Re-opening the Cobram line to Passenger Traffic

 
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Mikelander: I have a "bias against regional rail" as I have looked at the history of the VR and have done so without rose-coloured glasses, and quite frankly the history of regional passenger travel is littered with discreet pork-barrelling as a passenger service, nor did any expansion of "rail services increase the patronage on any given service".  
"Deep Throat"


 Thankyou for admitting your bias Deep Throat  Exclamation

The pass service to Tocumwal was underpatronised in the 1960's and less so in the 1980's when it went to Cobram.  I can cite - and did cite - a report that was written in 1985 stating this.
"Deep Throat"
 

 Of course it was under-patronised, anybody with more than a passing interest would know that.

The question that needs to be asked, today is WHY was it along with other similar type services under-patronised QuestionIdea A few answers if I may.

1. Services operated when they suited VR, not the travelling public. There was NO surveying of pax in those days.
The minimal service ran, you used it or you didn't. Most drove, petrol was cheap. Trains and buses were particularly 'un-cool'

2. Trains were slow, the DERM wouldn't have exceeded 80KPH, unless it had a tailwind and was going downhill and unless you travelled in the motor, you didn't even get a heater in winter.

3. Cars were preferable; if it was summer you stopped and went to the pub, had a few beers to wash the dust down, and then kept going.  
.05, what's that, it never existed in those days, people routinely drank and drove.

4. PT was actively discouraged by the parents of that 60's & 70's  generation who were glad when the price of cars, Holden 48-215's and FJ's became cheaper than the earlier, imported Chevy's and Fords et al. Holden's were mass produced to the point of everyone being able to afford one, the parents included, who were joyous of their new found freedom.

Hardly a ringing endorsement for PT, agreed Question

5. Where did the now popular Griffith bus connection depart, Shepparton or Tocumwal Question  Nowhere, I bet because I don't believe it existed.

6. Though I keep stating it ad nauseum, and the pax agree because they are voting with their feet, though many posters don't want to admit it, more, many more pax are using Vline services these days, including, apparently the Griffith service.

AND PT , particularly trains are now seen to be a 'cool' mode of transport, with a much less environmental footprint than cars, buses and particularly trucks

(More about that LATER, under Kevin '07)

Though I'm an expansionist and you have a bias against regional rail, praise be that you weren't officially consulted for the RFR, I can see little or no point whatsoever in upgrading or re-opening for example, Horsham to Yaapeet, Lubeck to Bolangum, Numurkah to Picola or Timboon to Timboon Jcn, or other branch lines of that ilk.

PS, many years have have passed since your report, it's somewhat out of date in today's very much changed world.

Mike.  

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  Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
This board has become a sad place - to paraphrase Kim Beasley Snr, the cream of gunzeldom has become the dregs of foamerdom.

Before proposing one more 'let's reopen the passenger service to Upper Dingdangdongalong West' thread - some facts:

-Australia is a failed 'European settler land' project, despite 200 years of work by colonial and state/national politicians

-Australia is not a fertile land. Apart from a narrow coastal strip and the island of Tasmania, it is a mix of savannahland and desert. The northern half is in a monsoonal rain shadow of New Guinea, and the southern half near unusually cold ocean currents that yield little rain. What rain does fall is intercepted by coastal ranges not 2 hours by road from the coast.

-Neither the European or North American settler model worked because of this

-Colonial and then national politics was skewed to the advantage of conservative farmers' parties and their alliance with city-based business and property interests. The payoff was that conservative farmers' party's members' mothers could come down and visit them on an occasional slow passenger train, at least until the point when the road and air networks were able to take over. Then they were redundant.

-Where in Europe we have millenia of decentralisatioin (usually around Roman soldiers camps) and in the USA we have hundreds of years of independent cities and states in the 100000-1000000 population range (an artifact of their very decentralised political system and cultural lean towards the individual) we have a somewhat viable network of rural rail lines, in Europe used for passengers and in the USA for freight

-Australia never had decentralisation. The only decentralisatoin built into the system was the states. Each therefore had to have a capital which, unlike in the USA, was also the business/industrial capital. That is the extent of decentralisation. An artificial capital was also provided, but after the era of rail transport for long distance travel

-The capitals were placed on the coast, near shipping and the coastal mountain ranges that surround Australia, ensuring a more reliable watersupply and market garden capacity to feed and water the cities

-These coastal ranges prevented easy development of long distance rail. Much of the early colonial expenditure was blown on trying to get embryonic rail networks over these ranges, with limited pay off. These poor alignments are still responsible for poor rail journey times today.

