Future of Overland train service in doubt

 
Topic moved from News by dthead on 25 Nov 2019 19:16
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
No problems at all booking intrastate through V/Line for travel on 4/1/2020.

https://www.vline.com.au/Plan-trip-buy-tickets?from=Melbourne%2c+Southern+Cross&to=Horsham+Station&date=04%2f01%2f2020

Apparently there is a 3 month reprieve whilst Victoria and Journeys Beyond discuss the direction forward for the service.

Mike.

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  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
No problems at all booking intrastate through V/Line for travel on 4/1/2020.

https://www.vline.com.au/Plan-trip-buy-tickets?from=Melbourne%2c+Southern+Cross&to=Horsham+Station&date=04%2f01%2f2020

Apparently there is a 3 month reprieve whilst Victoria and Journeys Beyond discuss the direction forward for the service.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Sims Metals?
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Don maaate relax ... Your premier our premier I was told in no uncertain terms by our old premier you know the one hit by a rolled magazine some years ago not to trust any of them (politicians)
doyle
Doyle, glad to hear from a regular user. I don't agree with you about the Trotters V/line bus to Hamilton and Mount Gambier, I use that bus to visit family who live in one of those Glenelg Highway towns and I've always found it comfortable and punctual.

There's some of us here who view the continued propping up of the current model as an impediment to the development of a train service that is more local-orientated and use-able... my own state government is probably the most significant impediment because they're not really interested in providing any train service outside the Adelaide metro area. The VIC government needs to decide for themselves what sort of service they want to provide for Western VIC without South Australian input.

But in the meantime I'll just drive, fly or get the V/line Daylink bus. I know there's not a lot of love for buses on this board but at least its more frequent and accessible than the train.
  MetroFemme Assistant Commissioner

https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/overland-passenger-train-service-to-continue-until-at-least-march
Fab news really why should there not be a passenger service between all state capitals.

South Australia is areally anti rail if you look to their silence.
  SAR520SMBH Train Controller

Unfortunately this is a political topic.

But take the politics out of it, because that's just going to/already has turn/ed into a us vs them, finger pointing and name blaming exercise, as it always does until someone throws the toys out of the cot.

Why is there no or very little focus on the marketing and run frequency of The Overland?
These 2 things seem to me to be what's killing it.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Unfortunately this is a political topic.

But take the politics out of it, because that's just going to/already has turn/ed into a us vs them, finger pointing and name blaming exercise, as it always does until someone throws the toys out of the cot.
SAR520SMBH
Everything is political. The sooner you realise that the better.

Why is there no or very little focus on the marketing and run frequency of The Overland? These 2 things seem to me to be what's killing it.
SAR520SMBH
No-one in control of the purse-strings presently knows what they want to do with The Overland beyond the short-term and all options (save for killing the service off entirely) will cost more money than is currently being 'invested' into it by the Victorian Government. If you don't know what you're marketing then spending money on marketing won't do anything productive.

Short-term, Journey Beyond/GSR want to extract rents from partially running The Overland as a public service. There's no incentive to market it when the Victorian Government is already paying for a whole carriage and that (plus the basically zero marketing spend) gets them enough revenue to keep running the service. Spending money on spreading public awareness of a train service that is on life support is throwing good money after bad.

Do you have some ideas on how the existing anaemic "Minimum Viable Overland" should be marketed?

As for run frequency: any increase in the service frequency for The Overland in its current guise will require an additional whole carriage rake - plus additional hook-and-pull motive power, but that's a minor issue compared to the former. That costs money and Journey Beyond aren't going to make that investment without some substantial financial incentives from the Government (be it the Mexicans, Crow-eaters or the Feds).
  doyle Deputy Commissioner

Hi Don I actually don't mind the bad buzz bus from the Mount to Hamilton but any further and I can't seem to cope, possibly the road from Hamilton to Ballarat is pretty bad I also have some serious health issues I can drive it but can't bus that far

