SA to keep Overland running

 
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
justapassenger: Thanks for posting that
I think you meant Pressman.
justapassenger
Oh yeah, sorry. But still no answer on why the extension for six months -

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  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Still haven't been able to locate any information about the six month extension of the Overland other than what's already been put on the GSR website. If anyone else finds anything then please feel free to enlighten us!
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Until the subsidy arrangements have been confirmed, I would strongly advise against buying a ticket for travel in 2016 without also purchasing good travel insurance.
When you buy something with Visa or Mastercard and I'm sure all the others you have insurance against the product not being delivered.
The length and quality of this guarantee depends on which institution issued the card, not the network which the card accesses.

I get the feeling that removal of Motorail destinations of Melbourne, Sydney and Alice Springs is more or less a cost cutting measure.
That fits with the past practices of the new management.

Allegro is a hedge fund which specialises in taking on unviable companies, trimming off the fat and getting them profitable enough to make a profit on the whole exercise when they offload the company at a higher price.

Melbourne, Sydney and Alice Springs ... At these locations extra shunting is required to load / unload Motorail wagons and the actual loading and unloading of motor vehicles is contracted out. (That is not done by GSR staff)
It should also be noted that no cars on trains east of Adelaide and reduced demand on the Ghan will also result in less of that work being needed at Adelaide.

--------

Just out of curiosity, did Motorail exist on the Overland prior to the opening of the terminal at Keswick, and how was it handled? This was of course back when both the cars and highways of the time were crappy enough that they needed it!

What about the previous incarnations of the Ghan and IP prior to the standard gauge reaching Adelaide?
justapassenger
Motorail was used out of Adelaide station track 14 was the loading track for it and the usual method was for the two train loco's to come in from Mile End Diesel depot and couple up to these wagons after loading finished and the move towards Morphett Street Bridge and wait till they were ready to be put onto the front of the train. A old arch bar bogied flat wagon was used as the start of the loading ramp closest to the wagons and a section of the fence was removed behind the buffers on this track to allow cars to get on or off of the wagons. This was all before the Adelaide Station was rebuilt though!
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
http://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/fares_and_timetables/timetables/the_overland_timetables/

Bookings open until 30th June 2016 with the existing timetable and 7-coach rake.  Seems like they're prepared to fund it for a while yet then.

Fares appear to be the same with $79 Melbourne - Adelaide tickets for backpackers, seniors and a few early birds.  

Unlike the two premium trains where they are hiking them significantly in April and removing all "Steerage" (Red Kanga / Red Class as you care) meaning the cheapest possible fare (not available to all passengers nor on all dates) from Sydney to Perth jumps from $559 to $1809.  Which says a lot about what this mob are trying to do namely run the two better trains only for the benefit of the wealthy.  

It may not serve them well in the longer term to alienate the bottom end of the marketplace; there might not be a lot of money to be made from backpackers but to edge them out altogether might generate some backlash via the online trip review / travel advice web sites.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Unlike the two premium trains where they are hiking them significantly in April and removing all "Steerage" (Red Kanga / Red Class as you care) meaning the cheapest possible fare (not available to all passengers nor on all dates) from Sydney to Perth jumps from $559 to $1809.  Which says a lot about what this mob are trying to do namely run the two better trains only for the benefit of the wealthy.  
Gwiwer
Allegro are running GSR using a business model aimed at doing one thing well instead of a compromised job at 3-4 things. The one thing they've chosen is providing a premium tourism experience, not cheap transport for backpackers and pensioners.

The Overland is obviously the exception - but that will stop as soon as it becomes a burden on the finances (i.e. if the two state governments stop picking up the tab) of the GSR operation or the branding.
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Unlike the two premium trains where they are hiking them significantly in April and removing all "Steerage" (Red Kanga / Red Class as you care) meaning the cheapest possible fare (not available to all passengers nor on all dates) from Sydney to Perth jumps from $559 to $1809.  Which says a lot about what this mob are trying to do namely run the two better trains only for the benefit of the wealthy.  
Gwiwer
None of this makes a lick of sense - they're continuing to pay a private operator to run a budget service (or at least a non-luxury daylight train) when the average traveller is clearly not something that they specialise in any longer. In fact they've deliberately removed the non-luxury option from any other service they run.

