Future of Overland train service in doubt

 
Topic moved from News by dthead on 25 Nov 2019 19:16
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Maybe if you, and other rail so-called “enthusiasts”, had used the Overland then it wouldn't be in such a frail state that COVID-19 could kill it.

I still don't believe we have had any confirmation from The Vinelander on any of the various Overland threads that he has ever used the train when he had to pay for a ticket. With friends like him, the rail industry doesn't need enemies.

The only people on this board who occasionally used it as transport (from my recollection) are Big Shunter and a couple of other people as a tourist jaunt. Nobody here was using it regularly - and Mike "Vinelander" gets the gold medal for "I want it there even though I never use it".
don_dunstan
Yeah...throw a few bombs this way if it makes you feel better...
"The Vinelander"

It doesn't make me feel better - I think justapassenger makes a fair observation. You have certainly been one of the Overland's main proponents over the years but you don't actually use it except maybe every few years - isn't that right?

There's no shame in admitting that you don't use it - there's only a few people here who have and only one poster I know of who confesses to using it semi-regularly (Big Shunter). I'm not a user, like Aaron I've probably flown the route a few dozen times and the same with taking the bus (I only drive if I really have to, it's a bit too tiring and long) but I stopped using the train as an option several years ago - it's just not a desirable option from my point of view as you already know.

Do we get to find out about the mystery deal/package to upgrade the service soon - ? There's always a possibility that COVID 19 will finish off the last few services unceremoniously anyway... if Chairman Dan wants to announce something he'd better do it soon.

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  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
We are in the position we are today due to poor management of the service. GSR have not been very good to the Overland.  We need a national passenger rail department running and funding national passenger services between the capital cities.  The Overland needs to be a part of that strategy but in the meantime the train is useful and patronised.
"bevans"

In fairness to the various contractors and managers since the demise of Australian National they haven't been paid to promote it or integrate it with other services so they didn't. They only wanted the juicy rail-cruise thing; they stopped pretending around 5 years ago when they kicked off the riff-raff backpacker class from their flagship trains altogether and got the train to stop for the various off-board 'experiences'... the Overland the unwanted orphan service they run reluctantly.

It's the sole property of the Victorian government now anyway - the decision about its future is entirely with them.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
We are in the position we are today due to poor management of the service. GSR have not been very good to the Overland.  We need a national passenger rail department running and funding national passenger services between the capital cities.  The Overland needs to be a part of that strategy but in the meantime the train is useful and patronised.
bevans
National???

There are only 3 interstate RTP rail services, the XPT run by NSW trains does two of these routes to Brisbane and Melbourne with co-funding by both states and the third is The Overland (for now).

NSW trains also serves Canberra so I suppose a 3rd service by them, not sure if the ACT co fund this or not.

So after the end of next week, we will have a National RPT Rail Operator, its called NSW Trains! Which stands for Rail Services to the Nth, Sth and West of Sydney.

The rest of the states manage their own intrastate affairs, what ever that may or maybe not be.
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

You forget V/Line, which runs 3 daily rail services each way interstate, plus countless buses to NSW, ACT and SA.

And which should probably run The Overland as well.

I maintain that VLP should run train to Horsham/Dimboola/Nhill daily, using one train set and avoiding the interstate freight times. Say 16:00 ex SX, via Lara to Dimboola arriving say 21:00. Return departing Dimmy about 07:00, into SX about 12:09. Gives customers better options than current Overland, day return for them becomes available. Would also allow good bus connections to that part of the state, as well as workable times for buses to/from SA. Not that they will listen to me!
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
We are in the position we are today due to poor management of the service. GSR have not been very good to the Overland.  We need a national passenger rail department running and funding national passenger services between the capital cities.  The Overland needs to be a part of that strategy but in the meantime the train is useful and patronised.
bevans
No, we are in this position today because during WWII the world, well America at least and to a lesser extent Russia and Britain, got really good and building decent size, decent range aircraft, which after the war enabled them to turn their hand toward decent advances in civilian transport by aviation.

Marketing, gauge, route, timetabling and ownership of the Overland are all not guilty of its demise. The demise lays in the convenience and speed of air travel which it has in spades over the Melbourne - Adelaide route.

