SA to keep Overland running

 
  SinickleBird Chief Train Controller

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
Who is crying out for services? I’m fairly sure it’s Victorians - certainly on RP.

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  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
I am somewhat dismayed at the amount of negativity around this topic. I thought that Railpage was a group of like minded individuals who stood for all things rail and would appreciate ANY Gov't funding to keep services running.

Are you kidding Question

Personally I think it has a lot to do with SA's cr@p water supply. Smile

M.
The Vinelander
Careful now, think about where a fair proportion of that water originates from.
  qldchook Locomotive Driver

I am somewhat dismayed at the amount of negativity around this topic. I thought that Railpage was a group of like minded individuals who stood for all things rail and would appreciate ANY Gov't funding to keep services running.

Are you kidding Question

M.
The Vinelander

No I am not.
Perhaps other sites like TrucksRus or greyhoundbusme might be more appropriate for some?

qldchook.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I am somewhat dismayed at the amount of negativity around this topic. I thought that Railpage was a group of like minded individuals who stood for all things rail and would appreciate ANY Gov't funding to keep services running.
"qldchook"
Your idea of positivity seems to be that every scheme to run a train must be accepted without question. Most of us don't stand for all things rail; we stand for all sensible things rail. It's called thinking it through, and is generally understood to be a good idea.
  ARG706 Chief Commissioner

Location: SA
HBEdriver - I thought you were being serious until the word “Lochiel”. Silly me
SinickleBird
Forget Whyalla, and Port Augusta. Just build a maglev line from Lochiel to a remote location just over 70kms east of Whyte Yarcowie at approximately -33.04230 139.68429.

It will connect with a twice weekly loco hauled consist that runs to Adelaide along heat buckled 80lb track with 60 year old timber sleepers. It would probably still be a better investment than installing a right turn at the North Tce/KW intersection.
  allan Chief Commissioner

Perhaps if I explain SA's population distribution...

Total population: 1.7million.

Greater Adelaide (excludes Mt Barker, Murray Bridge, Victor Harbor - Goolwa): 1.35million.

Country SA (includes Mt Barker, Murray Bridge, Victor Harbor - Goolwa, population 60,000): 350,000.  Other "centres" include the Riverland, Iron Triangle, Pt Lincoln and Green Triangle (far South-East). And Lochiel. Only the Iron Triangle (population 50,000) is connected to a functional railway.

North of Pt Augusta is empty space.

So the population is very small, and very centralised, even suburban. Most country folk live in small cities which are not connected to functional rail: the remainder are very thinly spread across the agricultural areas.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Just to be clear, that is going to be $3.78M over 3.5 years (1 July 2016 to 31 December 2019) not $3.78M for one year.

The annual funding was previously $985k from Victoria and $330k from SA, a 75/25 split which quite reasonably reflects how the route mostly serves Victorian interests.
Have you got a source for this? It sounds a hell of a lot more plausible but Railway Gazette, Andrew Lund on Nine, and the Ararat Advertiser all seem to agree that the $3.78m is a 2019 total. The press release is pretty specific about it too: "...by providing $3.78 million to help fund the route for 2019".
potatoinmymouth

Rookie error - you've assumed the journos would have checked the figures in the press release?

You've also assumed the press release has been proof read by someone who knows what they are talking about.

The figure of $3.78m for one year also conflicts with statements made by GSR and Victorian MPs in the lead up to the announcement.
  justarider Chief Train Controller

Location: Stuck on VR and hoping for better.
I am somewhat dismayed at the amount of negativity around this topic. I thought that Railpage was a group of like minded individuals who stood for all things rail and would appreciate ANY Gov't funding to keep services running.

Are you kidding Question

Personally I think it has a lot to do with SA's cr@p water supply. Smile

M.
The Vinelander
Oh Mike, I see your devious plot. Annoy SA enough and they will drop the Overland in spite.
Have to wait another 12 months now.

