I think it's a nice idea, but not one that's workable.Graham4405
, one question. Is the bulk of the cost in operating the locomotive or the carriages? I ask, because in theory it should be possible to increase revenue per locomotive run by maximising its haulage per run, i.e. operating with more carriages to carry more fun-seekers, within the locomotive's limits. While it obviously cannot match the standard government railway fare, surely this is a means to keep them affordable?
I recall this year's fares for the Queen's Birthday long weekend steam shuttles to/from Clyde being somewhere around the $20-25 bracket. Gosford is approximately four times the distance from Central as Clyde. This, if scaled proportionally, results in a rather high fare in the $80-100 bracket. I'm inclined to suspect that most of the costs are fixed, so let's randomly pick a fare of about $50.
Not cheap. I believe a tour out to Gosford is viable, and surely they've been done, but not a day where the regular Gosford service is operated exclusively by steam. I rather think that the grander ideas are no longer practicable, and that heritage services should focus on events that have broad appeal and make money. Heritage railways are a business and need to operate profitable events and services in order to stay afloat and keep our beloved locomotives and rolling stock in operational condition. More so than government railway ventures, heritage operations need to have a viable business case to be pursued.
I think this idea is nice, and it'd be lovely to have a steam day rather than the usual OSCar day, but I don't believe it has a sound business case.