Just who is this train supposed to appeal to?
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

None of this makes a lick of sense - they're continuing to pay a private operator to run a budget service (or at least a non-luxury daylight train) when the average traveller is clearly not something that they specialise in any longer. In fact they've deliberately removed the non-luxury option from any other service they run.

Just who is this train supposed to appeal to?
don_dunstan
So long as the Overland is fully paid for by the two state governments, Allegro will be happy to take their cash.

Who wouldn't want free money?
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
None of this makes a lick of sense - they're continuing to pay a private operator to run a budget service (or at least a non-luxury daylight train) when the average traveller is clearly not something that they specialise in any longer. In fact they've deliberately removed the non-luxury option from any other service they run.

Just who is this train supposed to appeal to?
So long as the Overland is fully paid for by the two state governments, Allegro will be happy to take their cash.

Who wouldn't want free money?
justapassenger
Why not just announce the permanent end of the service on June 30 - nobody will miss it.

Even the hard-core foaming gunzels who used to chastise others here for pointing out the obvious have gone quiet. It's a broken and unloved service that will never attract new users and it's just flushing good money after bad to keep this relic going for another six months.
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
It may not serve them well in the longer term to alienate the bottom end of the marketplace; there might not be a lot of money to be made from backpackers but to edge them out altogether might generate some backlash via the online trip review / travel advice web sites.
Gwiwer
IF they weren't being paid millions by the respective state governments then they wouldn't be the least bit interested in it. Budget services are clearly not their bag as you've already observed.

Think for a moment about what an orphan service the Overland has become too. If you are a European backpacker hoping to train-it around Australia then the other Allegro services are now clearly off-limits to you. I suppose it's at least somewhere that they can use the Red Class carriages dumped from the other services.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Why not just announce the permanent end of the service on June 30 - nobody will miss it.

Even the hard-core foaming gunzels who used to chastise others here for pointing out the obvious have gone quiet. It's a broken and unloved service that will never attract new users and it's just flushing good money after bad to keep this relic going for another six months.
don_dunstan
Allegro won't do that because they don't care about the service or public priorities, they are in it for the money.

So long as it keeps on being others who are flushing away money on the Overland and enough money keeps being flushed for it to be generate a net profit for Allegro, they'll keep on running the Overland.

Heck, if the two state governments shoved enough money in my face to make it worth my while to run the Overland I would quickly forget about those other things too.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
None of this makes a lick of sense - they're continuing to pay a private operator to run a budget service (or at least a non-luxury daylight train) when the average traveller is clearly not something that they specialise in any longer. In fact they've deliberately removed the non-luxury option from any other service they run.

Just who is this train supposed to appeal to?
So long as the Overland is fully paid for by the two state governments, Allegro will be happy to take their cash.

Who wouldn't want free money?
justapassenger
But it's not fully paid for by two state governments. Why are you lying?

(People with good memories will see what I did there)
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
It would be interesting if they finally announced the six month extension with a new service/new operator at the end of that time. Still no announcement from either government?
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
1/1/2016.

V/Line offers free travel on their first services to any destination or intermediate point in the Victorian PT network on this day.

With this information three of us decided to catch the first down Ararat from Melbourne on New Years day and travel to Stawell by connecting bus on the main line between Melbourne and Adelaide for lunch and a few libations.

At 14.54 from Stawell we were booked to travel by...The Overland back to Melbourne, so after waiting in the recently reopened air-conditioned waiting room with facilities at Stawell station...what do you think happened at 2:54 Question

Right on time, but actually a few minutes early The Overland rolls in Exclamation

Despite the hysteria written in this thread by some who really should have taken a Valium and had a lie down, that the Overland will be/should/must be cancelled in perpetuity because it doesn't suit THEIR particular travel requirements, we had a pleasant journey to Melbourne with the 100 other pax on the train and paying considerably cheaper V/Line fares..Wink

The Overland rolls on...

