New Griffith Service announced by NSW TrainLink

 
  c3526blue Deputy Commissioner

Location: in the cuckoos nest
Endeavours and Xplorers could still be used for certain services but the XPT's are definitely life expired and will be retired.
They are all being replaced by the new CAF trains. I do not know where the thought that some Endevours/XPL will be kept are coming from. The CAF contract is a build/operate and maintain contract so there is no room for older models in the deal.
Not True!

At a forum in Goulburn on 29th July it was finally acknowledged by senior TfNSW and Trainlink bureaucrats that only 10 Endeavour replacement sets are provided for.  Set makeups of the XPT/Xplorer/Endeavour replacements indicated a four set shortfall.  This has now been confirmed.  This is despite an earlier media release advising all XPT/Xplorer/Endeavour sets are to be replaced.

Can't trust anyone on the RRP team.  Maybe they are misleading the government/minister too.

Here's hoping,

John
Whilst I understand you are saying that there will be a shortfall with the replacement CAF trains, I am still sticking to what has been officially told to staff that the CAF trains will replace all existing traction units. I would take with a grain of salt what is said at a public meeting. No one is misleading the government/minister as they full well know what the true state of affairs are.

I really don't know how you can say "Not True" on the information you have. Of course there will be a transition period when the new and the old will run together and if more CAF trains are required then perhaps more will be ordered. They did order more NIF sets.
nswtrains


nswtrains,

The meeting at Goulburn was not a public meeting.  It was a workshop (invitation only) organised by TfNSW/TrainLink for regional rail action groups (RRA) in southern and western NSW to inform and discuss the status and some details of the RRP.

Additionally it was a precursor to further meetings and discussions to assist and foster user input to the design/services/introduction of the new fleet and needs of regional rail users.

I attended this meeting and was extremely perturbed by the apparent naivety and lack of rail knowledge of many of the senior representatives present.  A senior manager of the RRP project present at the meeting was peddling misinformation in relation to the RRP, probably because he/she/it does not understand rail technology or does not want to learn more about alternate options for this project.

The information provided by TfNSW/TrainLink was at odds with some of the media releases on the RRP but consistent with advice on the RRP website, as per the quote below.

14 Feb 2019 – “Mr Constance said the new regional fleet will comprise 117 new carriages to form 10 regional intercity trains, 9 short regional trains and 10 long regional trains.”    

Note the reference to 10 regional intercity trains.  The current Endeavour fleet consists of 14 x 2 car sets (not 10).  The 15th 2 car set was converted to an Xplorer.  That is why the question was asked by one of the RRA representatives.  The information was not offered by TfNSW/TrainLink until the question was asked.  The response was as I have indicated.

If you do not believe this information you are welcome to make your own enquiries through your management.  You may be very surprised at the answer, as it should support the advice received at our meeting.

Our local group has been pursuing details of the RRP for the last 5 years but has been mostly stonewalled.  We have put up a number of suggestions and options relating to rail service improvements and most have been rebuffed with inaccurate and unreliable reasons (obvious lies).

Of course TfNSW/TrainLink can extend the contract to provide additional sets but I already see signs that there is a potential aim to reduce costs and cut back the contract and not proceed with options.

Hopefully common sense will prevail but at this stage I am very pessimistic.  Given the poor contract management practices exhibited over the last decade in relation to decisions/management about upgrading and provision of new rail infrastructure and assets this situation is unlikely to improve.

Happy to be proven wrong,

John

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  simstrain Chief Commissioner

My understanding is that the XPT power cars are worn out to the point of being sometimes beyond repair or beyond repair within the required timeframe.

The UK HST units have had a second engine replacement whereas ours have not. The UK units are not as intensively used as the XPTs.

That there will be less CAF sets than at present means that some services will be discontinued. There remains the issue of a second daily train to/from Dubbo.
LesS

Services are not going to be cut. It will just mean the xplorers and endeavours will not be terminated like the XPT will be unless another 30 or so carriages are ordered. I personally believe they should never have committed to replacing the endeavour services and should have focussed solely on the xpt and xplorer services getting the new trains with the xpl's providing extra carriages for services to goulburn, southern highlands, bomaderry and the bathurst bullet.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

nswtrains,

The meeting at Goulburn was not a public meeting.  It was a workshop (invitation only) organised by TfNSW/TrainLink for regional rail action groups (RRA) in southern and western NSW to inform and discuss the status and some details of the RRP.

