XPT Replacement Discussion

 
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I think the reality is that public perception is long distance rail travel on anything less than an IP Overland Ghan is an antiquated mode and a last resort for those who cannot afford better .
In other words if you need speed you pay otherwise beggars can't be choosers .
BDA
I think this is partly valid in that if you want a bed, pay for it yourself, don't let the taxpayer. 2nd any service provided must be of a reasonable standard or don't bother and by that I mean the 5 across no arm rest pack 'em and stack 'em approach. And if you are going to run trains through the night, the seats should be of a higher comfort standard than EC on planes as the issues there that rive such uncivilised seating is different to planes.

EDIT: I also feel too that increase the standard of the service and the "public perception is long distance rail travel on anything less than an IP Overland Ghan is an antiquated mode and a last resort"

ie more services, faster services, better onboard facilities that our current 20-30 year old trains.

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  boromisa Junior Train Controller



Can someone tell me how to justify the taxpayer paying for your bed? If you want a bed, catch a plane and stay in a hotel. Most rail users are typically travelling less than 8-10hr anyway and as someone posted on S-M rarely past WW.

The highest standard of seating on govt funded trains really cannot be more than BC near flat beds on commercial airlines.
RTT_Rules

Perhaps cause it encourages more people to use the most environmentally friendly way of travel? Oh but they keep telling you on tv it is unsustainable so it must go?
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Just listening to the member for Orange, and this XPT replacement has now changed to "plan for a replacement"

The only replacement for the XPT is highly likely to be the  "rubber-tyred" versions.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

2nd any service provided must be of a reasonable standard or don't bother and by that I mean the 5 across no arm rest pack 'em and stack 'em approach. ...
RTT_Rules
Still more comfortable than a bus - which is the point.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Perhaps cause it encourages more people to use the most environmentally friendly way of travel? Oh but they keep telling you on tv it is unsustainable so it must go?
boromisa
Mmm, potentially a bit of a myth on Environmental side. Start with a bike. A van with 6-8 people is often more fuel efficient than a train in per person/mile.

Is it right for the govt/taxpayer to fund +80%  of the cost of travel in a romette? Answer is no. The govt/taxpayer couldn't afford to have a mass switch to rail at this level of subsidy, so back to rail beds/BC type seating unless you are willing to pay full cost recovery, which most are not.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE

The only replacement for the XPT is highly likely to be the  "rubber-tyred" versions.
Newcastle Express
Is it fair to say the above statement has no basis, no foundation, no govt history, no precedent, no data and no proof.

Because the XPT wasn't replaced a few years ago, why do some here feel that it will never be replaced? Even the guys who worked on the thing here state its good for a few more years yet. Diesel powered rail vehicles appear to have a service life up to 40 years. The oldest XPT power car is coming up to 33 years. The youngest is 20-25 years.

The N class locos hauling the NE line services in Vic are now just up to 30 years, the cars decades older and there is no comment by govt that they will be replaced any time soon, so does this mean NE SG services are at risk of being rubber tyred? In Qld the Sunlander cars went for 60 years, some of the 2300 class locos which hauled the last Sunlander was pushing 40 years.

The govt has allocated $7.5m towards the project of replacement, you don't need $7.5m to research buses.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Still more comfortable than a bus - which is the point.
djf01
5 across seating on NSW regional above rail profile, no arm rest, fixed seat on 6-12hr rail trip more comfortable than a modern road coach???? Seriously?

No! I detest buses and I'd take the bus over that.
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
I have been having thoughts about this thread since a discussion with Watson374 a week ago at Sydney International Airport.

Firstly - and note I say this with as much regret as I can - the XPT is fit for purpose; the seating is not. What I mean by this is that you can run an XPT style push-pull train (to make Watson374 happy, this could be, say, QR Tilt-Train-esque style, or we could save a load of money, work out a new engine for the XP Class and continue to run the existing fleet for another 20 years.

This option will, of course, result in leveraging better interior carriage design. Particularly for the sleeper cars. This would need to result in - say - working out the best way to do sleepers and ensuring that is carried out. Somehow, the IP style sleeper compartments don't work well when it's a 12 hour trip. 3 days, yeah, I can see it working as it has for so long.

