Future of Overland train service in doubt

 
Topic moved from News by dthead on 25 Nov 2019 19:16
  Upven Junior Train Controller

Surely $200,000 wouldn't be too hard for the SA Government to find.

Future of Overland train service in doubt

It's a shame the SA economy is in such a parlous condition that the SA (Liberal) government cannot stump up the meagre $$ to co-fund its operation for another year to enable those who wish to travel to Adelaide to spend $$ during SA's obvious downturn in a comfortable train instead of a less than comfortable bus.

Whenever I've travelled on it the loadings have always been way more than a bus and if the Overland were to turn into a bus, the intending pax would likely fly instead as the bus to/from Bendigo-Adelaide would be more than adequate.

No doubt it will be up to Victoria and the Andrews (Labor) government to stump up the cash as per last year as we have the buoyant economy and a government that's interested in retaining and expanding PT infrastructure.

Mike.
Wrong about everything, as usual. The Victorian government is currently running a budget deficit of $800,000,000 and has an overall debt of something like $30,000,000,000 so their fiscal position really isn't that good. The Swanston metro line is already over budget by quite a large factor but they're trying to hide that from the public at the moment.

I travelled on the V/line Daylink bus the other day from Ballarat and it was perfectly adequate; I dare say nobody else on the train/bus/bus would have cared if it was a train or a bus either; all you want as a passenger is to get where you're going reliably. I wouldn't have been able to catch the Overland anyway since it hasn't run that route since 1994 and the 'twice a week' schedule is impractical anyway.

Is there a business case for the Overland which is going to grow the numbers? Are the numbers increasing? Unlikely since they've been reluctant to publish them since the new contract... slightly more than a bus-load using it according to you yourself. And have you used it how many times this year in order to support it?
don_dunstan
Government debt is not even close to being comparable to a household budget, so stop the gross exaggeration. Unless you're a qualified economist or accountant and yet to reveal it to us all. As the economists that I read and follow have all been singing a very different tune. During a time of economic crisis, we should be spending even more. There's significant capital looking for somewhere to invest, and the Federal Government has the lowest interest rate ever to borrow on. Or would you like to forget the quantitative easing of $105bn that we just produced from thin air last Wednesday? Simple fact is: the debt and deficit is only a political ploy that you've fallen for.

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  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Government debt is not even close to being comparable to a household budget, so stop the gross exaggeration. Unless you're a qualified economist or accountant and yet to reveal it to us all. As the economists that I read and follow have all been singing a very different tune. During a time of economic crisis, we should be spending even more. There's significant capital looking for somewhere to invest, and the Federal Government has the lowest interest rate ever to borrow on. Or would you like to forget the quantitative easing of $105bn that we just produced from thin air last Wednesday? Simple fact is: the debt and deficit is only a political ploy that you've fallen for.
Upven
You don't have to be an economist or accountant to realise that more borrowed money equals more inflation. In another few years you'll be in chorus of people whinging about how runaway inflation is eating up your savings and your cost of living exceeds your earnings - and it'll all be because of the runaway borrowing we did now. Interest rates will have to 'normalise' to 7-8% in order to try and tackle the inflation - where do you think that will leave the average mortgage holders in Sydney and Melbourne with $500,000+ mortgages?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
You don't have to be an economist or accountant to realise that more borrowed money equals more inflation. In another few years you'll be in chorus of people whinging about how runaway inflation is eating up your savings and your cost of living exceeds your earnings - and it'll all be because of the runaway borrowing we did now. Interest rates will have to 'normalise' to 7-8% in order to try and tackle the inflation - where do you think that will leave the average mortgage holders in Sydney and Melbourne with $500,000+ mortgages?
don_dunstan
House prices In Sydney and Melbourne just got out of control, something had to give, as the average potential buyer just couldn't afford the staggering Increases.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
You don't have to be an economist or accountant to realise that more borrowed money equals more inflation. In another few years you'll be in chorus of people whinging about how runaway inflation is eating up your savings and your cost of living exceeds your earnings - and it'll all be because of the runaway borrowing we did now. Interest rates will have to 'normalise' to 7-8% in order to try and tackle the inflation - where do you think that will leave the average mortgage holders in Sydney and Melbourne with $500,000+ mortgages?
House prices In Sydney and Melbourne just got out of control, something had to give, as the average potential buyer just couldn't afford the staggering Increases.
Nightfire
But if there's a sustained and large increase in interest rates it will certainly mean average people can't borrow as much = a large drop in prices. That would potentially be the black swan event for the Big Four.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