Then you can call dibs on the out of work rolling stock that Vic has already paid for.

Daily return MDA --> MBY or alternate days return MDA --> NHL (via MBY ART). With connections at MBY or ART to SCS.

A comfortable & reliable service. Nice cars, good staff, Speed? - 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

cheers
John
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/stepping-in-to-save-the-overland-for-western-victoria/
The train will operate in its current form for 2019 with a total subsidy from the Victorian Government of $3.78 million.

Discuss.

Do we have to?

Lock the thread and re-open in a year's time Razz

We've had how many pages so far, and not one person has come up with any sane idea to revive it's fortunes that actually stands up under scrutiny.
bingley hall
Some of us haven't been trying to.  Should we have? Wink
  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

I am somewhat dismayed at the amount of negativity around this topic. I thought that Railpage was a group of like minded individuals who stood for all things rail and would appreciate ANY Gov't funding to keep services running. Has anyone bothered to ask the people of western Victoria and South Australia what they think of this funding commitment? I am certain that they would be relieved that their service will continue to run.
I am appalled that some of you think that they do not deserve a service. I am appalled at the level of winging and moaning at this announcement.
This small amount is quite frankly a drop in the ocean compared to the funding levels of many other gov't services.
I applaud the Andrews gov't and their commitment to keeping this service running as I do for any funding to keep ALL rail services operating as they should.
qldchook
I am South Australian and apart from Keswick( Parklands Terminal) there are only two scheduled stops in South Australia they are Murray Bridge and Bordertown.

Now if you live at Murray Bridge it is about an hour away by car or express type bus. A friend of my ex's, brother was an electrician and he used to drive to and from Adelaide from Murray Bridge daily to work, also buses serve Murray Bridge pretty well also. So that leaves out a lot of would be passengers at Murray Bridge, not many would want to go to Melbourne from there either. Now Bordertown and I think but cannot be sure that the only reason it stops there is to change engine crew, I might be wrong though. But Bordertown is not what would be classified a huge metropolis, and at the risk of offending locals I would call it almost a sleepy one horse town in the bigger scheme of things. So how many use the service from Bordertown, you might count them on one hand maybe. But people in places in South Australia that need to go to Adelaide are not going to spend extra time in Adelaide if they can help it, say a doctors or hospital appointment as it then becomes more cost to them. So what alternatives do they have well driving the distance is one and they can return when they want to return and not have to spend a day or more in Adelaide. The same goes for the bus which a lot travel through Bordertown to get eleswhere so you are sort of spoiled for choice a bit, and as most are daily bus services then you can also come and go as you please sort of. So this side of the border what are we really losing just a trip to Melbourne and you can fly there quicker and cheaper if you need to. So really SA loses nothing at all, I dare say if it stopped tomorrow there would not be a huge rush to buses or planes, it probably would not  even show up on a graph of users.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
A twice weekly daylight service is a joke. The service only suited rail access pathing and the availability of rolling stock (only one set)
A daytime train is also cheaper to run because you don't need as many attendants.   I don't know the staffing but I don't think it would be much more than 2: one to look after the train, and the other the cafe with both lending a hand at busy periods.

If you are going to run a regular public transport service between any two points then it should be daily.   Anything less makes it harder to use because you have the additional problem of having to remember the days it runs.
Part of the problem is that GSR does not operate regular public transport, and has no interest in doing so.
GSR do operate a RPT train: it's called "The Overland".      They may prefer not to, and they were talking on 891 ABC Adelaide this morning about repositioning it, though I suspect the scope of doing that is somewhat limited.
kipioneer
What I really meant was that GSR does not WANT to operate RPT - which of course the Overland is.  RPT is not their core business, which is luxury tourist trains with "off train experiences" (another one soon to hit the rails).  In the old days, The Overland was jointly operated by VR and SAR, but if the South Australians have no further interest then it should be handed back to V/Line.
  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

A twice weekly daylight service is a joke. The service only suited rail access pathing and the availability of rolling stock (only one set)
A daytime train is also cheaper to run because you don't need as many attendants.   I don't know the staffing but I don't think it would be much more than 2: one to look after the train, and the other the cafe with both lending a hand at busy periods.