For sometime the overland put up a decent fight on ticket cost, but it was losing that battle in general a decade or more ago.

Governments might keep shocking it back to life with subsidy funds, but the ‘service’s’ pupils are fixed, and dilated. On the bright side, that at least makes it a good candidate for organ donation...
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
You forget V/Line, which runs 3 daily rail services each way interstate, plus countless buses to NSW, ACT and SA.

And which should probably run The Overland as well.

I maintain that VLP should run train to Horsham/Dimboola/Nhill daily, using one train set and avoiding the interstate freight times. Say 16:00 ex SX, via Lara to Dimboola arriving say 21:00. Return departing Dimmy about 07:00, into SX about 12:09. Gives customers better options than current Overland, day return for them becomes available. Would also allow good bus connections to that part of the state, as well as workable times for buses to/from SA. Not that they will listen to me!
"hbedriver"

Not a bad idea, wasn't V/line going to add a Goulburn-Melbourne extension to some Albury services at one point? There's no reason why V/line couldn't use some of their standard gauge fleet albeit stretched to provide a daily return Dimboola/Nhill -

Journey Beyond is still saying the last three out of four services still have seats - including the last train on 30/3.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Inside 13 days til the ‘last’ service and still tickets available? Even John Farnham manages to sell out a ‘last tour’ quicker than that, and he’s had more of those than the Overland has.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Inside 13 days til the ‘last’ service and still tickets available? Even John Farnham manages to sell out a ‘last tour’ quicker than that, and he’s had more of those than the Overland has.
Aaron
He is at least wise enough to not hold them just a couple of months apart.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Inside 13 days til the ‘last’ service and still tickets available? Even John Farnham manages to sell out a ‘last tour’ quicker than that, and he’s had more of those than the Overland has.
He is at least wise enough to not hold them just a couple of months apart.
justapassenger
Imagine the delicious irony of the so necessary, oh so popular Overland running less than full on its last run.
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Inside 13 days til the ‘last’ service and still tickets available? Even John Farnham manages to sell out a ‘last tour’ quicker than that, and he’s had more of those than the Overland has.
He is at least wise enough to not hold them just a couple of months apart.
Imagine the delicious irony of the so necessary, oh so popular Overland running less than full on its last run.
Aaron
Given the impending withdrawal and associated reason surrounding that, the current isolation issues, the last run could very well be an empty car movement.
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
No, we are in this position today because during WWII the world, well America at least and to a lesser extent Russia and Britain, got really good and building decent size, decent range aircraft, which after the war enabled them to turn their hand toward decent advances in civilian transport by aviation.

Marketing, gauge, route, timetabling and ownership of the Overland are all not guilty of its demise. The demise lays in the convenience and speed of air travel which it has in spades over the Melbourne - Adelaide route.
Aaron
Well you've hit the nail right on the head there Aaron, no arguments there.

But what I find hard to understand is not only passenger trains but also freight trains have been left in the dark ages, why or how did they get left so far behind, almost ignored Rolling Eyes

Say from the late 80's interstate flying has boomed and the trucking industry has made huge gains with their productivity in transporting goods and bugger all in freight trains, the passenger train, it would seem was just let slip down the drain.

RTT keeps reminding us of the fast train to Kalgoorlie and how it is very popular and seems the maintain itself so there must still be a market for a respectable train journey if it's a fast and efficient one.

Think it was don awhile back saying there's plenty of flat straight running track through the Wimmera, scope for speeding the journey up but nobody seems to see the obvious for some improvement in running times.

BigShunter.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville

In fairness to the various contractors and managers since the demise of Australian National they haven't been paid to promote it .........

It's the sole property of the Victorian government now anyway - the decision about its future is entirely with them.
don_dunstan

Ah, protecting your precious darlings in the private sector as usual.

A condition of many of the more recent subsidies has been greater promotion of The Overland by JB and GSR. While I would agree its has been slack of governments not to enforce this, the responsibility Ultimately lies with the owners and their lack of ethics in taking public money for a service (marketing) that they have no intention of providing.