The bottom line is:  Is there a need (now or in the future) for an interstate rail service (NOT a "tourist train") between Melbourne and Adelaide?  Forget about the limitations of the present "service";  assume that any such service would not be slow, clapped out or antiquated, but would operate with modern rolling stock, with more than two services per week, and to a high standard of performance and efficiency.  If the answer to that question is still "no", then the Overland should be discontinued immediately.  If the answer is "yes", it should continue in its present form until a better solution is found (a matter of priority), and the SA Govt. should bear some of the cost.

One of the biggest factors in leading to the Overland's demise was the change from an overnight service to daytime.  Of course, that was done for cost-cutting reasons, but it destroyed the ability to travel overnight and wake up the next morning in the other city, ready for a day's work or whatever.  In that situation it didn't really matter if the train was a bit slow, so long as it arrived in the other city at a reasonable time.
Lad_Porter
A very clear summary of the situation from Lad Porter.

An opportunity was lost when the Old Lady ceased to be an overnight train. It would not have taken much then to keep it going. Marketing to the business traveller, a tart-up commensurate with business service and single occupancy of twinette cabins. For those of us who have used red eye flights to a somewhat full day in either Melbourne or Adelaide can appreciate this. Integration with a return airfare as a package would enhance the business deal. (Think outside the box).

In the days of the SAR the Overland was the flagship. AN didn't care, they couldn't manage anything that breathed so they were happy to release the overnight path to give freight more flexibility.

Now is the time to bring back the overnight Overland.
The IP and Ghan will take years to return to being three consists long so there will be spare stock of good quality.
Freight moves faster now with more efficient track use so an overnight path for the Overland could be found.
The airlines are in tatters and who knows what the air fares will be at the end of this time.
  R41lf4n19 Beginner

Location: Geelong
Hi guys,

I was lucky enough to ride The Overland on the 19th of March, as it turned out with COVID 19, I think the 3rd last ever Melbourne - Adelaide service (or atleast for the time being).

To me there are 3 key reasons why the Overland is unfortunately done:

1) It's simply not competitive with Air travel for mainstream MEL - ADE (as it stands). Admittedly I lashed out and went First Class ($269 & with a journey time of 11 hrs) vs  a cheap budget airline flight ( $29.00 & 1 hr flight) - of course perhaps the current circumstances might force budget airlines out of the market, but even the economy seat of the overland was easily more than $29.00. Ofcourse Gunzel's and time- wealthy tourists would be the remaining clientele.

2) Western Victoria & Bordertown, Murray Bridge don't have the demand. Obviously Australia's population has grown alot over the past few years, but small cities like Ararat, Stawell, Horsham, and smaller towns like Nhill & Bordertown have only had small growth or any. Let alone young people moving away post school for Uni & Work. According to the ABS, Geelong had population growth of 54.6 % between 2011-2018, if something like that happens in Horsham, Stawell a regular service becomes a more viable option.

3) To Follow On from point 2, the SG route via Geelong, Maroona means that it takes 3 hrs to get to Ararat, whilst it only takes 2.25 hrs by road or Velocity.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
2) Western Victoria & Bordertown, Murray Bridge don't have the demand. Obviously Australia's population has grown alot over the past few years, but small cities like Ararat, Stawell, Horsham, and smaller towns like Nhill & Bordertown have only had small growth or any. Let alone young people moving away post school for Uni & Work. According to the ABS, Geelong had population growth of 54.6 % between 2011-2018, if something like that happens in Horsham, Stawell a regular service becomes a more viable option.
R41lf4n19
Unfortunate reality.
3) To Follow On from point 2, the SG route via Geelong, Maroona means that it takes 3 hrs to get to Ararat, whilst it only takes 2.25 hrs by road or Velocity.
R41lf4n19
Another unfortunate reality - that and the fact that it doesn't pass through Ballarat where a lot of the passenger demand could be generated to/from destinations further west.
Now is the time to bring back the overnight Overland.
steam4ian
Maybe - the existing format isn't working that's for sure. We had a discussion some years ago on this board on whether a luxury overnight train would work and we really don't know - the private sector hasn't proposed it and the rolling stock would be an issue.
  stooge spark Chief Train Controller

Location: My House
I have a way to save the overland.

