Rockhampton Station Upgrade

 
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

The Queensland Government has announced a $15-million upgrade to the 1973-built Rockhampton station. Queensland's largest regional passenger station complex will see new airport style departure lounges with charging stations, covered luggage check-in areas, plus platform and carparking improvements. Work is expected to begin in 2022, and will take 16-months.

The station currently sees 55,000-passengers per annum, from the Rockhampton Tilt Trains, Spirit of the Outback and the Spirit of Queensland - serving a regional population of 121,600 residents (Rockhamton and Livingstone).

In announcing the upgrade, Bruce Saunders, the Assistant Minister for Train Manufacturing and Regional Roads, says the government wants more people to use regional passenger services, but the government also recognises that to do that, rail amenities must match customer expectations when they reach Rockhampton.

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  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
Rockhampton isn't a bad station and for the early 1970's in particular it's a well presented station. I'd like to see some track upgrades to raise the speed from Mt Larcom to Rockhampton back to 160Km/h in preference to spending too many $$ on the station.

Bearing in mind people don't have to waste time in railway stations like they have to do waiting at airline terminals, so station facilities are often an underutilised asset.

Rocky, along with Bundaberg are cities along the line that compete with airlines so point to point times and on-board service are important to retaining and attracting additional patronage.

Of possible additional interest, Vince Gair, later Queensland Premier started his career at Rockhampton station as a Clerk and as a railfan Premier started funding for the 'Lander train services in the early to mid 1950's.

https://biography.senate.gov.au/gair-vincent-clare/

Mike.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Mike is right and there is much scope on that Queensland Line for more trains as locals.  

Rocky to MacKay is 300 kilometres and  could use 2 returns services per day.

MacKay to Proserpine is another option with lots of people joining trains there.

Rocky to Gladstone another low hanging fruit for a 2 service each way per day at 100 kms.  

So much opportunity.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Thinking about this more a QR employee once said to me 18 months ago the Spirit of Queensland was a popular service but now has less seats available between Brisbane and Cairns than which the sunlander was running.

Flying from Cairns a few months ago I could see the long wait at Cairns airport for the flight and noticed at that time the number of flights between cairns and townsville. People waited 90 minutes in the qantas club for a flight to Toensville when they could have been on a rail service and have been almost 1/2 way there.  Add the flight and then the airport transfer and you have a comparable service.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
Thinking about this more a QR employee once said to me 18 months ago the Spirit of Queensland was a popular service but now has less seats available between Brisbane and Cairns than which the sunlander was running.

Flying from Cairns a few months ago I could see the long wait at Cairns airport for the flight and noticed at that time the number of flights between cairns and townsville. People waited 90 minutes in the qantas club for a flight to Townsville when they could have been on a rail service and have been almost 1/2 way there.  Add the flight and then the airport transfer and you have a comparable service.
"bevans"


The problem is people don't have a rail ethic like they did some generations ago before everyone had cars and the roads were goat tracks and the 8:35 from Cairns only goes 5 days a week and that includes a Sunday service. QR should be operating a daily service from Cairns and capitalise on that for its potential market to/from Townsville

The fares by QR would no doubt be cheaper than flying and I'm certain this will come to pass in the future, as soon as someone in QR timetable planning starts thinking outside the QR comfort zone.

It's true that the old Sunlander, up to 14 cars had far more sitting car seats than the current train, but it was a slow land cruise train where people sat in the Lounge and watched the world go by, often in an alcohol induced haze.


Mike.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Thinking about this more a QR employee once said to me 18 months ago the Spirit of Queensland was a popular service but now has less seats available between Brisbane and Cairns than which the sunlander was running.

Flying from Cairns a few months ago I could see the long wait at Cairns airport for the flight and noticed at that time the number of flights between cairns and townsville. People waited 90 minutes in the qantas club for a flight to Townsville when they could have been on a rail service and have been almost 1/2 way there.  Add the flight and then the airport transfer and you have a comparable service.


The problem is people don't have a rail ethic like they did some generations ago before everyone had cars and the roads were goat tracks and the 8:35 from Cairns only goes 5 days a week and that includes a Sunday service. QR should be operating a daily service from Cairns and capitalise on that for its potential market to/from Townsville

The fares by QR would no doubt be cheaper than flying and I'm certain this will come to pass in the future, as soon as someone in QR timetable planning starts thinking outside the QR comfort zone.

It's true that the old Sunlander, up to 14 cars had far more sitting car seats than the current train, but it was a slow land cruise train where people sat in the Lounge and watched the world go by, often in an alcohol induced haze.


Mike.
The Vinelander
Rocky station will no doubt be reduced to Dock + through platform with rest removed, an upgrade won't be lost.

