Countrylink - jedi's 'proposals'

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djf01 Chief Commissioner


Ahhh... but this is the common misconception.  The only reason you think passenger rail is cheaper is because it is heavily subsidised.  You, as an individual, are not seeing the complete picture.  Over any sort of reasonable distance (say five hours on the train) it is probably cheaper overall (but not necessarily cheaper for your personal hip pocket) to fly.  Remember, about two thirds of the operating cost of CountryLink is picked up by the state - and this is before you consider things like pensioner discounts, etc.  Capital costs get pretty much completely covered by the state.  Perhaps that subsidy is a good thing for society as it improves service accessibility for people in regional areas, etc, etc, etc, perhaps not - that's a different debate - but the train is not cheaper because it is a train, it is cheaper because of subsidy. 

- donttellmywife


I think there is an economically rational argument for subsidising a highly CAPex intesive operation like a VHST.   It's when the opportunity cost of the alternative becomes too high.

For the east coast of Australia, I think our sabre wiedling friend probably isn't all that far from the mark - just off by a few decades.  By 2040/2050 Australia's population will be nudging 40-50mil, the bulk of those new 25mil people are going to be on the NSW (and to a lesser extent the Sth Qld) Coast.  I think we're likely to see as many as 10 cities of >1mil people between the Sunshine Coast and the Illawarra, with Sydney nudging 10mil and Brisbane 5mil.  They may have finished duplicating the Pacific Highway by then, but they'll need 10 more lanes each way on those volumes.  And the distances will be too short for air travel, and/or Sydney won't have enough viable air capacity anyway.

In this environment VHSR would be the cheapest way of delivering the transport infrastructure to support such a society.  I'm not for one second suggesting it's viable now - it's clearly not.  But we should be doing the planning for it, and start reserving the corridors so that if/when it is needed, it can be done at a reasonable cost and doesn't all need to be built in tunnels.

 
jedimasterc Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned





...

as for the 30 billion, I don't know where you are getting that figure from. But even if I need 30 billion to build the network it doesn't need to be $30billion in 1 year but rather over many years.

- jedimasterc


 

Here you go - some bedtime reading...  http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/rail/trains/high_speed/.  The phase one report came out mid last year.  The low end of the Sydney to Canberra cost estimate was a bit over 10 billion, the low end for Canberra to Melbourne was just under 20 billion.  Add those two and you get something around ... 30 billion!  That's just for the fixed infrastructure (track, stabling, stations, etc) - your pockets will need be a litte deeper to provide the actual trains.  Note that's the low end of the cost estimate, the high end estimate for Sydney to Melbourne is more like 50 billion.  Note also this is just one report in a long history of reports with similar conclusions (after you adjust for inflation), the fact that a high speed service might cost a bit too much to be worthwhile isn't exactly a new concept.

 

You can put together your 30 billion over many years if you want - but you still need to get the money from somewhere!  The longer you take to spend it, the longer it will be before you get the high speed link between Sydney and Melbourne too - which means the longer it will be before people start paying you fares to travel from Sydney to Melbourne.  When you are filling in the loan form or sizing the piggy bank make sure you take that into account.

 

Perhaps your calls for the XPT to be canned in favour of a high speed link are a bit premature?  Perhaps we need to look at some different ideas for how things could be improved, ones that don't require absurd amounts of money that are unlikely to be made available anytime in the next couple of decades?

 

- donttellmywife


spoken like a true doubter. if the money isn't spent now then how much is it going to cost in the future.

I'm only talking about sydney to canberra at the moment. Sydney to melbourne will need federal money that is for sure. so $10 billion dollars is all that I need to find which I'm confident of finding.

 
Oldfart Chief Commissioner

Location: Right base for BK 11R



Ahhh... but this is the common misconception.  The only reason you think passenger rail is cheaper is because it is heavily subsidised.  You, as an individual, are not seeing the complete picture.  Over any sort of reasonable distance (say five hours on the train) it is probably cheaper overall (but not necessarily cheaper for your personal hip pocket) to fly.  Remember, about two thirds of the operating cost of CountryLink is picked up by the state - and this is before you consider things like pensioner discounts, etc.  Capital costs get pretty much completely covered by the state.  Perhaps that subsidy is a good thing for society as it improves service accessibility for people in regional areas, etc, etc, etc, perhaps not - that's a different debate - but the train is not cheaper because it is a train, it is cheaper because of subsidy. 

- donttellmywife


I think there is an economically rational argument for subsidising a highly CAPex intesive operation like a VHST.   It's when the opportunity cost of the alternative becomes too high.

For the east coast of Australia, I think our sabre wiedling friend probably isn't all that far from the mark - just off by a few decades.  By 2040/2050 Australia's population will be nudging 40-50mil, the bulk of those new 25mil people are going to be on the NSW (and to a lesser extent the Sth Qld) Coast.  I think we're likely to see as many as 10 cities of >1mil people between the Sunshine Coast and the Illawarra, with Sydney nudging 10mil and Brisbane 5mil.  They may have finished duplicating the Pacific Highway by then, but they'll need 10 more lanes each way on those volumes.  And the distances will be too short for air travel, and/or Sydney won't have enough viable air capacity anyway.

In this environment VHSR would be the cheapest way of delivering the transport infrastructure to support such a society.  I'm not for one second suggesting it's viable now - it's clearly not.  But we should be doing the planning for it, and start reserving the corridors so that if/when it is needed, it can be done at a reasonable cost and doesn't all need to be built in tunnels.

- djf01


Probably the most intelligent post I've seen on this subject. It really is all about economics and the best choices for the time. Starting serious planning in about 2020 for about a 2040 operation is probably what will occur. Prior to that you might see some serious medium speed services (e.g. 2 hr) on improved corridors/tracks from Sydney-Canberra, which will help to get inter-city commuters used to the idea of using trains as a serious travel choice. The rail industry itself has to take much of the blame for us not having a better system now. They go on and on about not having political backing, but it has much  more to do with their unwillingness to embrace any real systemic change. Aviation hardly had that problem, and when it did it worked through it (e.g. removal of flight engineers, dramatic changes to air traffic system, removal of two airline policy etc.) The results are obvious.