Anyway the configuration of any train service to western Victoria is paramount
Like I suggested previously run (a) train from Hamilton to Bordertown vv meeting Melbourne trains at Ararat

Add an extra couple of sets to the Albury line order

"build it they will come", my favourite is "they love it they just don't know it yet"
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Hi Don I actually don't mind the bad buzz bus from the Mount to Hamilton but any further and I can't seem to cope, possibly the road from Hamilton to Ballarat is pretty bad I also have some serious health issues I can drive it but can't bus that far

Anyway the configuration of any train service to western Victoria is paramount
Like I suggested previously run (a) train from Hamilton to Bordertown vv meeting Melbourne trains at Ararat

Add an extra couple of sets to the Albury line order

"build it they will come", my favourite is "they love it they just don't know it yet"
doyle

Hello Doyle, I think the condition of the road is a VERY big factor in the quality of the bus trip and beyond Hamilton the road to South Australia is very variable. On the Duke's Highway/Western Highway the road has been subjected to many billions of spending in the couple of decades that I've been driving it/taking buses and it is indeed a really superior piece of engineering compared to what it was last century. Dual carriageways, widening, multiple overtaking lanes etc have made that road much safer than it used to be albeit still with bus fatalities as we saw unfortunately earlier this year.

If the Victorian government decides in conjunction with the Commonwealth (perhaps) that they want to restore a daily return service perhaps Hamilton/Nhill return daily connecting with frequent Ararat trains then good luck to them. In the meantime I think its more realistic to consider things like integrating SA Stateliner services with V/line and Firefly and interchangeable ticketing/timetable with LinkSA and Adelaide Metro etc.

I'm probably dreaming but better integrated bus/train services across the board would be better than putting money into the existing Overland services, just my two cents. And maybe eliminate it down to just one provider of those kinds of services being V/line (as you say).
  theanimal Chief Commissioner

So a 3 month extension, now I want to see every one here who has posted for its retention publish a picture of their ticket after they go for a trip.

it is an unfortunate fact of life that the only trhing that will gaurantee the retention of the service is a massive increase in passenger numbers.
  david harvey Chief Train Controller

Location: Bairnsdale Wharf
So a 3 month extension, now I want to see every one here who has posted for its retention publish a picture of their ticket after they go for a trip.

it is an unfortunate fact of life that the only trhing that will gaurantee the retention of the service is a massive increase in passenger numbers.
theanimal
It is a fact of life that nothing will gaurantee the retention of the Overland and i'm sorry not even a massive increase in passenger numbers will be enough to save the inter colonial express .I hope that I am wrong but unless it is fully funded by the Victorian Govt; alas its future in this business driven world is dire.
  greasyrhys Chief Commissioner

Location: MacDonald Park, SA
Only 7 vehicles on what was meant to be the final service.

Goes to show the train is not worth retaining in its current form.
  MetroFemme Assistant Commissioner

Only 7 vehicles on what was meant to be the final service.

Goes to show the train is not worth retaining in its current form.
greasyrhys

It was sold out. 100% full.

GSR not wanting to add capacity.

GSR also stopped  the motorail which did not help.
  greasyrhys Chief Commissioner

Location: MacDonald Park, SA
They (jbr) definitely are not a good mob to not increase capacity. Which is why it would be better if VLine took over the service
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Does Journey Beyond have current leases on any appropriate vehicles that could be used to add extra capacity at short notice?

I was told that they opted not to renew some of them this year once the Vic government said there would be no more funding.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
So a 3 month extension, now I want to see every one here who has posted for its retention publish a picture of their ticket after they go for a trip.

it is an unfortunate fact of life that the only trhing that will gaurantee the retention of the service is a massive increase in passenger numbers.
theanimal

The insignificant number of Railpagers who may use the Overland is unlikely to have any influence on the continuation of the service.

I post in advocacy of the train operating because whilst it's still operating it can be improved and other services implemented and current patronage despite Don Dunstan baying from the gallery justifies the service.

Cancelled... it's unlikely to return at all, short of another extensive review etc.

