SA to keep Overland running

 
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Again, just a single example, but this couple did spend a lot of money in wineries and restaurants in the Southern Vales while they were here - I know because drove them around in my "classic car" on the Sunday.  I'm a very gregarious traveller and it's amazing how easy it is to make friends on The Overland when you offer access to your personal wireless access point to passengers who discover only after boarding that The Overland doesn't have Wi-Fi!
cmjl
Just wondering, what is your classic car, cmji ?

And don, hundreds of years ago, when the daughter was going to uni, in Adelaide, ( when we were cooped up in Horsham ) the bus used to stop at Dimmy for a half hour, break, not sure if it was to change drivers or what, but that was a swine for anyone from Horsham because your 35 k from home and here you are stumped up at Dimmy.

It wasn't worth driving over to get her, because it was 50 minutes, at least round trip, to save a half hour/40 minute stop, by the bus.

Anyway, the journey cannot be planned perfectly for every passenger.

BigShunter.

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  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
And don, hundreds of years ago, when the daughter was going to uni, in Adelaide, ( when we were cooped up in Horsham ) the bus used to stop at Dimmy for a half hour, break, not sure if it was to change drivers or what, but that was a swine for anyone from Horsham because your 35 k from home and here you are stumped up at Dimmy.

It wasn't worth driving over to get her, because it was 50 minutes, at least round trip, to save a half hour/40 minute stop, by the bus.

Anyway, the journey cannot be planned perfectly for every passenger.

BigShunter.
BigShunter
BigShunter, I've been a user for many years but I don't recall that muck-around process at Dimboola - possibly before I became a user. As long as I've been using it there's always the break at Horsham where the Daylink continues to Bendigo and you have to wait for the connecting V/line bus to Ararat or Ballarat. They're always changing how they do it - there used to be a half an hour break at Nhill but they don't do that any more; the only break is at Tintinara Road House now.

With regards to my trip next week I'm 100% certain the bus from Horsham will take me straight through to Ballarat arriving 16:55; if you use the trip planner for Horsham-Ballarat it actually says that the bus departing 14:15 goes right through but for some reason the Daylink leg appears to have confused the planner and it thinks I need to get off and wait for the train at Ararat.

I'm hoping I get two seats to myself but probably not given the service I picked was already relatively heavily booked; it's only till Horsham anyway. I really wish the Horsham bus interchange was under cover - it's no fun doing that change-over when it's stonking hot or raining.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Gawd this is getting tedious...............
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
Overland arrived into SX around 19:30 today; NR110 two power vans eight cars. I guess some had assumed last trip and booked too soon!

OR...people...despite the naysayers and doom purveyors in SA are using the train in numbers, particularly at holiday times that could leave egg on significant numbers of faces. Embarassed

Mike.
The Vinelander
Perhaps because of all the Gunzels who booked on the "last service?"
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Gawd this is getting tedious...............
YM-Mundrabilla
Got any new threads to open by all means do it, the internet is always boring at this time of year...
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Got any new threads to open by all means do it, the internet is always boring at this time of year...
don_dunstan

Agreed, no one is forcing anyone else to read the thread, and plenty of people, myself included, are enjoying the sprawling conversation.

Also, I reckon the “gunzel booking” theory is probably right; we’ll see how many they put on the Mike Express, which would have been the last.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Also, I reckon the “gunzel booking” theory is probably right; we’ll see how many they put on the Mike Express, which would have been the last.
potatoinmymouth
Actually, today's return trip from Melbourne was the last one under the old SA contract. Until the future of the service was confirmed that was the last trip scheduled to run - I have had this confirmed by a senior figure at GSR.

I don't think it's worth getting too excited about there being an extra power van being taken over to Melbourne - it was probably being transferred for maintenance during the Ghan off-season.

The Overland normally runs about 30% occupancy, so there's plenty of capacity to add extra passengers on a normal consist without adding extra cars.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
On time departure from Southern Cross. @ 8:05.

42 in First Class
72 in Second Class, including 13 V/Line pax, 9 of them in my group.


Rear V/Line car appears to be a staff car by default.

Mike.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

On time departure from Southern Cross. @ 8:05.

42 in First Class
72 in Second Class, including 13 V/Line pax, 9 of them in my group.


Rear V/Line car appears to be a staff car by default.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Thanks Mike for your info.

It begs a lot of questions. I don't ask these to be contentious there has been enough agro already.

I suggest the revenue from the 114 pax would be of the order of $9000.
What is the fuel cost?
What is the loco hire cost?
What are the track access costs?
What are the crew costs?


