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".
Thankyou for admitting your bias Deep Throat
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.
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 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
5. Where did the now popular Griffith bus connection depart, Shepparton or Tocumwal 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.