SA to keep Overland running

 
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
To keep the train running makes good sense. Share the costs between the states.

The argument about ARTC and higher track speeds makes me think.

Is 115 the max across the entire national network ?

What if vline wanted to convert the ballart to Ararat line to SG and run higher speed services to
Horsham via Ararat and Ballarat ?

Would ARTC be compelled to maintain higher speeds ?  Why not
Then run the overland via Ballarat post conversion and provide the link western Victoria needs ?

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  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
The argument about ARTC and higher track speeds makes me think.

Is 115 the max across the entire national network ?
freightgate
No.

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  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Being marketed as a nostalgic trip back in time for "mature" customers is in reality a prison camp train. You have to be at Keswick at 6.30 to be locked in to a train with no food or drink available till you depart. For seniors the food is crap. It is a fourteen hour day so many pensioners have stopped using it.
patsstuffnow
Good point, pensioners generally like their nostalgic trips back in time to be tinted with a pleasant rose hue.

Maybe it should be marketed as an experience geared towards the other type of pensioner nostalgia, which is of course about telling their grandchildren about how hard it was back in their day. The Ice Arena is not far from APT, GSR could organise for every ticket to include a long walk in snow over their heads to enhance the experience Wink

Then leave Sunday AM for a pleasant [sic] daylight trip home. Include a quality food experience using the dining cars available because of reduced services on the IP and Ghan.
patsstuffnow
Or leave on a flight at Sunday 3pm after enjoying an extra eight hours in the city (including not needing to get up before dawn) and still get home earlier.

Include a quality food experience at whatever restaurant you care to choose from the large range of different restaurants available in either city and the surrounding areas, albeit without the novelty of attempting to eat while being chucked around by the train drivers that Pacific National don't feel able to trust with revenue-earning freight services.

What the Overland should be looking to do is to become a journey in itself. A Dining car, lounge cars etc is what the market is looking for. A commuter train is just a waste.
SA_trains
Any real reason (citations please) to believe that "is what the market is looking for" and that this so-called "market" is big enough to justify it running for the whole year? It sounds more like another build it and they will come fantasy than anything else.

If that was what "the market" really wanted then GSR would be better off retiring the Overland name from regular usage and just running it a few times a year as if it were the Southern Spirit - during the Ghan off-season perhaps. The whole "scenic land cruise market" would then theoretically be concentrated into a couple of trains which would each draw enough people to be viable instead of requiring an airline ticket's worth of subsidy per passenger by being spread across the whole year.

But the market doesn't want that on the Adelaide-Melbourne route. It's not a legendary cross-continental trip, the generation who still uses it will mostly be dead in 10 years (perhaps the real reason that usage is declining?), and you can see pretty well the full variety of scenery that the Overland passes in eleven hours just by making a Gawler-Adelaide-Belair trip on Adelaide Metro.


Adelaide-Melbourne passenger rail for transport is possible - if they forgot completely about competing with the airlines and instead focused on competition with driving. To be better than driving it needs six things:
  • Running overnight - especially Adelaide-Melbourne departing Friday night and returning Sunday night to target people going over for a weekend of shopping/sport/concerts. That weekend event flow would ideally be reversed for Adelaide's 'crown jewel' event weekends of the Tour Down Under, Adelaide Fringe and Clipsal 500.
  • Run at least an hour faster than it does currently.
  • Reasonable pricing with aggressively competitive discounts for booking multiple tickets. Families and groups (e.g. school trips) will switch from air/coach travel and tolerate the various "experiences" of GSR if the price is right.
  • Allow passengers to turn up five minutes before departure if only bringing a carry-on bag.
  • Better integration with local public transport and car hire firms at either end.
  • Onboard wifi - 3G coverage along the route is very patchy.


Would ARTC be compelled to maintain higher speeds ?  Why not
freightgate

If the body/bodies paying for the upgrade also paid for the difference in maintenance costs from the current speeds then I'm sure ARTC would happily do the extra work.