I would be interested to see the loading figures for MEL overnight and BNE overnight.

Insofar as djf01's design; I can't see the single doors being useful. I remember being "pushed" out the doors by Howard Collins and Rob Mason at Maitland on the Steamfest Saturday, single doors - and I stress this - are not the answer here.
  Gaz170 Junior Train Controller

Location: Gold Coast
....or we could save a load of money, work out a new engine for the XP Class and continue to run the existing fleet for another 20 years.

s3_gunzel
When were the XPT's last re-engined?  It wasn't that long ago was it?
  s3_gunzel Not a gunzel developer

Location: Western Sydney, AU
I am led to believe late 90s/early 00s. I said work out an engine replacement, I did not at all mean in the short term, bit to be fair, technologies change and fuel efficiencies improve.
  M636C Minister for Railways

I am led to believe late 90s/early 00s. I said work out an engine replacement, I did not at all mean in the short term, bit to be fair, technologies change and fuel efficiencies improve.
s3_gunzel
I was driven up to Broadmeadow by the MAN B&W Sales Manager in 2001 (if I recall correctly) to look at the first XP conversion to the VP 185 engine. The engine is capable of producing 3000HP at 1800 rpm but is limited to 1500 rpm so that the original alternator can be retained. Most British HST power cars have the MTU 16V4000 engine which has much the same power but is a more modern design.

It should be noted that the engine used in the Cairns Tilt Train is an older design, the MTU 396, for which the 4000 series was intended as a replacement. The 4000 is a little heavier, so the CTT used and older and more maintenance intensive engine to keep the weight down.

But the MTU 4000 would drop right in to XPT power cars since all the design work has been done, but this would only be worthwhile if the existing VP185 is costing too much to run.

The VP185 in the XPT is also a more recent design than the MTU 396, so replacing XPT power cars with enlarged CTT power cars would be a backward step in technlogy.

M636C
  Chidda Bang Locomotive Driver

Location: Banned
My plan:

All Endeavours became xplorers

Dubbo line
1 Dubbo XPT a day
2 Dubbo Xplorer a day

Brisbane line
2 Brisbane XPTs a day

Murwillumbah line
1 Murwillumbah XPT a day + 1 Murwillumbah Xplorer change from Brisbane XPT

Melbourne line
2 Melbourne XPTs a day
1 Junee to Albury Xplorer a day splits from Griffith train

Griffith line
2 Griffith Xplorer a day splits from Canberra train 1 service has Albury Xplorer splits The Rock

Canberra line
4 Canberra Xplorer a day

Cooma line SUMMER ONLY
1 Cooma Xplorer a day splits from Canberra train

Cooma line WINTER ONLY
3 Cooma Xplorer a day splits from Canberra train

Armidale line
2 Armidale Xplorers a day
1 Werris Creek to Armidale shuttle Xplorer a day

Moree line
1 Moree Xplorer a day
2 Werris Creek to Moree shuttle Xplorer a day

Broken Hill line
1 Broken Hill Xplorer a day
1 Orange to Parkes shuttle Xplorer a day change from Dubbo XPT
  SinickleBird Assistant Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
Chidda Bang's plan looks interesting, albeit requires investment in trains. The other issue that needs addressing is section times - hard to get people on a train to Griffith with a 7 hour journey time or worse when the airborne alternative is a bit over an hour. Same principle applies to Dubbo and other towns/cities with schedule air service.

Even the existing NSW Trains bus connections to places like Mudgee are ill-conceived. Who in their right mind will enjoy taking the all stops intercity train (including Linden and Bell) to Lithgow (3 hours plus) to then connect with a bus to Mudgee and beyond. Drive time is just 3 1/2 hours all the way to Mudgee. The train that connects to buses should be as close to express as possible - hard to imagine there's a lot of demand for Woodford to Mudgee/Gulgong/Coona etc for example. So...speed up the Fish in the evening and connect to that.