 
RTT_Rules Minister for Railways

Location: Dubai UAE

The XPT's cost a similar amount as if they were trued loco hauled. Cars, no difference, you still need locos and the XPT locos are more track friendly with better handling systems, braking etc. Even so called true loco hauled trains in Europe are not standard freight locos, but something not much different to an XPT loco with electro braking, HEP, BO-BO, large wheel diameter, higher speed design, buffers, run loco leading, loco trailing (ie they don't shunt the loco when going backwards and if train is long enough they have on at each end) etc etc.

If the entire XPT/XPL fleet was to be replaced, it would be with a fleet of railcars, not buses, which would make the whole system much easier to manage and be more flexible improrving on time performance I suspect as well. 5000 people a day is alot, nearly 40% of NSW population use it each year. Maybe Grifith and BH and potential candidates for axing, but the later at least seems to be popular. Moree is viable because its effectively a 2 car run from WC only. What CL needs on its trains is some moderisation such as WLAN and perhaps in seat entertainment, either through hire of individual sets or refitting trains with somelike like a plane.

Canberra I suspect will grow and in 10years or so maybe different to what we have today. It will take 2-3 pollies, one from NSW, Can and Feds to say we can get some votes if we get this thing modernised and it won't cost alot. Forget the over priced VHST. Rebuild the Can branch to 200km/hr running (simple and cheap) and connect to airport then some improvements further nth on interstate to Macarthur (use old alignment to make a start) and get below 2hr easy and probably take 15-20min off Gouburn Commuters daily run. Do this and YOU will take pressure of Sydney Airport, improve freight times for mainline running as well as Southern line communters, Greenies will see the CO2 benefits, so all round lots of votes!!! Syd Airport congestion will most likely be the trigger. But I'm guessing by 2020, something will happen and it won't be cancelled, the pollies know a 1:45hr run will justify 1-2 service, just need to get this stupid VHT off the books.

The remaining parts of the CL network are pretty much the spine of the state and remains mostly on growth corridores, unlike western part of Qld Westlander for example. Perhaps in near future a Vic style upgrade will become affordable (especially if money is not wasted on VFT).

Oh yes 1hr Syd-New, complete dreamland. Look at the terrain and the extensive realestate you have to knock now and fight 40km worth of Nth Shore NIMBY's. I remember the trouble they had to build the freeway in the 80's and the land was reserved for that. If a VFT was built the times would be closer to 2hr, likewise Mel is about 4hr away by any reasonable engineering with some stops. The VFT will also not do much for regional areas as it won't stop there, 3 stops to Mel, maybe 5 to Brisbane. With current airfares, people don't have problems flying from one city to other for events. VFT won't improve on this as fares won't match the bottom end of airlines.

And yes you can buy a $107 train ticket to Casino or a $79-99 air ticket to Ballina. The plane will also charge you more if you have checked luggage and you need to get to the airport. So like for like if you are in CBD prices will be very similar if not more for flying. If you live nth of Syd CBD, the train will be cheaper and potentially quicker. A few years back an XPT from Wyong to Brisbane was faster and cheaper for me than any plane ticket after all costs. And I used the sleeper on full fare. Yes I needed to be in Brisbane CBD by 7-7:30am preferably, a bit different if it was later in day.

Regards

Shane 

 

 
a6et Minister for Railways




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 ? 

      

- BDA


BDA

 

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.

 
a6et Minister for Railways


Rail can serve areas, of reasonable sized populations with decent services & times, they need to be tabled to suit the people in the towns, & that means running them at opposite times as they do now.  Given people who fly, have to get to airports often outside of the town boundaries, & then have to go through checks at each end of the flight, then get to where they are going at the other end, time wise in the overall, rail can compare favourably with many of them, but not all.
- a6et


For shorter trips - your comments around timing are true. 

There are a couple of reasons that services might not meet your ideal timetable.  One is cost - running a different schedule might require extra crew hours or extra sets.  The other is congestion in Sydney - paths are rare in the morning and evening peaks (which you could solve by providing more infrastructure, but again that's a cost issue, in a big way!).

If some form of modern, better DMU type trains ban be introduced for the country runs, & in the daylight hours, then there is a future for rail, & I believe that rail can survive as a passenger medium if things were done properly, but in the end I wont be here to see it happen.
- A user


My suggestion is that instead of running them from Sydney in the daylight & return trip on the same day, & stable service O/night in Sydney, it would not hurt to reverse the run start from the likes of Dubbo run to Sydney & return in one day.  It is worth an evaluation to see if it helps with patronage as it has been a big call from those in the west for a long while, if it doesn't work then go back to the current tabling.

I'm reasonably confident that rail will survive for medium (intra-state) and short distance travel, in fact I expect that over the next few decades it will flourish.  There are a few things that might need to change first for that to come to pass.

I think people here get too caught up on the equipment - as long as it can do the job effectively it is not that relevant.  Most people travelling haven't got a clue about the difference between an XPT or Xplorer.  Sure there are differences that may make someone out there buying new gear go for one configuration or the other, but realistically the first decision around any future XPT replacement will be whether to go with rubber tyres or steel tyres.  Assuming you do go for steel tyres - how much it costs to buy, how much it costs to run, how you internally configure it and how you utilise it then become much more important than the details of whether the donk is up the front or underneath.


I don't think that people do not know the types as there is a fair bit of advertising that pushes a concept. XPT gives the notion of speed, & explorer the notion of more relaxed travel to see the country. & in this area its geared towards the city dweller.  OTOH most people do asses things on the reliability of the service & how quick its gets them to their destination , & not least the overall comfort of the journey.

Think of this way also.  When you are young enough & able enough to drive, & fly, or catch a train dependant on your own whim, preference, finance & health, you pick the one with the most ticks involved.  As you get older, & less agile & able, even though the brain generally functions ok to reasonable, you find that the boxes ticked change, when its harder & too far to drive, finances may not allow you to fly, then you look to rail...
- A user


Ahhh... but this is the common misconception.  The only reason you think passenger rail is cheaper is because it is heavily subsidised.  You, as an individual, are not seeing the complete picture.  Over any sort of reasonable distance (say five hours on the train) it is probably cheaper overall (but not necessarily cheaper for your personal hip pocket) to fly.  Remember, about two thirds of the operating cost of CountryLink is picked up by the state - and this is before you consider things like pensioner discounts, etc.  Capital costs get pretty much completely covered by the state.  Perhaps that subsidy is a good thing for society as it improves service accessibility for people in regional areas, etc, etc, etc, perhaps not - that's a different debate - but the train is not cheaper because it is a train, it is cheaper because of subsidy. 

