A6 I go back to the middle 80's and worked at Toy Town , did a few stints there in 85 and again in 86 or 87 .
I remember all the talk of wasn't designed to do this do that throttle up shut off repeatedly etc . At the end of the day a diesel electric power train is a diesel genset sitting in a self feeding mobile power station .
I'm not exactly sure what mechanically makes an engine better suited or not to being loaded up and unloaded in many or few cycles .
What I can tell you is that the experience with the Paxman Valenta was one of epic failure and don't worry because British Rail and the Royal Navy copped a lot of crap performance and "reliability" out of these horrors too . They were obviously not fully developed before they reached the market and the customers were basically paying the price for R and D .
I have never seen a genset power assembly in service that was as fault and failure prone . I mean how long do you put up with a POS diesel engine that needs 3-8 of its 12 power packs (head/liner/piston/ conrod) changed out after just about every run . We used to pull the block covers off each morning and watch the green blood (coolant) oozing past the liners and dripping into the sump .
It was a semi regular thing to see Paxman staff changing out whole power assemblies and replacing them with brand new ones - under warranty . Everything about that engine is a disgrace to mechanical engineering , the Germans and Americans would not have stood for it .
Getting back to the original power up/down thing people used to say the same thing about 81s on pass and superfreighter trains in their early days but that obviously wasn't the case .
XPT first class seating is garbage , no foot room no sill to lean on and the side arm rests pathetically short . I find the seats back breaking to the point where when going pass from Strathfield to Junee I want out at Flemington . The only acceptable seats IMO are in the lead cab or the day sitter/sleepers .
Most of the public will never know what these XPTs cost NSW overall and I reckon a huge amount more than the real locomotive hauled trains they "replaced" .
They were just another criminal bodge on the part of the then Wran Labour government .
IMO the most significant thing the maggot proved was that the very best train NSW could come up with is still pretty useless given stone aged alignments to run over . Superfreighters beat them to this monumental conclusion but for the most part Joe average wouldn't know they existed .
The Hume Highway has gone from strength to strength by avoiding populated areas and having high speed alignments .
No railway will ever be any good unless it uses the same reasoning . Going via Canberra to Melbourne would be a monumental act of stupidity because most of the traffic going to Melbourne , you guessed it , is going to Melbourne . The Hume doesn't go to Canberra for very sane reasons .
30 to 50 or even 100 billion is a huge amount to spend and I doubt anyone alive would see the day that debt plus interest was paid off . I'm trying to imagine how much extra tax each working person would have to pay over say 40 years for dear old Oz to own the thing .
And at the end of the day how much better off will the masses be - overall . Bugger all I reckon . If on the other hand a better all user rail line was built then many more people mainly on the east coat stand a chance of being better off . Better overall commercial and economic returns for everyone including those who can't see anything other than train travel between Sydney and Melbourne . The best I'd give Canberra is more modern alignments up to Joppa or wherever it intersected a better interstate alignment and call it a day . It realy is moronic to contemplate blat lines through Canberra merely to compete with air travel .
Jedi heres the real question . What will you do if having built these blat lines and running the services you cannot convince the masses to use the things ? Do you then go down the road of emotional blackmail or even brute force to impose your will ? If you did what would you call a system of Government that destroyed freedom of choice ? The choice of not to pay for blat rail , the choice of not to use it , the choice of not having any choice . Would we change your name to Winston ?
You are right in what you say, maybe I was being nice in some areas, but certainly the Paxman motors were/are not up to it, same thing with the 41cl, however I still believe that the overall terrain in NSW is the greatest hindrance to it, but then again that is the very same reason for the problems on the main lines around the state for freight services, which is I believe something we both agree on.
I also mentioned the seating in the XPT being a problem, but one thing I know is that in getting on/off at Casino & catch the bus to/from there to the GC, is a worse nightmare & more uncomfitable than the more than twice the time in the train.
The other aspect in this is one I guess where we will have differences is the very aspect of having passenger trains running on the rail system. As I believe there are ways they can both co-exist & provide just as an essential service for those who travel by rail as those who forward freight by rail.
The question certainly is that rail certainly cannot provide the old whistle stop services of old with passenger trains, the determination of where they run to is a big need, certainly there are areas also that need a rethink of how trains operate to/from those areas. I think I suggested on one of the main line (south) forums that if the main was realigned with grade reductions & it was done properly, many of the old small areas would be passed, but realistically those places see little if any passengers now, so there is not a big loss. However, some of those areas could also be retained in some form or other, even if as a secondary type of bypassing line or overtaking line allowing the faster intermodal services to overtake.
What has me amazed is how we cannot get a reliable DMU set to operate in the state for long distances, again the question is whether the way we had/have to force drive them, maintenance does not help. Motors of this day & age should be able to take the constant powerin on/off method we had to use on the XPT, but that also applied to the older DEB sets which were worse. To such an extent that in order to stop them overheating was to try & run them in 2/3rds throttle on 1:40 grades.
Having the failure rate they do, & often in such areas where there is no longer the ability to have a replacement loco to take over does nothing for reliability either. I see nothing wrong with having modern locomotive hauled passenger trains operate with the ability to run at the same speed as the XPT, hauling modern carriages with decent seating arrangements. If we could use 42220 on the intitial NT area for XPT running time tests & approval to operate at 130Km/h, there would be no problems with a similar setup today. That 42220 rode better & responded better to motoring than the XPT is also an indication of how such a loco can perform, likewise there was an underlying permission to allow it to run up to 140, but that was dependant on the inspectors & those in the Dyno car.
Competing with air travel in most instances is not possible, however in what I said regarding the getting to the airports the associated check in times, & getting through the gates at the other end, then getting say from KS to the city can be bedlam, the terrible surchage to catch the CR service does nothing either, I would think that Melbourne is worse, & unsure about Brisbane. Places in rural NSW are not much better either, in fact they are often worse owing to the erratic flights.
I would not travel by bus in any shape or form, most interstate buses have the drivers utter dire warnings against using the toilets, which are often locked anyway, you have to rely on rest stops along the way for toilets as well as food. At such stops you get bundled out of the bus & its locked up, even on O/night services, if you can catch a couple of hours sleep you are doing well on a 12 or more journey.
The old advertising for the Aurora did pay off when it presented business passengers with the factor of you leave basically the inner city on an O/night service, sleep o/night get up & shower breakfast on board & an arrival time at the other end at the beginning of a working day & in the inner city (almost) paid off for a long while, as a one mode method.
Likewise, I agree with the Canberra aspect unless there is a huge ground swell of growth then theres not much chance of the line being upgraded, & while a VFT may get some extra passengers onto a service, how many would it get compared to the cost of building the line through there in the first place. I could not imagine the parrots from there using their travel cards on trains.