Some parts of the route might already be built to the physical standard suitable for lighter passenger rail vehicles to travel at speeds higher than 115 km/h (or at least faster than the limit for freight trains) and available to be "upgraded" at the stroke of a pen. DMU/DEMU operation would be necessary though, instead of using a lardarse freight loco.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
justapassenger: You talk too much sense about why the current model doesn't work and unfortunately there is a hardcore minority who believe that the existing train should have taxpayer money shovelled at it forever despite the dwindling numbers.

I also think you bought up some salient points about the landscape - it's not a spectacular trip, most of it being flat saltbush country or flat paddocks. I would add Hobart-Launceston and Melbourne-Mildura to the list of trains that died for that reason - they do not have an appeal to tourist traffic.

Share the costs between the states.
freightgate
Despite the 'humble pie' conclusive statements on the first page of this thread, there is still (at the time of writing) no agreement from Victoria to split the costs. I'm hoping that the minister is advised by the department to dump funding in favour of something else that everyone can use rather than some drooling gunzel's dreamy dream.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Despite the 'humble pie' conclusive statements on the first page of this thread, there is still (at the time of writing) no agreement from Victoria to split the costs. I'm hoping that the minister is advised by the department to dump funding in favour of something else that everyone can use rather than some drooling gunzel's dreamy dream.
don_dunstan
It will be interesting to see what happens if the Victorian subsidy is not renewed.

Hopefully the SA government subsidy is a 'take it or leave it' offer which will be rescinded if GSR do not provide the service.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
It will be interesting to see what happens if the Victorian subsidy is not renewed.

Hopefully the SA government subsidy is a 'take it or leave it' offer which will be rescinded if GSR do not provide the service.
justapassenger
The news story quoted by the Original Poster included this statement .... (my underlining)
GSR chief executive Chris Tallent said the Overland remained dependent on support from both the South Australian and Victorian governments.

"We are continuing our discussions with the Victorian government and are hopeful of a positive outcome in coming weeks that will allow the business to open up sales for the Overland for 2016 and beyond," he said.


That to me says the subsidies are needed from both sides
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Andrews runs a rail friendly government. There is. I question at least in my mind anyhow of the Victorians paying their share.

The have heard rumblings already from the western Victorian outposts.

Doing nothing is not an option for Victoria.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
justapassenger: You talk too much sense about why the current model doesn't work and unfortunately there is a hardcore minority who believe that the existing train should have taxpayer money shovelled at it forever despite the dwindling numbers.

I also think you bought up some salient points about the landscape - it's not a spectacular trip, most of it being flat saltbush country or flat paddocks. I would add Hobart-Launceston and Melbourne-Mildura to the list of trains that died for that reason - they do not have an appeal to tourist traffic.

don_dunstan
The landscape question bought up by justapassenger and don_dunstan is a very salient point indeed.
I'd go as far as to say that the same can be said of the Ghan and the IP, some sections of the journey all there is to see is a repetitive "barren outback!"
For the Ghan the section between Katherine and just north of Alice Springs is travelled at night in both directions,
Similarly, the section between The SA/NT border and just north of Port Augusta is also travelled at night in both directions.
Also we see "off train" daytime tours for half day at Katherine, Half or Full* day at Alice Springs and Full* day at Coober Pedy
together with an "Outback Sunrise Breakfast" stop on North Bound, and an Outback Sunset and Dinner under the stars" stop on south bound
(*Full day tours on peak season "Expedition" trains)

Similar for the IP, Bathurst to Broken Hill; Adelaide to Pimba area and Kalgoorlie to a few hours east are all at night both ways
with a "dinner under the stars" stop at Rawlinna west bound.
So GSR are trying things to 'break up' the boring bits

Maybe a lunch stop at Great Western with a winery tour of Seppelts underground cellar and lunch could be included for the Overland ----------- No wait .......... that makes the Overland trip even longer!!!! WinkLaughing
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

The landscape question bought up by justapassenger and don_dunstan is a very salient point indeed.
I'd go as far as to say that the same can be said of the Ghan and the IP, some sections of the journey all there is to see is a repetitive "barren outback!"
Pressman
But that can be tolerated to some extent, because that's kind of a compulsory part of doing a great trans-continental journey - and it does come into its own after a wet winter.

