Service Cuts to Overland - GSR Press Announcement

 
  Top Cat Assistant Commissioner

Location: Under Hilton Bridge
Change of Schedule - The Overland
Please be advised of an upcoming change to The Overland’s schedule for 2013.
Effective the week commencing August 5, 2013, The Overland will reduce the frequency of its services to twice a week, removing its mid-week service (Wednesday & Thursday).
The remaining services will continue to operate under the existing timetable:
ADL (0745) to MEL (1850) Monday & Friday
MEL (0805) to ADL (1750) Tuesday & Saturday
Great Southern Rail apologises for any inconvenience caused by this change of schedule and is taking all steps to limit the impact on our guests.
FOR AFFECTED GUESTS:
From today (May 16), Great Southern Rail will be contacting all those who have made a booking on an affected Overland service to discuss travel arrangements.
Great Southern Rail has coordinated three options for affected guests:
  • A booking on the next available service together with a courtesy upgrade or partial refund depending on the level of service booked by the guest.
  • Great Southern Rail can arrange alternative coach travel for guests who still wish to travel on their original departure date. This service will be provided by Firefly Express and will come at no extra cost to the guest. The option to change your booking to a Firefly service is available for three months following the change of schedule.
  • Great Southern Rail will honour all cancelled bookings with a full refund regardless of fare type for those who no longer wish to travel.
FOR FUTURE GUESTS OF THE OVERLAND:
Additional guest and Motorail capacity has been allocated to the remaining services to accommodate an anticipated increase in patronage on these services. This additional capacity will also assist in re-accommodating affected guests in advance.
Great Southern Rail continues to work with the Victorian and South Australian Governments to ensure The Overland continues to serve as an important transport link between the two states.
We remain committed to proactively doing all we can to provide affordable, reliable transportation for our guests, just as they have always expected and received from The Overland.

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  2001 Moderator The Snow Lord

Location: The road jump at Charlotte Pass. Paxman Valenta on two planks.
Pulse dropping. Patient moved to intensive care.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
The beginning of the end by the looks of it. It had to come sooner or later though. Once it drops to once a week service there and back you might as well put it out of it's misery so to speak.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Well that kills off the debate about the connection between the thursday Overland (5MA8 ) and the Indian Pacific (5AP8 )
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Well that kills off the debate about the connection between the thursday Overland (5MA8 ) and the Indian Pacific (5AP8 )
Pressman
Someone from GSR reading these threads or something.Laughing
  greasyrhys Chief Commissioner

Location: MacDonald Park, SA
Earlier today I checked the GSR website, it showed the new timetable but didn't mention something like 'effective from August 2013' or something along those lines.
  Gayspie Deputy Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, SA

Crying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sad  PLEASE TELL ME DEAR LORD WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO MY STATES LOVELY OVERLAND CONNECTING MY FAVOURITE CITYS PLEASE JAY WEATHERALL YOU CANT BE DOING THIS TO ME BECAUSE FIRST IT WAS NIGHTLY, THEN THRICE WEEKLY, NOW TWICE WEEKLY THEN MAYBE ONCE WEEKLY OR NONE AT ALL. ITS NOT FAIR WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE OF MURRAY BRIDGE, BORDERTOWN, NHILL, DIMBOOLA, HORSHAM, STAWELL, ARARAT AND NORTH GEELONG, THEY LOVE THE OVERLAND AND THEY ARE ALL CRYING. PLEASE CANT THIS GOVERNEMT LET MY STATE KEEP SOMETHING WE LOVE :'(








Im sorry for f*cking posting in capital but im shocked at this bullsh*t news!!!
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
It's all very unfortunate but not surprising.  The last time I travelled on the Overland would have been after the refurbishment in 2010; 11 hours is just too long to spend on a train and the new fixtures and carpets didn't really improve the overall amenity of the trip in my opinion.  It was also crowded: There were only four carriages on the time I caught it and yet nearly every seat was occupied.

Flying is still so cheap that only hardcore foaming gunzels, international tourists and retired people with plenty of time can be bothered with the train... If I wanted to visit Adelaide next week a quick search shows I could probably fly for around $100 most times but for as low as $65 early Tuesday with booked luggage; the cheapest GSR Overland fare would be $58.  Even given an average airfare of $100+ each way most people would rather spend the extra and fly, there's no comparison on time.

In my opinion the only thing that could save the service was if they tried to integrate it into the V-line network so it met the needs of the towns along the route.  Unfortunately there really hasn't been much of a serious effort to do this as it was always viewed in Victoria as a completely separate entity to V-line.  Until recently they didn't even bother to include it in V-line timetables... now it really does seem too late, who could be bothered with it running so infrequently?
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Heath Loxton, Time you learnt to control yourself.  Swearing doesn't impress anyone.
One thing you have to remember is that the state government and JW don't own the Overland, it's run by a private company that needs to make a profit. If they don't we'll loose more than just one Overland service!
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
The Overland has been struggling ever since it was off the run for an extended period during standardisation.

Before that it was often an 18 car train; after very much less - killed off by bus companies  taking advantage of the lack of train and by competition driving down air fares - the same bus companies are now facing stiff competition from air.

