XPT Replacement Discussion

 
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
There are two big problems providing for workers/commuters.  The first one is the route length.  If places are close enough to reasonably commute, then they have commuter trains.  The other is the curfew.
djf01


There are regular calls for a higher quality of service (comfort, travel time) for the more distant reaches of the interurban network, not so much from Monday to Friday commuters (because the current travel time is impractical for most sane people), but from the semi-regular user base (i.e. the Monday and Friday (only) users).  This group of users is a perfect target market for regional rail services - it is a market of reasonable size, the level of the fare is not so critical because the passenger is only paying it twice a week or so and they are likely earning a reasonable wage, time of service is not critical as long as it meets basic requirements (that is - the train doesn't need to arrive at 8:59 and depart 17:01 - early inbound and late outbound shoulder timing is fine) and the additional level of service offered with regional trains is valued.  A rail service operating in this role has a number of competitive strengths over road (which is currently has the biggest market share) in terms of avoiding road congestion and providing more utility time for the traveller, and a clear advantage over air in terms of cost and many other quality factors.

If regional rail is to survive, it is markets like these that need to be pursued.

This is where we really disagree.  I see rail's main competitor as buses, and their main market to provide CSO PT services.  The main reason we have trains is people like them.  They prefer them to buses and this is reflected in the way people vote.

This is why I advocate things like (some) 2+3 seating and a more basic service.  No arm rest?  Shock horror!!  Do you get one on a road coach?  

Trains shouldn't try to compete with the airlines, they already cherry pick those willing to pay more for a faster/better service.  For rail to have a future I think it needs to do two things:
- offer a cost base at least comparable with road coaches
- off a service that is better than buses.

On the latter point, it only needs to be a bit better, not substantially better.
At the risk of focussing on a detail, I've certainly travelled on coaches with arm rests.  

A real preference for a particular mode, that is - where a passenger actually makes a decision about which mode to use -  is based on a full range of attributes about the competing services, not just in-vehicle comfort (not that I think current NSW regional fleet seating offers much over a typical long distance coach - the comfort benefits of rail are more around being able to get up and walk around and perhaps a greater seat pitch).  A critical attribute of a service is its cost.  When you say people "prefer" trains to buses, you are not describing a real choice - you are simply looking at one attribute of the service.  If the artificial insulation of passengers from the real cost of the rail service was removed (or the subsidy was equivalently applied to other modes) then real choice would indicate a very different "preference" for many of the current services.

Otherwise, when you say people "prefer" rail over buses, you are simply stating something along the lines of "I find first class air travel much more comfortable than economy air travel".  Of course it is more comfortable, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to choose it!  It is the real choice that is important.  

I agree that trains shouldn't try and compete with the major airlines on the major air routes - it hasn't a chance in terms of time or cost.  I disagree that air is cherry picking in these times though - look at the aviation versus rail passenger statistics I listed above - that's not cherry picking - that's taking the entire damn tree and leaving just a stump in the ground.

Given that - relying on votes to secure a future for rail is a strategy that will fail one day.  Voting is ultimately about the rule of the [hopefully] benevolent majority.  In NSW the majority live in places that for which regional rail is pretty much completely irrelevant.  The rail versus aviation travel statistics above then go to show that even in the regions, regional rail in its current form is becoming increasingly irrelevant, catering for a diminishing minority of users.  In terms of the benevolence aspect - there are arguments around accessibility to transport being a good social thing, but those arguments are around transport modes in general, not rail specifically, and are more focussed around local services rather than travelling interstate or past you nearest major regional centre.  Something can also be well and truly accessible without it having to be very cheap for everyone.  The social benefit of the services don't compare favourably with their cost to society.

The reason that we have regional trains is not because they deliver a vital community service today - the reason that we have regional trains in many cases today is because we had regional trains eighty years ago, back when they were a vital service because there was often no other practical choice for passenger transport.  Arguing about community service obligations and whatnot in today's environment is just retrospective justification, their existence today is due to inertia, inertia that will one day cease to be sufficient to keep them running.  If regional rail wants a sustainable future then it needs to find a role such that its prospective users will make a real choice for it over competing modes.

I also think the financial leverage associated with higher density seating is limited.  Higher density seating is used on the shorter distance services in order to maximise set capacity to accommodate demand, plus very practical aspects such as being able to fit trains into platforms.  Comfort is far less important to mode choice when you are only spending 60 minutes or so in-vehicle.  Those aspects are nowhere near as significant for regional rail, and travellers place far more importance on comfort.  There is a capital and operating cost consideration to the area occupied by each seat, but if you went down that path I think you would lose more in revenue, even with the level of subsidy today, than you gain in cost savings.  There is no point running an empty train.

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  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
And there are ten engines on a five car Explorer or a five car Velocity, and two on a five car XPT.
M636C
The same criteria need to be applied when looking at examples and making the distributed versus concentrated decision.  

