XPT Replacement Discussion

 
  a6et Minister for Railways

not a bad idea.
But we are in a very similar position as the 422 option. Old stock requiring a number of modifications and other expenses such as a power car, track, shunting etc to replace only slightly older stock. Remember this won't happen now, but rather in 5 years or more and you need to introduce DOO.

What about terminating at the various termini, Grafton, Casino, Brisbane etc and even emergency mid routes, where will the loco be turned?

Would Country link be able to follow the current path of internal drivers?
RTT_Rules

The concept would be to have double ended engines, that way if a train was terminated early for whatever means, it would do so in a loop, & therefore a simple run round is needed.  The 422 in many ways was very much built as a compact locomotive, which had its advantages but also disadvantages more especially limitations on the size of the PM but also with the fuel capacity, stretched to something akin to a 442 or 80 or 81 & that allows more powerfull PM, also fuel tank, but would they really need that large a fuel tank anyway.

The Brisbane XPT fuels at Grafton one engine each direction, similar thing could happen with a diesel loco.

Countrylink has drivers qualified for diesel locomotives, as they are generally hired from the diesel side or the old diesel section, with the new break up that has Countrylink part of the interurban area, then theres scope in that direction also.

If timetabling was arranged that allowed especially on the NC, something that allowed a down service to swap off a diesel there, with one fully fueled for the run to Brisbane, or Casino, with one that has come off either another down or up service that would allow for a smoother transition along the line. ATM the Grafton XPT sits there o/night, a loco hauled service could stable the carriages, have the engine refueled & ready for either the next down or up service.  Incoming driver fuels the incomming diesel off train after change.

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  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Twenty twos are very much Sputniks in this day and age with little if any electronics aside from coms and crews mobile phones ...
The most versatile units have electronic control and brake systems which is partly why NRs get pinched off Intermodal Div .
An NR has much longer legs at any speed than a 422 and with one unit you don't have the dead weight bunching and stretching a light car set .
I'm not sure if alternator output in an NR can be partially used for Hotel power like X power cars do . Driving power van kills two with one .
X drivers are used to DOO and in Sydney and Junee quite a few spent many hours in NRs . Really a locomotive on the front of an X set isn't so different to an X power car , no direct access but the cab conditions are better not worse and - wait for it - you have side mirrors .  
Another way to look at it is that a two man crew could go all the way under twelve hours with the current table . Long hour cases could easily be relieved by crews from Sydney Moss Vale Coota Junee and Melbourne .
  a6et Minister for Railways

Twenty twos are very much Sputniks in this day and age with little if any electronics aside from coms and crews mobile phones ...
The most versatile units have electronic control and brake systems which is partly why NRs get pinched off Intermodal Div .
An NR has much longer legs at any speed than a 422 and with one unit you don't have the dead weight bunching and stretching a light car set .
I'm not sure if alternator output in an NR can be partially used for Hotel power like X power cars do . Driving power van kills two with one .
X drivers are used to DOO and in Sydney and Junee quite a few spent many hours in NRs . Really a locomotive on the front of an X set isn't so different to an X power car , no direct access but the cab conditions are better not worse and - wait for it - you have side mirrors .
Another way to look at it is that a two man crew could go all the way under twelve hours with the current table . Long hour cases could easily be relieved by crews from Sydney Moss Vale Coota Junee and Melbourne .
BDA

BDA,  I use the 422's as an example.  But as I said too small but an enlarged body even to that of the 81 or more would provide all needed space.

The prospect of a double ended diesel if relayed at specific points as I suggested above, along with having a 2 driver option, could allow for at least a Sydney - Grafton - Brisbane/return - Sydney.  The relay could allow the time for refueling at Grafton meaning 4 men rather than 5 at the moment involved in the rostering.

Don't forget that original EPT brakes were fitted to the old rattlers simply with magnet valves working the brakes on each carriage, a dummy jumper at each end of the train to complete the circuit, that was old tecnology but allowed for the combination of both air & electronics, these brakes have improved well beyond that.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Twenty twos are very much Sputniks in this day and age with little if any electronics aside from coms and crews mobile phones ...
The most versatile units have electronic control and brake systems which is partly why NRs get pinched off Intermodal Div .
An NR has much longer legs at any speed than a 422 and with one unit you don't have the dead weight bunching and stretching a light car set .
I'm not sure if alternator output in an NR can be partially used for Hotel power like X power cars do . Driving power van kills two with one .
X drivers are used to DOO and in Sydney and Junee quite a few spent many hours in NRs . Really a locomotive on the front of an X set isn't so different to an X power car , no direct access but the cab conditions are better not worse and - wait for it - you have side mirrors .
Another way to look at it is that a two man crew could go all the way under twelve hours with the current table . Long hour cases could easily be relieved by crews from Sydney Moss Vale Coota Junee and Melbourne .
BDA

Does the XPT really need side mirrors?
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

You wouldn't need to run around the train with a conventional locomotive if demotored XPT locos were retained as cab cars...the train could be run from both ends in push pull fashion then.
  witsend Chief Commissioner

Location: Front RH Seat of a School Bus
You could always look at R1005/R1006 for a modern day Double Headed Replacement. These were built at Port Augusta in 2008/2009 for Rio Tinto.
  Westby3026 Locomotive Driver

Come on let's be realistic here. 422s are long gone, an nr on the front of the existing fleet of xp cars? We're taking a real backwards step.

If the bloody government stopped trading their car fleet in every 30 thousand k, or what ever they do, we should be able to buy a half decent fleet.

Push and pull is the way to go. Look at comeng, they were at the forefront of rolling stock design and manufacture, and they put all their time into creating a push pull train. Look at their design for the HPT that state rail never went through with at the end of the 80s.