-Pushing long distance passenger rail in this country is a fools game. Apart from a few 'liner' services and a small 'fill-in' network in Victoria where distances are too small for aviation - there is no market

-Yet city populations and densities have grown to 'outer European' levels eg Swedish or Finnish levels, but we have no seen concomitant investment. Foamers would rather the money wasted on memories of unviable passenger trains long gone.

-Freight levels between the capitals are respectable by US standards, and some corridors have quality infrastructure that allows that level of service to be provided. Others don't and this is the highest priority rural rail expenditure, not passengers

-There is a healthy and relatively large rail preservation movement in this country, surviving on ticket returns and small capital grants. Why do some foamers want more taxpayers money wasted on 'preserving' rural rail to places like Cobram or Mildura? If you want to ride a DERM - go to Daylesford. Or a CPH? Go to Paterson and ride their charters.
  NottaGunzel Banned

Location: Banned
[quote][quote="The Vinelander"][quote="Deep Throat"]Mikelander: I have a "bias against regional rail" as I have looked at the history of the VR and have done so without rose-coloured glasses, and quite frankly the history of regional passenger travel is littered with discreet pork-barrelling as a passenger service, nor did any expansion of "rail services increase the patronage on any given service". [/quote]

[color=darkblue] Thankyou for admitting your bias Deep Throat Exclamation

Though I'm an expansionist and you have a bias against regional rail,

[/color][/quote]


Now it's your turn Mikelander -- will you admit your bias against :-

1. Sound Economic Thinking
2. Logic
3. Reasoned Arguments
4. Buses due to kids picking on you on the School Bus when you were a kid.

Your lack of logic and thinking through your statements is only highlighted by the many [b]P.S and P.P.S[/b] "add-ons" to your posts.

You just keep pluckin' 'em out of the air Mikelander Rolling Eyes



I used to think Mikelander had some sort of credibility but that's in the past. Rolling Eyes


Thank God they don't consult you for Cost/Benefit Analysis Shocked
  PClark Chief Commissioner

Mikelander wrote:-

"Trains were slow, the DERM wouldn't have exceeded 80KPH, unless it had a tailwind and was going downhill and unless you travelled in the motor, you didn't even get a heater in winter."

and

"Where did the now popular Griffith bus connection depart, Shepparton or Tocumwal?  Nowhere, I bet because I don't believe it existed."

What have DERMs got to do with Cobram or Tocumwal?

and

Back in the days that Deep Throat is talking about there was no "bus connection" to Griffith because there was a (pant, foam, drool) TRAIN!

The Melbourne-Tocumwal train connected with a NSWGR 400 class diesel train which ran to Narrandera and connected there with either the Riverina Express, or it's diesel train connexion ex Junee for Griffith.

As I pointed out in an earlier posting, it was probably more convenient and comfortable to travel Melbourne-Narrandera/Griffith by taking the Intercapital Daylight to Junee and changing there.

Seriously though, the problem with this and other similar threads (like the Mildura one) is that some gunzels are so obsessed with trains that they are unable to concede that alternatives have any place in their world.

To cover this up they invent mythical groups of people that "can't" travel by air or coach but have to come up to town for medical treatment for a life-threatening condition.  Ergo, a train is ESSENTIAL!

(Pity those who live in places like Mallacoota or Merimbula)

The almighty "boom" in Vline patronage is often cited but the fact that this is because the government is willing to accept an 18c in the dollar return and that the typical "boom" passenger is more likely to be a commuting bank teller from Bacchus Marsh or shop assistant from Sunbury than somebody travelling from Cobram or Mildura.
  Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
Mikelander also thinks it is about city vs country

It isn't. It is about passenger vs freight.

