I say what is below as one whole has probably caused others nausea by my raves about the potential viability of an overnight "Motel on Wheels" Overland service.
*I too would personally prefer an overnight service. What standard of accommodation do you envisage? Sleepers? Your train would cost a lot more than a multiple diesel set. If seats, sleep almost upright and spend the day in the same clothes?
Forgetting you political rhetoric I think Neil has given a very fair answer. but still leaves you to answer others.
*I'm sorry if making some suggestions as to how the governments could get the funds to pay for trains without borrowing Aaron's huge amounts at exorbitant interest rates is seen as political, so be it. It is a fact, even if it is out of fashion in financial circles, that with appropriate safeguards to keep within what can be afforded by the nation's productivity, governments can create the credit interest free without going to the people whose financial 'expertise' landed the world in its present mess. Webb re-built the railways and his brand new engines and rolling stock passed the school where many of my fellow students had no shoes and had a dripping sandwich for lunch because the financial experts of the time insisted on exactly the wrong way to end the depression that their machinations caused in the first place. Then my grandparents' generation built a city with trams and a state with an extensive railway system with virtually nothing except courage and a lot of hard work. If what I read daily from some of you, I wonder if you are really interested in getting this nation into some sort of parity with the rest of the developed world or making excuses for doing nothing. It is a question of what society is prepared to spend money on. More roads, long proven to be generators of still more traffic. New airports and upgraded old ones. Do they not also require subsidies and government expenditure? Last night I watched two sleek Italian electric locomotives pulling a passenger train alongside the Giro bicycle race through a mountain pass in very rugged alpine county. I wondered when we might have such luxuries. If others can do it – even the former Soviet block which I do NOT admire – why is it that we can't?
Please answer these questions:
[ol][li]If the train travels substantially in daylight what is an acceptable journey time?[/li][li]To what must this journey time compare?[/li][li]Considering a daylight trip which will occupy a precious part of the business day who will use the service?[/li][li]What will they be prepared to pay?[/li][li][left]Why would they use the train?[/left]
[left]An example of potentially effective routes are Melbourne to Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Traralgon in Vic, Sydney to Newcastle, Nowra, Bathurst in NSW and Perth to Bunbury. This list is not exhaustive and may not represent services which the respective managements consider viable. (Why doesn't the Bunbury train continue into the town centre, the reservation is still there?) I measure this by the trip duration being 9potentially) much shorter than the total air time. Over these routes the journey time air/rail comparisons are much as for Europe.
[left]*I've used trains on all four Victorian routes as well as Perth to Bunbury, and agree that your examples are all viable and desirable.
[left]To total city to city air travel Melbourne to Adelaide is about 3 hours door to door. (don't ask me how I know?). Can a train meet that at a [u]viable[/u] cost?[/left]
*Business men will use the subsidized airways rather than the subsidized railways. Their time is money, but many prefer to travel overland. Their means of transport will be subsidized buses or cars on subsidized roads in danger from collisions with subsidized road freight transport. It's a matter of choice and often necessity. Whose subsidies should have priority?
Your response to the financial aspects of the OL is close what put rail in the dubious place in the 20th century.
[ul][li]The public thought the railways owed them a service even if they didn't use it.
*But they did. It's the abandonment of public transport by those who happily use other means to the detriment of the amenity of the whole community in traffic congestion and the blight and huge public cost of such works as freeways (e.g. the monstrosity being built over South Road, or the destruction of the formerly beautiful boulevard that was Portrush Road). Government money spent on rail and tramways BAD! Much more government money spent on facilitating private transport, GOOD? [/li][li]The railways thought the government, read public, owed them the money to operate.
*I suspect that they took what they were given and no more.[/li][li]The workers thought the railways and government owed them a job.
* Well that's a lot better than paying them a pitiful handout and calling them dole-bludgers. A society which doesn't aim at giving everyone a chance for gainful employment is a pretty rotten one. Public works during the depression eased a lot of misery and fed a lot of hungry kids.[/li][li]The politicians wouldn't accept the advice of railway commissioners who were squeezed between political service expectations and what passed off as an excuse for funding.
*The commissioners whom I remember were passionately interested in the improvement of rail services. They were underfunded, but if their proposals had been heeded we'd be very much better off today.[/li][li]Neither left or right parties were on the side of railway management and failed to take their advice seriously.
* With that I heartily agree.[/li][/ul]
I'm afraid that we won't agree on our basic beliefs about the nature of society. We'll just have to agree to disagree, but thanks for the courteous nature of your reply and your many interesting and thoughtful postings.