My daughter lives in Canberra and is a regular bus traveller to Sydney. Apparently, the bus service is around hourly, with multiple buses operating some slots. Given every bus needs a driver for say 40 pax, while every train has a 2-person crew for 100-200, I am at a loss to see why NSW Trains can't even get a competitive service up SYD-CBR, given existing infrastructure and similar travel times (maybe 30 minutes slower on an all-stops service).
  a6et Minister for Railways

Chidda Bang's plan looks interesting, albeit requires investment in trains. The other issue that needs addressing is section times - hard to get people on a train to Griffith with a 7 hour journey time or worse when the airborne alternative is a bit over an hour. Same principle applies to Dubbo and other towns/cities with schedule air service.

Even the existing NSW Trains bus connections to places like Mudgee are ill-conceived. Who in their right mind will enjoy taking the all stops intercity train (including Linden and Bell) to Lithgow (3 hours plus) to then connect with a bus to Mudgee and beyond. Drive time is just 3 1/2 hours all the way to Mudgee. The train that connects to buses should be as close to express as possible - hard to imagine there's a lot of demand for Woodford to Mudgee/Gulgong/Coona etc for example. So...speed up the Fish in the evening and connect to that.

My daughter lives in Canberra and is a regular bus traveller to Sydney. Apparently, the bus service is around hourly, with multiple buses operating some slots. Given every bus needs a driver for say 40 pax, while every train has a 2-person crew for 100-200, I am at a loss to see why NSW Trains can't even get a competitive service up SYD-CBR, given existing infrastructure and similar travel times (maybe 30 minutes slower on an all-stops service).
SinickleBird
I do agree.  The ideas may be ok, but it does require a huge investment in new trains, along with an equal or possibly greater amount in trackwork as well.  That in itself is a killer on the closed lines, but on existing lines would actually be a boon for them. With the State Government shortlisting 4 consortiums for their new intercity fleets, I wonder if they is a byproduct in them for DMU's rather than just the EMU's?

The western line & especially Mudgee is a nightmare to have considerations for new passenger trains especially the leg past Lithgow.  If the new trains include new sets for DMU services, they may well be ideal replacements for the Explorers & Endeavors to run to Bx & Canberra, especially if they can get the speeds up a bit, even to 130Km/h that could help on the Canberra services.

If a train such as the old Fish ran, it could split at LIthgow or Wang with a 2 car set operating to Mudgee, but gee there would have to be a fair amount of surveys done to gauge how many would use it when compared to the buses.  The other thing with running to Mudgee, I would actually wonder if anyone in the town would really want the rail to re-open anyway, as the fear could well be there that it could bring in potential freight services into the town with their inherit noise & likely dust problems with coal, not far to Gulgong & means a 2nd line prospect from Ulan is available.
  SinickleBird Assistant Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
Unfortunately, although the Mudgee locals would love to see passenger train services return, they wouldn't accept the freight task that might make restoring the line economic.

Passenger trains this far out will never happen again. We have trouble rustling up the patronage to justify a twice-daily air service (with 20-seat plane) to Sydney. Even that carries a large council subsidy.

Bus is the only viable public transport option, but NSW Trains seems to go out of their way to make the services they do provide unattractive - timing of departures (7am or around 4:30pm on the down) and duration of the trip.

There is talk of making the perway beyond Kandos into a bike trail. Which would have particular merit if there were a way to get to Kandos without the car but with the bike. Unfortunately, everything has been cut back to the bone, to a point where there would be no rolling stock available to even trial a day excursion service to Kandos - Central around 08:00, Penrith, Lithgow, Kandos (say 3.5 hours) returning at say 15:30 - or connect to the XPT at Lithgow and just run Lithgow-Kandos as a shuttle.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Unfortunately, although the Mudgee locals would love to see passenger train services return, they wouldn't accept the freight task that might make restoring the line economic.

Passenger trains this far out will never happen again. We have trouble rustling up the patronage to justify a twice-daily air service (with 20-seat plane) to Sydney. Even that carries a large council subsidy.

Bus is the only viable public transport option, but NSW Trains seems to go out of their way to make the services they do provide unattractive - timing of departures (7am or around 4:30pm on the down) and duration of the trip.

