The Ongoing Decline of V/Line's Long Distance Rail Services

 
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

VLine has only one spare set, so any work needs to be done such as scheduled periodic manintence, automaticly means a cancelled service if any problems arise.
woodford


I thought the 4th SG set was supposed to solve this issue? Doesn't daily running only require 2 sets, 1 in scheduled maintenance and one spare?

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  woodford Chief Commissioner

VLine has only one spare set, so any work needs to be done such as scheduled periodic manintence, automaticly means a cancelled service if any problems arise.


I thought the 4th SG set was supposed to solve this issue? Doesn't daily running only require 2 sets, 1 in scheduled maintenance and one spare?
potatoinmymouth
Hmmmm.this is likely correct. My point is though lack of rolling stock is a situation outside of VLines control and if one MUST run a service thats 100% reliable such as this service, one MUST have the capacity to catter for relatively remote events. This is particularly true when using rolling stock as old as  these are.

For an isolated service like the Albury SG VLine service  VLine should be looking at at LEAST 5 complete sets and appears to be the government of the day that has not provided the funds.

woodoford is somewhat sceptical of VLines management ability to run something like the Albury service, but one NEEDS to take care that blame is allocated to the correct places.

woodford
  mm42 Chief Train Controller

A comment on the Albury line problems.................

Late running
This is being caused by three things, Only a single track between Seymour and Melbourne, lack of SG shunting paths in the Dynon yard, speed limits applied by ARTC. Of these the first two are the biggest concern.
woodford

The first two points could be overcome by variable-guage bogies on the next generation of long-distance trains. CAF have made hundreds of them and it is a robust technology.  Variable guage would allow the passenger services to use the double track broad guage line as far as Seymour, and avoid limitations of the Dynon yard.  Variable guage trains could well be cheaper than upgrading the standard guage line for more frequent passenger services.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
VLine has only one spare set, so any work needs to be done such as scheduled periodic manintence, automaticly means a cancelled service if any problems arise.


I thought the 4th SG set was supposed to solve this issue? Doesn't daily running only require 2 sets, 1 in scheduled maintenance and one spare?
Hmmmm.this is likely correct. My point is though lack of rolling stock is a situation outside of VLines control and if one MUST run a service thats 100% reliable such as this service, one MUST have the capacity to catter for relatively remote events. This is particularly true when using rolling stock as old as  these are.

For an isolated service like the Albury SG VLine service  VLine should be looking at at LEAST 5 complete sets and appears to be the government of the day that has not provided the funds.

woodoford is somewhat sceptical of VLines management ability to run something like the Albury service, but one NEEDS to take care that blame is allocated to the correct places.

woodford
woodford
Are we really saying (ie do we really believe) that to run a Melbourne - Albury service that requires two consists that Vline needs 5 sets to run the service reliably.

Go back to 1937 and the Spirit of Progress (SoP) which ran one return service/day using, basically, one consist and the equivalent of two relatively high maintenance locomotives. The other two S class ran a similar service on the Albury Express. The SoP ran reliably for years under such an arrangement as did the Southern Aurora, the BG Daylight, the Overland and the Trans-Australian etc etc. These consists ran backwards and forwards day in day out although some had longer ( ~ all day in some cases) dwell times for maintenance.

It is simply absurd to maintain that we require five sets to run a service that needs two.

Granted, the locos and rolling stock are not new but to have got to the situation that Vline is apparently in there has to be:

A lack of competent, proper and thorough maintenance.
An inappropriate availability of fitters etc.
A lack of proper fleet management such as the apparent inability to swap cars out when necessary preferring to take 4 or 5 cars (the entire train) out when one carriage needs a light globe, a hosebag or a tap washer.

OK, so there is/maybe/perhaps a shortage of maintenance funds but this is only exacerbated by having five consists to maintain instead of two plus a couple of spare cars. Have a third consist if you must but there will always be cases when the spare set is at the wrong end of the section.

Passenger cars are not rocket science. With proper rostering swap in the third set to do a thorough service to wheels, bearings, brakes, lights and airconditioning all in one hit if you like but to require five sets to do the work of 2½ or three is simply unrealistic.