If you are going to run a regular public transport service between any two points then it should be daily.   Anything less makes it harder to use because you have the additional problem of having to remember the days it runs.
Part of the problem is that GSR does not operate regular public transport, and has no interest in doing so.
GSR do operate a RPT train: it's called "The Overland".      They may prefer not to, and they were talking on 891 ABC Adelaide this morning about repositioning it, though I suspect the scope of doing that is somewhat limited.
What I really meant was that GSR does not WANT to operate RPT - which of course the Overland is.  RPT is not their core business, which is luxury tourist trains with "off train experiences" (another one soon to hit the rails).  In the old days, The Overland was jointly operated by VR and SAR, but if the South Australians have no further interest then it should be handed back to V/Line.
Lad_Porter
How can the SA Govt hand back something it does not even own. GSR own the rights to the train and the name so even if it stopped running The Overland tomorrow you cannot call the replacement train The Overland you would have to buy that name for the train from GSR and I am sure they would let it go for a song though. Then while you are running the service under another name people will not connect in their minds that it is the Overland type service, but under another name. This goes for V/line as well they do not own the rights to the name of the train.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Just to be clear, that is going to be $3.78M over 3.5 years (1 July 2016 to 31 December 2019) not $3.78M for one year.

The annual funding was previously $985k from Victoria and $330k from SA, a 75/25 split which quite reasonably reflects how the route mostly serves Victorian interests.
Have you got a source for this? It sounds a hell of a lot more plausible but Railway Gazette, Andrew Lund on Nine, and the Ararat Advertiser all seem to agree that the $3.78m is a 2019 total. The press release is pretty specific about it too: "...by providing $3.78 million to help fund the route for 2019".

Rookie error - you've assumed the journos would have checked the figures in the press release?

You've also assumed the press release has been proof read by someone who knows what they are talking about.

The figure of $3.78m for one year also conflicts with statements made by GSR and Victorian MPs in the lead up to the announcement.
bingley hall
[Self censored flame. In the edit history if you really want it.]

If we accept the $985k figure then, that makes the 2019 subsidy $1.185m. Using Premier Marshall's claim of 17,000 annual passengers, the subsidy per passenger-kilometre is $0.083, well below the average figure I extracted from the V/Line data. Perhaps a large amount of the cost is absorbed by ARTC and GSR - that is, cross-subsidised from their wider operations. Regardless, the Victorian Government is getting a bargain.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
Just to be clear, that is going to be $3.78M over 3.5 years (1 July 2016 to 31 December 2019) not $3.78M for one year.

The annual funding was previously $985k from Victoria and $330k from SA, a 75/25 split which quite reasonably reflects how the route mostly serves Victorian interests.
Have you got a source for this? It sounds a hell of a lot more plausible but Railway Gazette, Andrew Lund on Nine, and the Ararat Advertiser all seem to agree that the $3.78m is a 2019 total. The press release is pretty specific about it too: "...by providing $3.78 million to help fund the route for 2019".

Rookie error - you've assumed the journos would have checked the figures in the press release?

You've also assumed the press release has been proof read by someone who knows what they are talking about.

The figure of $3.78m for one year also conflicts with statements made by GSR and Victorian MPs in the lead up to the announcement.
This is such a common line of "argument" on RP it's not funny. It's also really frustrating.

I am just trying to make the best of publicly available information, and I have provided my sources (as I always try to do). I accepted that these sources may be wrong, and that's why I politely asked for evidence to the contrary.

"Journos don't know what they're talking about" and "it's all just spin" are repeated ad nauseum in threads like this. There is an element of truth to both statements but taken at face value they discourage critical thinking and vigorous debate. The problem is reflected in the rail industry as a whole: everything and everyone is super-secretive about the most mundane matters and then upset when they are misrepresented.