You know how there's a pinball museum in Nhill? Merge it with Crown Casino so you can gamble your earnings away via games of pinball, and then be forced to use the train to go back to wherever the hell you came from because you're stupid.
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

The Overland's small cost is nothing in the scheme of things. Much cheaper than buying new rolling stock, hiring staff, new signage that would come with a V/Line takeover.
Take care of the millions and the billions will take care of themselves.

As for the costs of a VLine service...
Rolling stock: Why buy new? There are Xplorer cars that will be retired from NSW service soon that could be acquired by offering $1 more than scrap price, use them on an interim basis until the eventual Geelong electrification releases VLocity sets to be fitted with standard gauge bogies.
Staff: this is something that Victoria already pays for as part of the package with Journey Beyond, but they should be able to cut down the number on board if they handle it in house. One driver, one customer facing attendant and a vending machine for catering should be fine.
Signage: If we assume a 6 car Xplorer fleet (4 in traffic plus 2 spares) then we need 12 VLine signs (one each side) which comes to $2023.08, hardly the end of the world.
justapassenger
Just as soon will be H Type Carriages, N Type Carriages, N Class Locos and Sprinters soon to be displaced by new VLocities. Why go to NSW? Victoria has loads of old stuff it can tart up and put on Standard Gauge Bogies for a daytime service to Adelaide.


Michael
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Hi guys,

I was lucky enough to ride The Overland on the 19th of March, as it turned out with COVID 19, I think the 3rd last ever Melbourne - Adelaide service (or atleast for the time being).

To me there are 3 key reasons why the Overland is unfortunately done:

1) It's simply not competitive with Air travel for mainstream MEL - ADE (as it stands). Admittedly I lashed out and went First Class ($269 & with a journey time of 11 hrs) vs  a cheap budget airline flight ( $29.00 & 1 hr flight) - of course perhaps the current circumstances might force budget airlines out of the market, but even the economy seat of the overland was easily more than $29.00. Ofcourse Gunzel's and time- wealthy tourists would be the remaining clientele.

2) Western Victoria & Bordertown, Murray Bridge don't have the demand. Obviously Australia's population has grown alot over the past few years, but small cities like Ararat, Stawell, Horsham, and smaller towns like Nhill & Bordertown have only had small growth or any. Let alone young people moving away post school for Uni & Work. According to the ABS, Geelong had population growth of 54.6 % between 2011-2018, if something like that happens in Horsham, Stawell a regular service becomes a more viable option.

3) To Follow On from point 2, the SG route via Geelong, Maroona means that it takes 3 hrs to get to Ararat, whilst it only takes 2.25 hrs by road or Velocity.
R41lf4n19
That is why I am advocating an overnight service.
The daylight service is not a practical proposition for most travellers.
Don't forget to add to the air travel time the time to get to the airport and the need to wait around for so long and go through security. I have never had to take my belt and shoes off to catch a train in Europe or the USA but have been close to strip searched at airports.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

2) Western Victoria & Bordertown, Murray Bridge don't have the demand. Obviously Australia's population has grown alot over the past few years, but small cities like Ararat, Stawell, Horsham, and smaller towns like Nhill & Bordertown have only had small growth or any. Let alone young people moving away post school for Uni & Work. According to the ABS, Geelong had population growth of 54.6 % between 2011-2018, if something like that happens in Horsham, Stawell a regular service becomes a more viable option.
Unfortunate reality.
3) To Follow On from point 2, the SG route via Geelong, Maroona means that it takes 3 hrs to get to Ararat, whilst it only takes 2.25 hrs by road or Velocity.
Another unfortunate reality - that and the fact that it doesn't pass through Ballarat where a lot of the passenger demand could be generated to/from destinations further west.
Now is the time to bring back the overnight Overland.
Maybe - the existing format isn't working that's for sure. We had a discussion some years ago on this board on whether a luxury overnight train would work and we really don't know - the private sector hasn't proposed it and the rolling stock would be an issue.
don_dunstan
Normally I would consider a restoration of an overnight Overland a pipe or foam dream but circumstances have changed of now.
It will take years for tourist numbers to return to their 2019 level and in the meantime consists of IP and Ghan stock will be sitting idle, at best getting impromptu paint jobs. There would be two IP or Ghan consists each of 12 cars available immediately travel restriction ease. They have all the facilities needed for business class travel. Add business corner in the lounge car with photocopier and printer accessed by the train wifi (yes it is already on the trains).
Put a couple of sitting cars on the rear for backpacker and student travel.
While the airlines are flat footed throw in targeted marketing at both the business and local travel market and you are away.
Match fares to equivalent air ticket, motel and dining cost.

