Future of Overland train service in doubt

 
Topic moved from News by dthead on 25 Nov 2019 19:16
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

For year 2018  the Crow Eaters contributed not a single cent towards supporting The Overdue.
kuldalai
The SA Government subsidy continued up to the end of 2018 and was not renewed for 2019.

Did you mean to write 2019 instead?

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.
kuldalai
I'm pretty sure that figure from the Victorian government was over three years.

Even so, that means they were only paying something in the order of $75 per passenger from Victoria alone (plus the SA contribution up to the end of 2018) which means every passenger was being subsidised by more than the price of a plane ticket - the airlines should have taken the governments to court ages ago and demanded similar levels of state aid!

If we take the 17,000 passengers in a year to be true, that's an average of 82 per trip. A two car DMU would provide sufficient capacity, a three car DMU would be positively luxurious. Make it 2.5 cars of seating space and use the other half a car for a drinks/snack vending machine and luggage space, and allow passengers to pre-order a meal to be brought on board at Horsham so passengers can have a good lunch (and spend some money in the regional economy) without requiring an onboard kitchen.

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.
kuldalai
There's nothing stopping the Victorian government from opening up a competition for the contract and allowing V/Line management to bid for it on the same terms as private bidders.

By making a direct award and having no competition, they are combining the worst of the public and private sectors rather than the best.

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  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Aren't there some spare N-sets being retired from Albury soon - why not try extending their lives a tad by having two sets do Southern Cross-North Shore-Inverleigh-Maroona (maybe)-Ararat-Great Western (maybe)-Stawell, Murtoa, Horsham, Dimboola, Nhill and perhaps further to Kaniva. Meet with a Firefly/Vline bus coming the other way from Adelaide around 1pm and then the train returns to Melbourne/bus returns to Adelaide. No stabling facilities required, just a run-around and back to Melbourne.

It's very interesting country if you've never been before, there's the interesting story of the Mallee Fowl, unique flora for the district, lakes, substantial national parks, etc. Ideally it would smoothly interchange with V/locity services to Melbourne from Ararat a short walk to the stub platform for those like me who would need to go to Ballarat onwards so that it remains a punctual option for those needing to use it as practical transport to in-demand destinations.

$2 million (existing cost of the Overland) probably wouldn't cover the expense of doing that annually but if Chairman Dan wanted to create a tourist buzz for the Wimmera Mallee a daily return proper train service to the heart of the district might be money better spent - basically the cost of maintaining two standard gauge N-sets already in existence, platforms along the route being upgraded and paths/realistic timings being decided.

And lo and behold it (kind-of) satisfies insatiable foamers like Vinelander who want more and more trains while providing an option in addition (maybe) to the existing Daylink.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
If a short-stopping Overland replacement train for the Western District was designated to be operated as a public transport service first then an Ararat - Nhill 'shuttle' (it's a roughly 2h15m trip on the Overland for this stretch so really it's not much of a shuttle) with guaranteed connections to the Melbourne - Ararat train would be my preference, as was proposed earlier in this thread by @Gman_86 . I don't think you could reasonably expect a timetable that would enable day trips into Melbourne let alone commuting, as a hypothetical trip into Melbourne at current train speeds via Ballarat from (say) Nhill would be roughly 4h45m. Instead, a focus on getting Western District passengers to Ballarat in time for appointments and day trips (pre 0900 arrival, mid-afternoon departure) would be the emphasis of this service and it would probably require a rescheduling of the Melbourne-Ararat train to suit.

The upgrade path for such a service would obviously be to convert the Ballarat - Ararat line to SG and then terminate the service at Ballarat or possibly run it all the way into Southern Cross via Ballarat & Geelong for weekend trips.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
If a short-stopping Overland replacement train for the Western District was designated to be operated as a public transport service first then an Ararat - Nhill 'shuttle' (it's a roughly 2h15m trip on the Overland for this stretch so really it's not much of a shuttle) with guaranteed connections to the Melbourne - Ararat train would be my preference, as was proposed earlier in this thread by @Gman_86 . I don't think you could reasonably expect a timetable that would enable day trips into Melbourne let alone commuting, as a hypothetical trip into Melbourne at current train speeds via Ballarat from (say) Nhill would be roughly 4h45m...
LancedDendrite
The key problem is still that the standard gauge route timetabling is still too slow @ a typical 1:15pm departing Nhill arriving Southern Cross at 6:50pm - that's over five and a half hours and is still relatively slow compared to driving. They need to try and slice at least an hour off that journey each way and that may not be possible within the constraints of the current ARTC scheduling.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