In the above, the reason that there are separate auxilliary and tractions engines per DMU car is because it made sense to do so, given the design criteria and available technology - for example having a independent auxiliary engine may allow you to turn off the main traction engine during long dwells at stations, or give you an auxiliary power supply that is not subject to variations in traction requirements.  Those criteria scale to the concentrated engine case, unless there is a physical size restriction that comes into play with the DMU (which I doubt, given the relative size of the auxiliary load to traction load).  But a different decision - having a combined traction and auxilliary engine - has been made with the XPT - which implies to me that different design criteria were used for that decision.

Which is a long winded way of saying the correct comparison is five versus two, or ten versus four, unless you can come up with a technical reason (same technology base) why combined traction and auxiliary power is more feasible in the XPT case than in the Xplorer case.

(I think a consequence of that decision with the XPT is the annoying way the ventilation in the passenger saloons cycle - which I suspect is to accommodate high traction power demand, but perhaps I am wrong and it is just a clunky ventilation system.)
  robertc Chief Train Controller

Personally I don't see any need to replace the XPT or Xplorers at this time. They might need some refurbishing but replacement is just a continuation of the money wasting posturing taken by politicians when vote seeking.

What is required first is a service that is useful to country people. Only then can rolling stock be assessed for suitability.

E.g. talking to people who live up on the north coastal strip, a Sydney service is not what they need. They access most services in Brisbane and the Gold Coast so an extension of the Gold Coast interurban service would make more sense. Perhaps all the way to Casino?

Anyone who thinks that driving from the ends of the state or riding in buses is fun while mixing it with speeding and overloaded road trains must only get to play holiday driving once or twice a year. I have worn out more than 20 cars and a few motorcycles driving long distance for many years. Having arrived in Sydney, why would I want a car? It has public transport I pay for but rarely use.

A service that arrives about 8am in the city and leaves in the evening give us a chance to once again have some equity of access. I could still be riding on the Brisbane Express via Wallangarra. Gas heated, reclining seats to sleep in and a buffet. No wonder it was popular.  It just left Sydney too early to be as useful as it could have been, A 7pm departure would have seen even more patronage.

An evening service from remote towns also enables students and specialist workers to return to their city homes on Friday night and return Sunday night ready to do business again Monday.

While this might seem country-centric ... most of the need is in that direction.

I should add that when I had both day and night train service I also had a daily plane service before the govt decided  that having cheaper fares between cities was preferable to giving us some access at a reasonable price.

No configuration of train is of any use to us if it does not run at times and a frequency that provides a needed service.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
What if the DMU is substantially more expensive? Maintaining a six cylinder engine will not be much cheaper, if at all, than a twelve cylinder engine. The first cost will be lower but changing oil, and changing an oil filter will incur much the same cost. The higher speed six cylinder engine will wear faster and require overhauls more often, and require replacement more often. And there are ten engines on a five car Explorer or a five car Velocity, and two on a five car XPT.

The original XPT design included driving control trailers (see John Dunne's history of Comeng) This was because it was being offered instead of DMUs, on the basis that it was cheaper in the long run. If the driving control trailers were designed to have a through corridor connection when coupled (there are many such designs in the UK), a five car XPT fitted with Scharfenberg or Dellner couplers could split into two and three car sets at Werris Creek, just as the Explorer does now.

Diesel engines last longer when operating at near full loads but their fuel consumption is much more consistent through the power range than petrol engines. Manufacturers issue complex diagrams of diesel fuel consumption but the variation in specific fuel consumption (in grams per kW) due to load is relatively small.

The Tasrail locomotives have a single V-12 Caterpillar 3512 engine, generally similar to the XPT Paxman VP185 (the Cat has a 175mm bore). Another company, NREC supplied multi engine locomotives in Australia. Two 1200 class demonstrators that have seen almost no work, even after a move to SA, and seven PB class at Port Kembla. BHP at newcastle used twin engine locomotives from GE from the mid 1950s until the plant closed, so using them at Port Kembla is no surprise.

Incidentally, the not generally liked 1200 class have three engines of the type fitted to Velocity DMUs for propulsion (Cummins QSK19), except that they sit upright rather than on their side under a DMU.

Even in the USA, multi engine locomotives are disliked. I visited Roseville, west of Sacramento where there Union Pacific has a big hump yard with two humps. A pair of single engined GP38-2s was working one hump and a pair of GP39-2s was working the other. One multi engine locomotive, purchased for the humps with government money, was sitting shut down beside the workshops. The multi engine units had lower exhaust emissions and might have used less fuel, but they were more expensive to keep working and were not regarded as reliable. Locomotives with locomotive engines are cheaper to run.

M636C
M636C
Ok, fair points.

Perhaps the better option is for
- 3-4 car sets
- Lead car contains drivers cab, large donk, smaller Aux donk, luggage
- Large donk has power to run 4 car train at 160km/hr
- Small aux donk, can run 4 cars, but another 2 cars on reduced demand during emergencies.
- Lead car and adjacent pax trailer have traction motors, assume to be DEL.
- If there is still room, I'd had space for EC seats and/or toilet for use by pax cars.
- 2nd car or adjacent to lead pax car contains FC seats and rear end buffet
- 3rd car contains EC seating and toilet for use by both cars.
- 3rd car contains drivers car for reverse running at line speed but with walk through capability.  
- 3rd car can be decoupled within reasonable time frame for insertion of 4th EC pax trailer car.