Additionally it was a precursor to further meetings and discussions to assist and foster user input to the design/services/introduction of the new fleet and needs of regional rail users.

I attended this meeting and was extremely perturbed by the apparent naivety and lack of rail knowledge of many of the senior representatives present.  A senior manager of the RRP project present at the meeting was peddling misinformation in relation to the RRP, probably because he/she/it does not understand rail technology or does not want to learn more about alternate options for this project.

The information provided by TfNSW/TrainLink was at odds with some of the media releases on the RRP but consistent with advice on the RRP website, as per the quote below.

14 Feb 2019 – “Mr Constance said the new regional fleet will comprise 117 new carriages to form 10 regional intercity trains, 9 short regional trains and 10 long regional trains.”    

Note the reference to 10 regional intercity trains.  The current Endeavour fleet consists of 14 x 2 car sets (not 10).  The 15th 2 car set was converted to an Xplorer.  That is why the question was asked by one of the RRA representatives.  The information was not offered by TfNSW/TrainLink until the question was asked.  The response was as I have indicated.

If you do not believe this information you are welcome to make your own enquiries through your management.  You may be very surprised at the answer, as it should support the advice received at our meeting.

Our local group has been pursuing details of the RRP for the last 5 years but has been mostly stonewalled.  We have put up a number of suggestions and options relating to rail service improvements and most have been rebuffed with inaccurate and unreliable reasons (obvious lies).

Of course TfNSW/TrainLink can extend the contract to provide additional sets but I already see signs that there is a potential aim to reduce costs and cut back the contract and not proceed with options.

Hopefully common sense will prevail but at this stage I am very pessimistic.  Given the poor contract management practices exhibited over the last decade in relation to decisions/management about upgrading and provision of new rail infrastructure and assets this situation is unlikely to improve.

Happy to be proven wrong,

John
c3526blue

Unfortunately this is the form of conservative governments when it comes to PT.

They ALWAYS over exaggerate the original media release to get everyone's attention, then when crunch...IE $$ time comes...they quietly revise the expectations to something that was expected of them in the first place.

The same thing happened here in Victoria under the Baillieu/Napthine administration, however that government was short lived because the population, particularly in Melbourne was totally over them sitting on its hands and despite annual ridership records being broken it was in too much of a malaise to spend any of the surplus it inherited.

They were dispensed with after a single term.

Mike.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Take you political bull dive elsewhere vinelander. I agree that Ballieu and Napthine did nothing for Victoria but this NSW Government has a much longer list of projects done or being done and money isn't running out like it is in Victoria.

For example;
IW light rail extension to dulwich hill.
North west metro
newcaslte light rail (may not be popular with some but a project none the less)
city to south east light rail (delayed but approaching completion soon)
city and south west metro
B class waratahs
New Intercity Fleet
B line buses for the northern beaches (upper deck is not so good for tall people)
Parramatta light rail
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Unfortunately this is the form of conservative governments when it comes to PT.

They ALWAYS over exaggerate the original media release to get everyone's attention, then when crunch...IE $$ time comes...they quietly revise the expectations to something that was expected of them in the first place.

The same thing happened here in Victoria under the Baillieu/Napthine administration, however that government was short lived because the population, particularly in Melbourne was totally over them sitting on its hands and despite annual ridership records being broken it was in too much of a malaise to spend any of the surplus it inherited.

They were dispensed with after a single term.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Holy cr_p Vinelander, could you spin any more cr_p if you tried. I don't know who's worse, you or the politicians for political spin.

ALL the political parties do the spin, you just choose not to hear that coming in your left ear. Do we really need waste time again to go through examples of ALP political spin that you choose to turn a blind eye too?