One thing is for sure - once you start talking about inter-state-capital travel it is delusional to expect that subsidy to be extended to the hoardes that travel back and forth each day.  I don't expect the state to subsidise my next holiday to the Whitsunday's; and similarly no one should expect the state to subsidise their weekend jaunt down to Melbourne or up to Sydney to see the cricket.

In the end it is simply cost that killed long distance rail travel.  It is cost that keeps it dead.
- donttellmywife


I can see the complete picture, & I think someone else mentioned the aspect of Public Transport in the debate.  Whether or not there are subsidies is not the question either, as there are a lot of pensioners who use rail more than the 2 freebies a year, & other than that they can get a half fare with their pension card.  Likewise those who have decent super & able to get a seniors card also get that benefit, & that applies across borders.

As for getting the discounts across the borders, it also depends on the trains & bookings, as there are only a certain amount of seats set aside for discount travel, & once they are used its full fair only, & the amount of seats are also reduced in holiday times.

At the other end of the scale though, would the benefit not be in having a train full of passengers who are subsidised or one that is less than half with only full paying customers. The later implying that there is less income from the fares than there would be in subsidised fares.

The other aspect in this is also the aspect, of people with infirmities, that do not allow them to travel by bus, & some airlines do not have the means for them to travel either, they can however travel by rail owing to them being more friendly. Surelly in this age of freedom where every group, representing every interest large or small & vested interests, who place more demands on the various governments than those who may have restrictions that is not their choice, they also have reason good enough to expect service in this day & age, & when many of them have paid their dues to the various government & country

 
a6et Minister for Railways




The XPT's cost a similar amount as if they were trued loco hauled. Cars, no difference, you still need locos and the XPT locos are more track friendly with better handling systems, braking etc. Even so called true loco hauled trains in Europe are not standard freight locos, but something not much different to an XPT loco with electro braking, HEP, BO-BO, large wheel diameter, higher speed design, buffers, run loco leading, loco trailing (ie they don't shunt the loco when going backwards and if train is long enough they have on at each end) etc etc.

If the entire XPT/XPL fleet was to be replaced, it would be with a fleet of railcars, not buses, which would make the whole system much easier to manage and be more flexible improrving on time performance I suspect as well. 5000 people a day is alot, nearly 40% of NSW population use it each year. Maybe Grifith and BH and potential candidates for axing, but the later at least seems to be popular. Moree is viable because its effectively a 2 car run from WC only. What CL needs on its trains is some moderisation such as WLAN and perhaps in seat entertainment, either through hire of individual sets or refitting trains with somelike like a plane.

Canberra I suspect will grow and in 10years or so maybe different to what we have today. It will take 2-3 pollies, one from NSW, Can and Feds to say we can get some votes if we get this thing modernised and it won't cost alot. Forget the over priced VHST. Rebuild the Can branch to 200km/hr running (simple and cheap) and connect to airport then some improvements further nth on interstate to Macarthur (use old alignment to make a start) and get below 2hr easy and probably take 15-20min off Gouburn Commuters daily run. Do this and YOU will take pressure of Sydney Airport, improve freight times for mainline running as well as Southern line communters, Greenies will see the CO2 benefits, so all round lots of votes!!! Syd Airport congestion will most likely be the trigger. But I'm guessing by 2020, something will happen and it won't be cancelled, the pollies know a 1:45hr run will justify 1-2 service, just need to get this stupid VHT off the books.

The remaining parts of the CL network are pretty much the spine of the state and remains mostly on growth corridores, unlike western part of Qld Westlander for example. Perhaps in near future a Vic style upgrade will become affordable (especially if money is not wasted on VFT).

Oh yes 1hr Syd-New, complete dreamland. Look at the terrain and the extensive realestate you have to knock now and fight 40km worth of Nth Shore NIMBY's. I remember the trouble they had to build the freeway in the 80's and the land was reserved for that. If a VFT was built the times would be closer to 2hr, likewise Mel is about 4hr away by any reasonable engineering with some stops. The VFT will also not do much for regional areas as it won't stop there, 3 stops to Mel, maybe 5 to Brisbane. With current airfares, people don't have problems flying from one city to other for events. VFT won't improve on this as fares won't match the bottom end of airlines.

And yes you can buy a $107 train ticket to Casino or a $79-99 air ticket to Ballina. The plane will also charge you more if you have checked luggage and you need to get to the airport. So like for like if you are in CBD prices will be very similar if not more for flying. If you live nth of Syd CBD, the train will be cheaper and potentially quicker. A few years back an XPT from Wyong to Brisbane was faster and cheaper for me than any plane ticket after all costs. And I used the sleeper on full fare. Yes I needed to be in Brisbane CBD by 7-7:30am preferably, a bit different if it was later in day.

Regards

Shane 

 

- RTT_Rules


Shane you are correct in this but.  Do not most other countries seem to have some decent back up for these trains?  Having been to China on several occasions in the past, pre the new HST services they had a lot of spares siting around to cover extra needs, & standby loco's>  Ok I know the difference in the system & government over there, but its designed in many ways to get people (massses of them) moving as easy as possible, likewise since the proliferation of roads over there the pollution has also increased dramatically, bikes are also getting less common as well.

My question then is given the distances that the XPT travels over at the moment to Melbourne & Brisbane - Casino, with the only help with failures is buses plus huge delays to the freight services on the line when failures occure, is not a modern locomotive with Higher speed capabilities that can be used on both freight & Passenger services not a benefit?

Given that even the old Sydney red sets operated on standard air & could be hauled by locomotives (as can the XPT with special couplers) but a simple magnet valve & dummy coupling at both ends enabled the EP brakes to also work, & I think it was a better setup than the later EP brakes on even the XPT. Similar compatible braking systems can be also used & fitted to locomotives.