To make large sets, another one of above is added to driver trailer in mirror image.

Sets can run as 3 car, 4 car or combined with other. 6, 7 or 8 car.

Hows this?

EDIT:
I just realised the Large Donk is in the range of 1600kW, almost back to XPT design and design issues regarding weight on the power car. Spreading the traction motors over 8 axles not 4 like the XPT should help spread out the weight someone, also the traction motors will be smaller and more typical of larger EMU models. RTT is 180kW. So maybe few tonnes shifted off the power car.

Distributed traction should also improve traction/acceleration and I assume train performance over the XPT.

Note CTT has two diesel traction engines per power car, but assume this is due to the hydraulic traction system employed there to save weight. Also the govt only bought 4 locos with the original order so lack of spares.

The Aux genset requirements would be around 300kW, a large genset in its own right. Perhaps better done as 2 x 200kW units. One placed under the driver trailer and the other under the power trailer working together, or duty + boost as demand requires.

With the Genset gone, the power car should now have plenty of room for luggage and even a toilet for the FC car behind. FC car would then only have space lost for the buffet. Both the EC trailer and driver trialer cars would have a toilet placed at the lead power car end so there is always a toilet where pax cars join.

The walk through drivers compartment in the driver trailer I would not be open for passenger use, just staff and even then not designed for use at speed. Ideally the on board work load for the staff would mean each set is pretty much stand alone and staff are uterlised effectively. Again I would still have vending machines to manage most of the cold drinks and snacks to reduce the buffet staffing demand.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Ok, fair points.

Perhaps the better option is for
- 3-4 car sets
- Lead car contains drivers cab, large donk, smaller Aux donk, luggage
- Large donk has power to run 4 car train at 160km/hr
- Small aux donk, can run 4 cars, but another 2 cars on reduced demand during emergencies.
- Lead car and adjacent pax trailer have traction motors, assume to be DEL.
- If there is still room, I'd had space for EC seats and/or toilet for use by pax cars.
- 2nd car or adjacent to lead pax car contains FC seats and rear end buffet
- 3rd car contains EC seating and toilet for use by both cars.
- 3rd car contains drivers car for reverse running at line speed but with walk through capability.  
- 3rd car can be decoupled within reasonable time frame for insertion of 4th EC pax trailer car.

To make large sets, another one of above is added to driver trailer in mirror image.

Sets can run as 3 car, 4 car or combined with other. 6, 7 or 8 car.

Hows this?

EDIT:
I just realised the Large Donk is in the range of 1600kW, almost back to XPT design and design issues regarding weight on the power car. Spreading the traction motors over 8 axles not 4 like the XPT should help spread out the weight someone, also the traction motors will be smaller and more typical of larger EMU models. RTT is 180kW. So maybe few tonnes shifted off the power car.

Distributed traction should also improve traction/acceleration and I assume train performance over the XPT.

Note CTT has two diesel traction engines per power car, but assume this is due to the hydraulic traction system employed there to save weight. Also the govt only bought 4 locos with the original order so lack of spares.

The Aux genset requirements would be around 300kW, a large genset in its own right. Perhaps better done as 2 x 200kW units. One placed under the driver trailer and the other under the power trailer working together, or duty + boost as demand requires.

With the Genset gone, the power car should now have plenty of room for luggage and even a toilet for the FC car behind. FC car would then only have space lost for the buffet. Both the EC trailer and driver trialer cars would have a toilet placed at the lead power car end so there is always a toilet where pax cars join.

The walk through drivers compartment in the driver trailer I would not be open for passenger use, just staff and even then not designed for use at speed. Ideally the on board work load for the staff would mean each set is pretty much stand alone and staff are uterlised effectively. Again I would still have vending machines to manage most of the cold drinks and snacks to reduce the buffet staffing demand.
RTT_Rules
RTT

Please get back to some sense in this debate, as well as others, what in places is going on to think that having regional services upgraded to try & encourage people back onto trains.

First off.  The idea that would have passengers travelling from Moree/Armidale on an ideal morning departure time, then arrive at BMD some 6 hours later or more for those already travelling on buses to their rail connections make that 8 hours, then to detrain to an Emu service to Sydney are crackers.

It would take more than 15 mins to detrain the passengers & luggage & get them onto the Interurban service, now lets look at the interurban service. Will it be a standard IU or a new design to be specific for the country traveller, & what about the way their luggage will be handled, while it be transferred by staff to the new train, then have staff to take it off at the destinations.  Not only that but where is the space for such a luggage service, & most of all will it be a fast service with limited stops as per the country train patterns or one that is linked to the NSW trains & standard stopping patterns?

If its a fast service then from the North, it means only, Fassi, Wyong, Gosford, Hornsby, Strathfield, if the standard interurban stops, that all stations (at that time of day) to Wyong, Tuggerah, Gosford, Woy Woy, Berowra, Hornsby, Epping, Eastwood, Strathfield, Central.  