There are good and bad state and fed govts on both sides of the fence, yes, the former LNP Vic govt was a waste of space.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Several factors in NSW are driving these extra rail services from regional nsw but the fact remains that the xplorers and endeavours give the liberal government a chance to expand rail services once the new fleet arrives. For instance the broken hill and griffith services could become a daily service if endeavours are kept on local services along the hunter. They can order extra sets as necessary once it is actually time to replace these sets.
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

Several factors in NSW are driving these extra rail services from regional nsw but the fact remains that the xplorers and endeavours give the liberal government a chance to expand rail services once the new fleet arrives. For instance the broken hill and griffith services could become a daily service if endeavours are kept on local services along the hunter. They can order extra sets as necessary once it is actually time to replace these sets.
simstrain

One of the things that is frustrating is the lack of accurate information from TrainLink management on just what they are planning.

Perhaps they themselves don't know, and maybe the question of whether to keep Xplorers and Endeavours running in the medium-term is still an open one in their minds.

I suppose that one could make a direct enquiry to the very top of the organisation, but I am not sure that you would get a firm answer!

I guess that time will tell, but in the meantime we can speculate, which in its own way, is a kind of nerdish pleasure (at least for me it is).

Meanwhile, it would be nice to learn the exact nature of the 'essential maintenance' that is requiring cancellation of timetabled XPT services this week.
  UpperQuad Locomotive Fireman

Location: 184.8 miles to Sydney
the fact remains that the xplorers and endeavours give the liberal government a chance to expand rail services once the new fleet arrives.
simstrain
Regional Rail Project will be delivered from 2023, with completion in the next term of government. There’s little chance of advancing that timeframe, and a lot could have changed by then. The introduction of new services that are slated for the current term of govt have to be covered by the existing fleet of crappy railcars.
  AMEX'D Beginner

Sims, just when I thought you were applying some critical analysis to the current governments modus operandi you go & be just as flag waiving political as the ones you oppose.


Just because a project is being undertaken and the perception of 'getting on with the job' is created amongst the unqualified public dose not nesserally mean its the most effective use of public funds for the wider public benefit.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The plan is that they want these new trains to be the one single fleet but with the explosion of passenger rail traffic they haven't ordered enough and so they are going to need these endeavours and xplorers.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Sorry if I said liberal government (once) too often for you AMEX but these decisions are not being made by nsw trainlink. The libs make the decisions and nsw trainlink have to somehow make it happen. If there aren't enough regional trains by 2023 then I would expect a regional backlash in 2023 against the libs that will cost them the seats that they barely retained this year.
  ANR Deputy Commissioner

If the NSW CAFs are under production, Gladys should order more sets to not only cover projected shortfalls, but to allow for recommended maintenance intervals. I.e. have spare sets for rotation, attrition, accidents.

How difficult can it be?
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

If the NSW CAFs are under production, Gladys should order more sets to not only cover projected shortfalls, but to allow for recommended maintenance intervals. I.e. have spare sets for rotation, attrition, accidents.

How difficult can it be?
ANR

They probably will be ordered but for now they have some backup in the endeavours and xplorers.
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

As many folk on this thread well know, the daily Grafton XPT has been replaced by buses for the past few weeks.

From the 29th September (start of NSW school holidays) they are trying an alteration on this plan.

The 11-41 AM service to Grafton will still be a bus, but the return journey (departing Grafton at 5-15 AM) will be a train once again.
To make this happen, the overnight Casino to Sydney service will now be a bus! Anyone booked in a sleeper on this train will not be happy, that's for sure. Not an appealing prospect to sit up in a bus all night roaring down the highway, mixing it with the big trucks and assorted crazies on that road.

In addition, any of the replacement buses will not serve Fassifern/Wyong/Gosford/ Strathfield, with passengers asked to instead get a local train to either Broadmeadow or (for Strathfield folk)
Central.
Furthermore, guaranteed connections from the overnight service from Casino will no longer be guaranteed.

What a mess.

But I guess they have no good options, only 'least worse' solutions to keep some semblance of a service going that does the greatest good.