Well, I got a bit off topic there.

If we accept the $985k figure then, that makes the 2019 subsidy $1.185m. Using Premier Marshall's claim of 17,000 annual passengers, the subsidy per passenger-kilometre is $0.083, well below the average figure I extracted from the V/Line data. Perhaps a large amount of the cost is absorbed by ARTC and GSR - that is, cross-subsidised from their wider operations. Regardless, the Victorian Government is getting a bargain.
potatoinmymouth

I was trying to be reasonably light-hearted but failed and certainly wasn't having a go at you.

But if you want to get uppity about, fair enough. You quote three sources for the figure, but unless they got that figure from somewhere else other than the governments' press release, then using them as references points is wasting everyone's time.

I still do a little bit of writing for a rail industry news source. I can assure you that for the pittance I get paid, I'm not going to do any research to validate the government's figure, even if i know it's wrong - neither are  RGI, the Ararat Advertiser or Channel Nine.

I'm not into conspiracy theories, but if you are believing everything even 'reputable' news sources lay out in front of you, then I'm afraid you're on the wrong track.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Potato, you really have a thingy name that is vastly too long for me to bother typing.

Anyway, statements ‘like journos don’t know what they’re talking about’ don’t discourage critical thinking, those statements come from critically thought conclusions. That you, or anybody else, chooses to accept or draw conclusions whilst attempting some critical thinking without actually thinking whether those statements are correct or not highlights an error in thinking. It is critical to remember that the first step in attempting to draw a conclusion is to assess whether your initial data is solid. The term ‘sanity check’ springs to mind.

All that aside, you’ve arrived at the wrong conclusion again. Victoria is paying the full subsidy, however you choose to rewrinkle that, either by calculating it per passenger, per journey,  per kilometre, per passenger per kilometre, per Easter bunny visit or per GSR executive bonus payment - the thing you need to realise is, it’s the SOUTH AUSTRALIAN government that got the bargain! - Think about that...
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
One thing that this announcement has done is kicked any requirement for a response to the Horsham Passenger study down the road till around September/October.  Which should be a bit after they have worked out how the Freight Passenger Separation Project in Ballarat is going to work and have it announced (in conjunction with the standardisation of the remaining Murray Basin lines).
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
While I am at it, I couldn’t be sure how you calculated your ‘eight and bit’ cents/pax/km so I verified your numbers and came to the conclusion that you have made an odd assumption and in doing so quite unintentionally UNDERSTATED your chosen subsidy metric.

17,000 is likely a good starting point for tickets, Marshall quoted it, but it came from GSR, and if anything they’re likely to overstate demand more than understate it - their free money (sorry ‘subsidy’) depends on it looking necessary.

HOWEVER, here lies where you have made a dangerous leap based on a likely flawed assumption, you assume that each of those 17,000 make the full distance journey to arrive at your /km metric.

I don’t have ‘evidence’ for my claim, but I think I am on pretty solid ground when I suggest that certainly some, but likely a good many, and possibly most, do not make the full length journey.

Always ‘sanity check’ you data and conclusions - is it sensible to claim what you’re trying to claim? Undertsanding that will help your critical thinking.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Meanwhile, my group of 10 are Stawell bound on 1/1/2019 on the Overland, as opposed to last year when we were Melbourne bound on the Overland AFTER our particularly boozy lunch in Stawell.