The Overland is not the property of the Victorian Government, it is the property of Journey Beyond and their financiers. The decision on the future of The Overland is entirely with them.

Oh and it was the federal Howard government that sold The Overland to the predecessors of JB.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Maybe if you, and other rail so-called “enthusiasts”, had used the Overland then it wouldn't be in such a frail state that COVID-19 could kill it.

I still don't believe we have had any confirmation from The Vinelander on any of the various Overland threads that he has ever used the train when he had to pay for a ticket. With friends like him, the rail industry doesn't need enemies.
justapassenger

I think you are a bit delusional to think that rail enthusiasts like Vinelander could save this rail service by using it when it doesn't go past his place of residence. The Overland service needs non rail enthusiasts to survive and there aren't that many of those using that service.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

I'm thinking - what if the airline industry gets grounded in the wake of their impending bankruptcy?  20 carriage Overland trains to the rescue?
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

You forget V/Line, which runs 3 daily rail services each way interstate, plus countless buses to NSW, ACT and SA.

And which should probably run The Overland as well.

I maintain that VLP should run train to Horsham/Dimboola/Nhill daily, using one train set and avoiding the interstate freight times. Say 16:00 ex SX, via Lara to Dimboola arriving say 21:00. Return departing Dimmy about 07:00, into SX about 12:09. Gives customers better options than current Overland, day return for them becomes available. Would also allow good bus connections to that part of the state, as well as workable times for buses to/from SA. Not that they will listen to me!

Not a bad idea, wasn't V/line going to add a Goulburn-Melbourne extension to some Albury services at one point? There's no reason why V/line couldn't use some of their standard gauge fleet albeit stretched to provide a daily return Dimboola/Nhill -

Journey Beyond is still saying the last three out of four services still have seats - including the last train on 30/3.
don_dunstan

Are those 3 rail services running at the moment and do you really want to count a service that makes it over the border by a couple hundred metres.

I think you are thinking of Wagga Wagga Don since that is only about an hour north of Albury. Goulburn is 2-3 hours south of Sydney and about 8-9 hours north of Melbourne.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
You forget V/Line, which runs 3 daily rail services each way interstate, plus countless buses to NSW, ACT and SA.

And which should probably run The Overland as well.

I maintain that VLP should run train to Horsham/Dimboola/Nhill daily, using one train set and avoiding the interstate freight times. Say 16:00 ex SX, via Lara to Dimboola arriving say 21:00. Return departing Dimmy about 07:00, into SX about 12:09. Gives customers better options than current Overland, day return for them becomes available. Would also allow good bus connections to that part of the state, as well as workable times for buses to/from SA. Not that they will listen to me!
hbedriver
Very true

Buses open a whole new can of worms and hence I didn't want to go there and this is Railpage, not Buspage.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Inside 13 days til the ‘last’ service and still tickets available? Even John Farnham manages to sell out a ‘last tour’ quicker than that, and he’s had more of those than the Overland has.
Aaron
Yes, but his "last tours" were in the Age of Reason!
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Inside 13 days til the ‘last’ service and still tickets available? Even John Farnham manages to sell out a ‘last tour’ quicker than that, and he’s had more of those than the Overland has.
He is at least wise enough to not hold them just a couple of months apart.
Imagine the delicious irony of the so necessary, oh so popular Overland running less than full on its last run.
Given the impending withdrawal and associated reason surrounding that, the current isolation issues, the last run could very well be an empty car movement.
michaelgm
To be fair, the Coronavirus is very much likely to kill any great send off and I think we all know this very well!
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
No, we are in this position today because during WWII the world, well America at least and to a lesser extent Russia and Britain, got really good and building decent size, decent range aircraft, which after the war enabled them to turn their hand toward decent advances in civilian transport by aviation.

Marketing, gauge, route, timetabling and ownership of the Overland are all not guilty of its demise. The demise lays in the convenience and speed of air travel which it has in spades over the Melbourne - Adelaide route.


RTT keeps reminding us of the fast train to Kalgoorlie and how it is very popular and seems the maintain itself so there must still be a market for a respectable train journey if it's a fast and efficient one.