There needs to be some outside-the-box thinking.  
Exhibit A of what could be:


https://youtu.be/BxgwzTF7rAc
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
If a short-stopping Overland replacement train for the Western District was designated to be operated as a public transport service first then an Ararat - Nhill 'shuttle' (it's a roughly 2h15m trip on the Overland for this stretch so really it's not much of a shuttle) with guaranteed connections to the Melbourne - Ararat train would be my preference, as was proposed earlier in this thread by @Gman_86 . I don't think you could reasonably expect a timetable that would enable day trips into Melbourne let alone commuting, as a hypothetical trip into Melbourne at current train speeds via Ballarat from (say) Nhill would be roughly 4h45m. Instead, a focus on getting Western District passengers to Ballarat in time for appointments and day trips (pre 0900 arrival, mid-afternoon departure) would be the emphasis of this service and it would probably require a rescheduling of the Melbourne-Ararat train to suit.

The upgrade path for such a service would obviously be to convert the Ballarat - Ararat line to SG and then terminate the service at Ballarat or possibly run it all the way into Southern Cross via Ballarat & Geelong for weekend trips.
LancedDendrite

It being a roughly 1.15 travel time from Horsham to Ararat at a maximum speed of 115Km/h, it's quite doable right now as a rail commute, albeit it's going to be a long day in Melbourne.

https://www.vline.com.au/getattachment/3efaa93c-7229-41ef-8ad2-ffc462665ae2/210-Nhill-Melbourne-(via-Horsham)-(1)

The existing 04:45 bus from Horsham matches the Overland running time to Ararat where the recently introduced commuter service departs at 06:16 for an arrival time in Melbourne well before 09:00 at 08:37.

In the event of a SG V'Locity being introduced from Ararat to Nhill, due to the increased power to weight ratio of a V'Locity compared to a loco hauled train AND the increased speed limit of the V'Locity to 130Km/h, along with the reinstatement of Murtoa station, the running time from Horsham to Ararat should easily be reduced to one hour.

I know we are starting to get into 'Armchair Operators' territory here but it's all doable.

On New Years day I had the pleasure of joining a friend of mine along with others for lunch who was a part of the West Coast rail operation back in the 1990's and is now a bus driver in Geelong and for relief V/Line trains (bustitutions)...well somebody's got to do it Exclamation

His view is that the cessation of the popular Dimboola train back in the 1990's saw a 75% drop in patronage with the introduction of the bus timetable when the BG train was axed.

Even allowing for the resurgence of usage of PT right across Victoria today and the embracing of PT by the Gen Y's and Gen Z's, and an increase in the level crossing protection program to eliminate speed restrictions at unprotected level crossings, it wouldn't be beyond the bounds of reality to forecast an increase of patronage along the line by upwards of 40% with the introduction of a frequent and fastish shuttle V'Locity rail service between Nhill and Ararat.

Mike.
  doyle Junior Train Controller

Why stop at Ararat, Hamilton to Kaniva (or Bordertown) with connections at Ararat, simples
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
There needs to be some outside-the-box thinking.  
Exhibit A of what could be:


https://youtu.be/BxgwzTF7rAc
Carnot
I don't see what a train that runs though 100km of built up area has to do with Western Victoria.

If the public sector were finding profit in the business model, then there would be competition lining up to try and take the subsidy from Journey Beyond. Instead, we have a reluctant operator using old stock for as long as they can.

That Firefly can operate a successful business of coach tours, while despite being less comfortable, can be run for cheaper, and offer a more varied experience (coaches can actually go to any destination or feature, and not just an old run down station somewhere on the fringes) shows the way thinking needs to go.

A reliable, fast train to Ararat, with a proper interchange there, and frequent coaches serving all directions. Tickets that integrate with the travel, and offer bonuses at accomodation or local stores to encourage people to use the services.
  doyle Junior Train Controller

Buses should NEVER replace a rail service EVER, the line is there keep it improve it don't lose it
Buses have a role that's not in doubt, a good rail service should always be the backbone of any public transport system
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

I put the Brightline video up as an example of what could be an attractive, fast, comfortable, frequent, and modern train between Melb-Adelaide that could replace the current service.  And it could also carry a significant amount of patronage between intermediate locations.

It's 2020, not 1970.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
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.
don_dunstan
Well don not quite sure the joint is showing a boom just yet. More like just keeping it's head above water, there's plenty of reasonably large business'  in Horsham also, but everything seems to run on the knife edge, fine line between boom and bust.

The Nhill caravan park could do with a rocket fired at em as could All the Motels, NOT 1 wheelchair accessible unit in the whole of Nhill...Bastards

So if I stay more than 1 day, its either getting wobert to hose me down with the fire truck or up to the carwash for a bit of a scrub.

New people running the Little Dessert Lodge Laughing I like that one, not better, not worse just new.