South Australia does NOT operate regional trains, including the Overland and expects intending PT pax to travel on its 'Stateline' expensive regional bus services.

Mike.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
So a 3 month extension, now I want to see every one here who has posted for its retention publish a picture of their ticket after they go for a trip.

it is an unfortunate fact of life that the only trhing that will gaurantee the retention of the service is a massive increase in passenger numbers.

The insignificant number of Railpagers who may use the Overland is unlikely to have any influence on the continuation of the service.

I post in advocacy of the train operating because whilst it's still operating it can be improved and other services implemented and current patronage despite Don Dunstan baying from the gallery justifies the service.

Cancelled... it's unlikely to return at all, short of another extensive review etc.

South Australia does NOT operate regional trains, including the Overland and expects intending PT pax to travel on its 'Stateline' expensive regional bus services.

Mike.
The Vinelander
I'm not 'baying from the galleries' - I just want a service which is actually useful to me. Every time its pointed out that this 'service' is really orientated towards tourists and not regular users you just ignore it. What's the matter with actually wanting something USEFUL and PRACTICAL as opposed to an occasional tourist train that doesn't meet the needs of the majority of the travelling public?

It's been pointed out to you many times that South Australia is NOT Victoria and that we don't have the population base here to make a regional rail service work but you ignore that too and think that we're backward because we don't want to spend millions of dollars (that we don't have) on providing services for a tiny minority of people who might use them. We don't have a Bendigo or Ballarat here - the potential markets simply don't exist.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Does Journey Beyond have current leases on any appropriate vehicles that could be used to add extra capacity at short notice?

I was told that they opted not to renew some of them this year once the Vic government said there would be no more funding.
justapassenger
I seem to recall in 2017 when the Crows were playing the Grand Final in Melbourne that (then) operator GSR said they didn't have the capacity to run special trains and that they also couldn't simply attach rolling-stock to their fixed Overland consist because there was simply no spare Overland carriages available to cater for potential extra numbers. In other words they were not prepared to alter the service for 'peak' use, I guess because they were being paid a fixed price to run it and they couldn't be bothered accommodating extra users.

It certainly is not the responsive service that it was some decades ago when there was sometimes two trains if numbers warranted it - an express leading and the stopping service trailing.

Those days are long gone.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Ok my rail report of the trip from Nhill to Adelaide aboard the Overland.

To drive from the daughters joint in Nhill to our joint here in St Clair is give or take spot on 4 hrs.

The scheduled travel time for the train; depart Nhill 13.27 arrive Parklands Terminal 17.40 and this proved to be spot on time, well done.

4 people off at Nhill 6 on, our car was hard to say with people coming and going all the time 3/4 full about 45ish, that I could see ( wheelchair doesn't fit up the isle so I didn't stalk the passage way and count ) we were up to speed rather quickly and I found the track a bit how's ya father, rolling and rockin' and couplings between the cars squeezing/creaking like hell,, however once we crossed the boarder track smoothed out considerably.

A few off at Boardertown about 6 on including a number of push bikes and off we went full steam to Tailem Bend.
I was quite surprised at the number of people that appeared to be just strolling up and down the train as well as the continual stream to the tuck shop/buffet car and devouring a range of very nice looking tucker. As I said me wheeled chariot wont't fit up the gangway and the staff passing by regularly as well as numerous passengers asked if would like anything to eat or drink, very pleasing as well as most hostpitipal(?).

Star gazing out thew window made for great veiwing from Nhill to Boardertown with the harvest still going and thick golden stubbles with the wheel tracks from headers making some very interesting marks from their GPS systems leaving perfectly straight lines in the paddocks.

As you can tell I had very enjoyable trip, a clean neat car, the loo just behind me, friendly staff and passengers so what ever short comings the service has and for what ever reasons this has occurred, this is certainly not reflected by the staff.

Over heard a number of the staff chatting and they all seemed quite shore the service will continue to run.....

