End of an Era

 
  rob95syd Beginner

Great Southern Rail today have released their 2016 program and the Overland will no longer be operating into the year 2016. The last scheduled journey is the 29th of December 2015 from melbourne to Adelaide. Also the than will be wound back not operating between 18th december 2016 to the 18th of january 2017.

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  ssaunders Train Controller

Perhaps to attract Govt attention to funding.

They are supposed to release information this week on looking for a new hook and pull supplier, only taking bookings until current contract runs out with PN.

ss
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Great Southern Rail today have released their 2016 program and the Overland will no longer be operating into the year 2016. The last scheduled journey is the 29th of December 2015 from melbourne to Adelaide. Also the than will be wound back not operating between 18th december 2016 to the 18th of january 2017.
rob95syd

Do you have a URl reference for this announcement?
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Already mentioned and discussed in a few threads already.
As previously mentioned the SA government is pulling their subsidies for the Overland as of the 31st December 2015

I posted a prediction here https://www.railpage.com.au/f-p1980555.htm#1980555

Also discussion here https://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11382213.htm

The announcement from GSR seems to confirm that the subsidy is going.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
It has been well discussed in several threads and a broad consensus of opinion is that GSR have allowed the Overland to be run into the ground when perhaps more steps could have been taken to generate rather than lose revenue.

It will be a sad indictment of our various levels of administration and an indication of just how much they don't support the regions and the rural populations if this is allowed to pass without some sort of intervention and replacement.

At a time when the Grampians Region in particular is trying to drive up mobility, tourism and sustainability they have been pressing for better rail links not the abandonment of what little there is.
  rob95syd Beginner

Here is a PDF link of their Journeys in 2016
http://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/fares_and_timetables/fares/
  NSWGR8022 Chief Train Controller

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech
Already mentioned and discussed in a few threads already.
As previously mentioned the SA government is pulling their subsidies for the Overland as of the 31st December 2015

I posted a prediction here https://www.railpage.com.au/f-p1980555.htm#1980555

Also discussion here https://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11382213.htm

The announcement from GSR seems to confirm that the subsidy is going.
Pressman

You did @Pressman you did.  Sterling work.

I still do not quite believe it.  It could be an excuse to request higher a higher subsidy.  Adelaide and South Australia just do not care about rail.  It is foreign. Both sides of politics just do not have the intelligence to see a way forward.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
The urban rail network in South Australia is going gangbusters - but outside of Adelaide the population and bulk freight opportunities work against rail. Western Australia has similar problems in trying to keep any semblance of a regional freight/passenger network going - although they haven't lost all their intra-state passenger trains like SA has.

GSR were never really serious about wanting to keep the service going and neither were the respective state governments. When they announced that they were tarting up the existing rolling stock about six years ago I think everyone knew then that the writing was on the wall - it needed a new operator and an entirely new service that was at least competitive with road timings, not a change of the seat fabrics.

At a time when the Grampians Region in particular is trying to drive up mobility, tourism and sustainability they have been pressing for better rail links not the abandonment of what little there is.
Gwiwer
It goes to show that nobody is listening.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
By the way, was this story actually reported... anywhere? I've tried looking for it in the media but nobody seems to be actually discussing it. You'd think the end of a 130 year-old train service would rate a mention somewhere.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville

You did @Pressman you did.  Sterling work.

I still do not quite believe it.  It could be an excuse to request higher a higher subsidy.  Adelaide and South Australia just do not care about rail.  It is foreign. Both sides of politics just do not have the intelligence to see a way forward.
NSWGR8022
So NSWGR8022 you can confirm for us that the Victorian Government have offered to continue with their larger subsidy?
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

It could be an excuse to request higher a higher subsidy.
NSWGR8022
It couldn't possibly get higher though, the subsidy alone (not the total price, i.e. subsidy+fare) is already at the point where giving people free plane tickets would be cheaper.

If Adelaide-Melbourne rail is to return, it needs to be with a leaner and meaner operator using 21st century multiple units such as the Bombardier Meridien, Siemens Desiro or Alstom Coradia classes used in the UK.
  michaelgreenhill Administrator That's Numberwang!

Location: Melbourne

You did @Pressman you did.  Sterling work.

I still do not quite believe it.  It could be an excuse to request higher a higher subsidy.  Adelaide and South Australia just do not care about rail.  It is foreign. Both sides of politics just do not have the intelligence to see a way forward.