Mike.
“The Vinelander”
I am a native English speaker, with, I like to think, an above average vocabulary. I also speak Polish as a second language, I am probably about 70% there in conversational Polish, and likewise probably 50% there in French, toss in the few phrases I know in mandarin, Vietnamese and Thai and I feel that I am reasonably well equipped for nearly every conversation I am involved in.
Instead, I found reading the above quoted comment that I was absolutely without the words to describe how happy I am to know that my state government is not contributing even a solitary cent to a Victorian’s journey part way across Victoria! One partial journey, one way no less, once a year! Such a valid need. Rolling Eyes

I might celebrate by making a RETURN journey from Adelaide to Bordertown purely to help spend some Victorian cash! Who am I kidding, I don’t have the time to waste on such a journey AND I have a boozy dinner to attend that doesn’t require a ten person tax payer subsidy...
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Now Bordertown and I think but cannot be sure that the only reason it stops there is to change engine crew, I might be wrong though.
DJPeters
The PN crew depot is at Dimboola.

The train doesn't actually stop at Bordertown that often, because it only stops when there are passengers booked. Same as all the other intermediate stops.

But Bordertown is not what would be classified a huge metropolis, and at the risk of offending locals I would call it almost a sleepy one horse town in the bigger scheme of things. So how many use the service from Bordertown, you might count them on one hand maybe.
DJPeters
Bordertown is quite a nice town, the bakery does a good coffee so it's often the second break of the day if I'm driving back from Ballarat.

Bordertown is the centre of a major agricultural district. People there have too much work on their hands to use a run down non-service like the Overland, when they go to Adelaide for business they have to get the most out of it and return as soon as they can. If you were to survey people there, you would find they would be quite blunt about how the train couldn't serve their needs.

It was well meaning of the Olsen Government to refuse ARTC's request to demolish the Bordertown platform and insist on it being retained on the Overland as a request stop, but not ultimately that useful for the locals.

In the event of Australia ever getting serious about rail and Adelaide-Melbourne getting a 21st century high speed line (the traffic in the air and on the A8 would certainly justify it) Keith would probably be a better stop to service the Upper South East region than Bordertown.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Bordertown as a broader district has less people per dwelling, and yet more cars per dwelling than greater Adelaide. For reasons outlined by Mr Passenger.

They’re country types, they’re not going to rely on the train, they’ll rely on themselves. What are they going to do when they get to Keswick? Uber it everywhere to get their needs and attend business? Of course not, they drive here and go everywhere in their car... Just in case anyone is wondering, this is NO reason for a motorail on the Overland...
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner


I was trying to be reasonably light-hearted but failed and certainly wasn't having a go at you.

But if you want to get uppity about, fair enough. You quote three sources for the figure, but unless they got that figure from somewhere else other than the governments' press release, then using them as references points is wasting everyone's time.

I still do a little bit of writing for a rail industry news source. I can assure you that for the pittance I get paid, I'm not going to do any research to validate the government's figure, even if i know it's wrong - neither are  RGI, the Ararat Advertiser or Channel Nine.

I'm not into conspiracy theories, but if you are believing everything even 'reputable' news sources lay out in front of you, then I'm afraid you're on the wrong track.
bingley hall

Then please accept my apologies. As I say, I'm just looking for credible information and I'm sorry for taking my frustrations out on you.

Potato, you really have a thingy name that is vastly too long for me to bother typing.

Anyway, statements ‘like journos don’t know what they’re talking about’ don’t discourage critical thinking, those statements come from critically thought conclusions. That you, or anybody else, chooses to accept or draw conclusions whilst attempting some critical thinking without actually thinking whether those statements are correct or not highlights an error in thinking. It is critical to remember that the first step in attempting to draw a conclusion is to assess whether your initial data is solid. The term ‘sanity check’ springs to mind.

All that aside, you’ve arrived at the wrong conclusion again. Victoria is paying the full subsidy, however you choose to rewrinkle that, either by calculating it per passenger, per journey,  per kilometre, per passenger per kilometre, per Easter bunny visit or per GSR executive bonus payment - the thing you need to realise is, it’s the SOUTH AUSTRALIAN government that got the bargain! - Think about that...
Aaron

PIMM, Potato, Knucklehead... I don't mind!

I thought I made my healthy skepticism about the data clear enough in the post, but obviously not. I apologise for my belligerence.