Mike.
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

It is weird that quite a few people speculated that V/Line should have extended their Albury service to Wagga Wagga.

Albury to Wagga is entirely within NSW, of considerable distance and already has a Countrylink service.  Yet they felt it was a doer.

Meanwhile, with no daily rail service beyond Ararat, there appears to be no similar call for V/Line to run to Adelaide.  I would have thought that, with GSR needing Government subsidies and continuously holding the service to ransom, more or less, the time would be right for V/Line to take up that subsidy and run the service themselves.

Considering the numbers that The Overland gets with GSR fares, I would expect the demand to justify daily trains each way under V/Line fares.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
....with no daily rail service beyond Ararat, there appears to be no similar call for V/Line to run to Adelaide.  I would have thought that, with GSR needing Government subsidies and continuously holding the service to ransom, more or less, the time would be right for V/Line to take up that subsidy and run the service themselves......I would expect the demand to justify daily trains each way under V/Line fares.
DalyWaters
I have pushed for just this for some time, but the frequent flyers on this list seem to think that rail travel between Adelaide and Melbourne is no longer a viable option.

As others have suggested, a standard gauge daily or nightly V-line service feeding right into Adelaide Station Platform 9 and running to Ararat with a cross platform transfer to broad gauge via Ballarat on the century old former route would be a quicker and far more passenger friendly service than the GSR Tourist Train.

Thousands travel between the two cities for Australian Football matches and increasingly also for Cricket. I used to joke about Melbourne being an outer South Eastern suburb of Adelaide and vice versa, and that joke is not far from the actual situation. The two cities have always been more easily accessible to each other than any other pair of Australian population centres.

Any forward thinking first world country would long ago have had such a city centre to city centre service (as we once did for more than a century) and thus free us from the tyranny, luggage limitations, add on costs, and discomfort of the airlines, and the ever present dangers of bus and car travel.

I'm fast approaching an arthritic 87th birthday, but I can and do sleep comfortably in the 'business class' seats of the existing GSR rolling stock.

Suitably equipped V-Line multiple unit railcars would, I confidently predict, soon need to be adding vehicles to all Friday-Sunday return trains, particularly as those who visit here from Melbourne are starting to realize that Adelaide  has everything that a beautiful, modern and sophisticated city should offer, and that it now has the world recognized  top-ten liveability qualities that once attracted me to live in the Melbourne of the middle of last century, but which now has grown into a far too large and overcrowded nightmare of a place that I pass through as quickly as possible on my way to and from my beautiful Mornington Peninsula second home.
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Despite the hysteria written in this thread by some who really should have taken a Valium and had a lie down, that the Overland will be/should/must be cancelled in perpetuity because it doesn't suit THEIR particular travel requirements, we had a pleasant journey to Melbourne with the 100 other pax on the train and paying considerably cheaper V/Line fares..Wink
The Vinelander
Oh congrats, I do like stories like this - they cheer me up no end that we're not wasting money on a clapped out train service that nobody uses. At least SOMEBODY is using it - hurrah. And you took two other people with you - that's wonderful, that's like triple the enjoyment.

So was it worth the $900 or so taxpayer subsidy for that one trip? When you consider that the last publicly-available figures on the cost to run that service put the expense @ about $30,000 per leg then you and your fellow passengers caught (easily) the most expensive passenger train in Victoria - if not the nation.

But that $300 each the rest of us spent was okay because you and your friends enjoyed it. And isn't that the whole point of a train trip - a jolly jape day-trip somewhere, not as practical use-able transport (there's planes and cars for that, silly!).
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
As others have suggested, a standard gauge daily or nightly V-line service feeding right into Adelaide Station Platform 9 and running to Ararat with a cross platform transfer to broad gauge via Ballarat on the century old former route would be a quicker and far more passenger friendly service than the GSR Tourist Train.
SAR526
No - that is not the purpose of the Overland. The Overland is a "day cruise" type operation strictly for tourists.