The Europeans would die laughing.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

but to require five sets to do the work of 2½ or three is simply unrealistic.
YM-Mundrabilla
Not to mention that it must be more expensive
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

The first two points could be overcome by variable-guage bogies on the next generation of long-distance trains. CAF have made hundreds of them and it is a robust technology.  Variable guage would allow the passenger services to use the double track broad guage line as far as Seymour, and avoid limitations of the Dynon yard.  Variable guage trains could well be cheaper than upgrading the standard guage line for more frequent passenger services.
mm42
In addition, a larger fleet could also allow the use of them on direct services from Melbourne to Ballarat, Ararat and points further west thereof.

The South Australian state government could pitch in a bit to own two sets to allow for a rejuvenated interstate service to replace the Overland, like the Vic and QLD governments pitched in for XPT sets.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Axed?  That is not going to happen.

The question is why are the services loosing passengers?  I have said previously the only real v/line growth of passengers has been given to them with RRL.  Albury is down for example.

The service is just terrible.  We had club cars and wine etc as a service.  No wifi and unreliable services.
bevans

Club cars ...What club cars Question

M.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
Axed?  That is not going to happen.

The question is why are the services loosing passengers?  I have said previously the only real v/line growth of passengers has been given to them with RRL.  Albury is down for example.

The service is just terrible.  We had club cars and wine etc as a service.  No wifi and unreliable services.
bevans

Club cars ...What club cars Question

M.
"The Vinelander"


Wine???  What wine????

In any long distance European train you can get a glass of wine, or a beer, with your lunch or dinner.  V/Line no longer serves any alcohol because they say it leads to drunken or unruly passengers.  Just a bit of a culture shift.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

The reality is that the Minister has been conned yet again by V/Line in being told they have 4 x 4 car sets to run the Albury service which actually takes 2 sets, so allegedly 100 %  back up .  BUT no it is really 50% back up as whilst there have been 4 car sets for many months there have really only been 3 powervans - so effectively only 3 sets available to traffic .

Now after yet another of VLP's  famous  "Blue Hills"  sagas the fourth powervan  PZ - 260 was outshopped from Newport on bg last week, and not clear as to whether it is on sg yet or when it will be. Only then will there really be 4 x 4  serviceable sets on sg .

Dont hold your breath though for things to improve, as a dis-interested Minister coupled with VLP management that has consistenly failed for years to see that the maintenance provider has enough sets available to run the timetable, and ARTC who still have a track riddled with speed rsetrictions - and the whole thing is an on going disaster .  Then the State Pollies blame the Feds and vice versa - just hopeless .

The VLP standard gauge service cancellations over December & January are an absolute disgrace, but VLP is not peturbed at all and Spring St just observes without a single whimper .

As I have said sadly many times it would be easier for VLP to text us on the rare occasion that can manage to run a sg Albury train .

Not helped of course by the on going hatred by VLP of its sg North East train set, which is a distraction to playing with their much bigger and more reliable V/Locity train set . Sadly this non sensical hatred of sg passenger operations extends to the stupid insistence on retaining bg passenger operations between Ballarat & Maryborough requiring dual gauging of this section .

A pro active Minister & Management at VLP would and should be standardizing all VLP passenger operations West of Ballarat.
But NO that progressive initiative is being driven  by the Wimmera area Councils .
  allan Chief Commissioner

Do any of these services have any hope of covering costs?
  woodford Chief Commissioner

The reality is that the Minister has been conned yet again by V/Line in being told they have 4 x 4 car sets to run the Albury service which actually takes 2 sets, so allegedly 100 %  back up .  BUT no it is really 50% back up as whilst there have been 4 car sets for many months there have really only been 3 powervans - so effectively only 3 sets available to traffic .

Now after yet another of VLP's  famous  "Blue Hills"  sagas the fourth powervan  PZ - 260 was outshopped from Newport on bg last week, and not clear as to whether it is on sg yet or when it will be. Only then will there really be 4 x 4  serviceable sets on sg .

Dont hold your breath though for things to improve, as a dis-interested Minister coupled with VLP management that has consistenly failed for years to see that the maintenance provider has enough sets available to run the timetable, and ARTC who still have a track riddled with speed rsetrictions - and the whole thing is an on going disaster .  Then the State Pollies blame the Feds and vice versa - just hopeless .

The VLP standard gauge service cancellations over December & January are an absolute disgrace, but VLP is not peturbed at all and Spring St just observes without a single whimper .

As I have said sadly many times it would be easier for VLP to text us on the rare occasion that can manage to run a sg Albury train .