It has no sense what soever to try & link regional that is country transport to the local network at all.  Improve & speed up the services will go a long way to getting numbers up.

Re the spliting of an XPT train, as mentioned by having a driving console, in the middle cars, to enable the train to divide at places like Casino & WCK.  In theory it sounds good, however, just sticking a cubicle or the like in the end of a carriage is really something that will create a very poor working environment for the driver, even if its linked in with the buffet or other train crew set up.  The current working area of the drivers in the XPT is quite roomy, not that he can enjoy that in working, the same is with the XPL's the later do have train attendants having access into the drivers area, but with the constraints these days with the driver being the only safe working person on board, having a type of constant access does have its own problems.

While it works in the 8 car configuration, the drivers cabins are locked up so as to allow full train access, same thing these days with ETR trains & older Interurban sets, yet what is often seen is freeloaders in that area with feet up on windscreens & the like, where do they get the keys & permits to travel in there from?  All this may sound trivial, but having a small little box as a working environment on a fast train would not be condusive to getting experienced drivers across to work on them.

Lastly, lets just get back to the thread topic of XPT replacement also the XPL's leave the interurban & changing in the electrified areas to another thread.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Ok far enough, make my driver trailer a full width cab trailer so no difference to loco in standards and fit out.

and yes agree,
- All regional and interstate trains need to run to the Sydney Central Station unless there is strong evidence the cattle want other.
- All trains need storage for excess, over sized and generally preferred checked luggage.
  jdennis Junior Train Controller

I'm not a regular poster here, more a reader, but I will take the opportunity to put in my 2c worth on this thread and try and sum up what I think are the key points. Please note that I am not someone with extensive knowledge of or qualifications in the industry - but I think this forum is a place where experts and non-experts alike should be able to share their views. I hope therefore that what I write is somewhat useful.

In summary we are looking at a replacement for a train which is most certainly reaching the end of its serviceable life, being the XPT. I think it's also a good idea to keep in mind that the Xplorer fleet is past 20 years of age now, and while those trains have still certainly got a lot of life left in them it would be sensible to consider that in time, they will need replacing as well, and hence the replacement for the XPT should be designed to be compatible with that future need.

I think the current timetable shows that the distinction between the XPT and XPL fleets in terms of the services that they operate is quite a narrow distinction (if one exists at all). For example, an XPT operates the ~6.5 hour trip to Dubbo while an XPL is used for the trip to Broken Hill - one which at around 13.5 hours is almost as far from Sydney as is Brisbane and certainly further than Melbourne or Casino.

You may wonder why I mentioned that - my point is that, in my view at least, it would make sense to look at having one fleet of country trains in future rather than two as we have now. Or at the very least, two different fleets that are compatible of running with each other, however that would be significantly more challenging given that by the time the Xplorers need to be replaced, technology may not be compatible with what replaces the XPTs. Whether that means we replace the Xplorers at the same time as the XPT is a question I don't think I'm knowledgeable enough to answer. Perhaps others will have views on that - but consolidation of the fleet has a lot of obvious benefits - from ease of maintenance to flexibility of timetabling.

While thinking about the above I came to the conclusion that the services we want these trains to run and the timetable they will operate to is pretty closely linked to the design specifications of the train itself. For example, do we need sleeper carriages? Do we look at permanently coupled sets of 3 or 4 cars or a more flexible design? DMU or loco-hauled? The timetable also determines how many trains we need to order and of what those consists are made up of.

I have done some thinking about possibilities for a new timetable - but when I say new, all of the current destinations serviced retain a rail service, so it is more an update of the current arrangements. This is not necessarily because a service is economically justified to all the current locations but because of the political implications of removing a train service to a place like Griffith, Moree or Broken Hill.

What I have come up with utilises 16 train consists in total. As far as I can tell, we currently have the stock to form around 9 XPT sets and 8 Xplorer sets, so my timetable pretty much needs the same number of actual train sets to work. However, it does deliver more services and consolidates those that already exist so that they make more sense.


North Coast

I propose running two return trains per day all the way to Brisbane - meaning a day train in each direction - with a day return train to Coffs Harbour. Obviously that means one Brisbane train per day in each direction is a night train. That is unfortunately a reality of timetabling if you do not want to have a set sitting around in Brisbane overnight doing nothing. Hence locations south of Coffs have two day trains to Sydney per day and those north of Coffs have one per day to Sydney and also to Brisbane, which for many is closer and more appropriate as a destination - as well as the night option, which would be priced cheaper to attract more budget conscious travellers. The timetable is below (service numbers will make sense in the context of the other three timetables):

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B78tn9qCmcwwSGJBYWZNeGcxNlE/view?usp=sharing