While I do not see it happening & yes the DMU will be what will continue into the next generation, whenever that will be. I think that sometimes its easier to discount something than it is to consider it, & if its ruled out then let it be based on merit.  A couple of years ago I saw photo's including the interiors of new Loco hauled trains being introduced into the US, very very nice, & the talk was that the loco's were also a multi purpose built type.

 
donttellmywife Deputy Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta



Ahhh... but this is the common misconception.  The only reason you think passenger rail is cheaper is because it is heavily subsidised.  You, as an individual, are not seeing the complete picture.  Over any sort of reasonable distance (say five hours on the train) it is probably cheaper overall (but not necessarily cheaper for your personal hip pocket) to fly.  Remember, about two thirds of the operating cost of CountryLink is picked up by the state - and this is before you consider things like pensioner discounts, etc.  Capital costs get pretty much completely covered by the state.  Perhaps that subsidy is a good thing for society as it improves service accessibility for people in regional areas, etc, etc, etc, perhaps not - that's a different debate - but the train is not cheaper because it is a train, it is cheaper because of subsidy. 

- donttellmywife


I think there is an economically rational argument for subsidising a highly CAPex intesive operation like a VHST.   It's when the opportunity cost of the alternative becomes too high.

For the east coast of Australia, I think our sabre wiedling friend probably isn't all that far from the mark - just off by a few decades.  By 2040/2050 Australia's population will be nudging 40-50mil, the bulk of those new 25mil people are going to be on the NSW (and to a lesser extent the Sth Qld) Coast.  I think we're likely to see as many as 10 cities of >1mil people between the Sunshine Coast and the Illawarra, with Sydney nudging 10mil and Brisbane 5mil.  They may have finished duplicating the Pacific Highway by then, but they'll need 10 more lanes each way on those volumes.  And the distances will be too short for air travel, and/or Sydney won't have enough viable air capacity anyway.

In this environment VHSR would be the cheapest way of delivering the transport infrastructure to support such a society.  I'm not for one second suggesting it's viable now - it's clearly not.  But we should be doing the planning for it, and start reserving the corridors so that if/when it is needed, it can be done at a reasonable cost and doesn't all need to be built in tunnels.

- djf01


I more or less agree, though under the scenario you describe (which is a reasonably likely one) I'd anticpate that there would be no real subsidy.  Governments may play a role in funding fixed infrastructure because they have easier/cheaper access to the large amount of up-front funds required, but there should be nothing to stop them recovering the full cost of providing those funds through access charges. 

(I don't subscribe to the argument that you need to subsidise long distance rail because it has a lower total cost to society than other forms of transport - if other forms of transport have on-costs to society then then its quite simple (bar political will) to use appropriate taxes/charges/tolls to discourage their use.)

As a result I think it is appropriate that you do have this cycle of studies that look at corridor options, viability, demand, etc - because that's the necessary input into things like corridor reservation, etc.  At some stage you do need to start making decisions though.  Even with the long horizon, those decisions are going to create winners and losers (this town gets the line, this town doesn't, your land gets repossessed, your land shoots up in value because its now within commuting distance, etc, etc) and will involve real money, so I can understand why things flounder.

Ironically, I think the biggest obstacle to starting a high speed network (or even just pimping up the current network, which is where I'd like to see things start) is that people have this mindset that train travel is cheap.  If you went and did something to the Newcastle or Canberra services people would still be expecting to travel at the current price point.  Make an improvement that actually does increase demand - suddenly more services are required, more sets, more operating cost - and your total subsidy (dollars per year) takes off (even if your subsidy per passenger goes down - the gap between revenue and cost is currently just so large).  Until you break that mindset and get people thinking that if they really value something then they need to be prepared to pay for it (even just to the extent of full operating cost!) then you are stuck with this situation where demand is effectively limited by service quality.

spoken like a true doubter. if the money isn't spent now then how much is it going to cost in the future.


I'm only talking about sydney to canberra at the moment. Sydney to melbourne will need federal money that is for sure. so $10 billion dollars is all that I need to find which I'm confident of finding.
- jedimasterc



Young padawan, a light saber is not what you are gripping strongly. I think ten billion you will find easily not.  Remember your training - on some planets in systems beyond the outer rim "true doubter" is a synonym for "rational thinker".

Land acquisition costs aside (hence corridor reservation is a reasonable thing to do early), I'd expect that the cost, in real terms, of building the "network" in the future would be pretty much the same as the cost of building an identical network now. 

 
UP9372 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Banned

Does anybody have any firm figures on how many full fare paying passengers use the XPT/XPL? I would suspect the majority would highly subsidised pension card holders etc. I would suspect most full fare paying passengers would choose the air option. I believe this indicates that intra/inter-state rail travel will never attract the profitable end of  the market. At least until air travel becomes unviable due to fuel costs, or lack of it (and I cannot see that happening for some time).

Whilst the state may have some obligation to provide a social service to the non full fare paying customers, it also has an obligation to provide this in the most economical way. In some instances that may by bus. In other instance rail might be OK, but the existing XPT passenger coaches could be used but hauled by conventional diesels once the Paxmans expire, which I understand is shortly.

 
donttellmywife Deputy Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta

Something went pear shaped with the forum's rendering of posts - here's hoping it comes back...



For shorter trips - your comments around timing are true. 

There are a couple of reasons that services might not meet your ideal timetable.  One is cost - running a different schedule might require extra crew hours or extra sets.  The other is congestion in Sydney - paths are rare in the morning and evening peaks (which you could solve by providing more infrastructure, but again that's a cost issue, in a big way!).
- donttellmywife


My suggestion is that instead of running them from Sydney in the daylight & return trip on the same day, & stable service O/night in Sydney, it would not hurt to reverse the run start from the likes of Dubbo run to Sydney & return in one day.  It is worth an evaluation to see if it helps with patronage as it has been a big call from those in the west for a long while, if it doesn't work then go back to the current tabling.
- a6et


Are you volunteering to pay for the necessary stabling and maintenance facilities out at Dubbo?  That's very generous of you!