So NSWGR8022 you can confirm for us that the Victorian Government have offered to continue with their larger subsidy?
bingley hall

Can you confirm that they haven't?

I myself am skeptical of this story, but that's my nature.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Giving people free plane tickets is all well and good when there's an air service available.  There isn't one between Horsham and Melbourne for example, or not at "popular" prices anyway.  Murray Bridge - Stawell flights, anyone?

Regional public transport is still needed in this country.  That it cannot be provided commercially is determined by our low population density and large geographical area.  It should therefore be budgeted for by the state or federal administrations and we all then pay a (very) small amount towards it by way of taxation.  

It's been said many times that not everyone can (or can afford) to drive and that certain sectors of the market often prefer land transport such as backpackers and those with issues over air travel.  Road coaches don't appeal and don't offer the same degree of flexibility when it comes to stretching legs, grabbing a drink or snack or even visiting the lavatory.  That isn't at all easy for a lot of people while a coach is in motion.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Giving people free plane tickets is all well and good when there's an air service available.
Gwiwer
Whoosh!

The point was obviously not to literally suggest that free plane tickets be handed out, just to suggest an equally efficient way of using the same amount of public money.

I am in favour of a modest subsidy being made available for a rail service between Adelaide and Melbourne with a number of stops in regional centres along the way, but it needs to be operated by a leaner and meaner company instead of requiring profligate subsidies which could pay the full cost of a less efficient form of transport even before the ticket price is added on.

Regional public transport is still needed in this country.  That it cannot be provided commercially is determined by our low population density and large geographical area.  It should therefore be budgeted for by the state or federal administrations and we all then pay a (very) small amount towards it by way of taxation.

It's been said many times that not everyone can (or can afford) to drive and that certain sectors of the market often prefer land transport ...
Gwiwer
And I am in favour of modest public subsidies continuing to be available to be most cost efficient form of regional public transport, but not to luxury travel operators like GSR.

There's an opportunity there - the rail industry can get leaner and meaner, so that the most efficient form of transport over the distances in question (assuming you're not using Tullamarine as a hub for an international flight) also becomes the most cost efficient. Once they've cut their cloth it should be easy to make a case for poaching the more appropriately measured subsidy from the road coaches, and everyone wins except for the coach drivers.

Picking up a few second-hand Meridian DEMUs from the UK (due to be cascaded as an electrification program rolls out) would be a step in the right direction.

Road coaches don't appeal ...
Gwiwer
Cry me a river. I pay taxes for public services, not for luxury indulgences.

Subsidies for essential regional transport should not be diverted to pay for indulging preferences towards luxury travel, the economy isn't in that place any more.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
The point was obviously not to literally suggest that free plane tickets be handed out

And likewise my comment was as much figurative as to highlight the lack of regional air links.


Picking up a few second-hand Meridian DEMUs from the UK (due to be cascaded as an electrification program rolls out)


That project has been cancelled.  As well I'm not sure the class 222 ("Meridian") sets are suitable for gauge conversion.  Why not buy new and support Australian jobs?
  michaelgreenhill Administrator That's Numberwang!

Location: Melbourne
That project has been cancelled.  As well I'm not sure the class 222 ("Meridian") sets are suitable for gauge conversion.  Why not buy new and support Australian jobs?
Gwiwer
Why would they need to be converted? With Mildura going SG (let's humour them for a minute), Ballarat having an SG connection and the Adelaide line already SG, where would the need for conversion come from?
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
The track is in appalling condition; imagine the Meridians (or similar modern DMU's) speed-restricted to 110km/h - there would be absolutely no point in having them.

Unless money is rolled out to try and increase speeds on the track (unlikely since Abbott has flagged his intention to sell ARTC soon) then there's no point in having a discussion about a new service.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville

You did @Pressman you did.  Sterling work.

I still do not quite believe it.  It could be an excuse to request higher a higher subsidy.  Adelaide and South Australia just do not care about rail.  It is foreign. Both sides of politics just do not have the intelligence to see a way forward.

So NSWGR8022 you can confirm for us that the Victorian Government have offered to continue with their larger subsidy?
Can you confirm that they haven't?

I myself am skeptical of this story, but that's my nature.
michaelgreenhill
I'm not skeptical about it all. It's a happening thing.

My post was just a retort to another interstater on the "bash SA" bandwagon who as usual omits the other part of the story. If saving the Overland is such a good deal then why isn't the Vic Govt rushing in to fill the void or at the very least screaming from the rafters?
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
I'm not skeptical about it all. It's a happening thing.

