What's going on with all the Canberra Xplorer cancellations?

 
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

In the past couple of weeks there seem to have been almost daily cancellations of selected Canberra Xplorer services.
Does anyone have any idea what's going on?

The only reason given on the TrainLink website is the usual bland 'operational reasons'

It is interesting that the cancellations occur even when there should be (at face value at least) spare sets available due to Moree and Armidale sets being in the sheds (as the northern line was closed for ARTC trackwork).

Reputation is again taking a hit; and just makes it even harder to attract anyone other than the hard core rail fans if you cannot reliably run your advertised service.

Anyone got any inside info'

-Craig

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  tazzer96 Chief Commissioner

I was only one day away from asking this very question.  Very strange especially considering they have 2 extra sets available due to the Main north closure.  

So at the moment only only the 2 sets are being operated out of sydney. Out of the 6 possible that are based in sydney at the moment that is shockingly bad.
  tazzer96 Chief Commissioner

It just goes to show that NSW made the same mistake they did with the XPT's and didn't buy enough of them.   They did need to convert and modify an endeavour just to run the broken hill service.
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

And the cancellations continue, with yet another two services canned for tomorrow (Saturday).

And still no word or apologies from management apart from the usual bland 'operational reasons'.
  tazzer96 Chief Commissioner

What is more alarming is that the cancellations are happening to the busy daytime service.   The morning and night time ones could easily be replaced by coach because no one uses them.  

It will only so long before a major media outlet will ask, why all the cancellations, and then they may have to reveal the have found something seriously wrong with one or two of the sets.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
If this was in the Victoria forum they would be calling for the downfall of the government by now.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
If this was in the Victoria forum they would be calling for the downfall of the government by now.
"bingley hall
Not quite, but certainly the downfall of V Line's hierarchy, and I'd support the idea. We've had name changes and so on, and we keep the same tired old management which has proved its incompetence for more years than I care to count.
  monday Chief Commissioner

The reason is simple - there are no qualified crews to operate them. CountryLink has dropped the ball and not ensured there is sufficient crewing depth when the ranks thin.  It's stupidly poor planning.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

The reason is simple - there are no qualified crews to operate them. CountryLink has dropped the ball and not ensured there is sufficient crewing depth when the ranks thin.  It's stupidly poor planning.
monday
No such animal as Country Link now. Now NSW Trains. No crew but plenty of new management that duplicate what Sydney Trains have. Lack of uproar to me indicates no one cares if they run or not. Take a bus or plane instead or drive. Do not know why they bother with the service at all.
  Fred Scuttle Junior Train Controller

Location: Point Clare, NSW
Do not know why they bother with the service at all.
nswtrains
That's because they don't - they're just looking for a way (and an excuse) to withdraw the service altogether.
  M636C Minister for Railways

The reason is simple - there are no qualified crews to operate them. CountryLink has dropped the ball and not ensured there is sufficient crewing depth when the ranks thin.  It's stupidly poor planning.
No such animal as Country Link now. Now NSW Trains. No crew but plenty of new management that duplicate what Sydney Trains have. Lack of uproar to me indicates no one cares if they run or not. Take a bus or plane instead or drive. Do not know why they bother with the service at all.
nswtrains
Some time ago, there was considerable political pressure applied to get the three services per day restored, after they were withdrawn due to a crewing problem. Something like "it's Tuesday, does the midday up run today?" The operator is a problem too... NSW Trains, trading as NSW Trainlink but more specifically NSW Trainlink Regional... If you look really closely on 2508 and 2528 you can see the tiny "regional" lettering in light grey on the stainless steel panels (and yes, only two vehicles in the XPT and Explorer fleets have been lettered).

I'm reliably informed that NSW Trainlink management was drawn from CityRail rather than Countrylink following the amalgamation of CityRail Interurban with Countrylink services. However, if you want Intercity  timetables, you find them on the Sydney Trains website and NSW Trainlink only provides former Countrylink services.