There is talk of making the perway beyond Kandos into a bike trail. Which would have particular merit if there were a way to get to Kandos without the car but with the bike. Unfortunately, everything has been cut back to the bone, to a point where there would be no rolling stock available to even trial a day excursion service to Kandos - Central around 08:00, Penrith, Lithgow, Kandos (say 3.5 hours) returning at say 15:30 - or connect to the XPT at Lithgow and just run Lithgow-Kandos as a shuttle.
SinickleBird
Correct in each aspect.  

While the Capertee Valley has a wonderful scenic beauty about it, even riding a train along the edges, there's just not enough in it to attract the tourist, & once past the valley, its just hills & then the rolling lands beyond Kandos.  The attraction of Mudgee is the plonk industry especially for the tourist, the distance is an inhibation for the day tripper especially to sample the wares & drive.

If the line was reopened, even with the freight services including coal, a small & perhaps viable tourism link could be worked with a day train from Sydney, but not a day return service for a scenic rail & wine tour service to operate & promote.  It would have to have more potential then it really could possibly get to outweigh the opponents of a rail reopening.
  Minardiau Train Controller

My plan:

All Endeavours became xplorers

Dubbo line
1 Dubbo XPT a day
2 Dubbo Xplorer a day

Brisbane line
2 Brisbane XPTs a day

Murwillumbah line
1 Murwillumbah XPT a day + 1 Murwillumbah Xplorer change from Brisbane XPT

Melbourne line
2 Melbourne XPTs a day
1 Junee to Albury Xplorer a day splits from Griffith train

Griffith line
2 Griffith Xplorer a day splits from Canberra train 1 service has Albury Xplorer splits The Rock

Canberra line
4 Canberra Xplorer a day

Cooma line SUMMER ONLY
1 Cooma Xplorer a day splits from Canberra train

Cooma line WINTER ONLY
3 Cooma Xplorer a day splits from Canberra train

Armidale line
2 Armidale Xplorers a day
1 Werris Creek to Armidale shuttle Xplorer a day

Moree line
1 Moree Xplorer a day
2 Werris Creek to Moree shuttle Xplorer a day

Broken Hill line
1 Broken Hill Xplorer a day
1 Orange to Parkes shuttle Xplorer a day change from Dubbo XPT
Chidda Bang

Whilst it means well and is well thought out, in my mind it still shows old thinking with regards to rail. Why do we need to have through trains from Armidale to Sydney for example?

My way of thinking.

Why not have hourly all stop trains from Armidale to Tamworth. Tamnworth to Scone, Scone to Newcastle.

I'd even reopen/rebuild/build new stations at every town along the way.

Do this on every single line we have still open. Considering the state of the network all stop services are not going to be that much slower to make a difference. What it does do is provide proper public transport in the regions and can open up a hell of a lot of the state to tourism and even allow people to commute to work/school/university as opposed to using a car.

The big benifit is that it gives people options throughout the day. People are going to get a plane or drive to Sydney so it is kinda pointless having limited stop services from Armidale or Broken Hill. This way people can spend a few hours in the next town and still get home the same day.

Maybe still have an express service in the morning and an evening but nothing more.

A DMU like the German DBAG 612 would be useful. For the less patronised services just use single rail cars like the Stadler Regio-Shuttle RS1 which like the 612 were built with such trips in mind.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DBAG_Class_612

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stadler_Regio-Shuttle_RS1


I remember when I lived in Weimar. I used to travel to Leipzig a fair bit. Now I could get the ICE and do it one trip in about an hour or use a similar setup to what I proposed and do it in an hour and a half with a 20 minute change over in Weißenfels. And on the local services you would be suprised at how small some of the villages were.

With more services and more local stops patronage will most certainly increase.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
I think this is partly valid in that if you want a bed, pay for it yourself, don't let the taxpayer. 2nd any service provided must be of a reasonable standard or don't bother and by that I mean the 5 across no arm rest pack 'em and stack 'em approach. And if you are going to run trains through the night, the seats should be of a higher comfort standard than EC on planes as the issues there that rive such uncivilised seating is different to planes.