Every dollar spent on passenger rail is taken from freight rail - getting trucks off roads, getting goods cheaper to the shops, getting exports cheaper to their final markets and raising the standard of living.

If you want a good environmental outcome - get freight out of long distance trucks

If you want rural people to have a good standard of living - help them get their goods to market cheaper

The $100m you could waste getting trains back to Cobram could help an extra couple of paths onto the Sydney to Melbourne line - could cut one hour of the Sydney to Brisbane transit time - could get Blayney onto the national double stack network - could build the Minimbah third track and get hundreds of thousands of tonnes of coal to the port of Newcastle quicker, and keep thousands in jobs.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line


The almighty "boom" in Vline patronage is often cited but the fact that this is because the government is willing to accept an 18c in the dollar return...SNIP...
"PClark"


  Thankyou Peter for that 'insight' to Ted's upcoming PT policy.

Folks, if/when Ted Baillieu is elected, we can expect STEEP increases in PT fares as the economic rationalist, new Liberal Coalition government will say, that despite the Vline system groaning under record numbers of pax, the fares have to increase by, how much Question

Because the system is losing way too much money Exclamation

How do I know this  Question
Because PClark is a paid up member of the Liberal Party.

Now that's not something I'd be ashamed of and I support Peters sense of political and community spiritedness, however it needed to be mentioned here because Peter doesn't admit his political affiliations very often.

I'll continue; this new Baillieu government direction will, as has happened innumerable times under Coalition governments in the past, lead to pax deserting the Vline system and returning to their cars  ExclamationTwisted Evil

But wait, cars will cost around $200.00 to fill up in this mythical, (mythical, because who knows when the Lib's will ever be elected) future time and as a consequence, pax will have to hold their anger in abeyance until a Labor government is elected again, most likely at the following poll.

Fares will continue to rise, services will continue to be cut.

It's happened before, though many posters probably weren't even born in the times of old Sir Henry.

Furthermore, by promising to reduce fares to a sensible socially acceptable level, stating that losses are purely how you add up the figures and it's important for social inclusion that rural Victorians be able to travel as easily and conveniently to Melbourne and other places as city dwellers, and on that basis, among others a Labor government will be re-elected and so the cycle continues.  Rolling Eyes

Mike.

PS, I have not and never have I ever been a paid-up member of the Australian Labor party or any other political party.

Again, thankyou Peter for letting the cat out of the bag, with a sneak preview of your sides PT fares policy Exclamation

PPS, harking back to my earlier post.

7. Another reason people deserted the trains in the early 70's was due to Liberal Coalition governments ExclamationTwisted Evil .
It was actually cheaper to drive your own car than to pay for the train fare to travel on the slow, inconvenient, branch line service Exclamation

  Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
You've finally admitted the whole of what we've been saying Mike Ballander



7. Another reason people deserted the trains in the early 70's was due to Liberal Coalition governments...
It was actually cheaper to drive your own car than to pay for the train fare to travel on the slow, inconvenient, branch line service


And not just in the 1970s, but in the 60s, 50s, late 40s... people found driving was cheaper than the slow and inconvenient [branch] line service

And as Lord Riccardo says on his own blog

No Victorian line deserved the title "Main line" - all were branches, just by degree. But therein is the charm, loco-hauled passenger sets hauled along class 3 branches at their 95km/h speed limit to this day. Winding, low-tech branches.
[/i]
  gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic
[quote="Riccardo"]Mikelander also thinks it is about city vs country

It isn't. It is about passenger vs freight.

Every dollar spent on passenger rail is taken from freight rail - getting trucks off roads, getting goods cheaper to the shops, getting exports cheaper to their final markets and raising the standard of living.