There's an opportunity there with the Overland - with the golden tap having been turned off on the pensioner subsidies, it could be marketed as the red-headed step-sister budget version of the IP, maybe renamed the Concession-Pacific instead!

For the Ghan the section between Katherine and just north of Alice Springs is travelled at night in both directions,
Similarly, the section between The SA/NT border and just north of Port Augusta is also travelled at night in both directions.
Also we see "off train" daytime tours for half day at Katherine, Half or Full* day at Alice Springs and Full* day at Coober Pedy
together with an "Outback Sunrise Breakfast" stop on North Bound, and an Outback Sunset and Dinner under the stars" stop on south bound
(*Full day tours on peak season "Expedition" trains)

Similar for the IP, Bathurst to Broken Hill; Adelaide to Pimba area and Kalgoorlie to a few hours east are all at night both ways
with a "dinner under the stars" stop at Rawlinna west bound.
So GSR are trying things to 'break up' the boring bits
Pressman
This is good stuff. Until now GSR has been the Shane Watson of train operators - currently they aren't functional transport options and they aren't proper land cruises either.  The Federal Government did them a favour by pushing them towards a tipping point where they had to choose one way or the other.

Maybe a lunch stop at Great Western with a winery tour of Seppelts underground cellar and lunch could be included for the Overland ----------- No wait .......... that makes the Overland trip even longer!!!! WinkLaughing
Pressman
Only if it won't get in the way of the stop at Tailem Bend, where passengers could go to Old Tailem Town if it's still open (it's about ten years since I last saw any sign of life when driving past) or point and laugh at the decrepit Murraylander vehicles.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

It will be interesting to see what happens if the Victorian subsidy is not renewed.

Hopefully the SA government subsidy is a 'take it or leave it' offer which will be rescinded if GSR do not provide the service.
The news story quoted by the Original Poster included this statement .... (my underlining)
GSR chief executive Chris Tallent said the Overland remained dependent on support from both the South Australian and Victorian governments.

"We are continuing our discussions with the Victorian government and are hopeful of a positive outcome in coming weeks that will allow the business to open up sales for the Overland for 2016 and beyond," he said.


That to me says the subsidies are needed from both sides
Pressman
The thing I'm worried about is if the SA Government has failed to learn the lessons from the still unfinished Seaford line project and has managed to blunder into a contract that locks them into paying for it even without the rest coming from over the border.

Andrews runs a rail friendly government. There is. I question at least in my mind anyhow of the Victorians paying their share.

The have heard rumblings already from the western Victorian outposts.

Doing nothing is not an option for Victoria.
freightgate
None of them voted for him, so he shouldn't feel beholden to them.

He's got nothing to lose from taking a fraction of the money he could be spending on the Overland and using it to improve PTV coach services in Western Victoria which would benefit from the previous government's upgrades of the A8. If it fails he "loses" votes he never had, if it works he can make gains.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
What if vline wanted to convert the ballart to Ararat line to SG and run higher speed services to
Horsham via Ararat and Ballarat ?
freightgate
This might be possible under the Andrews government's Murray Basin standardisation project - at the moment they're saying dual-gauge Ballarat-Geelong but my feeling is that Ararat-Ballarat might also end up being standardised in the medium-term..
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
What if vline wanted to convert the ballart to Ararat line to SG and run higher speed services to
Horsham via Ararat and Ballarat ?
This might be possible under the Andrews government's Murray Basin standardisation project - at the moment they're saying dual-gauge Ballarat-Geelong but my feeling is that Ararat-Ballarat might also end up being standardised in the medium-term..
don_dunstan
We all know the standard of the level crossings on a given line Is a major determination of the maximum speed of different types of trains (railcars running along a line with unprotected crossings gets a 75 Km/h speed limit)