Regarding service
Would there be more or fewer pax if the train ran more than twice per week?
Would there more or fewer pax if the train ran every day with an each way trip?
Would "one class" be more efficient

Are there more efficient vehicles, eg DMUs?
Are there cheaper locos (surplus Ns?)?
Would a modern train better suited to the duty attract more patronage?

Considering speed limitations caused by unprotected level crossings can the schedule be improved?
What advantage would there be for pax if the journey time was reduced only incrementally?

Finally some questions Mike can answer on his way to Stawell.
Why are people using the train over other modes of transport?
Fear of flying?
Peed off with airports?
Don't want to drive?
No car?
Don't like buses?
Convenience?

Happy New Year to all!
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Thanks Mike for your info.

It begs a lot of questions. I don't ask these to be contentious there has been enough agro already.

I suggest the revenue from the 114 pax would be of the order of $9000.
What is the fuel cost?
What is the loco hire cost?
What are the track access costs?
What are the crew costs?


Regarding service
Would there be more or fewer pax if the train ran more than twice per week?
Would there more or fewer pax if the train ran every day with an each way trip?
Would "one class" be more efficient

Are there more efficient vehicles, eg DMUs?
Are there cheaper locos (surplus Ns?)?
Would a modern train better suited to the duty attract more patronage?

Considering speed limitations caused by unprotected level crossings can the schedule be improved?
What advantage would there be for pax if the journey time was reduced only incrementally?

Finally some questions Mike can answer on his way to Stawell.
Why are people using the train over other modes of transport?
Fear of flying?
Peed off with airports?
Don't want to drive?
No car?
Don't like buses?
Convenience?

Happy New Year to all!
steam4ian
Happy New Year to you too, steam4ian as well as everyone else, just casual statement, regarding your Very well thought out questions.

To me it would appear practically everything you have mentioned is going to increase the patronage.

The first stage of train travel, booking the bloody tickets, appears to be an arduous task, having to be on the platform 1 hour before departure, why not walk up 5 mins before departure and grab a ticket, isn't that what's service is about.

Judging by plenty of posters on here, service is far too slow, Nowhere near enough frequency, so as you have mentioned, an each way trip available, each day. It has been mentioned, arrival / departure from Ararat, let the fast rail to that destination, do what it was designed to do.

A more modern train, of course, we all like mod cons, how many of us are driving a car from the 70's, so the more comfy and more gadgets in this day and age the better, perhaps you could be right, in the single class, serves all, with a quite / work compartment.

I would say, if you smarten all of the above up, you are then going to pick up a hell of a lot of your bottom list of folks, as well as plenty more.

How about Publicity, Advertise the bloody thing, TV, Print media, Radio, local papers, info centers, Adelaide / Melbourne air ports or inflight advertising, if it's not in peoples faces, there is certainly another form of travel or that is going to fill the need.

Ok, some of my views.

BigShunter.
  DJPeters Deputy Commissioner

Thanks Mike for your info.

It begs a lot of questions. I don't ask these to be contentious there has been enough agro already.

I suggest the revenue from the 114 pax would be of the order of $9000.
What is the fuel cost?
What is the loco hire cost?
What are the track access costs?
What are the crew costs?


Regarding service
Would there be more or fewer pax if the train ran more than twice per week?
Would there more or fewer pax if the train ran every day with an each way trip?
Would "one class" be more efficient

Are there more efficient vehicles, eg DMUs?
Are there cheaper locos (surplus Ns?)?
Would a modern train better suited to the duty attract more patronage?

Considering speed limitations caused by unprotected level crossings can the schedule be improved?
What advantage would there be for pax if the journey time was reduced only incrementally?

Finally some questions Mike can answer on his way to Stawell.
Why are people using the train over other modes of transport?
Fear of flying?
Peed off with airports?
Don't want to drive?
No car?
Don't like buses?
Convenience?

Happy New Year to all!
Happy New Year to you too, steam4ian as well as everyone else, just casual statement, regarding your Very well thought out questions.

To me it would appear practically everything you have mentioned is going to increase the patronage.

The first stage of train travel, booking the bloody tickets, appears to be an arduous task, having to be on the platform 1 hour before departure, why not walk up 5 mins before departure and grab a ticket, isn't that what's service is about.

Judging by plenty of posters on here, service is far too slow, Nowhere near enough frequency, so as you have mentioned, an each way trip available, each day. It has been mentioned, arrival / departure from Ararat, let the fast rail to that destination, do what it was designed to do.

A more modern train, of course, we all like mod cons, how many of us are driving a car from the 70's, so the more comfy and more gadgets in this day and age the better, perhaps you could be right, in the single class, serves all, with a quite / work compartment.