If you want a good environmental outcome - get freight out of long distance trucks

++Quite true, and interesting to note that the State Government still seems to have difficulty accepting the fact that the projected doubling of the national freight task will continue to squeeze the last drop out of the road infrastructure. Having done the right thing by resuming the track lease from PN, they hand management of the network over to V/Line - a dedicated pasenger operator with already squeezed paths on the pax routes. Meanwhile, the State gets the respected Tim Fischer to come up with a blueprint for saving rail freight, but deems to ignore the fact that the task requires more than rail infrastructure. We are trying to run a freight network with a belligerent principal operator (PN) and a minor player (ELZ) that is using rollingstock and locos older than HQ Holdens.
Unless the State comes up with a more proactive way of developing new freight business (possibly leveraging financial support from the Federal Government), we are going to see a continuing decline in intrastate freight business.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
You've finally admitted the whole of what we've been saying Mike Ballander



7. Another reason people deserted the trains in the early 70's was due to Liberal Coalition governments...
It was actually cheaper to drive your own car than to pay for the train fare to travel on the slow, inconvenient, branch line service


And not just in the 1970s, but in the 60s, 50s, late 40s... people found driving was cheaper than the slow and inconvenient [branch] line service

And as Lord Riccardo says on his own blog

No Victorian line deserved the title "Main line" - all were branches, just by degree. But therein is the charm, loco-hauled passenger sets hauled along class 3 branches at their 95km/h speed limit to this day. Winding, low-tech branches.
"Riccardo"


Riccardo, at least main lines and I reckon that destinations like Bendigo, Ballarat, via Geelong in particular, and Albury are on main lines.

They were built like main lines, particularly Bendigo under the Mt Alexander Railway company, and their status befits the term, main line  Exclamation

In a previous post your espousing Blayney as a destination for double stacked containers. There's one thing NSW was very poor at and that was building railways.

Railways in NSW certainly resemble IMO the branch line status you describe simply due to their exceptionally circuitous routes.

A simple case would have to be the main Western and Southern lines where one will find every mountain, mole hill and ant hill was detoured around, to the point of silliness  Exclamation

Several times whilst travelling on both lines one will find, due to the circuitousness of the route, that the train will actually be heading in the opposite direction to its destination, yet obviously still travelling to its ultimate destination  ExclamationRolling Eyes

Figure that one out  Question

It's unlikely I'll ever compare Australian railways with the European railways you like to hold up as a model of wonderfulness as my overseas interests only lie in North America and have never included Europe or Asia.

Maybe that's my loss, but I attribute it to an addiction to western movies as a kid and a dislike of dirty or smelly, Asian or crowded European cities.
It may also partly explain my decision about leaving the state public service in Melbourne for the wide open spaces and no crowds of local government at Longreach.

Mike.
  Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
What, is this a competition for who's got the longest todger?

I don't give a particular rats ahhs whether you like European railways or not.

You are sounding particularly bitter and twisted today. But as I posted on the other thread, you can be saved.

If you like North American practice, why do you resist the idea of railways for profit? Why do you shun regional aviation (which has its heartland in America)? Would you go to the US and tell them to reinstate their interurbans?

In Longreach you are seeing the way long distance passenger rail survives these days...a couple of liner style services a week, for several hundred dollars a ride.

Hopefully a few months in the dry western air will clean out the foam from your being.
  NottaGunzel Banned

Location: Banned
What, is this a competition for who's got the longest todger?

I don't give a particular rats ahhs whether you like European railways or not.

You are sounding particularly bitter and twisted today. But as I posted on the other thread, you can be saved.

"Riccardo"



He's now become a "Bona Fide , Fully Paid-Up , Card Carrying Queenslander" Riccardo  Rolling Eyes

A Sick / Sad / Sorry case if ever I saw one  Crying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sad
  PClark Chief Commissioner

Mikelander wrote:-

"How do I know this  
Because PClark is a paid up member of the Liberal Party.

Now that's not something I'd be ashamed of and I support Peters sense of political and community spiritedness, however it needed to be mentioned here because Peter doesn't admit his political affiliations very often."

Huh?

That's no secret.

Anybody who takes the trouble to read my postings would have been aware of this for a long time.

I most recently came out of the closet on this when I challenged an allegation that the incoming Kennett government had seriously tried to cancel the Sprinter order and I also recently mentioned a private conversation that I had with JGK on the issue of the Vinelander's withdrawal.