EDIT: I also feel too that increase the standard of the service and the "public perception is long distance rail travel on anything less than an IP Overland Ghan is an antiquated mode and a last resort"

ie more services, faster services, better onboard facilities that our current 20-30 year old trains.If you
RTT_Rules

Again the reality is that air travel has set the standard over significant distances and for rail to be even vaguely comparable many many billions would have to be spent and that's just not going to happen .
If you could improve the transit time 30% and if you could make the trains 30% more comfortable/quiet/better food/entertainment what would change patronage wise ? I reckon stuff all and how much money would go into making 30% happen ?
What percentage of the tax paying community would get much if anything out of it ?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
A hrly service to Armidale is too much, but 3 x daily maybe if you follow the German model
  Minardiau Train Controller

I'm not talking direct services other then a morning to Sydney and evenening service away.

what I'm getting at is hourly services from Armidale > Tamworth.

Hourly services from Tamworth > Scone

Hourly Services from Scone > Newcastle

These are all stoppers as well. Even if the town only has a pub, service station and general store and nothing else.

Then your in the main network and can get to Sydney.

Timetable it so you can still get to Sydney if you don't want to leave at 4am in the morning to get the through service.
  a6et Minister for Railways

I'm not talking direct services other then a morning to Sydney and evenening service away.

what I'm getting at is hourly services from Armidale > Tamworth.

Hourly services from Tamworth > Scone

Hourly Services from Scone > Newcastle

These are all stoppers as well. Even if the town only has a pub, service station and general store and nothing else.

Then your in the main network and can get to Sydney.

Timetable it so you can still get to Sydney if you don't want to leave at 4am in the morning to get the through service.
Minardiau
Any attempt to introduce an hourly service from Armidale -Tamworth - Scone - Newcastle is a program for failure, if for no other reason than the coal traffic & paths would not be there, as bad as it would be from Werris Creek South, once you hit MBK, & then Whittingham it would not be possible.

The other aspect in it is basically a question, which is maybe rhetorical.  I gather these services are seperate ones, & are they connecting with the next leg?  Presuming that is correct, then if one wanted to use these services to get to Sydney, then someone travelling from Armidale would be required to change for 3 different train connections, if not, then they have to wait at each location for an hour for the next service.

What has happened to the 2 daily through services from Armidale?

All of these questions aside, how many people would the trains pick up at each station from the huge towns along the way? think on that when there are many commuter stations in the Valley, Central Coast, Sydney Metro & Illawarra areas with larger population bases that do not have that amount of services.
  Minardiau Train Controller

Again this is old thinking. The Stadler Regio for example depending on configeration has a seating capacity of 100 people. Where i lived in Germany they had a bit less due to heaps of space for tourists and their bicyles and a two class configeration (8 1st class seats).

Take Uralla for example. It has a hell of a lot to offer to tourists and day trippers. But at the moment there is 3 buses from Armidale on a Saturday. There is nothing in the network for bike riders or tourists.

Marketed properly and with proper investment. Our railways can boom again. Just need some outside the box thinking and stop thinking that all trains need to start and stop in Sydney.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Again this is old thinking. The Stadler Regio for example depending on configeration has a seating capacity of 100 people. Where i lived in Germany they had a bit less due to heaps of space for tourists and their bicyles and a two class configeration (8 1st class seats).

Take Uralla for example. It has a hell of a lot to offer to tourists and day trippers. But at the moment there is 3 buses from Armidale on a Saturday. There is nothing in the network for bike riders or tourists.

Marketed properly and with proper investment. Our railways can boom again. Just need some outside the box thinking and stop thinking that all trains need to start and stop in Sydney.
Minardiau
Lets be fair.
Germany Population 80m, area is less than half of NSW. NSW pop 7.5m ok mostly in eastern half, but still 10% of Germany.

When I was in Germany in 2011, it cost me over 100Euro to fill an Audi A4. i don't think fuel in Australia is that expensive just yet.