All this is in place until late November.

https://transportnsw.info/news/2019/nsw-trainlink-grafton-casino-service-changes
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

As many folk on this thread well know, the daily Grafton XPT has been replaced by buses for the past few weeks.

From the 29th September (start of NSW school holidays) they are trying an alteration on this plan.

The 11-41 AM service to Grafton will still be a bus, but the return journey (departing Grafton at 5-15 AM) will be a train once again.
To make this happen, the overnight Casino to Sydney service will now be a bus! Anyone booked in a sleeper on this train will not be happy, that's for sure. Not an appealing prospect to sit up in a bus all night roaring down the highway, mixing it with the big trucks and assorted crazies on that road.

In addition, any of the replacement buses will not serve Fassifern/Wyong/Gosford/ Strathfield, with passengers asked to instead get a local train to either Broadmeadow or (for Strathfield folk)
Central.
Furthermore, guaranteed connections from the overnight service from Casino will no longer be guaranteed.

What a mess.

But I guess they have no good options, only 'least worse' solutions to keep some semblance of a service going that does the greatest good.


All this is in place until late November.

https://transportnsw.info/news/2019/nsw-trainlink-grafton-casino-service-changes
craigfitz1

A coach isn't anywhere near as bad in 2019 as it might have been in 1989 since the road journey is significantly faster. The only thing slowing the coach down would be all the stops it makes in towns along the way.

The train takes roughly 100 kilometres and 4 hours more then by car. So the bus trip wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as some people make it out to be.
  ANR Deputy Commissioner

The line north from Broadmeadow to Brisvegas should all be converted to a rail trail.

Resources and savings from ending this nonsense should be diverted to another Stadium in Sydney in need of demolition and rebuild.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

The line north from Broadmeadow to Brisvegas should all be converted to a rail trail.

Resources and savings from ending this nonsense should be diverted to another Stadium in Sydney in need of demolition and rebuild.
ANR

Sarcasm noted but closing down the main line was not what I was getting at. My point was that those people complaining about being on a bus overnight vs the train trip are obviously not taking in to account the 4 hour shorter journey by road then train in 2019 vs 1989. The toilets on the trains can be putrid and atleast on the bus you could have a toilet break every 2 hours or so at a servo or somewhere that might actually get cleaned.

Now if some new line was installed and the line was straightened and that 4 hour advantage disappeared then things start looking good for the train again.
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise

A coach isn't anywhere near as bad in 2019 as it might have been in 1989 since the road journey is significantly faster. The only thing slowing the coach down would be all the stops it makes in towns along the way.

The train takes roughly 100 kilometres and 4 hours more then by car. So the bus trip wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as some people make it out to be.
simstrain

Yes that's right sitting in a cramped bus overnight sounds like loads of fun. I look forward to your trip report.

I did those numerous times in the 90's no way will I ever do that again. The roads could be paved with gold and 20 lanes across, the comfort of the bus overnight are made for midgets.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner


Yes that's right sitting in a cramped bus overnight sounds like loads of fun. I look forward to your trip report.

I did those numerous times in the 90's no way will I ever do that again. The roads could be paved with gold and 20 lanes across, the comfort of the bus overnight are made for midgets.
Big J
Yes because coaches in 2019 are the same as in the 90's. Oh wait they aren't they have nice leather reclining seats and many features the XPT's don't have.

In any case the nice new regional fleet that will provide service to Griffith in the future is apparently going to be bi-modal. https://www.facebook.com/prime7newswagga/videos/669678596886493/
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

My understanding is that the XPT power cars are worn out to the point of being sometimes beyond repair or beyond repair within the required timeframe.

The UK HST units have had a second engine replacement whereas ours have not. The UK units are not as intensively used as the XPTs.

That there will be less CAF sets than at present means that some services will be discontinued. There remains the issue of a second daily train to/from Dubbo.