In any case, any opinions that I express on RP2 forums are MY OWN and certainly not necessarily Liberal Party policy.
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
Mikelander: I have a "bias against regional rail" as I have looked at the history of the VR and have done so without rose-coloured glasses, and quite frankly the history of regional passenger travel is littered with discreet pork-barrelling as a passenger service, nor did any expansion of "rail services increase the patronage on any given service".  
"Deep Throat"


Thankyou for admitting your bias Deep Throat
"The Vinelander"
I think you've missed my point - that I don't see regional passenger trains as anything but a sink, as Riccardo mentioned, for funding to be drawn away from freight.  I would rather see a freight-only line with decent ongoing maintenance and efficiencies in shipping and delivery than a money-sink passenger service for a few ferals/oldies who pay concessions and a worse freight line.

It meant that I don't share your happy-clappy rose-coloured view of long-distance passenger rail services, and in your eyes, that means a bias.


The pass service to Tocumwal was underpatronised in the 1960's and less so in the 1980's when it went to Cobram.  I can cite - and did cite - a report that was written in 1985 stating this.
"Deep Throat"
 Of course it was under-patronised, anybody with more than a passing interest would know that.
"The Vinelander"
Damn those facts again getting in the way of a good story.


The question that needs to be asked, today is WHY was it along with other similar type services under-patronised Question

A few answers if I may.
"The Vinelander"
This should be good...

1. Services operated when they suited VR, not the travelling public. There was NO surveying of pax in those days.
"The Vinelander"
Proof? Cites?  When I get a chance, I'll have a look at some NE WTT/MTP's and blow that one out of the water.  
The minimal service ran, you used it or you didn't. Most drove, petrol was cheap. Trains and buses were particularly 'un-cool'
"The Vinelander"
This your own opinionn or can you base it on fact?  The Southern Aurora though disproves your opinion; and you missed one thing here.  I'll let you work it out.

2. Trains were slow, the DERM wouldn't have exceeded 80KPH, unless it had a tailwind and was going downhill and unless you travelled in the motor, you didn't even get a heater in winter.
"The Vinelander"
What DERM? If we're talking about Tocumwal/Cobram pre 1981, the Cobram-Numurkah service was a 102hp Walker, the pass from Tocumwal was usually T-BS/AS or AE/BE-CE.  

3. Cars were preferable; if it was summer you stopped and went to the pub, had a few beers to wash the dust down, and then kept going.  
.05, what's that, it never existed in those days, people routinely drank and drove.
"The Vinelander"
Huh?  Why not have a quiet one in a railway refreshment room or while waiting for the train to depart?

4. PT was actively discouraged by the parents of that 60's & 70's  generation who were glad when the price of cars, Holden 48-215's and FJ's became cheaper than the earlier, imported Chevy's and Fords et al. Holden's were mass produced to the point of everyone being able to afford one, the parents included, who were joyous of their new found freedom.
"The Vinelander"
The brain-aching silliness of that and the prior statement is phenomenal.  

Hardly a ringing endorsement for PT, agreed
"The Vinelander"

If it wasn't a total load of bollocks - yes.  
But given that it is a total load of bollocks - no.


5. Where did the now popular Griffith bus connection depart, Shepparton or Tocumwal Question  Nowhere, I bet because I don't believe it existed.
"The Vinelander"
PClark tackled that one.  The Mikelander (I missed using that name Wink ) - please get your facts right before quoting them to others.

6. Though I keep stating it ad nauseum, and the pax agree because they are voting with their feet, though many posters don't want to admit it, more, many more pax are using Vline services these days, including, apparently the Griffith service.
"The Vinelander"


AND PT , particularly trains are now seen to be a 'cool' mode of transport
"The Vinelander"
For whom? Get rid of the feral/social welfare mode and you might have an argument. Guarantee that 99% of most hippies that think this rarely stray from inner Melbourne or Daylesford.

with a much less environmental footprint than cars, buses and particularly trucks
"The Vinelander"
 (My italics) Which is why if we are investing money in rail it should go to freight rather than passengers.

As I said, I would much rather see money spent on getting Shep-Seymour to 130km/h+ than Toc to 115km/h.  

