job as it is combined two options; cheap seats for the punter who wants to save and really really good premium class. Their premium class is way better than anything on the market now. I think it would be suitable here cause you can add or subtract carriages and you can easily redeploy locos as with fixed sets it's bit more difficult. This video shows the interior.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KV1G58ot71k#t=46

The only advantage of ICE TD is that it has tilting technology whether the RailJet does not. I think part of the problem was that DB wanted longer trains as well and they also like having pull push option more as they can redeploy assets much better. They did have a lot of issues (tilting system and brakes) and were banned as well but all that seems to be rectified and DSB is happy with it.

I agree about having shorter sets and/or sets with less facilities etc for shorter runs. I think one of the failures of the current system is that they haven't ordered enough XPLs and certainly not enough intermediate cars which would somewhat lift pressure on XPT fleet (which wasn't designed to do long runs anyway).
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I went on a tour of the Boeing factory in 2003. I remember quite clearly what the companies tour host said at the end.

"Do not blame Boeing for seating spacing or quality of seats or general fit out, this is all fitted to the direction of the customer (airline)"
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
If you think that it is all doom why do you even bother commenting on passenger related topics?
boromisa

I don't think it is all doom - as I've made clear many times before on this site.

Even if I did - a discussion forum is for discussion!

But I absolutely think there is very little prospect for long distance premium class rail transport that would require a very heavy government subsidy.  I've presented a fair bit of stuff that supports my view that a heavy government subsidy is exactly what would be required if you went down that path.  Critique away if you think that what I've put forward is wrong, but I've got history on my side.

Beyond that - I don't think there should be a prospect for that sort of service - heavily subsidising long distance premium class passenger rail is an absurd waste of society's resources.  Tax the poor to pay for the rich type silliness.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
There is no market for a commercially viable or evenly lightly subsidized Southern Aurora style rail travel along the east coast anymore. As I said before, you would be lucky to fill a 2-3 car train.

The Sydney to Melbourne line needs alot more than the ARTC birthday to improve the viabiity of rail for pax and freight. The Sydney to Melbourne line has nearly 100km of excessive distance over road, this alone adds over 1hr to the current trip.

If the line was built to a reasonable international standard. Say no less than 80km/hr bends for freights, at least 50km of excessive trackage removed through diversions, +90% duplication from Macurthur to Broadmeadow and allow the XPT to achieve 160km/hr over most sections of track where the freights can do 115km/hr. Then we wouldn't have an issue with the XPT being considered "slow". The trip should come down below 7hr and in the process probably pick a few million tonnes of freight off the trucks.

But know, we have the HSR as a diversion of what needs to be done.
  johnboy Chief Commissioner

Location: Up the road from Gulgong
The track won't be changed to any of these destinations to increase speed and I agree that HSR is just a political diversion for a number of reasons. It will never happen as commercial aircraft is becoming quieter and more efficient.

Public transport for the people out here in the country will only keep heading towards the road. I often see the Lithgow Coonabarabran bus (aka Gwagebar line) going through Gulgong/Mudgee, it is lucky to have more than 20 people on a Monday or Friday, the rest of the days is much less.

My guess is the XPT will just be maintained until it can no longer and either be replaced by the equivalent of the Xplorer or a bus... or nothing and let Mr Private Bus Company do the run.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

The ICE TD didn't seem to get raving commentary in Wiki.

...

If replacing the both EXPLR and XPT trains over a single period, you could acquire a series 2, 3 and 4 car sets as you have a fleet of something like 70-80 cars which provide plenty of flexibility.

For example
4 car sets maybe set up for the interstate services with
- Driver-Sleeper
- FC seater - Buffet
- EC seater
- EC-luggage-crew-Driver

3 car set for both interstate and intrastate
- Driver - FC seater - Buffet
- EC seater
- EC-luggage - crew - Driver

2 car set for intrastate
- Driver - FC seater - Buffet
- EC-luggage - crew - Driver

Perhaps the divider for EC seating and luggage is adjustable to enable luggage requirements to match the set length. Thus in the two car model you would have as much space for luggage as the 3/4 car set model.
RTT_Rules


I'm going to refer everyone to a table I drew up a while back (and may have even posted it in this thread):



For the most part the numbers were taken from ARTC published documents for rates, and the inland rail project feasibility studies for crewing, loco and wagon maintenance costs & fuel usage.

The intention was to compare various operating scenarios against busses.

A few pertinent points are:
- The *best* way to improve productivity/reduce costs is speed.  Fuel is more expensive per km, access is the same, but everything else is less.  Alas this is highly impractical in NSW, even with ICE TDs.
- The next best way to improve productivity is scale.  More seats for the same cost.  Cost per train increases, but not as much as the number of seats.  The reverse is true too, and very small trains are particularly cost ineffective (on a seat per km basis).
- Using my crude revenue model of $0.10/km, XPT services should break even (operationally) with loadings of (paying passengers) 53/60%.  That's so long as you ignore all the railcorp overheads (staffed stations among other things).  This is the argument for privatisation.
- Another way of squeezing more out of an MU is by adding a trailer, as per the 3 car V'Locity sets.  For small regional trains in Europe this is most definitely the trend: by adding articulated segments to get the seat count up in an otherwise tiny train.  
- It is worth comparing the 4 car XPT with the 4 car explorer service.  The Xplorer is cheaper and has a few more seats.  But the XPT would be cheaper with a single power car.
- In the model above, the ICE TDs would probably have very similar operating economics to a 4 car explorer set: costing ~$1100/hr to operate and have ~200 seats.  About twice the cost per seat of a bus.

In MUs, a 3 car V'Locity operating in NSW (ie at 80kph) with a crew of just 2 (ie no buffet or checked luggage) would almost match the financial performance of a bus.  Not something I'm advocating BTW.

I'll briefly come back to the ICE TDs.  *If* they could operate on the main south at an *average* of 120kph including stops (that's a big mud-hole if), that'd make Sydney-Melbourne an 8 hr trip, and Aulbury-Sydney a 6hr trip.  3 such sets running Sydney-Melb, Melb-Sydney and Albury-Sydney-Albury would represent 28hrs of train ops at $1350/hr.  This compares with ~24hrs of train operation at $1475/hr with the XPTs.  This is a substantially better service (if it could be achieved of course), but it's not exactly any cheaper for the government to provide.

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