GSR don't seem to be travelling well in general - they are presently offering considerable discounts on gold class fares (20%) on the IP and Ghan with, on the Ghan at least, off-train tours included and alcoholic drinks thrown in as well - a further saving.

And, Heath, as for not serving intermediate towns any more: it really hasn't for some considerable time now if it ever did.    One or two intermediate passengers every so often which is what the train was getting isn't enough to sustain the train.
  monday Chief Commissioner

It probably is also worth pointing out that as far as a 'tourist train' goes, once you are past Callington (ill be generous), there isnt that much exceptional scenery to see.  Its pretty boring and ordinary all the way to Melbourne from that point forth.

The best part is definitely the Adelaide Hills, which is only the first two hours of the trip.

Since the SG conversion, there has been the development of a competitive aviation industry and cut-throat bus market - both price and / or time wise, the train doesnt stack up.  I wouldnt put being 'suspended' for a short period of 1995 as any great contributor to the overdue's demise.

Look at old Catchpoints from the 1990's, even then the train on average was running incredibly short with a single CLP or single NR.  

It has done well to last this long.

I suspect as far as tourist trains go, GSR could do well to route the Ghan via Melbourne say once every two or four weeks or so, that'll still service those patrons that wish to have the tourist experience.
  Jumbo2001 Junior Train Controller

Crying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sadCrying or Very sad  PLEASE TELL ME DEAR LORD WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO MY STATES LOVELY OVERLAND CONNECTING MY FAVOURITE CITYS PLEASE JAY WEATHERALL YOU CANT BE DOING THIS TO ME BECAUSE FIRST IT WAS NIGHTLY, THEN THRICE WEEKLY, NOW TWICE WEEKLY THEN MAYBE ONCE WEEKLY OR NONE AT ALL. ITS NOT FAIR WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE OF MURRAY BRIDGE, BORDERTOWN, NHILL, DIMBOOLA, HORSHAM, STAWELL, ARARAT AND NORTH GEELONG, THEY LOVE THE OVERLAND AND THEY ARE ALL CRYING. PLEASE CANT THIS GOVERNEMT LET MY STATE KEEP SOMETHING WE LOVE :'(








Im sorry for f*cking posting in capital but im shocked at this bullsh*t news!!!
Heath Loxton

So how often do you use the Overland then?
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
It remains a disgraceful indictment of our priorities that two major state Capitals cannot be better connected by public transport.  Not to mention the communities along the way of which there are numerous more than large enough to support a rail service.

The timetable pitches at the wrong market to my mind and is aiming at the end-to-end passenger.  Most of those will fly or drive.  A few others might endure the road coach option.  11 hours is far too long for a journey of the length involved.

GSR has consistently tried to keep the Overland bracketed with its land-cruise trains when it manifestly does not operate in the same market and is - or should be - marketed as a public transport option and not a relaxing holiday trip.

Current advertising for the train on Melbourne TV is pitched at the leisure market which this train is never going to seriously break in to.

I have said before and it bears repeating that if a service could be run which offers arrival into both Capitals by around 10am and returns at perhaps 4pm then more of the regional market will be better served.  Currently V/Line capture much of the traffic from western Victoria on their morning run from Ararat with a well-timed return later in the day.  These connect with road coaches both ways as far as Nhill.  That leaves little potential for another operator to cover similar timings especially if they are on SG and have to come across the almost uninhabited plains.  

There should be scope for at least a daily return trip between the Capitals setting off mid morning to arrive early evening which is more or less what the Overland does now.  Improved track and line speeds and better priorities and pathing should cut at least an hour off the trip.  At present two trains leave Melbourne, at 8.04am and 8.05am, for Ararat.  Guess which one gets there over an hour quicker?  Is it any wonder - with duplication like this and pedestrian journey times - that long-haul passenger rail is fading into obscurity in this country when in others it has risen from the ashes to become a mode of choice?

The attitude of the operator and of the on-board staff doesn't help either.  I have used the train numerous times.  Being asked (told firmly in one case) to remain seated during the journey unless a buffet call had been made didn't go down well.  Being growled at for daring to hop off for a moment (while other passengers were being boarded) was unnecessary as well.  Seeing hopeful passengers turned away at Keswick Terminal on the grounds that they hadn't booked "in advance" was ridiculous considering the service ran half empty.

I'm afraid GSR's custody of the Melbourne - Adelaide run is everything that a passenger service operation should not be.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Since when did the people of Bordertown or any of those other intermediate stops ever utilise the Overland in such great numbers that the revenue gained was enough to break even on the cost of the fuel burned during the course of getting the train going after the stop?
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Look at the bigger picture.  If the train didn't stop no-one could get on or off meaning a total loss of potential revenue.  Would you rather have a train taking what passengers it could or one which failed to serve anyone at all?

As well remember that there is input from both state governments to continue the train and that this has included recent additions to the places served in Victoria.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
It remains a disgraceful indictment of our priorities that two major state Capitals cannot be better connected by public transport...  
Gwiwer

Public transport:

- Shorter OED fifth ed: a system of buses, trains, etc, charging set fares and running on fixed routes.

