The realities are no matter how much anyone tries to juggle around with timetables, in order to get more mileage out of whatever trainset they propose, its no more than eating fairy floss on a hot day while trying to work out cryptic crossword puzzles.I agree in relation to connections. If you are going to provide a regional train service don't terminate it at Broadmeadow or similar. As you said many have already had to change services to even get to the train in the first place.
To think or consider in ones wildest dreams that people having traveled several hours in a train then have to get off to another service to finish their journey is kidding themselves. Likewise the concept that they will travel further on a bus for their rail connection, especially when they have lost their rail service is again kidding themselves.
The Train from Moree & Armidale, is doing ok its not doing wonders but the patronage is not that bad, the time to Sydney is also not too bad, it leaves the two locations at sensible daylight times, which suits the rural customer & is what they are calling out for, especially out Dubbo way. Passengers from Tenterfield get up early enough to catch a bus to Armidale, likewise those from Inverell, who have to do the bone shaking trip via Barraba to Tamworth, then to expect them to change at Hamilton or BMD for another service will empty the services full stop.
There has been a call to have the Musswelbrook/Scone service continue to Tamworth & return the next morning, but in the end how many would use it anyway?.
The only additional service that could be made would be to somehow introduce a Friday night service from Armidale - Sydney to try & capture the student market & those in the area wanting a W/E in Sydney, perhaps for football or other events, then return on a night service on Sunday.
That would mean providing another service to Armidale ex Sydney on Friday afternoon or night & Sundays to have the set available for the next morning.
At the end of the day, trying to work timetables for maximum utilisation as is being done here will not work as there is too many issues that will harm users by unecessary changes to other services & timetabling issues. People who want to & do travel by rail generally are after a single service from their Point A to their destination Point B, at the most convenient time possible, they will accept some inconveniences as shown on the Northerm services to/from Tenterfield & Inverel, but to have the B destionations turned into a C, with B a change to another service, is a killer, especially with the already change.
It would be possible to add that extra Armidale service on a weekend if you moved the Griffith train to say Wednesday and Thursday. Not sure how that would impact on maintenance schedules though.