Is there any merit is the governments sitting down with GSR's new owners and discussing what passenger business is on the table from Governments?When you factor in the V/Line services between Melbourne and Albury and the existence of other trains between Sydney, Moss Vale, Goulburn and (albeit only weekly) Cootamundra and Junee then probably not.
For example, is there scope for a competitive service on the Sydney to Melbourne route to infill the XPT and Vline schedules?
The only sizeable regional centres not already served by a decent morning-in, evening-back train are Cootamundra and Wagga which are realistically both too far from either Sydney or Melbourne for day-out business to be viable anyway.
What there should be at this opportune time is frank discussion between the operator and the States to establish what level of funding those States might be prepared to front in order to retain an Overland service on the Melbourne - Adelaide corridor.
It has been run into the ground by GSR who have given the impression all along that they never wanted that route and were only running it under contractual obligation as it came with the glitzy IP and Ghan operations which can be marketed as land cruises to the wealthy.
The Melbourne - Adelaide corridor is a different market altogether and requires a different approach. It requires something akin to the XPT service linking regional centres as a public transport option rather than as an up-market holiday experience.
New train sets cost fancy money but are badly needed. If a deal could be struck where each State paid a proportion of the costs along with the operator we might be able to make progress.
As it is there will continue to be incredulous faces at Melbourne's Southern Cross station when visitors turn up looking for the "next train to Adelaide" only to be told it isn't three hours but three days away. If the service is there - and marketed well enough - it will be used.