North West

I think we can all agree that the current arrangement in this part of the state is shockingly inefficient in terms of rolling stock usage. Hence I propose turning the Moree and Armidale services into day return services rather than them taking two days to do a return trip. However, I would split up the two trains, having one start in Moree early AM and returning late PM, and the other starting in Sydney, running to Armidale, and then returning in the same day to Sydney. Bus connections to the other destination would supplement each service, giving both branches two services per day, albeit one with a bus segment. What this means is that stops south of Werris Creek now have two services in each direction per day - utilising only half the rolling stock. Timetable is below:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B78tn9qCmcwwX0VwWHN3OWQwdlk/view?usp=sharing

Western

Similar to the North West proposal, my timetable has day return services to both Parkes and Dubbo, with one running Down-Up and the other Up-Down. Bus services would supplement the destination not served by each as they would with Armidale and Moree. The weekly train to Broken Hill stays pretty much the same. On a Monday the Parkes/Broken Hill services run together, with the Parkes section staying at Parkes to return to Sydney in the afternoon. The opposite arrangement takes place on a Tuesday. Timetable:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B78tn9qCmcwwQ1hsYXJybnJZeW8/view?usp=sharing

Southern

The two daily trains to Melbourne are maintained, as are the three trains per day to Canberra and the weekly train to Griffith. There is an extra day return service running Albury-Sydney-Albury daily to provide those north of Albury with an extra service per day per direction. The Griffith service runs with the Albury service on a Saturday and divides at Junee, amalgamating again on the Sunday to return to Sydney. Timetable:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B78tn9qCmcwwa0dHWTJEZjBOamc/view?usp=sharing

As I said this timetable uses 16 trains. One is used for the Broken Hill and Griffith runs while the others operate on a 15 day roster performing all the other services. The set used for Broken Hill/Griffith would also be rotated. One full day (actually 30 hours given the timings of the roster) per 15 days is reserved for maintenance but each set also gets five other opportunities per roster (i.e. once every three days) to spend more than five hours in Sydney for maintenance. Each set is used on revenue service roughly 60% of the time. The other 40% is a mix between turnarounds and maintenance.



This has turned into about the longest thing I’ve written on this forum but I hope it is of interest and does not make too many uneducated assumptions about the reality of what it is we are discussing!
  a6et Minister for Railways

Ok far enough, make my driver trailer a full width cab trailer so no difference to loco in standards and fit out.

and yes agree,
- All regional and interstate trains need to run to the Sydney Central Station unless there is strong evidence the cattle want other.
- All trains need storage for excess, over sized and generally preferred checked luggage.
RTT_Rules
Thing to consider in the make up of such a train as well, & if we are talking of 2 power cars at each end & then divide at the set locations is that they would have to have both 1st & economy in each section, & as per usual bookings those who are travelling to the different locations are all booked in the appropriate end of the train, unless their section is booked out for part of the journey they can be moved once the seats become vacant.  

My only other concern in this is what happens when the train is divided & sets off & the power car fails, & has to be shut down?  It has happened on many occassions so far with the XPT, but as they stay together except on the Dubbo run which often only has one unit, the whole train is affectivelly dead, no train power, lighting as well as air conditioning etc even brakes become dead & whole train has to be tied down with their manual brakes.

Under current & therefore normal working, if one spits the dummy, & is shut down, the train usually continues with one unit working & the drivers do their best.

What this means is whatever type of train ends up as the replacement for the XPT, the levels of reliability that I have said so many times as well as the creature comforts are imperative. Which comes back more often than not to the donk in the body, which generally speaking are more reliable than one under the floor, especially on the longer journeys.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Jdennis,

Regarding NW proposal

No point running a train to either just Moree or just Armidale. In the case of Moree over half the train would be empty from WCK and at least a 3rd empty to Armidale and then you are paying to run a bus. May as well spilt the train, cheaper running costs and less disruption to users/better service.

a6et,
My proposal was yes two sets, mirror image of each other. Although number of EC cars can vary from 1 to 2. Moving the Buffett in FC reduces the FC seats slightly but being two sets is now more aligned with XPT FC seat numbers. or as one set as XPL numbers.

As for the one donk option in a single set. A number of posters have proposed Loco hauled which assumed only one engine is needed. QR run Landers with one engine as is IP and Overlander. But you could copy the CTT and have 2 x ~800kW donks. Smaller engines I assume are more common and having two doesn't mean its more expensive. You could also use 2 engines in a more fuel efficient operation as discussed earlier.

Eariler poster
Yes arriving at Brisbane at 6pm is too early, needs to be no sooner than 6:30pm, perhaps 7pm. Although once CRR is built this may no longer be an issue
  Matthew Chief Train Controller

You don't have the clearance for a DD nor width for comfortable 5 across for long distance.

Issue with shared bogies is weight. XPL is 14.5t/axle, V-set is 15t, OSCAR is 14t.

Even allowing for one less bogie and shorter car lengths you will still be 50% more weight per axle or ~22t which will cap your speed below 115km/hr. I think either 80 or 90km/hr its in here http://www.artc.com.au/Content.aspx?p=98
RTT_Rules
Give the French can build double deck articulated VHST train sets with an axle load of only 17 tonnes, I don't think that's actually an issue.

I would expect any XPT replacement will be a tilting DMU. It won't be articulated as the combo of engine and tilt hardware will make it too heavy.