Chatting to an older codger and he said he had written to the SA Govt and gave his thoughts and views about the train and it's continuation, they did reply which he was pleased about however their response was that there were other forms of transport available...Shocked well !

That's about it,

BigShunter.

by the way theanimal I can send ya pic of my ticket if you require...Wink and I did blow the Froth Off a few beers mainly just because I could ! $8 for the beers Crown Larger was the choice by default so not too rude and very nicely chilled, a must in my book.
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
Sorry I missed ya.Embarassed
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

The scheduled travel time for the train; depart Nhill 13.27 arrive Parklands Terminal 17.40 and this proved to be spot on time, well done.
BigShunter
Don't forget to add the half an hour time difference.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I don't see what the fuss is about. To put it in context, we get four Overland annual subsidies for the cost of one Melbourne median priced house.

To governments this is not even pocket money, it's the fluff in the bottom of your pocket.
Lockspike

Then why doesn't vline run the service instead if that is all it costs? NSW Trainlink provide the service between Sydney and Melbourne. Why can't Vline provide a similar service between Melbourne and Adelaide or pay NSW trainlink post new fleet since we will still have a whole stack of xplorers with some life in them to do the job.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

For year 2018  the Crow Eaters contributed not a single cent towards supporting The Overdue.

Victoria stumped up $ 3.78 million alone subsidy to support The Overdue which only carried 17,000 pax in 2018 . That amounts to a stratospheric Victorian taxpayer subsidy of $ 222 for every passenger carried.

Something has got to give.

As for Journey Beyond their publicity efforts for The Overdue are non existant, and Victoria should have made their generous subsidy conditional on Journey Beyond doing a certain level of paid promotional activity. Again private enterprise sucks the Victorian Government dry.

PS:  The existing single set could do a third return trip each week, as it used to do before the latest cut some years ago.

Pity this situation is not 3 years on where 2 x 5 car XPT sets ex NSW would be available to run a 10 hour trip each way 7 days a week .
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

For year 2018  the Crow Eaters contributed not a single cent towards supporting The Overdue.

Victoria stumped up $ 3.78 million alone subsidy to support The Overdue which only carried 17,000 pax in 2018 . That amounts to a stratospheric Victorian taxpayer subsidy of $ 222 for every passenger carried.

Something has got to give.

As for Journey Beyond their publicity efforts for The Overdue are non existant, and Victoria should have made their generous subsidy conditional on Journey Beyond doing a certain level of paid promotional activity. Again private enterprise sucks the Victorian Government dry.

PS:  The existing single set could do a third return trip each week, as it used to do before the latest cut some years ago.

Pity this situation is not 3 years on where 2 x 5 car XPT sets ex NSW would be available to run a 10 hour trip each way 7 days a week .
kuldalai
No company in their right mind would use stock like the clapped out XPT that are 40 years old after being withdrawn,GSR or whatever they call themsleves also used clapped out  rollingstock only because the Vic Govt pay them too. Time for a whole fresh approach to passenger rail services for the public beyond Ararat. Even if the ViC Guv goes it alone and terminates services at Dimboola or dare I say Serviceton.
  doyle Deputy Commissioner
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Kaniva
doyle
If your argument for having a V/line service reinstated is tourism and increasing economic activity (which would be probably the strongest argument) then a daily return from Kaniva or Nhill would be the logical destination in my opinion. As I'm sure BigShunter can confirm that Nhill has been growing quite well with a few industries and employers helping out with growth, as well as the caravan park and tourism industry in general experiencing quite a lot of growth due to the Little and Big Desert attracting more and more visitors. In addition the construction of the truck/trailer exchange and a large truck rest area to the west of the town (due to it being almost exactly halfway between Adelaide and Melbourne) has added to the economic activity of the area.

In my opinion probably a better idea for a daily return Melbourne-North Shore-Ararat-Nhill (or maybe just Ararat-Nhill) rather than spending for a train all the way to Adelaide, as mentioned earlier $222 per passenger is rather steep considering the average VIC taxpayer subsidy per trip on V/line is around twenty bucks.

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