I know the track between Mt L and Rocky well and unfortunately the higher speed won't come back. For every person using the station there is a 1t of coal knocking the track about. Being dual track makes it harder to keep up. For the limited times above 120 km/h the overall time lost isn't huge, I would rather the track upgrades be focused south of Gladstone where track speeds are too often down to 60km/h/. One famous corner comes to mind, but also a series of low speed bends not far south of Boyne River and there are plenty of others that survived past upgrades as well as numerous through points with many still rated sub 100km/h on otherwise 120 - 160km/h mainline speed.

Agree with dual trains further north, not sure Rocky Mackay is needed, but definitely two / day north to Cairns using a 4th CTT set.

South of Rocky, a 3rd RTT was always needed and better than a extra CTT as its faster. Should have been from day 1, 2 x day south of Rocky + existing Bundy TT. As someone who used to commute each week from Gladstone to Brisbane it was disappointing to note that on Monday's the RTT actually runs from Rocky empty until it arrives at Bundy for the 5am departure. There are just two main stops north of Bundy and two as required. Would it have really been that painful to provide the option to carry pax. This extra service would complement the 2nd service to Rocky on Friday's being an extension of the 5pm Brisbane to Bundy.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia


The problem is people don't have a rail ethic like they did some generations ago before everyone had cars and the roads were goat tracks and the 8:35 from Cairns only goes 5 days a week and that includes a Sunday service. QR should be operating a daily service from Cairns and capitalise on that for its potential market to/from Townsville

The fares by QR would no doubt be cheaper than flying and I'm certain this will come to pass in the future, as soon as someone in QR timetable planning starts thinking outside the QR comfort zone.

It's true that the old Sunlander, up to 14 cars had far more sitting car seats than the current train, but it was a slow land cruise train where people sat in the Lounge and watched the world go by, often in an alcohol induced haze.
The Vinelander

Mike rail is not the only problem in Australia were are a clueless country and all is good as long as I have a flat screen telly and a beer in my hand.   There is no vision, no plan, and mediocrity is everywhere.

Things are good as long we are digging coal and iron ore and selling it.

I weep for the next generation
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner



The problem is people don't have a rail ethic like they did some generations ago before everyone had cars and the roads were goat tracks and the 8:35 from Cairns only goes 5 days a week and that includes a Sunday service. QR should be operating a daily service from Cairns and capitalise on that for its potential market to/from Townsville

The fares by QR would no doubt be cheaper than flying and I'm certain this will come to pass in the future, as soon as someone in QR timetable planning starts thinking outside the QR comfort zone.

It's true that the old Sunlander, up to 14 cars had far more sitting car seats than the current train, but it was a slow land cruise train where people sat in the Lounge and watched the world go by, often in an alcohol induced haze.
Mike rail is not the only problem is Australia were are a clueless country and all is good as long as I have a flat screen telly and a beer in my hand.   There is no vision, no plan, and mediocrity is everywhere.

Things are good as long we are digging coal and iron ore and selling it.

I weep for the next generation
bevans

True, but in the case of North Queensland...at least until March 2020...many of the full-fare passengers travelling between Cairns, Townsville and the Whitsundays were European backpackers - who obviously do have a rail-use ethic - and many couldn't understand why there were so few rail options. Presuming international backpackers do return at some point, additional rail services between Mackay, Townsville and Cairns have been and continue to be needed.

That there appears to be a growing sense within the Queensland government for regional rail growth - something that has been missing since the early 2000s - in many ways thanks to the Member for Maryborough, things may be on the improve.
  Brianr Deputy Commissioner

Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
My usual annual holidays was to travel in Europe ( occasionally North America) by train. At my age, I doubt whether I will ever do this again.

When the Trans Tasman bubble was announced, I planned to visit my family in Sydney and had thoughts about North Queensland as an add on. The Savannahlander and Gulflander have been on my bucket list. Sadly all tours were booked out, although with what has happened this month, probably just as well.
I also researched Townsville to Mt Isa but, with the only train being overnight both ways and no sleeper, crossed that off.
I was not enthused with a day bed so considered flying to Mackay to catch the S o Q to Townsville and Cairns. I travelled on the Sunlander and Sunshine Express in the 1960's.
I travelled on both the Spirit of the Outback (Brisbane - Longreach - Rockhampton) and from Brisbane to Charleville then back to Toowoomba in 2008.

So now I have booked Sydney to Broken Hill in early August (fingers crossed). However as I do not want to return after one night and do not want to stay 8 nights, I have booked a flight back after 4 nights and I hate flying.

Train travel holidays are not easy in my birth country and not much better in my adopted country.
  Expost Chief Commissioner

A bit of money spent on the track from Parana through South Gladstone, Gladstone, and Scenery St to Callemondah would be nice.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
My usual annual holidays was to travel in Europe ( occasionally North America) by train. At my age, I doubt whether I will ever do this again.