Though I'm an expansionist and you have a bias against regional rail
"The Vinelander"
Is that what they call foaming these days?

praise be that you weren't officially consulted for the RFR
"The Vinelander"
Would have been much better than the disaster that it was and the holes it left.  Although with the gold-plating done I could have been rich...

I can see little or no point whatsoever in upgrading or re-opening for example, Horsham to Yaapeet, Lubeck to Bolangum, Numurkah to Picola or Timboon to Timboon Jcn, or other branch lines of that ilk.
"The Vinelander"
Give it time.

PS, many years have have passed since your report, it's somewhat out of date in today's very much changed world.
"The Vinelander"
I beg to differ on the basis it provides a historical basis for why the delusions of the past are just that - delusions.  Including the Labor delusion of Cobram in 1981.



Fares will continue to rise, services will continue to be cut.

It's happened before, though many posters probably weren't even born in the times of old Sir Henry.
"The Vinelander"
And under Cain Snr as well.

Happened under both Labor and Liberal gummints.  
Please get your facts right, Mikelander, before looking like a fool.
  L1150 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Pakenham Vic.
From my experience, PClark, back in the '60s and '70s, the 400 class railcar from Narrandera to Tocumwal and back connected with the overnight mail trains. The down Albury Mail, either split at Junee with a couple of cars and van being taken to Narrandera, or, closer to the time when the service was discontinued, a mixed took the pax to Narrandera. In the afternoon, the return service connected with the up mail. On the days that the railcar didn't run to Toc. it ran to Hay! On some days, it was a CPH (Tin Hare) for a bone rattling ride! Very Happy
  NottaGunzel Banned

Location: Banned
 
Please get your facts right, Mikelander, before looking like a fool.
"Deep Throat"



Perusal of the last week's worth of rubbish coming out of FNQ suggests it is way too late . Rolling EyesRolling EyesRolling Eyes
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Mikelander, would you agree that it is wise to spend the State's limited funds in the most beneficial manner?
  AclassGunzel Deputy Commissioner

Has this line finally bitten the dust or is it wait and see for now?
  VBAndy Chief Commissioner

Was that worth dragging a nearly 12 month old thread out from the webs and dust?
  toxation Chief Commissioner

Location: Cobram, Victoria
Letter from the transport minister states the corridor is protected, no plans to rip up in the event of future use.

I think this is all for now.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Mikelander, would you agree that it is wise to spend the State's limited funds in the most beneficial manner?
"ZH836301"


Idea  Yes I know this post is a bit long in the tooth; however using your analogy ZH, we would cancel all trains, and run buses only because the road infrastructure is already built, AND it costs less to pay a bus driver than to train and pay a train driver and operate all the rural and metro rail infrastructure.

Then there'd be complaints and protests because PT users are abandoning the use of the road based PT in droves and the traffic has increased causing gridlock.

Where does your analogy fit in with this scenario ZH  Question
  PClark Chief Commissioner

Quote:-

"Yes I know this post is a bit long in the tooth; however using your analogy ZH, we would cancel all trains, and run buses"

ALL trains?

Isn't this, and other similar threads, about extending train services from major regional centres like Shepparton and Ballarat to smaller, relatively inactive, towns like Cobram, Tocumwal and Maryborough?

Nobody is seriously advocating removal of all regional rail.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Mikelander, would you agree that it is wise to spend the State's limited funds in the most beneficial manner?
"ZH836301"


Idea  Yes I know this post is a bit long in the tooth; however using your analogy ZH, we would cancel all trains, and run buses only because the road infrastructure is already built, AND it costs less to pay a bus driver than to train and pay a train driver and operate all the rural and metro rail infrastructure.

Then there'd be complaints and protests because PT users are abandoning the use of the road based PT in droves and the traffic has increased causing gridlock.

Where does your analogy fit in with this scenario ZH  Question
"The Vinelander"


Spot on there
The numbers may not stack up on the monthly balance sheet, but when the you look at the grand picture rail bast public transport ends up being a good public service like schools, hospitals, etc.