I saw these 1 car DMU's in action and yes they are functional and practical. The area I saw it running was in the mountains on the old EG / WG border 1hr from Numeberg where the ground was covered in snow and would be better over road. However the towns that the train served were also compact as the houses are all terrace style and you could walk from station to outer edge of town in 10min.

A 1hr service from Armadale to Tamworth would go down as pure waste of taxpayers money. I think 2-3 times per day from Armadale or at least Tamworth to Newcastle is the best you could hope for or justify.

I also stayed in an area where the local rail line had been closed for 20 years due to lack of use and there are far more people along that corridor than NW line.
  Minardiau Train Controller

Lets be fair.
Germany Population 80m, area is less than half of NSW. NSW pop 7.5m ok mostly in eastern half, but still 10% of Germany.

When I was in Germany in 2011, it cost me over 100Euro to fill an Audi A4. i don't think fuel in Australia is that expensive just yet.

I saw these 1 car DMU's in action and yes they are functional and practical. The area I saw it running was in the mountains on the old EG / WG border 1hr from Numeberg where the ground was covered in snow and would be better over road. However the towns that the train served were also compact as the houses are all terrace style and you could walk from station to outer edge of town in 10min.

A 1hr service from Armadale to Tamworth would go down as pure waste of taxpayers money. I think 2-3 times per day from Armadale or at least Tamworth to Newcastle is the best you could hope for or justify.

I also stayed in an area where the local rail line had been closed for 20 years due to lack of use and there are far more people along that corridor than NW line.
RTT_Rules

When you consider that most of the 7.5 million people in NSW live in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongon, Blue Mountains/Bathurst and New England then the population then yes NSW is can be compared to a smaller state like Thuringia where I lived.
  a6et Minister for Railways

When you consider that most of the 7.5 million people in NSW live in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongon, Blue Mountains/Bathurst and New England then the population then yes NSW is can be compared to a smaller state like Thuringia where I lived.
Minardiau
Reality is you have answered yourself in relation to the propossal.

Having worked as a driver at Werris Creek for several years prior to being medically retired, & going through the time when passengers were pushed away, as well as freight from all the lines, also going back to when Armidale was served by 2 pax trains a day with 3 on W&F along with 1 down & 2 up on Sundays, there were times even when the numbers of travelling by rail was high, they were only full at holiday times, when Uni finished & on W/E's for the uni students.

Stations such as Uralla, Kentucky, Walcha Road, Woolbrook, Limbri, Kootingale, Nemingha, would at best provide 4 at Uralla, maybe the same on occasions at Walcha Road, & I don't remember seeing anymore than one on occassions at the others, the thing also was that each of those stations were in the main attended only Tamworth provided passenger numbers especially when connecting services from Barraba ran, but even that line might only provide 12 or so at best.

Heading south, WCK, would provide maybe 6 on one of the mails, remember there was one from Moree, so whichever one was the earliest got the numbers, same at Quirindi, maybe 6 again, Willow Tree one, MDI could go to 10 at times, Scone similar to MDI, Aberdeen same, MBK 12 or more & the same with Singleton, Maitland maybe 20 & BMD same. But again numbers were dependant on the early service & pre booked seat times.

The daylight service on 23 & 22, was usually around 85 - 90% full on most days & an additional train usually ran to Tamworth, then cut back to Werris Creek in later years which was strange, but then again I have seen it with around 20 passengers on it with an 8 car set.

Today, things are much different, the night trains do not run, & only the single daylight each way 7 days a week, it runs at fairly convenient times, but I would like to see the down service run a bit earlier at around 0900 ex Sydney.  Again this train runs & is often around 70% full but can also be much higher.  Stations served are no where near the old days, but then again even if a stop was tabled as a B stop I would be sureprised how much patronage would served.

For people to travel to Tamworth from some of the Northern stations, it would be far quicker by car, but why would they go to Tamworth?  Uralla people head to Armidale for needs that are no worse than at Tamworth, only advantage is that the city centre is closer to the station than Armidale.

Realistically, I would see the general extra need for services would be for the reintroduction of a night service in both directions, departing Armidale at a time that would allow arrival in Sydney between 0600 & 0700,  same for a down service as well.
Today, most of those stations

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