There are any number of 'of the shelf' designs that could be adapted for NSW conditions.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Give the French can build double deck articulated VHST train sets with an axle load of only 17 tonnes, I don't think that's actually an issue.

Matthew
AIUI the Europeans do this with Aluminium.  Their vehicles typically don't meet Australian or Nth American crash standards for this reason.

FWIW, my design does take this into consideration.  It's inteded to have a TARE of 19t.  The cab unit has to come it at under 47t spread over 3 axles, and the trailers 26t (to allow for 10t bio-matter)
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

While thinking about the above I came to the conclusion that the services we want these trains to run and the timetable they will operate to is pretty closely linked to the design specifications of the train itself.
jdennis
+1

Part of the reason the timetable is the way it is is built around the capability of the fleet.  

I will make one comment on the timetable: I think some of the starts are too early and the finishes are too late.
  jdennis Junior Train Controller

+1

Part of the reason the timetable is the way it is is built around the capability of the fleet.  

I will make one comment on the timetable: I think some of the starts are too early and the finishes are too late.
djf01
The timetable and fleet are very closely linked (which was a good enough excuse as any for me to have a bit of fun playing around with the timetable...)

In relation to the timings, I tried to get all services (with the exception of the BNE and MEL overnight runs) to run between 0600 and 2200. The reason that didn't work very well was that Coffs, Albury and Moree were perhaps a little too far to fit a day return between those times. Griffith is also not very passenger friendly nor is Armidale. I will have a play with it and see if better timings can be accommodated without breaking the current fleet roster arrangements I have.

RTT_Rules: My proposal isn't really that different from the current timetable. At the moment the two trains run together to/from WCK, in my timetable they run separately and do the return trip in a day rather than two. Assuming the trains are the same size there is the same capacity across the route - so one could assume that the load factor would be roughly the same as current.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Frankly, after the experiences QR has had with the Cairns Tilt Train, conventional locomotive hauled passenger sets would be far cheaper to build, more reliable, more flexible, more robust in level crossing collisions and probably just as effective in maintaing community needs.
  Matthew Chief Train Controller

conventional locomotive hauled passenger sets would be far cheaper to build, more reliable, more flexible, more robust in level crossing collisions and probably just as effective in maintaining community needs.
Sulla1
For passenger trains, particularly in Europe, the preference seems to be for MUs, not hauled coaches - and even were they are still buying coaches and locomotives, they are using fixed formation push-pull sets.

While everything is still to play for in an XPT replacement, I'd be mildly surprised if it wasn't a tilting DMU that wins the tender. They certainly won't be going for any thing that would require a locomotive to 'run around' the coach set.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Give the French can build double deck articulated VHST train sets with an axle load of only 17 tonnes, I don't think that's actually an issue.

I would expect any XPT replacement will be a tilting DMU. It won't be articulated as the combo of engine and tilt hardware will make it too heavy.

There are any number of 'of the shelf' designs that could be adapted for NSW conditions.
Matthew
I think by the time you get a DD down to 19t axle load on an articulated set using Aus design standards you probably may as well build non articulated sets. Remember the current DMU's used in Oz are over 45t each. The most basic S/K sets are 44-47t (agree old designed could probably be lightened.)

The 5 across / Double Decker proposed for NSW trains are completely impractical. They will be very uncomfortable and not survive the first low height bridge or tunnel. The existing DD stock is just tall enough for the 95% ergonomic design standards used by industry today and thats for a closed to public industrial plant where people where PPE.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Frankly, after the experiences QR has had with the Cairns Tilt Train, conventional locomotive hauled passenger sets would be far cheaper to build, more reliable, more flexible, more robust in level crossing collisions and probably just as effective in maintaing community needs.
The CTT loco complied with the suitable crash standards and what evidence is there to suggest had the loco been a 2800 the drivers would have survived? Had the same accident occurred further south in EMU or RTT territory (Shorncliff Line incident comes to mind) the outcome is unlikely to have been any different and the design would not have come in question. Victorian LX incidents have also shown that loco hauled sets are not immune to trucks on tracks causing deaths.

Regarding the reliability of the CTT. I have not heard anything in this area so will not comment, but its a very small scale production of a unique design so issues are to be expected.

Going a stock standard loco hauled train is doing the opposite of most of the rest of the world so you really need to ask why and especially since its locos hauling small trains weighing less than 250t.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

In relation to the timings, I tried to get all services (with the exception of the BNE and MEL overnight runs) to run between 0600 and 2200. The reason that didn't work very well was that Coffs, Albury and Moree were perhaps a little too far to fit a day return between those times. Griffith is also not very passenger friendly nor is Armidale. I will have a play with it and see if better timings can be accommodated without breaking the current fleet roster arrangements I have.
jdennis

Yes, the distances in NSW make it a conundrum.  I still don't see a great deal of point in starting trains in the wee small hours.  That doesn't mean you don't offer a service, but that's feeder bus territory IMHO.  I agree Coffs would be better from a patronage point of view, but distance wise I think the UP-DOWN train should be Wauchope/Pt Macquarie with a red eye feeder bus from the far north coast.