Not helped of course by the on going hatred by VLP of its sg North East train set, which is a distraction to playing with their much bigger and more reliable V/Locity train set . Sadly this non sensical hatred of sg passenger operations extends to the stupid insistence on retaining bg passenger operations between Ballarat & Maryborough requiring dual gauging of this section .

A pro active Minister & Management at VLP would and should be standardizing all VLP passenger operations West of Ballarat.
But NO that progressive initiative is being driven  by the Wimmera area Councils .
kuldalai
Thanks for the info on the power van. A small comment one needs to take care (woodford thinks anyway) that your personel opinion on a subject does NOT get into your writings, as it will almost certainly lead to the posts being misinterpreted.

The actual cancellation rate of the Albury services appears to be a train each way every 4 or 5 days. This of course is TOTAL unexeptable. I have been down to Violet Town either for breakfast or lunch around 8 times in the past 3 weeks (Note 1), during that period I have only seen the train cancelled once, this works out at around 1 in 12 trains cancelled.

My impression from talking to VLine managment is they do not actual hate the SG, but that the certainly think SOMEONE ELSE should be running it. There lack of knowledge on the service was simply breathtaking.

Note: I have not travelled on the Albury train much in recent times as it is simply to unreliable.

Note 1: I intentionally go the the cafe when the VLine trains are due either 0900 for breakfast or 1400 for lunch.

woodford
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Do any of these services have any hope of covering costs?
allan
Certainly not the Albury service, the reason they could reduce the sets from 5 to 4 cars was that most people were avoiding the train becuase of long term reliability problems. Note, the reliability varies markedly from month to month sometimes it has approached a reasonable figure, its not these trains one remembers, its the service that let you down and there is still way to many of these latter.

woodford
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Do any of these services have any hope of covering costs?
allan
Hardly any of Australia's (or the worlds) public transport covers operational costs (London underground is one of the exceptions I think).  And id say none of it would cover total capital costs.  Though the total economic benefits in most cases are estimated to cover total economic costs
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
My impression from talking to VLine managment is they do not actual hate the SG, but that the certainly think SOMEONE ELSE should be running it. There lack of knowledge on the service was simply breathtaking.
woodford

Why do you think (or they think) this @woodford?  And who would run it if they dont?  Perhaps Victoria could fund NSW Trains to run it?

What knowledge do they lack?
  allan Chief Commissioner

Do any of these services have any hope of covering costs?
Hardly any of Australia's (or the worlds) public transport covers operational costs (London underground is one of the exceptions I think).  And id say none of it would cover total capital costs.  Though the total economic benefits in most cases are estimated to cover total economic costs
james.au
So, is there any chance of the total economic benefits (and these can be quantified) exceeding the total economic costs of any of these services?
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Do any of these services have any hope of covering costs?
Hardly any of Australia's (or the worlds) public transport covers operational costs (London underground is one of the exceptions I think).  And id say none of it would cover total capital costs.  Though the total economic benefits in most cases are estimated to cover total economic costs
So, is there any chance of the total economic benefits (and these can be quantified) exceeding the total economic costs of any of these services?
allan
For Albury, I couldn't make an educated guess, no.  

Economic and financial costs are largely one and the same with the addition of a cost of capital to the financial costs (ie track capital, rollingstock capital, maintenance operating etc)

Economic benefits are largely changes in value of travel time, ie the additional productivity people get from travelling on the train vs car (representing the ability to work instead of driving the car etc).  Travel time is a cost as it takes longer to train than drive.  Other benefits which are hard to measure are the benefits to the regions of having a service.  I dont have my head around this concept well enough to explain it yet.  Of course environmental and reduced road accident costs are benefits too.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

I wonder.............................

Why they did not just dual gauge the loco serving area in Southern Cross, VLine management I suppose,do know that the SG N class loco's are JUST a normal N class with its wheels a bit closer together. The SG N's are NOT a machine from another planet thats impossible to service, IT just can be serviced like there BG counterparts.

woodford
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Do we know for certain that there is any regular scheduled maintenance system for V/Line locos and rolling stock? If there is; it's not working. If there isn't; why?
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
So, is there any chance of the total economic benefits (and these can be quantified) exceeding the total economic costs of any of these services?

Economic benefits are largely changes in value of travel time, ie the additional productivity people get from travelling on the train vs car (representing the ability to work instead of driving the car etc).  Travel time is a cost as it takes longer to train than drive.  Other benefits which are hard to measure are the benefits to the regions of having a service.  I dont have my head around this concept well enough to explain it yet.  Of course environmental and reduced road accident costs are benefits too.
james.au
There are also the social benefits for people who cannot drive and / or those in wheelchairs. School kids, the elderly, disabled people are all pretty well represented in pax numbers on the Bendigo line that I use.