The capital cost of this venture is peanuts, the equipment is idle.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
With all the above discussion about rail travel between Melbourne and Adelaide being uncompetitive vis-a-vis air travel, it is interesting to note the existing rail services between Melbourne-Sydney and Sydney-Brisbane.  Both of these offer two services per day (not per week), one of which is an overnight service.  Admittedly Adelaide is a smaller city, but that's not really relevant - if rail travel between Melbourne and Adelaide is uncompetitive, then equally it should be uncompetitive between Melbourne-Sydney and Sydney-Brisbane.  So then why, for those two pairs, are there so many rail services (or rail/bus for Brisbane), including overnight ones?
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

1. The population of Adelaide is absolutely relevant. If we assume that rail is similarly uncompetitive vs air over all three of those intercapital sectors of similar distance/duration (probably generally true, but there's more to it than that) then the smaller population means that the similar small market share for rail produces a much smaller number of passengers.

2. There are regional centres along the east coast routes that allow the XPT to be an intercapital service (which has strong competition from air) and a regional service (which has very little competition from air) operated by one train. The Overland, on the other hand, had negligible patronage from regional stops and was largely dependent on end-to-end passengers where it was extremely uncompetitive.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I have never had to take my belt and shoes off to catch a train in Europe or the USA but have been close to strip searched at airports.
steam4ian
I fly regularly, I have never had to take my shoes off going through airport security locally, or internationally, for domestic or international flights, taking a belt off? Big deal, where appropriate (or more likely when I all too well infrequently remember to) I just wear pants/shorts that don't require a belt, but having to take your belt off really is an insignificant inconvenience. I am more annoyed by needing to remove my watch, but that's only because of it's value - and much of that is sentimental.

Don't forget to add to the air travel time the time to get to the airport and the need to wait around for so long and go through security.
steam4ian
Do you by extension remember to add the time taken to get to APT and then wait around for the Overland to depart? For me, there is likely negligible difference between traveling from my home to YPAD or APT.

Waiting around for so long? For a business trip to Melbourne (the market you're pitching to) I get to the airport maybe (very likely less than) an hour pre flight, I am taking a carry on case at most. My last international trip even excessive amounts of luggage to check I got to YPAD only 2 and 1/4 hours pre flight, which included not only going through domestic security, but international security, the 'stand in here while it spins around looking for explosives' thingo, immigration control and duty free.

Our last trip (before Corona ruined everything) just happened to be to Sydney. Qantas bent the aircraft destined to operate our flight both ways, which if flying to Melbourne would have seen us still beat the train by a solid 8 hours. Our delay included needing to leave air side, collect luggage which was already on board the aircraft pre cancellation from the carousel downstairs, get re booked, recheck luggage and get back through security (taking my belt and watch off again), then 'finding' Coopers' which wasn't where it usually was, ordering a toasted sanga and beer - and that was only to use my $15 Qantas 'inconvenience voucher'.

Returning home, our flight ex Sydney had the aircraft grounded before it departed to fly to YSSY meaning that Qantas actually had some notice of the cancellation and they sent me a text and email before we had even checked out of the hotel, advising me of alternate options. I chose to be booked onto a night flight rather than an earlier flight meaning we experienced a delay of more like twelve hours when it could have been closer to two - but it gave us a bonus day to meet another friend from Manchester who happened to be in Sydney for work for lunch and then again for dinner, and do some further shopping.

In both cases, were these flight to/from Melbourne by time in motion, total time, time including security, angular distance covered by the planet whilst I travel from my home to my hotel, by any measure, it doesn't matter, aviation even with two delays wins easily, even if I doubled the minimum delays, or tripled the delays, aviation still results in less time - it's just not even vaguely close, even if you squint and look at it really hard, there's always that order of magnitude difference.