I can see the complete picture, & I think someone else mentioned the aspect of Public Transport in the debate.  Whether or not there are subsidies is not the question either, as there are a lot of pensioners who use rail more than the 2 freebies a year, & other than that they can get a half fare with their pension card.  Likewise those who have decent super & able to get a seniors card also get that benefit, & that applies across borders.

As for getting the discounts across the borders, it also depends on the trains & bookings, as there are only a certain amount of seats set aside for discount travel, & once they are used its full fair only, & the amount of seats are also reduced in holiday times.

At the other end of the scale though, would the benefit not be in having a train full of passengers who are subsidised or one that is less than half with only full paying customers. The later implying that there is less income from the fares than there would be in subsidised fares.
- a6et


You misunderstand.  Ignore pensioner discounts - imagine all current passengers on the train (including the ones that currently travel on the pensioner freebie) had actually paid the "full" fare (economy or first class, as they choose, with seasonal variation in "full" fares as currently happens).  Under that situation about two thirds of the operating cost of CountryLink is subsidised. 

(This is from a report some time ago (so things may have changed) and there was some debate at the time about whether Railcorp was being fair in its cost allocation to CountryLink, but regardless, it was not a pretty situation back then and I'd be surprised if things have changed that much.)

The other aspect in this is also the aspect, of people with infirmities, that do not allow them to travel by bus, & some airlines do not have the means for them to travel either, they can however travel by rail owing to them being more friendly. Surelly in this age of freedom where every group, representing every interest large or small & vested interests, who place more demands on the various governments than those who may have restrictions that is not their choice, they also have reason good enough to expect service in this day & age, & when many of them have paid their dues to the various government & country.
- A user


Perhaps they didn't pay enough dues!  If the infrastructure was better I think we all agree that rail transport would be more competitive.

I'm not disagreeing with your point that there are people out there that have limited transport options (but it is a bit of a bummer for those that don't live near a rail line though - I wonder how they cope?), but lets not pretend that's relevant for the vast majority of people travelling on the service.  It strikes me as a pretty weak argument - you could probably move that group around with specialised transport more flexibly, comfortably and cost effectively.  But this is a distraction - I'm not advocating the abolition of CountryLink or the end of all subsidy - my views, which have been expressed previously in other threads so I won't repeat them here, are quite different to that.  I was just pointing out that your perception of the relative cost of air travel over train travel is an artefact of the subsidy, not what the services actually cost.  Don't assume that cost difference would apply to a high speed service - if anything it will probably be the other way around - you will pay a premium price for the train over the plane, because the train is more comfortable/convenient, etc.

 
a6et Minister for Railways


Don't know whats happened to the page so just an answer to this


Are you volunteering to pay for the necessary stabling and maintenance facilities out at Dubbo?  That's very generous of you!

At last count Dubbo had fueling facilities, if its that had to do, why is it that the Grafton XPT stables O/night without the need, likewise the Explorers to Moree & Armidale.  So at worst it would only need decanting facilities.

Given that the current Western XPT does a round trip without the need to fuel, no reason why it cannot do it from Dubbo.  It would not take much to have it changed over in Sydney if needed, & without seeing the diagrams for the running I think that some form of TT changes could accomodate that.


 
BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney

RTT I doubt you ever had a spanner on an XP anything or an 81 class for that matter , relying on the Force here are we ?

My point isn't to compare a fully functional X set with a loco hauled express , my point is that the Xs were so monumentally failure prone and unjustifiably expensive that motive power wise using 81 classes would have been cheaper . Obviously not practcal but you get the picture .

Even seen a turbocharger shatter leaving its compressor to fire meteor like down between to cylinder banks and rip the govenor off the other end of the engine ? No ? How often have you seen a real locomotive diesel drop valve heads causing the piston to break up in the cylinder and fall piece meal into the sump ? That one kept going long enough for the gudgeon pin to smash up and down in the cylinder liner belling it out like a Chinese lantern . Then it couldn't be removed could it ? Then the block sat in the old Eveligh loco machine shop for ages supposedly until it was decided to cut the liner in half in the middle and try to get it out the inspection holes .

I think in eight months I saw three totally destroyed power assemblies removed and replaced under warranty . One I distinctly remember came in on the old "Riv" or ST16 , limped into Sydney yard with a couple off 44s of engine oil all over the outside of the carbody .

The guests were not impressed with the late running or the filthy mess that pulled up in No 1 platform at Central . The engine room was a hall of horrors . Catwalks swimming in oil , most of the inspection/explosion covers off and bits of piston/con rods/crank counter weights strewn everywhere .

Did you ever hear the one about the BR worn axles that were welded up surface ground and sold to Country Link as brand new ones ? Very interesting to be machining the wheel seats and finding weld heat marks in the steel  . Better ring Comsteel and get them made here ...

And those Napier turbochargers , terrible unreliable things rebuilt at some huge cost locally .

The NSW Govt threw pallet loads of dollars at those XPTs and the only conclusion I can draw is that they were attempting to save their tax payer funded faces . Yeah , crim lord Nifty Nevs 100 mph wick ext train and you were all paying for it . Far far higher maint bills than the same number of 81s ever had , once SRA was maintaining them by the book that is .

 

 

 

  

    

 

 
RTT_Rules Minister for Railways

Location: Dubai UAE



RTT I doubt you ever had a spanner on an XP anything or an 81 class for that matter , relying on the Force here are we ?

My point isn't to compare a fully functional X set with a loco hauled express , my point is that the Xs were so monumentally failure prone and unjustifiably expensive that motive power wise using 81 classes would have been cheaper . Obviously not practcal but you get the picture .

Even seen a turbocharger shatter leaving its compressor to fire meteor like down between to cylinder banks and rip the govenor off the other end of the engine ? No ? How often have you seen a real locomotive diesel drop valve heads causing the piston to break up in the cylinder and fall piece meal into the sump ? That one kept going long enough for the gudgeon pin to smash up and down in the cylinder liner belling it out like a Chinese lantern . Then it couldn't be removed could it ? Then the block sat in the old Eveligh loco machine shop for ages supposedly until it was decided to cut the liner in half in the middle and try to get it out the inspection holes .