Think it was don awhile back saying there's plenty of flat straight running track through the Wimmera, scope for speeding the journey up but nobody seems to see the obvious for some improvement in running times.

BigShunter.
BigShunter
Yep and lets look at the numbers again for routes around 600 to 800 km in Australia
- 10 return trips a week to Kal
- 7 return trips a week to Rockhampton
- 7 return trips a week to Moree/Armidale
- Hell 1 / week Sydney to Broken Hill
- 7 / week to Grafton
- 7 / week to Casino

Then 2 we have 2 per week Syd - Mel, the sector in the country with turn up and go air travel

I'll ignore Syd - Brisbane for which there is 7/week on the basis that the service is currently "F__ked" due to the timetabling.

Yes all the above are subsidized and lets also not pretend ourselves this service would survive without a subsidy. What level of subsidy is open to debate and I personally would not expect more than what V/line, NSW Trains and QR are given.


So please for the love of all things good and great, lets not continue this never ending BS that there is no viability for passenger rail between Melbourne and Adelaide using similar level of subsidy as applied to above. Clearly if there is no ridership there is something inherently wrong with the service operator, timetable, rolling stock or something else, but its unlikely lack of demand. Rather lack of interest in what is on offer now and for this I completely agree with the SA Premier.

2 trains per week between two large major centres like Adel and Mel is about as attractive as riding with a train load COVID-19 sufferers. The people of Griffith, Broken Hill, Longreach, Mt Isa etc might accept this for obvious reasons, but if you lived in either of these major centres no.

Based on examples elsewhere I see if a decent frequency and perhaps different train was offered the train may actually be used and at lower cost/subsidy than now. Currently you have a train weighing 300-400 t hauling the same number as a 3-4 car Velocity which is half the weight, uses a lot less fuel and would likely require less staffing.









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  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
I'm thinking - what if the airline industry gets grounded in the wake of their impending bankruptcy?  20 carriage Overland trains to the rescue?
Carnot
That's an interesting point Carnot, Virgin haven't been travelling to well the last couple of years as it is. And even Qantas, as big and ugly as it is probably can't survive  more than a couple of months with basically no income if the country completely shuts down. If there is going to be a bale out, hardly bale one without the other. Or wait till it's all done and dusted and start afresh. Could end up with a government run airline,call it ..say TAA. But it would all be beyond the comprehension of the current bunch of dullards in charge.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
No, we are in this position today because during WWII the world, well America at least and to a lesser extent Russia and Britain, got really good and building decent size, decent range aircraft, which after the war enabled them to turn their hand toward decent advances in civilian transport by aviation.

Marketing, gauge, route, timetabling and ownership of the Overland are all not guilty of its demise. The demise lays in the convenience and speed of air travel which it has in spades over the Melbourne - Adelaide route.


RTT keeps reminding us of the fast train to Kalgoorlie and how it is very popular and seems the maintain itself so there must still be a market for a respectable train journey if it's a fast and efficient one.

Think it was don awhile back saying there's plenty of flat straight running track through the Wimmera, scope for speeding the journey up but nobody seems to see the obvious for some improvement in running times.

BigShunter.
Yep and lets look at the numbers again for routes around 600 to 800 km in Australia
- 10 return trips a week to Kal
- 7 return trips a week to Rockhampton
- 7 return trips a week to Moree/Armidale
- Hell 1 / week Sydney to Broken Hill
- 7 / week to Grafton
- 7 / week to Casino

Then 2 we have 2 per week Syd - Mel, the sector in the country with turn up and go air travel

I'll ignore Syd - Brisbane for which there is 7/week on the basis that the service is currently "F__ked" due to the timetabling.

Yes all the above are subsidized and lets also not pretend ourselves this service would survive without a subsidy. What level of subsidy is open to debate and I personally would not expect more than what V/line, NSW Trains and QR are given.


So please for the love of all things good and great, lets not continue this never ending BS that there is no viability for passenger rail between Melbourne and Adelaide using similar level of subsidy as applied to above. Clearly if there is no ridership there is something inherently wrong with the service operator, timetable, rolling stock or something else, but its unlikely lack of demand. Rather lack of interest in what is on offer now and for this I completely agree with the SA Premier.