The rail schedules are slower than a road journey which doesn't help, with little prospect of improvement in the short term.

M636C
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

Just in case anyone (in a fit of optimism) had thought that the problems had been solved:
In addition to the multiple cancellations for both days of this weekend, cancellations for tomorrow (Monday) have started to appear on the TrainLink website.

And still no official word or apology from management on what is really going on.

Or does management just hope that no-one will notice, especially that pesky media.

Either way, it really is just treating paying customers with contempt to act this way.
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
Playing right into the hands of Murrays Coaches - who operate about 15 services a day to Canberra CBD via the Airport and do the trip about 45 minutes faster for much the same price.

You do have to wonder if Trainlink, or whatever name it is this week, really care - I think not.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Just in case anyone (in a fit of optimism) had thought that the problems had been solved:
In addition to the multiple cancellations for both days of this weekend, cancellations for tomorrow (Monday) have started to appear on the TrainLink website.

And still no official word or apology from management on what is really going on.

Or does management just hope that no-one will notice, especially that pesky media.

Either way, it really is just treating paying customers with contempt to act this way.
craigfitz1

I just had a report passed on from a passenger on one of the weekend trains that the northbound Explorer (not sure which one on which day) hit a boulder dislodged by rain just north of Tarago. It returned to Tarago (or Crisps Creek) and passengers were put on buses (except the source of the report who called his son to pick him up and went back to Canberra).

Actual damage to a set would explain additional cancellations.

M636C
  tazzer96 Chief Commissioner

Trainlink regional have had a horror week.   Thats excluding the Canberra debacle and normal track closures.
Today was the worst.
I do remember seeing two job ads for qualified persons to work the southern region, although it did lean very specifically towards people that could crew the canberra explorers.    This is for drivers, not for customer service.
The fact that this was even an external job ad was alarming.   I would have though this would be a promotion over the other DMU workings.
  Travelling Hooker Locomotive Driver

Location: Follows the weather up and down the coast
The run down to Canberra is very pretty but with the exception of the Moss Vale - Goulburn section it's a bit of a goat track and at a 4 hours plus trip the train can't compete with road or air. Or as someone said, even Murrays.

Which is a shame cause if you use Canberra airport a bit  and see the amount of traffic up and down to SYD a fast rail, not even a super fast rail but even a 2.5 hour job would possibly do okay. A bit like a 1.5 - 2 hour run up to Newcastle.

But it can't happen on the current tracks and given the ludicrous cost of laying fresh track, it's unlikely to ever happen.

And that's before we even consider the neglect of the various NSW governments we've been blessed with.

What rail in NSW needs is 10 years of Tim Fischer as Premier.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

(My bolding)

And that's before we even consider the neglect of the various NSW governments we've been blessed with.

What rail in NSW needs is 10 years of Tim Fischer as Premier.
Travelling Hooker

In this case, since the tracks go across a border, isn't that the federal government's concern? (Although Bob Car(r) did have the Swiss tilt train as a political stunt.)

Wonder how much a new alignment via Collector (?) to a LOT nearer the Canberra CBD would cost the federal government? At this stage, you could possibly get away with a single line, with say one or two passing loops, one near Collector, (with a station) & one at around either Sutton or Bywong.

Their looks to be enough room either in the middle of the Hume & the Federal Highways, or just beside the Hume & Federal Highways.

(It's sooooo inconvenient having to get off at Kingston and waste time getting to the CBD on the other side of the bridge)

Edit: Here is a map of an idea of a Goulburn - Canberra Line, but you can probably make it straighter and still avoid "obstancles"
Click here for an idea of a new Goulburn to Canberra alignment.
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

A little aside:

The CEO of NSW TrainLink had a customer Q and Q session on-line last friday.
This is all published on the TrainLink website.
He was specifically asked about the Canberra cancellations by one of the correspondents.