Returning to what we actually should be talking about, the "wrong conclusion" depends on what precisely you think I was trying to prove.

The point was that, at the higher subsidy figure I was running with, the cost to Victoria of running the service is entirely commensurate with its other passenger rail activities. Given the lower figure, the cost is actually well below other services operated by the Victorian government.

I don't deny for a second the SA Government gets the real "bargain" out of this, but, as far as I can see, this turn of events is a political win-win for both states. Both have effectively achieved something which suits their political narrative - Marshall has his economic rationalist credentials bolstered, and Andrews has another tick in his infrastructure playbook.

The reality is Victoria has poured billions and billions into regional passenger rail without expecting any significant direct revenue return over the last two decades. That represents a fairly well-entrenched philosophy that the direct costs can be justified by indirect economic and social benefits. The subsidy data, I argue, shows that The Overland is justifiable in this context.

To finish clarifying my position, I clearly do not believe the service is sustainable in the long term in its present form. It will need improvements of some sort. I think a persuasive case can be made for several options. But if passenger service ceases altogether on the route, it will make these improvements exponentially harder and slower, and less likely to ever eventuate.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

While I am at it, I couldn’t be sure how you calculated your ‘eight and bit’ cents/pax/km so I verified your numbers and came to the conclusion that you have made an odd assumption and in doing so quite unintentionally UNDERSTATED your chosen subsidy metric.

17,000 is likely a good starting point for tickets, Marshall quoted it, but it came from GSR, and if anything they’re likely to overstate demand more than understate it - their free money (sorry ‘subsidy’) depends on it looking necessary.

HOWEVER, here lies where you have made a dangerous leap based on a likely flawed assumption, you assume that each of those 17,000 make the full distance journey to arrive at your /km metric.

I don’t have ‘evidence’ for my claim, but I think I am on pretty solid ground when I suggest that certainly some, but likely a good many, and possibly most, do not make the full length journey.

Always ‘sanity check’ you data and conclusions - is it sensible to claim what you’re trying to claim? Undertsanding that will help your critical thinking.
Aaron
Great, thank you for pointing this out. Agreed, it calls my conclusions into question.
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
How can the SA Govt hand back something it does not even own. GSR own the rights to the train and the name so even if it stopped running The Overland tomorrow you cannot call the replacement train The Overland you would have to buy that name for the train from GSR and I am sure they would let it go for a song though. Then while you are running the service under another name people will not connect in their minds that it is the Overland type service, but under another name. This goes for V/line as well they do not own the rights to the name of the train.
DJPeters
In fact Vline  or any other operator could start a service as soon as they have the necessary approvals in place without any reference to the SA Government.

The history of the Overland is that it was a joint VR and SAR train until 1978 when AN took over.    It continued for a some years as an ANR / VLine joint service, before being managed entirely by ANR, with hired VLine N class locos doing the honours since they had head end power.

When the line was standardised the CLP class took over, until the sale of the AN passenger services in 1997 to GSR who used PN as the hook and pull operators.

In the period of standardisation of the Melbourne line the Overland did not run for several weeks, something it never really recovered from.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Conclusions can be different depending on your point of view, but you would have to be in some sort of weird alternate universe if you think any positive amount of money spent in subsidy of a service is a better bargain than spending zero money in subsidy.

To conclude, I am pretty sure your conclusion is most definitely the wrong one.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Instead, I found reading the above quoted comment that I was absolutely without the words to describe how happy I am to know that my state government is not contributing even a solitary cent to a Victorian’s journey part way across Victoria! One partial journey, one way no less, once a year! Such a valid need. Rolling Eyes
Aaron
Once a year they go for a picnic trip on it - that's really going to fill the coffers isn't it. It's like you're not allowed to have any other opinion other than enthusiasm for that slow moving vintage rattle-trap... otherwise the sooky bubs on this board spit the dummy.

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