I think in eight months I saw three totally destroyed power assemblies removed and replaced under warranty . One I distinctly remember came in on the old "Riv" or ST16 , limped into Sydney yard with a couple off 44s of engine oil all over the outside of the carbody .

The guests were not impressed with the late running or the filthy mess that pulled up in No 1 platform at Central . The engine room was a hall of horrors . Catwalks swimming in oil , most of the inspection/explosion covers off and bits of piston/con rods/crank counter weights strewn everywhere .

Did you ever hear the one about the BR worn axles that were welded up surface ground and sold to Country Link as brand new ones ? Very interesting to be machining the wheel seats and finding weld heat marks in the steel  . Better ring Comsteel and get them made here ...

And those Napier turbochargers , terrible unreliable things rebuilt at some huge cost locally .

The NSW Govt threw pallet loads of dollars at those XPTs and the only conclusion I can draw is that they were attempting to save their tax payer funded faces . Yeah , crim lord Nifty Nevs 100 mph wick ext train and you were all paying for it . Far far higher maint bills than the same number of 81s ever had , once SRA was maintaining them by the book that.

- BDA


Hi BDA,

Answer to your first question, no!

What you have hi lighted is a supplier and quality issue, not what type of loco should be doing the grunt, the later being my point.

Sure the 81's are a good loco, but doesn't mean its the right tool for the job. Hindsight would say that the XPT's never achieved the full potential as the tracks were never really up to allowing them to achieve the most and over time their top end speeds have been reduced for one reason or another. But the Q I have is, the XPT's are currently given a small bonus in speed on many parts of the network (don't know how this has reduced since I last spent a bit of time in NSW), would it still get this with an 81? Answer is probably no. Bench mark other medium speed trains and they usually have light weight higher performing locos designed for pax service, not standard freight locos. Not much different to steam days really.

The track issues are really a result of neglect by NSW govt of 90's and early 2000's. Had the interstate been maintained and improved the way ARTC is trying to get it back to (or better) the XPT's would probably doing  alot better all round. ie on time perfortmance, reduced cancellations etc

regards

Shane

 
donttellmywife Deputy Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta



Don't know whats happened to the page so just an answer to this


Are you volunteering to pay for the necessary stabling and maintenance facilities out at Dubbo?  That's very generous of you!

At last count Dubbo had fueling facilities, if its that had to do, why is it that the Grafton XPT stables O/night without the need, likewise the Explorers to Moree & Armidale.  So at worst it would only need decanting facilities.

Given that the current Western XPT does a round trip without the need to fuel, no reason why it cannot do it from Dubbo.  It would not take much to have it changed over in Sydney if needed, & without seeing the diagrams for the running I think that some form of TT changes could accomodate that.


- a6et


I'm not familiar with Grafton (or Dubbo, for that matter), but don't the Explorers spend a bit of quality time behind razor wire during their overnight stay? 

 
MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera

A better solution for the XPTs is to haul them with something like the original ELs which have the same 19T axle load

and were geared for 140 KMH running.

 

 
jedimasterc Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned



Ahhh... but this is the common misconception.  The only reason you think passenger rail is cheaper is because it is heavily subsidised.  You, as an individual, are not seeing the complete picture.  Over any sort of reasonable distance (say five hours on the train) it is probably cheaper overall (but not necessarily cheaper for your personal hip pocket) to fly.  Remember, about two thirds of the operating cost of CountryLink is picked up by the state - and this is before you consider things like pensioner discounts, etc.  Capital costs get pretty much completely covered by the state.  Perhaps that subsidy is a good thing for society as it improves service accessibility for people in regional areas, etc, etc, etc, perhaps not - that's a different debate - but the train is not cheaper because it is a train, it is cheaper because of subsidy. 

- donttellmywife


I think there is an economically rational argument for subsidising a highly CAPex intesive operation like a VHST.   It's when the opportunity cost of the alternative becomes too high.

For the east coast of Australia, I think our sabre wiedling friend probably isn't all that far from the mark - just off by a few decades.  By 2040/2050 Australia's population will be nudging 40-50mil, the bulk of those new 25mil people are going to be on the NSW (and to a lesser extent the Sth Qld) Coast.  I think we're likely to see as many as 10 cities of >1mil people between the Sunshine Coast and the Illawarra, with Sydney nudging 10mil and Brisbane 5mil.  They may have finished duplicating the Pacific Highway by then, but they'll need 10 more lanes each way on those volumes.  And the distances will be too short for air travel, and/or Sydney won't have enough viable air capacity anyway.

In this environment VHSR would be the cheapest way of delivering the transport infrastructure to support such a society.  I'm not for one second suggesting it's viable now - it's clearly not.  But we should be doing the planning for it, and start reserving the corridors so that if/when it is needed, it can be done at a reasonable cost and doesn't all need to be built in tunnels.

- djf01


but why should we look at doing this infrastructure then when it's likely to be even more expensive. the problem with thypes like you is that you always put off things to the last moment. With these types of infrastructure you should be planning for the furutre and not the now. build it now while space is available and you don't end up having an expensive nwrl type tunnel the whole length of the north coast.

 
jedimasterc Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned



A better solution for the XPTs is to haul them with something like the original ELs which have the same 19T axle load

and were geared for 140 KMH running.

 

- MD


are you silly or something. don't be so daft as to pull an xpt with a loco. loco pulling passengers is the past. get the rail fixed properly and get a new set to run faster then 200km/h speed on upgraded or new rail line.

 
jedimasterc Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned





RTT I doubt you ever had a spanner on an XP anything or an 81 class for that matter , relying on the Force here are we ?

My point isn't to compare a fully functional X set with a loco hauled express , my point is that the Xs were so monumentally failure prone and unjustifiably expensive that motive power wise using 81 classes would have been cheaper . Obviously not practcal but you get the picture .

Even seen a turbocharger shatter leaving its compressor to fire meteor like down between to cylinder banks and rip the govenor off the other end of the engine ? No ? How often have you seen a real locomotive diesel drop valve heads causing the piston to break up in the cylinder and fall piece meal into the sump ? That one kept going long enough for the gudgeon pin to smash up and down in the cylinder liner belling it out like a Chinese lantern . Then it couldn't be removed could it ? Then the block sat in the old Eveligh loco machine shop for ages supposedly until it was decided to cut the liner in half in the middle and try to get it out the inspection holes .