2 trains per week between two large major centres like Adel and Mel is about as attractive as riding with a train load COVID-19 sufferers. The people of Griffith, Broken Hill, Longreach, Mt Isa etc might accept this for obvious reasons, but if you lived in either of these major centres no.

Based on examples elsewhere I see if a decent frequency and perhaps different train was offered the train may actually be used and at lower cost/subsidy than now. Currently you have a train weighing 300-400 t hauling the same number as a 3-4 car Velocity which is half the weight, uses a lot less fuel and would likely require less staffing.









-
RTT_Rules

At around 570Km, so just under your criteria Shane, it would be remiss not to add by a country mile the country's most comprehensive PT options in Melbourne to Mildura, 570Km...a virtual smorgasbord of services, around 27 each way, on two separate timetables. The majority of which utilise the existing, but currently inadequate rail service via Swan Hill.

https://www.vline.com.au/getattachment/19e67ce6-d5ed-47df-a94e-4b673448e6cf/Mildura-Melbourne-(via-Swan-Hill-and-Bendigo)-(2)

and...

https://www.vline.com.au/getattachment/eed28fd0-3b05-4a2a-8cc1-dfb15afacda8/Mildura-Melbourne-(via-Donald,-Maryborough-and-(1)

I won't add the Horsham/Melbourne connection timetable which would round it up to around 30 services each way per week.

Mike.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud

In fairness to the various contractors and managers since the demise of Australian National they haven't been paid to promote it .........

It's the sole property of the Victorian government now anyway - the decision about its future is entirely with them.
don_dunstan

Ah, protecting your precious darlings in the private sector as usual.

A condition of many of the more recent subsidies has been greater promotion of The Overland by JB and GSR. While I would agree its has been slack of governments not to enforce this, the responsibility Ultimately lies with the owners and their lack of ethics in taking public money for a service (marketing) that they have no intention of providing.

The Overland is not the property of the Victorian Government, it is the property of Journey Beyond and their financiers. The decision on the future of The Overland is entirely with them.

Oh and it was the federal Howard government that sold The Overland to the predecessors of JB.
"bingley hall"

Keating was in the process of selling AN when they got turfed out - so it was Howard that completed it. It was Keating who abdicated the Commowealth's involvement in rail by forming ARTC and legislating AN away - Howard just finished the process.

Keating was our Queen of Privatisations, we wouldn't have the world's most expensive airports for rents and parking if it wasn't for his fire sale of FAC. The only thing substantial left for Howard was Telstra and Keating was getting ready to sell that off too.

I don't give a damn about the viability of the private operators, I'm just pointing out that they weren't paid to promote it. So they didn't.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville

I don't give a damn about the viability of the private operators, I'm just pointing out that they weren't paid to promote it. So they didn't.
don_dunstan

But as I explained they were paid to promote it and didn't.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud

I don't give a damn about the viability of the private operators, I'm just pointing out that they weren't paid to promote it. So they didn't.
don_dunstan

But as I explained they were paid to promote it and didn't.
"bingley hall"

Okay, well you didn't name a figure, I'm assuming the money given to promote it wasn't very much. And if it was then it only goes to demonstrate the contempt in which the various operators held the VIC and SA government and their money.
  Andrew_Curran Beginner

In trying to cut costs, the Overland has built a rod for its own back. Regular public transport services rarely succeed without frequency.

I haven't used the Overland for about five years. Two or three times a year I'm in Adelaide, usually on the way to or going from Melbourne. I'd happily spent the day on the train working on my laptop but it only runs two days a week in each direction and is nearly always not available on the days I need to travel.

I appreciate not everyone wants to spend all day on the train but I'm a bit of a train nerd.

I'm aware of the air versus rail argument, the state of tracks, and the time taken to get from A to B, but it is nonetheless a shame that a viable and inter-capital rail service cannot be sustained in the south-east corner of Australia between Brisbane and Adelaide.

I try to support rail where I can. I use the sleeper between Sydney and Melbourne a couple of times a year. The Brisbane service less so. I don't mind getting up early but who the hell wants to wash up at Roma Street at 03:55?

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