Services are not going to be cut. It will just mean the xplorers and endeavours will not be terminated like the XPT will be unless another 30 or so carriages are ordered. I personally believe they should never have committed to replacing the endeavour services and should have focussed solely on the xpt and xplorer services getting the new trains with the xpl's providing extra carriages for services to goulburn, southern highlands, bomaderry and the bathurst bullet.
simstrain
The Endevours are junk. One broke down today at Lawson. Driver managed to get it going. NSW Trains will be glad to see the last of them.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

Several factors in NSW are driving these extra rail services from regional nsw but the fact remains that the xplorers and endeavours give the liberal government a chance to expand rail services once the new fleet arrives. For instance the broken hill and griffith services could become a daily service if endeavours are kept on local services along the hunter. They can order extra sets as necessary once it is actually time to replace these sets.

One of the things that is frustrating is the lack of accurate information from TrainLink management on just what they are planning.

Perhaps they themselves don't know, and maybe the question of whether to keep Xplorers and Endeavours running in the medium-term is still an open one in their minds.

I suppose that one could make a direct enquiry to the very top of the organisation, but I am not sure that you would get a firm answer!

I guess that time will tell, but in the meantime we can speculate, which in its own way, is a kind of nerdish pleasure (at least for me it is).

Meanwhile, it would be nice to learn the exact nature of the 'essential maintenance' that is requiring cancellation of timetabled XPT services this week.
craigfitz1
I was at a recent consultative meeting with management and they admitted they often learn of new developments in the media. The NSW LNP want to make as much positive spin as possible. The next step is complete privatisation of NSW Train link once the new rolling stock is in place.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

I went on the 4th new thursday service from griffith to sydney and just wanted to put a review of it.  

Nice depature time in griffith and nice arrival time in sydney.  

I was in economy, and got unlucky in that I had a seatmate from griffith until campbelltown.  It was fairly well loaded and the economy car was virtually full arriving at junee.  

The track quality is fairly good and for the most part nearly all over 100km/h so its fairly fast from griffith to junee.  But the explorer car i was in (2525) was so creaky.  Not much engine noise or vibrations, but creaking and groaning and alot of it.  
Junee is a bit annoying as they make everyone get off the train to flip the seats, and was very surprised to find the booking office unattended.  

People were getting off and on at cootamundra, harden, yass junction and goulburn.  To which the canberra xpl joined us.  

The journey was surprisingly quick and pleasant, much nicer than a bus to wagga and then xpt.  

Overall good experience and would love to see this become a daily service in both directions.  Demand seems to be there for it.
  tazzer96 Deputy Commissioner

I want to make a special mention to the crew of my service especially to help out one man who had the worst possible travel itinerary and it took some toime before the crew fully understood how he got a travel itinerary like he did.

He wanted to go from Griffith to casino.  So his original itinerary followed.XPL from griffith to cootamundra, daytime Melbourne XPT from coota to wagga wagga.   Overnight sydney XPT from wagga wagga to Sydney central.   Then the Sydney to brisbane overnight XPT.  Over 30 hours of train travel.

It got fixed so he went on the XPL all the way to central, then the central to casino XPT the following day.
  craigfitz1 Train Controller

I want to make a special mention to the crew of my service especially to help out one man who had the worst possible travel itinerary and it took some toime before the crew fully understood how he got a travel itinerary like he did.

He wanted to go from Griffith to casino.  So his original itinerary followed.XPL from griffith to cootamundra, daytime Melbourne XPT from coota to wagga wagga.   Overnight sydney XPT from wagga wagga to Sydney central.   Then the Sydney to brisbane overnight XPT.  Over 30 hours of train travel.

It got fixed so he went on the XPL all the way to central, then the central to casino XPT the following day.
tazzer96
Glad you enjoyed the journey.
I also used the mid-week service a few weeks ago (to and from Coolamon.....stopping in a motel overnight), and concur with your comments about the patronage levels and the pleasant experience.

Continuing the theme of new TrainLink services, two new return services from Singleton to Newcastle (with electric train connections to Sydney) have been announced. They start on January 5th.
One is a mid afternoon service, leaving Newcastle about 2: 25 PM, and returning an hour or so later.
The other one leaves Newcastle some time after 8-00 PM
https://www.singletonargus.com.au/story/6468735/two-new-trains-to-hit-the-track-on-hunter-line/

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