The amount of extra safety backup equipment required In Victoria for passenger trains to run faster than 130 Km/h Is crazy (re Regional Fast Rail)

The Ballarat - Ararat line Is very lucky It gained a 130 Km/h speed limit when the service was restored (next to no chance of the speed limit been raised !)
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me

The Ballarat - Ararat line Is very lucky It gained a 130 Km/h speed limit when the service was restored (next to no chance of the speed limit been raised !)
Nightfire
Probably because of all the protected level crossing installed when the service was restored on that line
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Probably because of all the protected level crossing installed when the service was restored on that line
Pressman
That sure was not the case !!

I don't think we need to go Into It !
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
For any higher speed running to occur they really need to remove ALL the level crossings or if not then at least have the remaining ones heavily protected. As discussed earlier though I think ARTC doesn't consider higher speed running a priority so its likely that any future Adelaide-Melbourne passenger trains will be stuck @ 115km/h for a long time to come.
  ssaunders Train Controller

justapassenger: You talk too much sense about why the current model doesn't work and unfortunately there is a hardcore minority who believe that the existing train should have taxpayer money shovelled at it forever despite the dwindling numbers.

I also think you bought up some salient points about the landscape - it's not a spectacular trip, most of it being flat saltbush country or flat paddocks. I would add Hobart-Launceston and Melbourne-Mildura to the list of trains that died for that reason - they do not have an appeal to tourist traffic.

Share the costs between the states.
Despite the 'humble pie' conclusive statements on the first page of this thread, there is still (at the time of writing) no agreement from Victoria to split the costs. I'm hoping that the minister is advised by the department to dump funding in favour of something else that everyone can use rather than some drooling gunzel's dreamy dream.
don_dunstan

don_dunstan would you agree then that the Melbourne tram system (and of course many govt funded causes) be removed because there are tax dollars going into it or is that different. Both are a social service not a profit making business, it is not about who can afford what but what services to people need, which includes people who do not live in a large city.

ss
  ssaunders Train Controller

For any higher speed running to occur they really need to remove ALL the level crossings or if not then at least have the remaining ones heavily protected. As discussed earlier though I think ARTC doesn't consider higher speed running a priority so its likely that any future Adelaide-Melbourne passenger trains will be stuck @ 115km/h for a long time to come.
don_dunstan

Really need, in an ideal world perhaps, but 115 is only 70mph and many US Amtrak services operate at higher speeds across unprotected level crossings like we do here.

Level crossings are white noise; It's not the level crossings but the maintenance regime itself which costs to increase speed. Increase in speed = increase in wear and tear over all.

So yes while you are correct in it is not going to happen it's not as a result of the level crossings. Level crossings and safety generally are easily bought up as showstoppers to kill things in rail.

ss
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
don_dunstan would you agree then that the Melbourne tram system (and of course many govt funded causes) be removed because there are tax dollars going into it or is that different.
ss
ssaunders
Ssaunders: The subsidy per passenger is estimated on earlier threads to be about $100 each.

Myself and some other posters here feel that this is not good value for money.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Ssaunders, the maximum speed for Amtrak is generally 79 mph by regulation. Only a few routes are allowed higher speeds; maybe because of level crossing of which the USA has plenty.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

The Overland was only ever a practical service when it offered an overnight journey between capitals.

Earlier attempts to run daylight services even when the overnight service was still being used proved unsuccessful.
IMHO the only reason why it became a daylight service was to get it out of the congested overnight freight pathings.
  ssaunders Train Controller

Ssaunders, the maximum speed for Amtrak is generally 79 mph by regulation. Only a few routes are allowed higher speeds; maybe because of level crossing of which the USA has plenty.
steam4ian

Higher speeds permitted than 79 when automatic train control in place, not to do with level crossings.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
Subsidizing Great Southern to run the present pitiful 'service' is a waste of time and money. The Victorian government has committed to standardizing strategic lines in Western Victoria (see thread in the Victorian section of Railpage), the cost of which should be shared by NSW which destroyed the agreed broad gauge standard which led to the crippling of both the SAR and VR systems.