BTW, the most efficient way to run the NW is:

6:30 - Scone
8:30 - Newcastle (Hamilton)
9:30 - Newcastle (met by 7:00 departure Sydney Service)
13:30 - Tamworth (met by 11:30 busses from Armidale & 10:00 bus from Moree)
17:30 - Newcastle (meets train to Sydney arriving 20:00)
19:30 - Scone

One medium size train, does the job of 4 explorer and 2 endeavour sets.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I think by the time you get a DD down to 19t axle load on an articulated set using Aus design standards you probably may as well build non articulated sets. Remember the current DMU's used in Oz are over 45t each. The most basic S/K sets are 44-47t (agree old designed could probably be lightened.)
RTT_Rules

IIRC the OSCARS & T sets are ~40t & 20m long.  An articulated trailer has 2 axles & a 10t payload so can be 26t.  

It can therefore be 40/26 x 20m = 12.5.  You lose the mass of a bogie, so that adds about ~1m to the possible length.  So That makes a vehicle body 13-14m long, which gives a well of ~10m (which is about what the OSCARs have).  The well can be up to 15m long in a full bogied vehicle and be within the loading gauge, but a shorter well allows a slightly wider bodied vehicle - at least in a practical sense.  This is how "medium gauge" was made to fit by reclassifying the greater overhead areas around most of Sydney.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
BTW, the most efficient way to run the NW is:

6:30 - Scone
8:30 - Newcastle (Hamilton)
9:30 - Newcastle (met by 7:00 departure Sydney Service)
13:30 - Tamworth (met by 11:30 busses from Armidale & 10:00 bus from Moree)
17:30 - Newcastle (meets train to Sydney arriving 20:00)
19:30 - Scone

One medium size train, does the job of 4 explorer and 2 endeavour sets.
djf01
That is a substantial cut in service level (or your Hunter/Endeavour set count is out) - it should come as no surprise that you need less sets.  It also needs to be noted, that if patronage held up under this arrangement, your medium size train would still need to be the equivalent of two explorer sets.  

You need to add a little more time for your connections to and from the Sydney train too.

What's the passenger market that you are trying to serve with a 20:00 arrival in Sydney?  

If those sort of departure and arrival timings and the transfer to bus for onward destinations in Tamworth are acceptable to the market, then why not just run your medium size train out out and back to Central?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE

RTT_Rules: My proposal isn't really that different from the current timetable. At the moment the two trains run together to/from WCK, in my timetable they run separately and do the return trip in a day rather than two. Assuming the trains are the same size there is the same capacity across the route - so one could assume that the load factor would be roughly the same as current.
jdennis

Hi,
Regarding NW. It is very different from the current timetable

What happens now is that you have train run to WCK that is reasonably well uterlised and this continues to two destinations after the train has split as you now have two smaller trains that are reasonably well uterlised to their final destinations.

By running a train to ONLY one destination you are ineffectively destorying the high loading factor of the service past WCK to less than 50%. The same wear and tear is incured on the train, the same cabin crew + you are running a bus(s) as well. I suppose you could argue that the train sizes will be reduced to match, rather than running 5 cars. But even if its 2 x 3 car services a day to either destination, the Moree service will have a very low loading factor.

Do the passengers a favour, if you give them two trains a day, give them TWO trains a day to both destinations, not one plus a bus connection as this will not prove popular and running more than half empty trains will not prove popular with the media. Spilt the train at WCK!
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

What's the passenger market that you are trying to serve with a 20:00 arrival in Sydney?
donttellmywife

The same one @jdennis wants to serve with his 05:00 starter from Morree Smile.


If those sort of departure and arrival timings and the transfer to bus for onward destinations in Tamworth are acceptable to the market, then why not just run your medium size train out out and back to Central?
donttellmywife


Which is essentially the Dubbo timetable, and AFAIK something like the timetable they had prior to the new England Nationals kicking up the stink that saw the creation of the Xplorers in the first place Smile.
  jdennis Junior Train Controller

Yes, the distances in NSW make it a conundrum.  I still don't see a great deal of point in starting trains in the wee small hours.  That doesn't mean you don't offer a service, but that's feeder bus territory IMHO.  I agree Coffs would be better from a patronage point of view, but distance wise I think the UP-DOWN train should be Wauchope/Pt Macquarie with a red eye feeder bus from the far north coast.

BTW, the most efficient way to run the NW is:

6:30 - Scone
8:30 - Newcastle (Hamilton)
9:30 - Newcastle (met by 7:00 departure Sydney Service)
13:30 - Tamworth (met by 11:30 busses from Armidale & 10:00 bus from Moree)
17:30 - Newcastle (meets train to Sydney arriving 20:00)
19:30 - Scone

One medium size train, does the job of 4 explorer and 2 endeavour sets.
djf01
I am trying to redesign the timetable a bit at the moment to eliminate the early starts/late arrivals. The good thing about what I had before was that it allowed connections in Sydney between any of the Albury/Armidale/Coffs/Dubbo trains around 2pm. I would like to keep something similar in operation.