When the Trans Tasman bubble was announced, I planned to visit my family in Sydney and had thoughts about North Queensland as an add on. The Savannahlander and Gulflander have been on my bucket list. Sadly all tours were booked out, although with what has happened this month, probably just as well.
I also researched Townsville to Mt Isa but, with the only train being overnight both ways and no sleeper, crossed that off.
I was not enthused with a day bed so considered flying to Mackay to catch the S o Q to Townsville and Cairns. I travelled on the Sunlander and Sunshine Express in the 1960's.
I travelled on both the Spirit of the Outback (Brisbane - Longreach - Rockhampton) and from Brisbane to Charleville then back to Toowoomba in 2008.

So now I have booked Sydney to Broken Hill in early August (fingers crossed). However as I do not want to return after one night and do not want to stay 8 nights, I have booked a flight back after 4 nights and I hate flying.

Train travel holidays are not easy in my birth country and not much better in my adopted country.
Brianr
Sleepers are in retreat globally as costly item to provide and realistically in Australia not done well when the same car is to be used as a day sitter, like XPT.

Personally I don't have a problem with airline business class seats for long distance travel. People may upwards of $5000 to do this in a high degree of comfort so it should be fine in a train for similar time frame for just a few hundred bucks.

Having said that, the SOTO, Inlander and Westie are grossly out of date and need to either be killed off or modernised with new stock suited for a 17 - 24 h journey. No need for multi class travel. Just business class style seating, ISE and a buffet to get a feed. 3 car DMU would be more than sufficient for the task. A pay shower would be a nice as well to freshen up after a day's travel. If numbers increase above that needed by a 3 car DMU, just increase the frequency from 2 x a week to 3 / week or 7 x a fortnight.

NZ is lucky to have any passenger trains at all with numerous threats of cut backs and closure over the years. Auckland Wellington again should be modern daily service. Likewise Napier to Christchurch and extension south to Dunedin. Again the rolling stock needs replacement.
  Brianr Deputy Commissioner

Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Sleepers are in retreat globally as costly item to provide and realistically in Australia not done well when the same car is to be used as a day sitter, like XPT.

Personally I don't have a problem with airline business class seats for long distance travel. People may upwards of $5000 to do this in a high degree of comfort so it should be fine in a train for similar time frame for just a few hundred bucks.

NZ is lucky to have any passenger trains at all with numerous threats of cut backs and closure over the years. Auckland Wellington again should be modern daily service. Likewise Napier to Christchurch and extension south to Dunedin. Again the rolling stock needs replacement.
RTT_Rules
I paid $4000 for a business class seat from Athens to Sydney in June last year. I was quite ill after the overnight flight from Dubai to Sydney in Economy in 2018 (the plane was chockers so I was unable to upgrade). i usually cope quite well with the day flight Sydney 6am to Dubai 2.30(?) pm. I gave up flying direct economy to and from Europe 20 years ago.

I still have the voucher with Qatar Air for 2022 (who knows if I will use it). My only business class flight was one free upgrade Christchurch to Sydney a few years ago. Very nice but I would not pay double for it.
However I have no wish to try the same facilities in a train when there are alternatives. A plane does not have stops with people  entering and leaving.

The NZ Labour Government is upgrading our Railways. There is now new rolling stock on all 3 long distance trains (I am yet to try them) and the frequency was to be increased pre-Covid.
Napier? is in the North Island. Perhaps you mean Picton/Blenheim

Sadly the train journey is very slow from Oamaru south to Dunedin. I recently took 3 hours each way to Oamaru on an excursion train (very scenic). I could drive it in an hour and a quarter.  The coach (which I often took on my way to Sydney pre-Covid) takes 5 hours to Christchurch with a half hour refreshment stop at Timaru.
  Brianr Deputy Commissioner

Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
I believe SOTO rolling stock has also been upgraded. I travelled on it in 2008 and enjoyed it immensley, a single sleeper.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
My usual annual holidays was to travel in Europe ( occasionally North America) by train. At my age, I doubt whether I will ever do this again.

When the Trans Tasman bubble was announced, I planned to visit my family in Sydney and had thoughts about North Queensland as an add on. The Savannahlander and Gulflander have been on my bucket list. Sadly all tours were booked out, although with what has happened this month, probably just as well.
I also researched Townsville to Mt Isa but, with the only train being overnight both ways and no sleeper, crossed that off.
I was not enthused with a day bed so considered flying to Mackay to catch the S o Q to Townsville and Cairns. I travelled on the Sunlander and Sunshine Express in the 1960's.
I travelled on both the Spirit of the Outback (Brisbane - Longreach - Rockhampton) and from Brisbane to Charleville then back to Toowoomba in 2008.