My post was just a retort to another interstater on the "bash SA" bandwagon who as usual omits the other part of the story. If saving the Overland is such a good deal then why isn't the Vic Govt rushing in to fill the void or at the very least screaming from the rafters?
bingley hall

It's not due to occur for over 4 months, wait till the pressure is on just before the service is scheduled to end.

Mike.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

It's not due to occur for over 4 months, wait till the pressure is on just before the service is scheduled to end.
The Vinelander
No, the decision has occurred already and the time for "pressure" is now 3-4 months in the past.

Rail companies in Australia cannot start a service on a moment's notice, the industry simply isn't built to be that agile because it's a horrific hybrid of the worst of GovRail with the worst of private rail and none of the advantages of either - it even makes the bodged up re-privatisation of British Rail into bloated franchises look workable for goodness' sake! This particularly applies to GSR, which was cut to the bone by Serco and has next to no in-house capacity to do anything more than answer the telephone. All their operations are conducted by other bodies such as ARTC, VicTrack, Pacific National, GWA (for heavy maintenance), catering suppliers and so on - and of course each contract includes a profit margin in the fees and admin costs on the GSR end, thereby contributing to the Overland requiring a subsidy greater than the cost of flying plus a ticket purchase too.

In the hypothetical instance of one/both state governments deciding to restart the funding in November or December, there would certainly be a period of a few months without trains, because all those contracts would need to be renegotiated instead of exercising previously agreed options for renewal. You can bet that every supplier along the chain would want to bump up their prices in such circumstances to cover the cost of being jerked around by GSR - for example the HR costs for re-hiring the same staff or training up new staff to fill those roles.

It would be possible to expedite that process and reduce the time without trains running (the time for doing it without any break in service is now in the past) if enough money, probably a seven figure sum, was put up to grease the wheels. You can bet that this would only happen if the governments were putting up that money - remember that Serco (servant corporation) did not spend a single cent of their own money on the Overland and the current hedge fund owners will not be any different.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

The track is in appalling condition; imagine the Meridians (or similar modern DMU's) speed-restricted to 110km/h - there would be absolutely no point in having them.
don_dunstan
Cruising around Australia would be perfect 'light duties' for such DEMUs which would otherwise be coming up on mid-life refurbs to keep them up to standard for the hard work they are subjected to in Britain. We would be able to get another 10 years out of them before a major refurb just by de-rating the engines.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud

It's not due to occur for over 4 months, wait till the pressure is on just before the service is scheduled to end.

Mike.
The Vinelander
I laughed when I read your comment. 'Pressure'? From who?

The closure of the train hasn't even rated a peep in the mainstream media. It goes to show that nobody outside of this gunzel community really cares.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

The closure of the train hasn't even rated a peep in the mainstream media. It goes to show that nobody outside of this gunzel community really cares.
don_dunstan

Why would it be in the media...the train is still running and will be for the next 4+ months...
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Why would it be in the media...the train is still running and will be for the next 4+ months...
The Vinelander
Ummm... so that your people who are apparently going to be applying the 'pressure' can have adequate time to get OUTRAGED and apply their 'pressure' to have the service kept at all costs.

By jingo! My blood pressure is getting up, I'd better have a Bex and a good lie down.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Cruising around Australia would be perfect 'light duties' for such DEMUs which would otherwise be coming up on mid-life refurbs to keep them up to standard for the hard work they are subjected to in Britain. We would be able to get another 10 years out of them before a major refurb just by de-rating the engines.
justapassenger
I don't think its as simple as some second-hand DMU's from the UK. Rail either has to provide timings comparable or better than driving (at least on interurban/short trips) or a reasonable catchment of country passengers headed to or between destinations on trips where it goes head to head with air travel. In order to do either/or, it has to have a third ingredient, which is a modern, fast alignment that is subject to an ongoing improvement program.

I think GSR's cuts to it's other long distance services tends to prove that even that 'rail cruise' thing (which kind of ignores the model above) isn't really working that well either for whatever reason.

The Overland was failing miserably on all three fronts - significantly slower than driving, sparsely populated catchment and a track that is probably never going to see the $$$ it needs to address speed/reliability.

It's not alone - Queensland's inland trains and Australind in WA also have clouds over them. Personally I think it's because air travel has become just too competitive.

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