I think in eight months I saw three totally destroyed power assemblies removed and replaced under warranty . One I distinctly remember came in on the old "Riv" or ST16 , limped into Sydney yard with a couple off 44s of engine oil all over the outside of the carbody .

The guests were not impressed with the late running or the filthy mess that pulled up in No 1 platform at Central . The engine room was a hall of horrors . Catwalks swimming in oil , most of the inspection/explosion covers off and bits of piston/con rods/crank counter weights strewn everywhere .

Did you ever hear the one about the BR worn axles that were welded up surface ground and sold to Country Link as brand new ones ? Very interesting to be machining the wheel seats and finding weld heat marks in the steel  . Better ring Comsteel and get them made here ...

And those Napier turbochargers , terrible unreliable things rebuilt at some huge cost locally .

The NSW Govt threw pallet loads of dollars at those XPTs and the only conclusion I can draw is that they were attempting to save their tax payer funded faces . Yeah , crim lord Nifty Nevs 100 mph wick ext train and you were all paying for it . Far far higher maint bills than the same number of 81s ever had , once SRA was maintaining them by the book that.

- BDA


Hi BDA,

Answer to your first question, no!

What you have hi lighted is a supplier and quality issue, not what type of loco should be doing the grunt, the later being my point.

Sure the 81's are a good loco, but doesn't mean its the right tool for the job. Hindsight would say that the XPT's never achieved the full potential as the tracks were never really up to allowing them to achieve the most and over time their top end speeds have been reduced for one reason or another. But the Q I have is, the XPT's are currently given a small bonus in speed on many parts of the network (don't know how this has reduced since I last spent a bit of time in NSW), would it still get this with an 81? Answer is probably no. Bench mark other medium speed trains and they usually have light weight higher performing locos designed for pax service, not standard freight locos. Not much different to steam days really.

The track issues are really a result of neglect by NSW govt of 90's and early 2000's. Had the interstate been maintained and improved the way ARTC is trying to get it back to (or better) the XPT's would probably doing  alot better all round. ie on time perfortmance, reduced cancellations etc

regards

Shane

- RTT_Rules


I agree the nsw government failed to maintain the rural network.

The artc should have layed the concrete sleepers in correctly but are using an incompentent method that is destroying the base that holds the sleepers and rail. the artc should have invested in machines and processes like railcorp's currently use and we wouldn't be talking about these issues and the extra billion to fix the new mess that they created.

As for the XPT's they just need to be replaced because they have be run to the ground. On my trip to melbourne last year, you could smell diesel fumes within the cabin the entire trip and that was in first class.

 
A78 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Banned

[quote="jedimasterc"]

[quote="RTT_Rules"]

[quote="BDA"]

RTT I doubt you ever had a spanner on an XP anything or an 81 class for that matter , relying on the Force here are we ?

My point isn't to compare a fully functional X set with a loco hauled express , my point is that the Xs were so monumentally failure prone and unjustifiably expensive that motive power wise using 81 classes would have been cheaper . Obviously not practcal but you get the picture .

Even seen a turbocharger shatter leaving its compressor to fire meteor like down between to cylinder banks and rip the govenor off the other end of the engine ? No ? How often have you seen a real locomotive diesel drop valve heads causing the piston to break up in the cylinder and fall piece meal into the sump ? That one kept going long enough for the gudgeon pin to smash up and down in the cylinder liner belling it out like a Chinese lantern . Then it couldn't be removed could it ? Then the block sat in the old Eveligh loco machine shop for ages supposedly until it was decided to cut the liner in half in the middle and try to get it out the inspection holes .

I think in eight months I saw three totally destroyed power assemblies removed and replaced under warranty . One I distinctly remember came in on the old "Riv" or ST16 , limped into Sydney yard with a couple off 44s of engine oil all over the outside of the carbody .

The guests were not impressed with the late running or the filthy mess that pulled up in No 1 platform at Central . The engine room was a hall of horrors . Catwalks swimming in oil , most of the inspection/explosion covers off and bits of piston/con rods/crank counter weights strewn everywhere .

Did you ever hear the one about the BR worn axles that were welded up surface ground and sold to Country Link as brand new ones ? Very interesting to be machining the wheel seats and finding weld heat marks in the steel  . Better ring Comsteel and get them made here ...

And those Napier turbochargers , terrible unreliable things rebuilt at some huge cost locally .

The NSW Govt threw pallet loads of dollars at those XPTs and the only conclusion I can draw is that they were attempting to save their tax payer funded faces . Yeah , crim lord Nifty Nevs 100 mph wick ext train and you were all paying for it . Far far higher maint bills than the same number of 81s ever had , once SRA was maintaining them by the book that.

[/quote]

Hi BDA,

Answer to your first question, no!

What you have hi lighted is a supplier and quality issue, not what type of loco should be doing the grunt, the later being my point.

Sure the 81's are a good loco, but doesn't mean its the right tool for the job. Hindsight would say that the XPT's never achieved the full potential as the tracks were never really up to allowing them to achieve the most and over time their top end speeds have been reduced for one reason or another. But the Q I have is, the XPT's are currently given a small bonus in speed on many parts of the network (don't know how this has reduced since I last spent a bit of time in NSW), would it still get this with an 81? Answer is probably no. Bench mark other medium speed trains and they usually have light weight higher performing locos designed for pax service, not standard freight locos. Not much different to steam days really.

The track issues are really a result of neglect by NSW govt of 90's and early 2000's. Had the interstate been maintained and improved the way ARTC is trying to get it back to (or better) the XPT's would probably doing  alot better all round. ie on time perfortmance, reduced cancellations etc

regards

Shane

[/quote]

I agree the nsw government failed to maintain the rural network.

The artc should have layed the concrete sleepers in correctly but are using an incompentent method that is destroying the base that holds the sleepers and rail. the artc should have invested in machines and processes like railcorp's currently use and we wouldn't be talking about these issues and the extra billion to fix the new mess that they created.

As for the XPT's they just need to be replaced because they have be run to the ground. On my trip to melbourne last year, you could smell diesel fumes within the cabin the entire trip and that was in first class.