On the nature front seems Great Southern Rail are having a crack at this with their service stopping in Stawell as shown here;

https://www.araratadvertiser.com.au/story/6558345/train-travellers-disembark-in-region/?cs=1012

STAWELL railway station has been a hive of activity on a Friday afternoon as the Great Southern rail journey has stopped for tourists to experience the region.

Each Friday afternoon from December to January 2020, tourists disembark to enjoy a coach ride to a dining destination, where they experience the best local producers.

There are opportunities to take a guided walk into the heart of Gariwerd, following Stony Creek upstream to the Venus Baths.

About 230 guests will visit during the eight-week initial season of the Great Southern.


Gariwerd.........Shocked are you bloody joking me, Steve Bloody Crabb back to haunt us. Cassandra Langley ( name on article ) what is Happening ?

And as you've said, Ararat, Great Western, Stawell, Horsham and Dimboola can provide plenty of this.

Nice one Carnot, yes it does show what can be achieved with plenty of determination and hopefully the new V'lo's will be equally as impressive.

BigShunter.

link flogged from The Ararat Advertiser, boxin' day.
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
I haven't up graded paper work or done some training horse pooh or whatever and got a nice letter from the CFA booting me off the fire truck. So I'll just have to hose you down from the tank on the back of the ute.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
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
Thats a spurious argument if ever i heard of one.  Governments (as with businesses) should be looking at every dollar spent and understanding the benefits they bring from it.  If there are less than 1 in benefits then dont do it.  It shouldn't matter how much the money in question is.  

As I've said before to another poster with a similar argument, tell me where you are a CEO of a business so I can make sure I don't invest in it.

The old saying, look after the cents as the dollars look after themselves is somewhat appropriate here too.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Well don not quite sure the joint is showing a boom just yet. More like just keeping it's head above water, there's plenty of reasonably large business'  in Horsham also, but everything seems to run on the knife edge, fine line between boom and bust.

The Nhill caravan park could do with a rocket fired at em as could All the Motels, NOT 1 wheelchair accessible unit in the whole of Nhill...Bastards

So if I stay more than 1 day, its either getting wobert to hose me down with the fire truck or up to the carwash for a bit of a scrub.

New people running the Little Dessert Lodge Laughing I like that one, not better, not worse just new.
BigShunter

Hello BigShunter, I think the main drag of Nhill has a buzz about it that you certainly don't find in Dimboola or Kaniva - there seems to be heaps of tourist traffic stopping there. Just an outsider's observation.

And yeah I fully understand your disappointment with hotels and caravan parks: My dad is in a wheelchair but if needed he can manage to walk very slowly for a few metres with a stick so if a hotel unit has one or two steps he can cope... but a full flight of stairs is impossible. Also he really has to have a step-less shower unit and his shower stool for him to be able to get properly clean at a hotel so I know what you mean about the challenges of finding suitable accommodation.
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
The buzz only lasts an hour or two over lunch time, and if/when a bypass goes in it'll be all over.
  C2 Junior Train Controller

Big Shunter Do you know Ballarat , Dimboola  and Wallace near Warrenheip are probally Koori names too , changed in your life time, I'd say change for the better now it's an Australian name for Australia and a bike track from Stawell too how lovely.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Wallace is a Scottish name.
  C2 Junior Train Controller

Don't call me troll mum but year as she said spelt Scottish it's actually Wallace Wallace but they had no written language so stupid English it's is ..know
  stooge spark Train Controller

Location: My House
Wallace is a Scottish name.
Valvegear
And Dimboola is believed to be based on Dimbula, which is Sinhalese (That's the language for Sri Lanka)

As for Nhill, the main draw card for tourism is probably the pinball museum and the airport having a heritage centre. Dimboola doesn't have either.
  C2 Junior Train Controller

Thanks for that Dummy name that why a love rail. HISTORY can't get enough. This Melbourne bloke I wish I was Batman.
  C2 Junior Train Controller

Herald Sun Banner.  'Batman has.a Robing  free day"  Robing surge splits Batmen '
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Valvegear just check the gate on the Asylum...... Wink

BigShunter.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Holy Bloody Hell.
Is this the new low for RP that we have to look forward to in 2020?  Crying or Very sad
Cancel the bloody pseudo Overland and leave us in peace.
Let Vline run to the border and stuff the South Australians. You can only help some people so far.
  lkernan Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
Let Vline run to the border and stuff the South Australians.
YM-Mundrabilla
The rails are a little too close together for V/line's liking.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Let Vline run to the border and stuff the South Australians.
The rails are a little too close together for V/line's liking.
lkernan
One day V/line will be forced to recognise that there is a gender other than BG but, sadly, it may be too late for the overall long term good of Victoria. Smile

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