Has any one considered extending the morning up and evening down Shepparton train to Strathmerton ? so It could equaly serve Cobram and Tocumwal and use the existing used Tocumwal line.
Only a runaround loop with a train cage/pen would be required at Strathmerton along with a bus terminal and car park

Platform refurbishments would most likely be required at Strahmerton and Numurkah to comply with the DDA

Line speed 80 to 100 km/h ? Inline with the rest of the Seymour Shepparton line.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Mike, I know it's hard for you to appreciate, but there's no sharp black and white.  There is a certain point at which providing rail services rather than buses works out cheaper, and it makes no sense to make single minded comments effectively comparing on a similar level say a single train per day to some backwater country nowhere with a high capacity suburban  service with a patronage in the tens of thousands.

While rail services attract more passengers, a fact I have never contended, the weight of the patronage increase must be assessed against the cost. The most obvious added cost for buses is road use by choice of possible captive passangers. For an upgrade to rail to be justifiable, there must be a net cost saving.

Nightfire, the analogy I could give to your school and hospital examples would be capacity. Would it make sense to build a multilevel school for a small regional town?

You don't comprehend the full balance sheet argument, I don't think. Dismissal of the rail option is not made simply with a direct comparison with the cost of operating bus services. The increased patronage effects are taken into account.
On the specific suggestion of Strathmerton, such a move wouldn't make much sense. The through patronage is relatively minor, and given there are no notable intermediate destinations, termination of the rail service at Shepparton is a logical state of affairs.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
It's a given that NO Government operated rail passenger services covers all its costs, consequently your argument is flawed when you are citing the states' limited funds.

I have a different view in that if a regional V/Line bus is carrying its capacity, it's a no-brainer that the patronage would most likely nearly double if a rail service were offered along a parallel route.
However for some routes this is impossible. It's also a given and is common knowledge the highest percentage of pax increases in recent years is on V/Line trains, with a significantly lower pax increase on the V/Line bus network.

The bus patronage figures during the RFR construction, compared to the rail patronage pre and post RFR are another testament to this fact.

Furthermore, IMO due to the high pax loadings from Griffith, an argument can be advanced that the Shepparton train could be extended the extra 70KM to Cobram to pick up/set down these pax to connect with the Griffith bus/es, with a view to eventual replacement of most Cobram buses with trains.

Furthermore, IMO the only reason this hasn't been implemented already is the shortage of rolling stock.

Not extending V/Line trains to Cobram, when the rolling stock issues are resolved, and this recession is behind us could be compared to truncating Swan Hill trains to Kerang.

Mike.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
I'm trying to find the logic in the above post.

You say no rail service covers its costs, then use this to say that it doesn't really matter just how much money is expended.  To extrapolate, you could use such shoddy reasoning to justify plating the rails gold, installing reclining leather armchairs, and an extra dozen staff for each train.

It's simple, the less money you waste, the more you have to spend elsewhere - basic economics.

Now stating that patronage would 'double' is not backed up by fact, given that, for example, the Leongatha passenger market studies concluded that a switch to rail would only increase patronage by around 25% (see Transnet study 05/07 section 1.3.1).

That coach passenger increases were lower than rail is a moot point, since without the underlying data it isn't possible to conclude much.  You would need comparisons between comparable main trunk route services like Leongatha, Horsham, etc. to draw any conclusions.  Most coach routes have service standards that are far inferior to rail, and hence respond less forcefully to outside factors like petrol price increases.  If your only other choice to driving was a once daily bus service, then most people would simply live with the added petrol costs, rather than plan their lives around such a poor service.

The Griffith argument is fairly weak.  The Shepparton to Cobram section is a mere 24% of the continuing journey from Shepparton to Griffith, so there isn't really any benefit from making the interchange point at Cobram, and no sense from a fleet utilisation perspective.  Trying to compare Cobram with Swan Hill is laughable in the extreme.  Cobram is only one seventh the size of Shepparton (Census 06), whereas Swan Hill is more than two and a half times the size of Kerang, and separated by a smaller distance as well.

The State has shown no interest in extending trains to Cobram, it's not hard to see why.

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