Suitably equipped V-Line multiple unit railcars would, I confidently predict, soon need to be adding vehicles to all Friday-Sunday return trains, particularly as those who visit here from Melbourne are starting to realize that Adelaide has everything that a beautiful, modern and sophisticated city should offer, and that it now has the world recognized top-ten liveability qualities that once attracted me to live in the Melbourne of the middle of last century, but which now has grown into a far too large and overcrowded nightmare of a place that I pass through as quickly as possible on my way to and from my beautiful Mornington Peninsula second home.
SAR526
When you consider that they still insist on running the (almost equally antiqued) XPT twice a day between Melbourne and Sydney then you'd think they would at least consider restoring the Adelaide-Melbourne train with a daily return service. I also understand the XPT is still very popular but then again it hasn't been subjected to the savage service frequency cuts that the Overland has.

Why not spend that $300 per Overland passenger subsidy on trying to have a modern service people can use? For some reason that logic doesn't apply to this particular train service.
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
Meanwhile, with no daily rail service beyond Ararat, there appears to be no similar call for V/Line to run to Adelaide.  I would have thought that, with GSR needing Government subsidies and continuously holding the service to ransom, more or less, the time would be right for V/Line to take up that subsidy and run the service themselves.

Considering the numbers that The Overland gets with GSR fares, I would expect the demand to justify daily trains each way under V/Line fares.
DalyWaters
VLine's revenue is mostly government subsidy of $335 million in 2014/15 which is more than 3 times the income through the fare box  (from the VLine Annual Report).
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

Despite the hysteria written in this thread by some who really should have taken a Valium and had a lie down, that the Overland will be/should/must be cancelled in perpetuity because it doesn't suit THEIR particular travel requirements, we had a pleasant journey to Melbourne with the 100 other pax on the train and paying considerably cheaper V/Line fares..Wink
Oh congrats, I do like stories like this - they cheer me up no end that we're not wasting money on a clapped out train service that nobody uses. At least SOMEBODY is using it - hurrah. And you took two other people with you - that's wonderful, that's like triple the enjoyment.

So was it worth the $900 or so taxpayer subsidy for that one trip? When you consider that the last publicly-available figures on the cost to run that service put the expense @ about $30,000 per leg then you and your fellow passengers caught (easily) the most expensive passenger train in Victoria - if not the nation.

But that $300 each the rest of us spent was okay because you and your friends enjoyed it. And isn't that the whole point of a train trip - a jolly jape day-trip somewhere, not as practical use-able transport (there's planes and cars for that, silly!).
don_dunstan
Here, here. Blowing subsides on an old slow train does my head in. The fact that some people think that the jolly old taxpayer should stump up funds for a clapped Old Train that shows no sign of improving either infrastructure wise by travelling time, so that some can travel by train is unbelievable at best and arrogant at worst.

By pointing this out does not mean that we are hysterical, just realistic and that blowing so much money just so that a few can travel on hugely subsidised fares is ludicrous.

Michael
  Smacks Station Master

Meanwhile, with no daily rail service beyond Ararat, there appears to be no similar call for V/Line to run to Adelaide.  I would have thought that, with GSR needing Government subsidies and continuously holding the service to ransom, more or less, the time would be right for V/Line to take up that subsidy and run the service themselves.

Considering the numbers that The Overland gets with GSR fares, I would expect the demand to justify daily trains each way under V/Line fares.
VLine's revenue is mostly government subsidy of $335 million in 2014/15 which is more than 3 times the income through the fare box  (from the VLine Annual Report).
kipioneer
Difference is that V/Line provides a transport service, The Overland is basically a tourist cruise at this point. I'd rather see something that is more focused towards a faster service being funded by the government as opposed to the current GSR iteration of The Overland. .
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
It's interesting that it takes so little to get The Overland hysteria going again...quite amusing really.

Of the comments thus far that I should not consider travelling by the Overland because I'll be adding to the state deficit or some-such is completely over the top.