I posted quite some time back, the Overland isn't 'dying' because of marketing, timetabling or anything else under the service operator's scope of input. It's effectively dead because WWII necessitated us learning to build decent sized, decent range, decent reliability aircraft. Dare I say it, blame old mate Adolf, or the terms signed to at Palace of Versailles, or whatever your chosen view of the triggers to WWII were, but marketing and timetabling of the Overland are not the problem.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Admittedly Adelaide is a smaller city, but that's not really relevant
Lad_Porter
It's absolutely relevant! Otherwise why do you not think there ought to be a competitive rail link between say Kintore (NT) and Telfer (WA)? Vaguely similar distance to Adelaide - Melbourne, population is not important so just get it built, right? - Both even have airstrips! Of course a rail link will work.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
So someone (say a business person) wanting to travel from Melbourne to Adelaide would not use the train because it is uncompetitive with flying.  We all seem to be agreed on that, but in this context the population of Adelaide is irrelevant because the traveller is coming from Melbournes.  So the same person, if going to Sydney, should also prefer to fly.  The distance is about 150 km further, which makes the train trip at least 1.5 hours longer than Adelaide.   Yet the train service is two per day rather than two per week.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
So someone (say a business person) wanting to travel from Melbourne to Adelaide would not use the train because it is uncompetitive with flying.  We all seem to be agreed on that, but in this context the population of Adelaide is irrelevant because the traveller is coming from Melbournes.  So the same person, if going to Sydney, should also prefer to fly.  The distance is about 150 km further, which makes the train trip at least 1.5 hours longer than Adelaide.   Yet the train service is two per day rather than two per week.
Lad_Porter

You make no mention of the subsidy required for the Sydney-Melbourne trains.

It is not a commercially viable operation.
  David10 Station Master

In all reality it was probably lucky to survive as long as it did. It could have easily been wound up 30 years ago when the SA regional and interstate sleeper services in other states were wound up.
  Inland_Sailor Junior Train Controller

The PM talks about a new normal now here in Australia. Our economy has gone down the drain and we're heading into Great Depression territory. Airlines [Virgin] may not exist. Airfares will have to be realistic and if only one survives,[Qantas] overly expensive!
Whats been the situation up to March 2020 will not be in our new future. Individuals and companies will not be able to afford the "luxury" of flying. Rail will be called on to fill the gap. It will be back to the equivalent of driving to Sydney/Adelaide in your EH with an Airchief radio, the Intercapital Daylight or the luxury of overnight on the Overland? Southern Aurora!
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
So someone (say a business person) wanting to travel from Melbourne to Adelaide would not use the train because it is uncompetitive with flying.  We all seem to be agreed on that, but in this context the population of Adelaide is irrelevant because the traveller is coming from Melbournes.  So the same person, if going to Sydney, should also prefer to fly.  The distance is about 150 km further, which makes the train trip at least 1.5 hours longer than Adelaide.   Yet the train service is two per day rather than two per week.

You make no mention of the subsidy required for the Sydney-Melbourne trains.

It is not a commercially viable operation.
bingley hall
Much as I'd love to endorse something as foamy as a luxury overnight train I'm pretty sure the corridor with the potential for the most cashed up tourists and travelers would be Melbourne-Sydney. I think in order to make it special you'd have to spend some serious money on recreating something special like real timber finishes, proper plush lounges for those who wish to socialize and good dinner fare.

Hasn't luxury rail cruising been tried in Australia before, seem to remember years ago someone in QLD blew a whole heap of money on something like that?
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

The PM talks about a new normal now here in Australia. Our economy has gone down the drain and we're heading into Great Depression territory. Airlines [Virgin] may not exist. Airfares will have to be realistic and if only one survives,[Qantas] overly expensive!
Whats been the situation up to March 2020 will not be in our new future. Individuals and companies will not be able to afford the "luxury" of flying. Rail will be called on to fill the gap. It will be back to the equivalent of driving to Sydney/Adelaide in your EH with an Airchief radio, the Intercapital Daylight or the luxury of overnight on the Overland? Southern Aurora!
Inland_Sailor
Rail will be offered the opportunity to fill the gap, but as usual the industry will waste that opportunity and leave the door open for air to make a comeback. The planes will still be there waiting for someone to lease them and the airports will still be there begging for someone to do business with them, a one airline period will not last long.

In fact, I predict that we have already seen the last Melbourne-Sydney and Sydney-Brisbane regular passenger trains for at least five years. They aren't coming back any time soon.
  R41lf4n19 Beginner

Location: Geelong
In fact, I predict that we have already seen the last ever Melbourne-Sydney and Sydney-Brisbane regular passenger trains for at least five years. They aren't coming back any time soon.
justapassenger

Fortunately it's a political decision as much as anything else.. and without getting too political the Nationals are under pressure now more than probably ever (think Bushfires, drought). In my view the role of SYD- MEL & SYD -BNE  is to serve regional NSW as much as the people of the capitals.