The reply was:'I'll check on this and get back to you'.


This offhand reply was in stark contrast to most of the passenger queries, which were given fairly informative responses.

So, either the folks at the top don't know, don't care or don't wish to make public what is going on.


BTW: Two more Canberra cancellations today (as well as the Moree service yet again).


Management are very lucky that the media have not been sniffing around this story. (I guess the media care factor is not very high, as it does not involve metropolitan services).
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

I might request that this thread be renamed 'What's going on with all the MOREE and Canberra Xplorer cancellations'.

The Moree train is yet again cancelled today. And tomorrow. For the usual 'operational reasons'.
Meanwhile TrainLink management cruise along, unaccountable and untouchable.

There is a thread in the Victorian section about the reliability issues of the Melbourne-Albury train service; but I reckon that the NSW Canberra and Moree trains would give our Victorian friends a run for their money in the reliability stakes.

Not to mention the Dubbo service regularly breaking down before it gets over the mountains, as it did again today.

I was hoping that the recent state budget might have had something useful for regional passengers; but there is nothing I have seen so far.

The farce just rolls along from problem to problem.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

I might request that this thread be renamed 'What's going on with all the MOREE and Canberra Xplorer cancellations'.

The Moree train is yet again cancelled today. And tomorrow. For the usual 'operational reasons'.
Meanwhile TrainLink management cruise along, unaccountable and untouchable.

There is a thread in the Victorian section about the reliability issues of the Melbourne-Albury train service; but I reckon that the NSW Canberra and Moree trains would give our Victorian friends a run for their money in the reliability stakes.

Not to mention the Dubbo service regularly breaking down before it gets over the mountains, as it did again today.

I was hoping that the recent state budget might have had something useful for regional passengers; but there is nothing I have seen so far.

The farce just rolls along from problem to problem.
craigfitz1
Buy a car or go by air. There are lots of choices. I am not aware of any country with comparable distances who use dinky British based rail cars or XPT type trains. They are flogged to death and constantly break down. Maybe busses are the answer. Cheap affordable and suitable for the patronage on offer.
  tazzer96 Chief Commissioner

I might request that this thread be renamed 'What's going on with all the MOREE and Canberra Xplorer cancellations'.

The Moree train is yet again cancelled today. And tomorrow. For the usual 'operational reasons'.
Meanwhile TrainLink management cruise along, unaccountable and untouchable.

There is a thread in the Victorian section about the reliability issues of the Melbourne-Albury train service; but I reckon that the NSW Canberra and Moree trains would give our Victorian friends a run for their money in the reliability stakes.

Not to mention the Dubbo service regularly breaking down before it gets over the mountains, as it did again today.

I was hoping that the recent state budget might have had something useful for regional passengers; but there is nothing I have seen so far.

The farce just rolls along from problem to problem.
Buy a car or go by air. There are lots of choices. I am not aware of any country with comparable distances who use dinky British based rail cars or XPT type trains. They are flogged to death and constantly break down. Maybe busses are the answer. Cheap affordable and suitable for the patronage on offer.
nswtrains
Go by car or air thats a pathetic solution.  And how do the people get to an airfield to regular flights that go to the places people want to go.  Have you been to moree or dubbo.  These places are nothing like the metropolitan centres elsewhere in Aus.
And to the people that don't drive, either due to medical conditions, underage or elderly passenger, those who have had licences removed from them by breaking serious driving laws.  
One more thing we don't need on country roads is tired or drunk drivers.

I will give you that the XPT's, Endeavours and Xplorers are worked to death.  An Xpt power car only gets its engines shut down for about 20 hours a week, on top of the way they are worked with the constant slowing and speeding up.

For the long distances that they need to cover, buses are not the answer.  Reliable Train and bus is the solution.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
I might request that this thread be renamed 'What's going on with all the MOREE and Canberra Xplorer cancellations'.