Whether this happens or not (and it is hardly likely) the narrowing of the Geelong-Ballarat-Ararat line would enable daily overnight V-Rail Velocity trains via Geelong to Adelaide Station with a third rail from the down Gaol loop points to platform 9, leaving 8 electrified broad-gauge platforms. A priority path for the whole route might displace one or two freight trains to the many daylight hours when nothing runs, but it's time that the personal needs of taxpaying people were to be catered for rather than those same people subsidizing commerce.

Those Ararat- Melbourne long distance commuters who are in a hurry could use the frequent present service via Bacchus Marsh and change trains at Ballarat as at present. I have used that service and it is at least as fast and very much more comfortable and SAFE than the alternative bus connection.

With Great Southern and the airlines substantially hiking prices when there is any number of people (e.g. Football crowds) many citizens are disadvantaged. It is time that the once accepted chief function of government – to provide necessary services for the community which need collective action and funding –  was honoured in fact as well as theory.

Let the world-crises discredited 'Economic (Ir)Rationalists'  get their minds open and realize that their selfish and fundamentally flawed policies have resulted in a world that can't provide services that were taken for granted by earlier generations which they can't even maintain in an acceptable condition in these sad days when even Democracy is only a long lost concept.

Take note, some of you alleged supporters of railways in this group. Rail is a vital service. It is not just there for modelling, train watching, and carping criticism..
  cmjl Station Master

Location: Adelaide
Well, I've just booked another trip on The Overland via GSR's website, this time a journey ADL-MEL and then return, having to spend additional money to stay in Melbourne an additional night after medical treatment.

One thing that has been overlooked in the discussion of whether or not these services should receive ongoing public funding is that these services are more accessible to people like myself who are sensitive to the low cabin pressure of modern aircraft and who at 188 cms tall find it very difficult to squeeze themselves into a VLine bus seat for 8 hours.

Though I know that The Overland and other GSR services stopped being "public transport" when they were sold off.

And the GSR site is still not showing any Overland services for 2016 - maybe I'll be on one of the last services after all?
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Well, I've just booked another trip on The Overland via GSR's website, this time a journey ADL-MEL and then return, having to spend additional money to stay in Melbourne an additional night after medical treatment.

One thing that has been overlooked in the discussion of whether or not these services should receive ongoing public funding is that these services are more accessible to people like myself who are sensitive to the low cabin pressure of modern aircraft and who at 188 cms tall find it very difficult to squeeze themselves into a VLine bus seat for 8 hours.

Though I know that The Overland and other GSR services stopped being "public transport" when they were sold off.

And the GSR site is still not showing any Overland services for 2016 - maybe I'll be on one of the last services after all?
cmjl
Probably easier, cheaper and better to remove the state funding from GSR and use it to duplicate the medical facility you need to attend Melbourne for in the nRAH.
  ssaunders Train Controller

Well, I've just booked another trip on The Overland via GSR's website, this time a journey ADL-MEL and then return, having to spend additional money to stay in Melbourne an additional night after medical treatment.

One thing that has been overlooked in the discussion of whether or not these services should receive ongoing public funding is that these services are more accessible to people like myself who are sensitive to the low cabin pressure of modern aircraft and who at 188 cms tall find it very difficult to squeeze themselves into a VLine bus seat for 8 hours.

Though I know that The Overland and other GSR services stopped being "public transport" when they were sold off.

And the GSR site is still not showing any Overland services for 2016 - maybe I'll be on one of the last services after all?
Probably easier, cheaper and better to remove the state funding from GSR and use it to duplicate the medical facility you need to attend Melbourne for in the nRAH.
Aaron

Good thinking, I'll let the people at Boardertown, Nhill and Dimboola know.

Seriously, the cost of medical facilities would far outstrip any govt funding of a rail service, that's why specialist medical is available only in large metro areas.

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