- Collins fourth Aus ed: a system of buses, trains, etc, running on fixed routes on which the public may travel.

- Wikipedia: a shared passenger transport service which is available for use by the general public.

- Wiktionary: Any form of transport that can be used by a member of public (usually for a fee); as opposed to private ownership of e.g. cars.

I think the two major state capitals relevant here are very well served under those definitions.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
I think the two major state capitals relevant here are very well served under those definitions.

Served yes.  Connected no.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Served yes.  Connected no.
Gwiwer
I think the major state capitals are both well served and well connected ("joined together") too.

Look at the rest of your post.  The fact that the service connects two major capitals is all but irrelevant to your suggested target market - the inter capital nature is really just an operational convenience or accident of history and geography.  Your own priority isn't to connect interstate capitals - it is to connect regional centres.  But somehow that's a "disgraceful indictment"?

Is a capital to capital rail service really the best way of providing connectivity for the regional centres served by that train?
  Seldom_21 Junior Train Controller

Location: South Australia
Two years and it will go. I went on it January of this year and caught up with a mate who said this would happen, service reduction.

Sad, but that is the way rail goes.

Btw Heath Loxton can you tone it done a bit, no need for swearing or shouting.

Cheers

Seldom
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Look at the bigger picture.  If the train didn't stop no-one could get on or off meaning a total loss of potential revenue.  Would you rather have a train taking what passengers it could or one which failed to serve anyone at all?
Gwiwer
Chasing revenue that makes no profit is a fool's game, a private business should always chase revenue, but only so long as the revenue gained exceeds the cost to gain it.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Capital to capital services are often the most cost effective way of offering a regional service to the towns along the route if for no other reason than that major depots and crewing points are usually located in those capital cities.  OK crews can sign on at Dimboola and trains can be berthed there but not a GSR passenger train under current operating agreements.  That would require something new put in place.  In any case the Victorian side of the market is all but captured by V/Line since it is possible to travel from Nhill and points east to Melbourne and vice versa as I noted above.

That leaves something like Murray Bridge - Adelaide for the SA side to handle.  Whether a competitive rail service could be provided for little more than a single location I'm not sure because I don't know the travel patterns or levels over that route by any mode.  When travelling on the Overland Murray Bridge has been one of the better-used intermediate stops however.

The end-to-end market is all but taken up by the airlines now who can offer frequency of service and sometimes bargain fares.  The downside is the fussy to-and-from airport travel at each end though the total cost remains well below the cost of private motoring between capitals and the time advantage remains significant.

I argue along the same lines for the Melbourne - Sydney, Sydney - Brisbane and north coast lines.  They are essential links.  The cost of fuel isn't coming down.  I live in hope that one day Australia wakes up to the damage being caused to its own and the global environment by having a car-dependent society chucking out among the world's highest per-capita levels of toxic pollutants.  We would be up in arms if those levels were being recorded from some "third world" nation yet we can't see the plank in our own eye (or the elephant in the room) before trying to take the splinter out of our neighbour's.  

In the US long-haul passenger rail all but died but has returned with a vengeance on some corridors even where flight is the mode of choice.  European long-haul travel, under threat from cheap airline fares, has been reinvigorated beyond belief with a network of very high speed lines and a mass return to rail as the mode of choice.  Australia can do the same.  It takes political and commercial will power.  It takes a little money (not huge bucks in the overall scheme of things) and it takes a focus on the future which we intend to carve out of our present.  Or are we so disinterested that we keep our heads up our behinds and believe it won't matter?
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Served yes.  Connected no.
Gwiwer
Adelaide and Melbourne, served yes, connected yes, by plane, train and bus. If two of the three didn't exist, and the train is only one, they'd still be both served and connected by the remaining one.
  VRfan Moderator

Location: In front of my computer :-p
One of the things that has put me off travelling on The Overland is the risk of being stuck next to a blank wall rather than a window. I think it's completely unacceptable for such a long trip that is being marketed to tourists to have seats where they are expected to sit there for 11 hours with no view. They really should have used a bit more thought about the internal layout rather than trying to fit as many rows as possible.
  benscaro Chief Commissioner

So how often do you use the Overland then?
Jumbo2001


be fair.  it doesn't go through redhill.
  benscaro Chief Commissioner

i did raise the topic of the overland's plausibility a while back because i couldn't see how it fit into the 'overland cruise ship, fast regional DMU, commuter spark or nothing' model that more or less applies to passenger rail in countries like australia.

it looks like i am not the only one.

One of the things that has put me off travelling on The Overland is the risk of being stuck next to a blank wall rather than a window. I think it's completely unacceptable for such a long trip that is being marketed to tourists to have seats where they are expected to sit there for 11 hours with no view. They really should have used a bit more thought about the internal layout rather than trying to fit as many rows as possible.
VRfan

yikes.  seriously?

is one able to exercise a choice for a window seat, with them not taking your booking and money if they don't have one?  

if they don't have that, then the risk would certainly put me off.  that the trip is not scenic i'd agree, but 11 hours looking at wood laminate or similar would have most people going postal by the time they hit geelong or murray bridge.

B.

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