Regarding NW, I disagree on running trains only to Newcastle and forcing people to change, with their luggage, to an intercity service. If you are going to run a train from Armidale or Moree you may as well run it to Sydney or I think you will find your load factor will reduce quite substantially.

[QUOTE=RTT_Rules]

Regarding NW. It is very different from the current timetable
What happens now is that you have train run to WCK that is reasonably well uterlised and this continues to two destinations after the train has split as you now have two smaller trains that are reasonably well uterlised to their final destinations. By running a train to ONLY one destination you are ineffectively destorying the high loading factor of the service past WCK to less than 50%. The same wear and tear is incured on the train, the same cabin crew + you are running a bus(s) as well. I suppose you could argue that the train sizes will be reduced to match, rather than running 5 cars. But even if its 2 x 3 car services a day to either destination, the Moree service will have a very low loading factor.
Do the passengers a favour, if you give them two trains a day, give them TWO trains a day to both destinations, not one plus a bus connection as this will not prove popular and running more than half empty trains will not prove popular with the media. Spilt the train at WCK![/QUOTE]
I think we are probably going to continue to disagree on this point. There is no point running two services a day to both Moree and Armidale as the demand is not there north of WCK and you don't save on rolling stock at all compared to the current timetable. Thus if there are going to be two services it is only worth running them to one destination each.
My point is that the same number of seats are still available to all destinations on the NW routes under my timetable. The only difference is that rather than running one amalgamated train in each direction per day south of WCK the two sections run at different times. If anything this would increase demand for seats as there is more choice regarding service times.
I am not actually running more trains, just splitting up what is already running as a combined train - the number of seats available does not change, so there is no reason why the load factor should change drastically.

[QUOTE=djf01]The same one [b]@jdennis[/b] wants to serve with his 05:00 starter from Morree Smile.[/QUOTE]
Haha, fair point Smile
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I'm assuming the following will happen on NW train

Train from Moree only will be of similar loading to now + bus load from Armidale -> 3 car set

Train from Armidale only will be similar to loading to now + less than a full bus load from Moree -> 4 car set.

Buses are rarely as attractive as rail. In both cases an extra car is dragged over 200km return empty. Additionally the bus running meet the train will need smart train timetabling or the bus will run only one direction in service.


An alt maybe be is as follows

Current time table + train day return to Tamworth with bus connections to both. The bus will leave Moree/Armidale loaded meet with the train at Tamworth and then take a load back. Problem is this will change will add at least 20min to the trip.
  a6et Minister for Railways

I'm assuming the following will happen on NW train

Train from Moree only will be of similar loading to now + bus load from Armidale -> 3 car set

Train from Armidale only will be similar to loading to now + less than a full bus load from Moree -> 4 car set.

Buses are rarely as attractive as rail. In both cases an extra car is dragged over 200km return empty. Additionally the bus running meet the train will need smart train timetabling or the bus will run only one direction in service.


An alt maybe be is as follows

Current time table + train day return to Tamworth with bus connections to both. The bus will leave Moree/Armidale loaded meet with the train at Tamworth and then take a load back. Problem is this will change will add at least 20min to the trip.
RTT_Rules
The realities are no matter how much anyone tries to juggle around with timetables, in order to get more mileage out of whatever trainset they propose, its no more than eating fairy floss on a hot day while trying to work out cryptic crossword puzzles.

To think or consider in ones wildest dreams that people having traveled several hours in a train then have to get off to another service to finish their journey is kidding themselves. Likewise the concept that they will travel further on a bus for their rail connection, especially when they have lost their rail service is again kidding themselves.

The Train from Moree & Armidale, is doing ok its not doing wonders but the patronage is not that bad, the time to Sydney is also not too bad, it leaves the two locations at sensible daylight times, which suits the rural customer & is what they are calling out for, especially out Dubbo way.  Passengers from Tenterfield get up early enough to catch a bus to Armidale, likewise those from Inverell, who have to do the bone shaking trip via Barraba to Tamworth, then to expect them to change at Hamilton or BMD for another service will empty the services full stop.

There has been a call to have the Musswelbrook/Scone service continue to Tamworth & return the next morning, but in the end how many would use it anyway?.

The only additional service that could be made would be to somehow introduce a Friday night service from Armidale - Sydney to try & capture the student market & those in the area wanting a W/E in Sydney, perhaps for football or other events, then return on a night service on Sunday.

That would mean providing another service to Armidale ex Sydney on Friday afternoon or night & Sundays to have the set available for the next morning.

At the end of the day, trying to work timetables for maximum utilisation as is being done here will not work as there is too many issues that will harm users by unecessary changes to other services & timetabling issues.  People who want to & do travel by rail generally are after a single service from their Point A to their destination Point B, at the most convenient time possible, they will accept some inconveniences as shown on the Northerm services to/from Tenterfield & Inverel, but to have the B destionations turned into a C, with B a change to another service, is a killer, especially with the already change.

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