The Moree train is yet again cancelled today. And tomorrow. For the usual 'operational reasons'.
Meanwhile TrainLink management cruise along, unaccountable and untouchable.

There is a thread in the Victorian section about the reliability issues of the Melbourne-Albury train service; but I reckon that the NSW Canberra and Moree trains would give our Victorian friends a run for their money in the reliability stakes.

Not to mention the Dubbo service regularly breaking down before it gets over the mountains, as it did again today.

I was hoping that the recent state budget might have had something useful for regional passengers; but there is nothing I have seen so far.

The farce just rolls along from problem to problem.
Buy a car or go by air. There are lots of choices. I am not aware of any country with comparable distances who use dinky British based rail cars or XPT type trains. They are flogged to death and constantly break down. Maybe busses are the answer. Cheap affordable and suitable for the patronage on offer.
Go by car or air thats a pathetic solution.  And how do the people get to an airfield to regular flights that go to the places people want to go.  Have you been to moree or dubbo.  These places are nothing like the metropolitan centres elsewhere in Aus.
And to the people that don't drive, either due to medical conditions, underage or elderly passenger, those who have had licences removed from them by breaking serious driving laws.  
One more thing we don't need on country roads is tired or drunk drivers.

I will give you that the XPT's, Endeavours and Xplorers are worked to death.  An Xpt power car only gets its engines shut down for about 20 hours a week, on top of the way they are worked with the constant slowing and speeding up.

For the long distances that they need to cover, buses are not the answer.  Reliable Train and bus is the solution.
tazzer96
Regional airfares have come down a fair bit since I first mooted the air-and-road option, so it's more viable than ever.

At some point over the winter break I'll do some modelling on per-passenger cost (and per-pensioner subsidy!) comparisons, but the basic idea is simple: flogging a battered worm in the outback is slow and expensive, and thus of limited real public benefit.
  bowralcommuter Chief Commissioner

Location: Asleep on a Manly Ferry
ROI in regional rail is low. Passengers are frequently those of the less mobile with concession tickets, so revenue will never be high with regional rail even with new rolling-stock. Add to that, the rail would need to be replaced to make new rolling-stock even remotely useful. The DMUs do their job, gets its passengers from A-B even if its not in the most optimal manner. However that's the price you pay if you cannot afford a car or an air ticket and don't want to move closer to Sydney. I actually expect Baird and Constance to privatise it after the next state election when they have the political capital (which is currently spent on council mergers, lock outs and westconnex).
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

to bring this back to basics:

So what is exactly going on with the current spate of Moree cancellations?
(Cancelled yet again this weekend, on top of the regular cancellations over the past few weeks).

Is it for the same reasons as offered for the problems with the Canberra train (ie, a lack of qualified crew), or is it something else?
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

I regret that a slow internet seems to have messed the quotes up - as who they are from.

I might request that this thread be renamed 'What's going on with all the MOREE and Canberra Xplorer cancellations'.
A better idea would to include all Xplorer routes.

I was hoping that the recent state budget might have had something useful for regional passengers; but there is nothing I have seen so far.
That's because the next lot of country "trains" to replace the XPTs/Xplorers will be rubber tyred "trains" known as coaches/buses/mini-buses, etc.

And the same would apply be it Liberal OR Labor.

I actually expect Baird and Constance to privatise it after the next state election when they have the political capital (which is currently spent on council mergers, lock outs and westconnex).
And spending it on a so called 2½ km light rail.

I have from a reliable certain source that suggests that Barid & co will privatise, and it would not surprise me if the "dictator premier" is using Newcastle as a "test case." Sydney STA buses will be next, followed by the trains.

He was specifically asked about the Canberra cancellations by one of the correspondents
The reply was:'I'll check on this and get back to you'.
Please don't get me started on replies when you are trying to ask a question of concern. I have waited since Easter Monday (ie 28th March), & NSW TrainLink AND Sydney Trains have refused to say the reason.

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