A person with a seeing eye or assistance dog or a passenger in a motorised chair or scooter wouldn't fare too well on a V/Line coach. Any government who tried to remove rail services to regional areas these days would have a DDA related court case on their hands I reckon.

BG
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
So, is there any chance of the total economic benefits (and these can be quantified) exceeding the total economic costs of any of these services?

Economic benefits are largely changes in value of travel time, ie the additional productivity people get from travelling on the train vs car (representing the ability to work instead of driving the car etc).  Travel time is a cost as it takes longer to train than drive.  Other benefits which are hard to measure are the benefits to the regions of having a service.  I dont have my head around this concept well enough to explain it yet.  Of course environmental and reduced road accident costs are benefits too.
There are also the social benefits for people who cannot drive and / or those in wheelchairs. School kids, the elderly, disabled people are all pretty well represented in pax numbers on the Bendigo line that I use.

A person with a seeing eye or assistance dog or a passenger in a motorised chair or scooter wouldn't fare too well on a V/Line coach. Any government who tried to remove rail services to regional areas these days would have a DDA related court case on their hands I reckon.

BG
BrentonGolding
Yes of course, an omission on my part im sorry, and one that is not really seen in business cases.  It is likely though to be a small benefit, but one nonetheless.

Note i wouldn't call them social benefits but economic ones - ie the value increase in quality of life, and/or increased workforce participation would be economic benefits too.  In my view, all benefits are a subset of economic ones.
  M636C Minister for Railways

I wonder.............................

Why they did not just dual gauge the loco servicing area in Southern Cross, VLine management I suppose,do know that the SG N class loco's are JUST a normal N class with its wheels a bit closer together. The SG N's are NOT a machine from another planet thats impossible to service, IT just can be serviced like there BG counterparts.

woodford
woodford
I think all the N class are still serviced in South Dynon, regardless of gauge.

There is no provision in the Dudley Street yard for fuel or sand for locomotives, unless it is inside Bombardier's building.

As far  as I can tell, the Ns , the A, and the Ys just get parked there while awaiting their next duty.

Peter
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
I think all the N class are still serviced in South Dynon, regardless of gauge.

There is no provision in the Dudley Street yard for fuel or sand for locomotives, unless it is inside Bombardier's building.

As far  as I can tell, the Ns , the A, and the Ys just get parked there while awaiting their next duty.

Peter
M636C
As you drive in to the Coach Terminal from Dudley St past the storage yards there are some rather large Diesel tanks just inside the fence, I have no idea what they are used for but I always assumed it was a fuel point for VLine trains.

BG
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Yes of course, an omission on my part im sorry, and one that is not really seen in business cases.  It is likely though to be a small benefit, but one nonetheless.

Note i wouldn't call them social benefits but economic ones - ie the value increase in quality of life, and/or increased workforce participation would be economic benefits too.  In my view, all benefits are a subset of economic ones.
james.au
I was trying to answer Allen's question not having a go at you James and yes, I was going to write Socio-economic which is probably a better description but didn't have time to double check the meaning!

BG
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I think all the N class are still serviced in South Dynon, regardless of gauge.

There is no provision in the Dudley Street yard for fuel or sand for locomotives, unless it is inside Bombardier's building.

As far  as I can tell, the Ns , the A, and the Ys just get parked there while awaiting their next duty.

Peter
As you drive in to the Coach Terminal from Dudley St past the storage yards there are some rather large Diesel tanks just inside the fence, I have no idea what they are used for but I always assumed it was a fuel point for VLine trains.

BG
BrentonGolding
Perhaps set up for Vlocities only.
Do Vline have any other sort of trains?
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Yes of course, an omission on my part im sorry, and one that is not really seen in business cases.  It is likely though to be a small benefit, but one nonetheless.

Note i wouldn't call them social benefits but economic ones - ie the value increase in quality of life, and/or increased workforce participation would be economic benefits too.  In my view, all benefits are a subset of economic ones.
I was trying to answer Allen's question not having a go at you James and yes, I was going to write Socio-economic which is probably a better description but didn't have time to double check the meaning!

BG
BrentonGolding
No i wasn't thinking you were having a go at me - im dissapointed i forgot about that element which is an important one....

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