I can't see the people of places like Albury, Wagga, Coffs Harbour or Port Macquarie tolerating a cut to services (remembering that if you live in Casino/ Grafton or Albury/Wagga, you probably have at-least as much reason to go to Brisbane or Melbourne respectively than Sydney).

Basically what I am saying is that with the Nationals being under pressure for a number of reasons, they will have to pull their finger out in a way that they haven't had too previously. That in turn is good for the Brisbane-Sydney- Melbourne trains to continue.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
The PM talks about a new normal now here in Australia. Our economy has gone down the drain and we're heading into Great Depression territory. Airlines [Virgin] may not exist. Airfares will have to be realistic and if only one survives,[Qantas] overly expensive!
Whats been the situation up to March 2020 will not be in our new future. Individuals and companies will not be able to afford the "luxury" of flying. Rail will be called on to fill the gap. It will be back to the equivalent of driving to Sydney/Adelaide in your EH with an Airchief radio, the Intercapital Daylight or the luxury of overnight on the Overland? Southern Aurora!
Rail will be offered the opportunity to fill the gap, but as usual the industry will waste that opportunity and leave the door open for air to make a comeback. The planes will still be there waiting for someone to lease them and the airports will still be there begging for someone to do business with them, a one airline period will not last long.

In fact, I predict that we have already seen the last Melbourne-Sydney and Sydney-Brisbane regular passenger trains for at least five years. They aren't coming back any time soon.
justapassenger
There might be a "Working Nation" or "Rudd Cash Splash" type thing - you never know the future.
Fortunately it's a political decision as much as anything else.. and without getting too political the Nationals are under pressure now more than probably ever (think Bushfires, drought). In my view the role of SYD- MEL & SYD -BNE is to serve regional NSW as much as the people of the capitals. I can't see the people of places like Albury, Wagga, Coffs Harbour or Port Macquarie tolerating a cut to services (remembering that if you live in Casino/ Grafton or Albury/Wagga, you probably have at-least as much reason to go to Brisbane or Melbourne respectively than Sydney). Basically what I am saying is that with the Nationals being under pressure for a number of reasons, they will have to pull their finger out in a way that they haven't had too previously. That in turn is good for the Brisbane-Sydney- Melbourne trains to continue.
Railfan
As per the April Fools joke the other day, average cruising speeds need to be vastly increased - the Sydney-Brisbane corridor in partiuclar is hobbled by a terrible, windy steam age alignment - it needs to be sped up as do nearly all the other corridors. Level crossings removed, alignments straightened and crossing loops vastly lengthened so that trains can pass without delaying speed too much. It's a shame that the standardization of the Albury-Seymour section didn't seem to result in much more reliable or faster services.

The only hope we have for new infrastructure spending on rail right now is the Melbourne - Brisbane freight link (whenever it's finished) will at least alleviate some of the freight load on those routes and/or make transcontinental shipment by rail much more competitive. There are a lot of miles to go with that but here's hoping it lives up to its promise.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Might as well give this a bit of a stoke again.

Funding for Overland passenger train extended to June 30: Horsham council.

HORSHAM Rural City Council is seeking clarification from the state government as to how long its support for the Overland passenger train will last.

In a statement on Wednesday, Mayor Mark Radford said Public Transport Minister Melissa Horne had written to him, stating that the Victorian Government will finacially support the Overland until June 30.

Radford said, " We need to clarify if the support is till the end of June or for three months after the train is permitted to run again, " Cr Radford said.

Probably a reasonable question and interesting the council seem to be involved. A good move anyhow, I reckon the Mayor Mark Radford is a bloody tool though, he used to be an electrician from Quantong, had a couple of dealings with him.

https://www.mailtimes.com.au/story/6723218/funding-for-overland-extended-horsham-council/?cs=2669

Link, today's Wimmera MailTimes.

BigShunter.

and BG i will as you will like this ! no icon or bold bits and pieces available either.
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

After the current crisis is over The Overland has a more than better chance of getting up and running long before The Indian Pacific and the Gham, for the first time the pendalum has swung in favour of the OVERLAND. Also taking into consideration the plight of Virgin and Qantas , the railways have at last a good chance of being a popular CHOICE.

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