So now I have booked Sydney to Broken Hill in early August (fingers crossed). However as I do not want to return after one night and do not want to stay 8 nights, I have booked a flight back after 4 nights and I hate flying.

Train travel holidays are not easy in my birth country and not much better in my adopted country.
Sleepers are in retreat globally as costly item to provide and realistically in Australia not done well when the same car is to be used as a day sitter, like XPT.
RTT_Rules

I disagree.  Sleeper trains are making a big comeback across the global especially in europe where several news trains and upgrades have been delivered.  There are also new operators.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

NZ is lucky to have any passenger trains at all with numerous threats of cut backs and closure over the years. Auckland Wellington again should be modern daily service. Likewise Napier to Christchurch and extension south to Dunedin. Again the rolling stock needs replacement.
RTT_Rules

Napier to Christchurch? Is that via the Cook Strait Tunnel?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
NZ is lucky to have any passenger trains at all with numerous threats of cut backs and closure over the years. Auckland Wellington again should be modern daily service. Likewise Napier to Christchurch and extension south to Dunedin. Again the rolling stock needs replacement.

Napier to Christchurch? Is that via the Cook Strait Tunnel?
duttonbay
Thanks for this, I meant Picton.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE

I disagree.  Sleeper trains are making a big comeback across the global especially in europe where several news trains and upgrades have been delivered.  There are also new operators.
bevans
"Big comeback", hardly. There are a few select routes in EU servicing cities along the route with a combined population of 10 M's.

Yes it works for them, because of not just total population, but distribution of the population. There are 10m on the Syd-Mel catchment, but 9.5m live within 100km of the terminus at either end.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I believe SOTO rolling stock has also been upgraded. I travelled on it in 2008 and enjoyed it immensley, a single sleeper.
Brianr
Yes, but still decades old stock. Might appeal to you and I but its still not attractive to the younger generations.

The three inland services should be converted to half train versions of the CTT with adjustments to fit the tunnels.

For example
One loco and 4 cars.

Car 1 is mix baggage, crew and EC seats.

Car 2 is EC with showers and toilets

Car 3 is buffet and small lounge

Car 4 is EC with showers and toilets

All seats fully recline. 2+1 across.

Loco capable of adding an addition EC car if needed. Loco is 1+1 traction system independent of each other for reliability.

and in true Qld style the whole train is turned at each end.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I paid $4000 for a business class seat from Athens to Sydney in June last year. I was quite ill after the overnight flight from Dubai to Sydney in Economy in 2018 (the plane was chockers so I was unable to upgrade). i usually cope quite well with the day flight Sydney 6am to Dubai 2.30(?) pm. I gave up flying direct economy to and from Europe 20 years ago.

I still have the voucher with Qatar Air for 2022 (who knows if I will use it). My only business class flight was one free upgrade Christchurch to Sydney a few years ago. Very nice but I would not pay double for it.
However I have no wish to try the same facilities in a train when there are alternatives. A plane does not have stops with people  entering and leaving.

The NZ Labour Government is upgrading our Railways. There is now new rolling stock on all 3 long distance trains (I am yet to try them) and the frequency was to be increased pre-Covid.
Napier? is in the North Island. Perhaps you mean Picton/Blenheim

Sadly the train journey is very slow from Oamaru south to Dunedin. I recently took 3 hours each way to Oamaru on an excursion train (very scenic). I could drive it in an hour and a quarter.  The coach (which I often took on my way to Sydney pre-Covid) takes 5 hours to Christchurch with a half hour refreshment stop at Timaru.
Brianr
Thanks for those comments, yes Picton.

BC on planes cost alot for a reason and to replicate it on a govt subsidised train is not really in the best interest of the taxpayer. If very heavily subsidized sleepers are the only way to get people to use rail then perhaps rail shouldn't exist. I think it would be fair to say that EC should be subsidised but sleepers should not or certainly not more per seat than EC.

EC on planes is tight and as someone very tall, on trains I think its reasonable to accept no less than 34-35" pitch equivalent although many train seats are more. The RTT EC seats of old, not sure since refurb are in my view not acceptable for a 6h trip from Gladstone which I did frequency. One row of seats needed to be removed and the seats made at least long haul aircraft standard.

However for the longer haul trains in Qld like CTT and western trains, all running through the night, the CTT style seating for both classes should be fine. As CTT BC is 2+1 seating I do struggle to see how this is suited to either single or travelling couple/family. Yes I've used the QR single berth a few times.

On a 24 h trip Brisbane to SOTO or Cairns, people eat the same amount as 24h Sydney to London so there should be no differences there. However unlike planes, a buffet car does make thing somewhat more flexible.

Not sure how the station stops affects things too much. Many of the stops are only lightly used.

Good news on the new rolling stock.

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