[/quote]

They probably replaced around the time that the CityRail K Sets are because there made around the same time 1981  

 
cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and to see a train on the SSFL!

Whose will be the first government to put up even $1b?

When do you expect that to happen?

 

 
cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and to see a train on the SSFL!



Ahhh... but this is the common misconception.  The only reason you think passenger rail is cheaper is because it is heavily subsidised.  You, as an individual, are not seeing the complete picture.  Over any sort of reasonable distance (say five hours on the train) it is probably cheaper overall (but not necessarily cheaper for your personal hip pocket) to fly.  Remember, about two thirds of the operating cost of CountryLink is picked up by the state - and this is before you consider things like pensioner discounts, etc.  Capital costs get pretty much completely covered by the state.  Perhaps that subsidy is a good thing for society as it improves service accessibility for people in regional areas, etc, etc, etc, perhaps not - that's a different debate - but the train is not cheaper because it is a train, it is cheaper because of subsidy. 

- donttellmywife


I think there is an economically rational argument for subsidising a highly CAPex intesive operation like a VHST.   It's when the opportunity cost of the alternative becomes too high.

For the east coast of Australia, I think our sabre wiedling friend probably isn't all that far from the mark - just off by a few decades.  By 2040/2050 Australia's population will be nudging 40-50mil, the bulk of those new 25mil people are going to be on the NSW (and to a lesser extent the Sth Qld) Coast.  I think we're likely to see as many as 10 cities of >1mil people between the Sunshine Coast and the Illawarra, with Sydney nudging 10mil and Brisbane 5mil.  They may have finished duplicating the Pacific Highway by then, but they'll need 10 more lanes each way on those volumes.  And the distances will be too short for air travel, and/or Sydney won't have enough viable air capacity anyway.

In this environment VHSR would be the cheapest way of delivering the transport infrastructure to support such a society.  I'm not for one second suggesting it's viable now - it's clearly not.  But we should be doing the planning for it, and start reserving the corridors so that if/when it is needed, it can be done at a reasonable cost and doesn't all need to be built in tunnels.

- djf01


 

Unfortunately your governments will be struggling to fund enormous health and aged care expenditures from a much diminished tax base. Putting this aged population on smick trains won't come close to being a priority.

 

 
BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Thankfully thats the real truth .
 
RTT_Rules Minister for Railways

Location: Dubai UAE



As for the XPT's they just need to be replaced because they have be run to the ground. On my trip to melbourne last year, you could smell diesel fumes within the cabin the entire trip and that was in first class.

- jedimasterc


Hi,

Q, your car gets a hole in the exhaust, do you fix or buy a new car? ou don't replace. Looking around the country the country services fleet tends to reach about 40 before replacement. So the oldest parts of the XPT fleet have about 10 years to go but likely to go beyond a bit. I'd expect this to be stretched out a bit and we will see 100% replacement of the NSW regional fleet over a 5-8 year period, starting 2025 based on current policy. Last time I rode an XPT wasin 2005 and I certainly didn't feel as a pax that it was life expired. Get on anything in Qld that doesn't tilt the feeling is very different.

The issues with an aging population won't stop the govt investing in improved regional services, may actually drive more. The tax base will certainly change and we will see increasing taxes and less govt funding in other areas over the next 30 years. Fuel is unlikely to escape especially petrol. Also as the population grows many of the regional services become more viable if users increase, especially full fare. To change the publics view of longdistance rail, there will need to be some pain and the OAP (and others) almost free tickets is probably the near the start. Certainly there should be a focus to eliminate the very cheap bogan fares.

regards

Shane

 
jedimasterc Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned





As for the XPT's they just need to be replaced because they have be run to the ground. On my trip to melbourne last year, you could smell diesel fumes within the cabin the entire trip and that was in first class.

- jedimasterc


Hi,

Q, your car gets a hole in the exhaust, do you fix or buy a new car? ou don't replace. Looking around the country the country services fleet tends to reach about 40 before replacement. So the oldest parts of the XPT fleet have about 10 years to go but likely to go beyond a bit. I'd expect this to be stretched out a bit and we will see 100% replacement of the NSW regional fleet over a 5-8 year period, starting 2025 based on current policy. Last time I rode an XPT wasin 2005 and I certainly didn't feel as a pax that it was life expired. Get on anything in Qld that doesn't tilt the feeling is very different.

The issues with an aging population won't stop the govt investing in improved regional services, may actually drive more. The tax base will certainly change and we will see increasing taxes and less govt funding in other areas over the next 30 years. Fuel is unlikely to escape especially petrol. Also as the population grows many of the regional services become more viable if users increase, especially full fare. To change the publics view of longdistance rail, there will need to be some pain and the OAP (and others) almost free tickets is probably the near the start. Certainly there should be a focus to eliminate the very cheap bogan fares.

regards

Shane

- RTT_Rules


well for starters I don't have a 30 year old car, but a 4 year old and being only 4 years old I haven't had any major problems yet and all that it has needed is oil and filter changes, brake pads and an ecu update.

May I say that their is more then just a broken muffler wrong with the xpt's. Can someone tell me if the xplorers have had many issues with reliability. Checking out the stats on the xplorer it seems to have an engine that is more servicable then the paxman in the xpt. maybe a new version of the xplorer using more modern and efficient electric magnetic drive motors and better aero could provide an alternative to the xpt.

If unable to completly build a vhst electric service at this time as some have sugested, then my next goal will be to straighten the line to the south anyway. from douglas park to bargo and then a few curves from bargo to mittagong. although a completly new line to goulburn will always be my preference.

run explorers from lithgow to dubbo, armidale to newcastle, casino to newcastle and maybe introduce a casino to murwillimbah line and see how popular it is.

 
Rodo Chief Commissioner

Location: Southern Riverina
Yes Jedi, it does look as if you are coming around to more reasonable thinking.

Line improvements to allow a bit of 200 kph operation is about all that should be aspired to these days. A lot could be done to the Canberra line about the Molongo gorge to work towards a journey to Sydney of less than three hours. A grand VFT to Newcastle is about the only one that has the faintest chance otherwise just some gradual alignment improvements, as are happening now slowly.
 

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