An hypothetical conversation between the three of us on New Years day on the platform at Stawell station..."Ohh here comes the Overland, but we won't catch it to take us to Melbourne...instead we'll catch the bus to Ararat and change to a train there...why Question

Because some nutters say that by supporting The Overland by actually using it, we are adding to the State's debt Exclamation "

To the aforementioned nutters... do you suggest a general announcement should be made to intending passengers before commencing their journeys to consider using alternative transport because of some dubious logic by the aforementioned that by travelling on The Overland today, you'll be contributing to the Victorian/South Australian debt.

Moreover, by not using that train, theoretically you the aforementioned are saving the government money. Therefore using your logic I'll use the train when I please and you can avoid it altogether thus assisting the government and consequently giving you a warm and feel-good glow...Laughing

Mike.
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
It's the decision to throw more precious taxpayer money that ludicrously expensive tourist train that I'm attacking, not the people who use it.

Your analogy of saving the taxpayer money by using the service is completely spurious. If Grandma Knicker-Twist and her two friends pay GSR $60 each to travel on their train, they're still having their jolly jaunt to the country-side subsidised by everyone else to the tune of about $240 each - probably more but we don't really know since the figures are "commercial in confidence".

Grandma Knicker-Twist and her friends are not saving the taxpayer money by using the service because the actual cost of running the service is several times the fare-box revenue. It doesn't matter with such small passenger numbers because either way the government is going to lose $30,000 or so just by running the damn thing.

The only way the State Government can really win is if they cancel it and divert the money to other sorely-needed programs.
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Any forward thinking first world country would long ago have had such a city centre to city centre service (as we once did for more than a century) and thus free us from the tyranny, luggage limitations, add on costs, and discomfort of the airlines, and the ever present dangers of bus and car travel.

I'm fast approaching an arthritic 87th birthday, but I can and do sleep comfortably in the 'business class' seats of the existing GSR rolling stock.
SAR526
I often wonder if the SA/Vic governments might not be better off considering the implementation of a full-time "vintage" train service given the $30,000 per leg being spent on the current set-up; why not consider a unique vintage experience offered in conjunction with one of the preservation societies? I'm sure $2-3 million would buy you a high quality, memorable experience with big, comfy seats.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
I often wonder if the SA/Vic governments might not be better off considering the implementation of a full-time "vintage" train service given the $30,000 per leg being spent on the current set-up; why not consider a unique vintage experience offered in conjunction with one of the preservation societies? I'm sure $2-3 million would buy you a high quality, memorable experience with big, comfy seats.
don_dunstan
That's a pretty good idea, although it might be a bit of a hassle for heritage groups to tender for if it involves a greater-than-weekly service frequency.

I'd like the Victorian Government to have a serious look at a daily Geelong-Ararat-Horsham service as well. Then you get your tourist-y experience and a proper public service to go alongside it. Combined that'd be a much better deal than the Overland currently delivers, I'd say.

They could use the Steamrail's Ex-SAR carriages that are on standard gauge. Or perhaps to really rile up some folks here, get 707 Ops' ex-Vinelander (also ex-Overland) carriages onto standard gauge.
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
That's a pretty good idea, although it might be a bit of a hassle for heritage groups to tender for if it involves a greater-than-weekly service frequency.
LancedDendrite
Why not divide the tender between the groups that are available/capable and interested and operate on a rotating time-table between vintage steam and vintage diesel. At a guess it might be people like Steamrail, the DERM society and Steam Ranger - maybe VGR, Daylesford and even the National Railway Museum if there was also $$$ available for restoration to main-line running. Why restrict it to Adelaide-Melbourne, include a return Sydney timetable as well with vintage trains replacing certain daylight XPT's.

I'd like the Victorian Government to have a serious look at a daily Geelong-Ararat-Horsham service as well. Then you get your tourist-y experience and a proper public service to go alongside it. Combined that'd be a much better deal than the Overland currently delivers, I'd say.
LancedDendrite
Perhaps several Sprinters converted to standard gauge - I guess if Shepparton goes to standard gauge there will be a larger standard gauge V/line fleet required and new services like that become more viable to provide.

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