I would say, if you smarten all of the above up, you are then going to pick up a hell of a lot of your bottom list of folks, as well as plenty more.

How about Publicity, Advertise the bloody thing, TV, Print media, Radio, local papers, info centers, Adelaide / Melbourne air ports or inflight advertising, if it's not in peoples faces, there is certainly another form of travel or that is going to fill the need.

Ok, some of my views.

BigShunter.
BigShunter
Big Shunter I agree with what you say but remember GSR did not want the overland in the first place, they only wanted the IP and the Ghan but were forced to take the Overland on a all or nothing deal. So really they do not advertise it because quite simply they do not and did not want it. So it begs the question that when it was first proposed to stop running why accept two govts money to keep it going then. And the answer most probably being the money given to them could be used for other things other than the actual Overland, it is reasonably to redirect money and as long as it is spent on rail vehicles or similar then neither Govt can complain because GSR could offer up the excuse that, that vehicle can run on the Overland if needed. A free handout is a free handout and no questions asked either.

GSR was probably never asked to provide evidence that the money actually went on the Overland train itself and it was most probably not in the agreement at all that it did have to be spent on the Overland. A percentage of it might, but I would bet a lot of it went to other things like bookings and staffing etc that any of their train's need. Beancounters are renowned for fiddling books to make it look good though.

If over the years all the money provided to GSR to maintain the service and the train it really should be a lot better than it is now more so when you consider the tax payers were actually paying for it. They would not be spending their actual money on it but the Govts money so GSR are not losing anything are they. Their profits would not take a hit, nor would other train services they provide have to suffer either, but just what were and are those tax payers actually paying for though.

New rollingstock of what ever sort was needed years back, but I doubt it will ever come about, even the Ghan and IP cars are getting a bit long in the tooth now. The public expect better though and it is the public that purchase a ticket.

Oh and I should point out if that $9,000 is correct I doubt you would get any change out of it after paying all the other things listed.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Back home in Ballan after a very pleasant almost alcohol free day...Smile

The train arrived at North Shore on-time and picked up 11 pax.

The train ran fine to Ararat, however an unscheduled unexplained 15 min stop before the BG junction, in addition to the apparent 10 mins lost across pleurisy plains meant we were 25 late through Ararat where I had never gone express through previously. The driver attempted to gun the train a bit to attempt to pick up time and also running express through Stawell as well meant, that had we not lost time and stopped before Ararat we would have ran express from North Shore to Horsham a distance of over 270Km Exclamation

I spent $12.00 in the freezing buffet/cafe car on a double shot coffee, an egg and lettuce sandwich and a Kit-Kat.

We gained only around 3 mins before Horsham and lost some time as the train crawled into Horsham platform under the radio contact of the conductor at our door; eventually arriving around 25 late. Surprisingly there was a small crowd of 15 at Horsham station of which 10 boarded the GSR section of the train. Even more surprisingly was the young bloke who must have paid his $99.00, apparently standard fare to travel from Melbourne in the GSR section of the train. I didn't have the heart to say, as I alighted with this young bloke that had he been more aware, he could have travelled to Horsham in our carriage for zip, zero...no fare at all. He had obviously come a long way by the reception he received by his parents on the platform.
All up another 3 pax in our car alighted the train from the V/Line car, making 13 off at Horsham.

The train would have left Horsham with approx 130 pax on board.

I had pre-booked a taxi at Horsham to take the more advanced aged of our group directly to the RSL and the other 4 of us walked the few blocks. I had also phoned ahead our meal selections to minimise the wait time as we had exactly 1 hour to 'enjoy' our meals and glass of wine/beer etc.

Meals eaten and drinks downed, we crossed the street and walked the two minutes down the lane to the totally inadequate Horsham V/Line bus stop where there were around 18 intending pax waiting making 27 plus a few stragglers and the bus arrived within 5 mins. The almost brand new bus, the first V/Line bus I've travelled in with USB ports and with 6 seats removed for wheel-chair access departed a few mins late and ran via Murtoa and Rupanyup where it picked up nobody until Stawell. There was no back-up bus at Stawell for this non-seat booked service as is often the case these days where it was almost full on departure.
Nobody on at Great Western so we arrived at Ararat at 15:50 with time for an ale at the RSL as we had a 20 min connexion...however no takers. Crying or Very sad

Uneventful journey to Ballarat where the conductor announced before Ballarat to pax not to stand up to alight the train until the 'bump' was felt where the three car V'Locity attached to another three car V'Locity already in the platform.

A further uneventful journey after the 17:13 departure had me in Ballan, 35 Km away, on the longer slow line via Bungaree, 22 mins later.

Mike.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

I suggest the revenue from the 114 pax would be of the order of $9000.
What is the fuel cost?
What is the loco hire cost?
What are the track access costs?
What are the crew costs?
steam4ian

So I'm going to reply on the numbers here going on the 42 first and 72 second class using the cheapest prices for both from the overland website.

The cheapest red premium ticket is the ready rail saver ticket and is $159 and at 42 passengers that comes to $6,678.00. The cheapest regular red service is $79 pension saver+ and at 72 passengers that comes to $5,688.00 for a grand total of $12,366

The totals are $16,626 using the median ticket prices and $22,326 if using the premium ticket prices.

I will let you guys figure out if that is anywhere near profit making although my personal opinion is that wouldn't even cover half the cost.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
You forgot the Vline priced tickets. Perhaps Mike can inform us how much they cost?
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The ARTC track charges work out to be about $2,000.00.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

Idea...The booking process...Sad

I walked up to the V/Line booking office at the old DFO/Skybus end of the station and gave a preamble about 1/1/19 and free travel anywhere in Victoria on the first V/Line service. That bit was fine, then I mention I want to travel on the first service to Horsham which happens to be the Overland.

The Overland...yes you have to contact GSR.

But no I say, V/Line has a carriage on the same train at V/Line fares. Wait a minute sir...I'll call my supervisor...couple of minutes passes. Sorry sir, you have to catch the Ararat train and change there for the bus. I show the booking clerk the timetable with the Overland, twice a week. Head scratching, sorry sir, my supervisor says no.

Politely, but disgruntled, I say, ok then I'll take this matter up later.

I get to work and call V/Line reservations and Andrew, kind of new to the job and at least willing to learn different aspects.

I explained The Overland is unique in Victoria in that it's twice a week and has the V/Line carriage etc. so he input 1/1/2019 into the PTV Journey Planner and hey presto, The Overland comes up as the first service, but compulsory seat booked and to contact V/Line.

To save my friends having to convince the V/Line reservations the same story I had to convey, Andrew was happy to issue 10 free tickets and allocate seating.

Andrew also told me there was no mention of The Overland at his induction training and he was amused the passenger had to explain. No doubt he's now the 'go to' guy to travel on The Overland within Victoria.

Mike.
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

Somebody competent, making an effort to find out. You really should not have named him, hope nobody notices
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
I'll be  naming him when I write to PT Minister Horne, regards his good customer service and willingness to learn from a passenger.

Mike.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
You forgot the Vline priced tickets. Perhaps Mike can inform us how much they cost?
Dangersdan707

No charge on New Years day...otherwise standard V/Line fares.

$42.60 one way adult fare.

$21.30 concession.

Also bear in mind that passenger trains don't run for a profit.

Mike.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Just re the V/Line passenger at Horsham Mike - having done the trip within Victoria myself, occasionally GSR train staff will usher V/Line pax to other carriages depending on loading. Unusual, yes, but can vouch for it happening.
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

Mike,
your story about the booking process is disappointing to hear, but somehow not surprising.

I can well imagine that less determined passengers would just walk away at that point or just nod their had and accept the train/bus combo''.

Your experience also reinforces the need for a complete root and branch review of the Overland, with V/Line and the Victorian Govt taking the lead. For all their faults, they seem a much better proposition to run the train and/or a replacement service than GSR.

Nevertheless, looking forward to my trip in premium class to Adelaide ($129, which I think is a pretty good fare) in a few weeks.

Craig
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
If anyone is interested my Daylink trip today was fine - the bus was full to the brim which was disappointing but that's just the time of year. My V/line bus from Dimboola through to Ballarat only had a dozen people on it for most of the way so that let me stretch out and sleep. My only gripe today was that with a restricted summer Adelaide Metro bus service this time of year which meant I had to leave home earlier than usual to get the only bus that would get me on time to the Grote Street bus station.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

If anyone is interested my Daylink trip today was fine - the bus was full to the brim which was disappointing but that's just the time of year.
don_dunstan

Thanks for the report Don. Most staying on past Dimmy? ie most doing the full journey?Or steady on/off at towns along the way?

No agenda, just curious.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
If anyone is interested my Daylink trip today was fine
don_dunstan
Ripper don, it's a shame you weren't traveling, yesterday, you and Mike could have continued Arm Wrestling or Sword Fighting across the aisle, from Horsham to Ararat.............Razz

BigShunter.
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
Or the day before,via Neverby! Oh smeg

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