The xpt is over 4000hp for very little weight, I couldn't imagine a single loco of any size getting that equivalent amount of power to the rails. And a streamlined setup also looks more appealing to the general public. The xpt still turns heads even though it's up to 30 odd years old.

Thats just My 2 cents worth.
  Transtopic Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Come on let's be realistic here. 422s are long gone, an nr on the front of the existing fleet of xp cars? We're taking a real backwards step.

If the bloody government stopped trading their car fleet in every 30 thousand k, or what ever they do, we should be able to buy a half decent fleet.

Push and pull is the way to go. Look at comeng, they were at the forefront of rolling stock design and manufacture, and they put all their time into creating a push pull train. Look at their design for the HPT that state rail never went through with at the end of the 80s.

The xpt is over 4000hp for very little weight, I couldn't imagine a single loco of any size getting that equivalent amount of power to the rails. And a streamlined setup also looks more appealing to the general public. The xpt still turns heads even though it's up to 30 odd years old.

Thats just My 2 cents worth.
Westby3026

Can you provide any more detail on Comeng's HPT design?  I agree that the XPT is still very appealing.  On several occasions when I have been driving on the Mitchell Highway between Wellington and Dubbo at the speed limit of 110 km/h, the Dubbo XPT has shot past at 150 km/h leaving me in its wake.  If only there were more upgraded sections of track in NSW which would allow the XPT to realise its full potential.
  Westby3026 Locomotive Driver

In early 1986 from memory The SRA called for tenders for a high performance train that was superior to the xpt to operate on there lines and interstate. (this was the time when the nsw and Victorian govts and unions were arguing over running trains through to Melbourne etc.) basically in comengs proposal the HPT was a remodelled XPT. They were even planning on keeping the same paxman diesel and brush traction equipment. They had a few options drawn up including a longer style tribo powercar and the ability to pull power from overhead wires while in the city etc. They also had remodelled passenger amenitys and things like that. (I think ABB used the seat design later on in the XP refit and Mk2 power car build in the early 90s).
  Transtopic Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
In early 1986 from memory The SRA called for tenders for a high performance train that was superior to the xpt to operate on there lines and interstate. (this was the time when the nsw and Victorian govts and unions were arguing over running trains through to Melbourne etc.) basically in comengs proposal the HPT was a remodelled XPT. They were even planning on keeping the same paxman diesel and brush traction equipment. They had a few options drawn up including a longer style tribo powercar and the ability to pull power from overhead wires while in the city etc. They also had remodelled passenger amenitys and things like that. (I think ABB used the seat design later on in the XP refit and Mk2 power car build in the early 90s).
Westby3026

Thanks for that.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
Agree with Westby 3026. Not sure why people would even think they would go back to a loco hauled train, and not sure why you would mention even current locos let alone locos built in 1969!

When/if the XPT is replaced, it will be a DMU that would also be used for XPLORER replacement as well. There is no rush for the government to replace the XPT fleet and I would say they will be lengthening their options in time to a suitable train that can do "all in one" class of train.

I say 'if' because one of their options is besides keeping the Nationals happy, they would be asking why replace it at all.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Agree with Westby 3026. Not sure why people would even think they would go back to a loco hauled train, and not sure why you would mention even current locos let alone locos built in 1969!

When/if the XPT is replaced, it will be a DMU that would also be used for XPLORER replacement as well. There is no rush for the government to replace the XPT fleet and I would say they will be lengthening their options in time to a suitable train that can do "all in one" class of train.

I say 'if' because one of their options is besides keeping the Nationals happy, they would be asking why replace it at all.
Jim K

+1
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

Latest is that the XPT sets are going to have a light upgrade to keep them going for a while until????? IMO the XPT was a costly mistake and it would have been far better to re-configure the Southern Aurora cars into sitting cars with a small number of sleeper cars. They were not that old actually at the time the XPT replaced them.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
The Southern Aurora cars were designed in 1954, most were built before 1962... they were old enough, and required a 'slow' locomotive to pull them... the selling point was speed.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

When/if the XPT is replaced, it will be a DMU that would also be used for XPLORER replacement as well. There is no rush for the government to replace the XPT fleet and I would say they will be lengthening their options in time to a suitable train that can do "all in one" class of train.

I say 'if' because one of their options is besides keeping the Nationals happy, they would be asking why replace it at all.
Jim K


The XPT is at the end of it's economic life.  By definition this means a new train will pay for itself with lower maintenance.  It's just the government doesn't want to commit to providing the service for another 30 years.  Perhaps this is about the poor $:votes ratio.

The main argument against rail based delivery of PT services is cost.  But no-one should be surprised that a 30+ yo platform "costs too much".  

Loco hauled - with appropriate modern equipment properly used - has a similar potential to reduce operating costs.  Not over a modern DMU, but definitely over the legacy one.  The chief benefit is there is only 1 grunty loco per train to maintain, rather than 2.

The other big advantage of loco hauled is it doesn't require as much sunk capital.  The gvt doesn't have to commit to retaining the services for another 30 years.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
How much is "too much".
Please provide us with a detailed cost breakdown of the current running costs of the XPT.
So far all Ive seen is Railfan speculation based on zilch information.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
Having a loco hauled train to replace the XPT is costly. NSW Trains has no other use for slow locomotives (anything below 130km/h is slow).
Having a train that will replace XPT and XPLORER will be the most cost effective way.

My point is the government it is becoming clear that they do not want to replace the XPT.... I am not saying they want to keep the XPT, they will remove it completely, otherwise maam would have already put a plan up, she hasn't.

"never happen" is an ostrich stance.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
The XPT is at the end of it's economic life. By definition this means a new train will pay for itself with lower maintenance. It's just the government doesn't want to commit to providing the service for another 30 years. Perhaps this is about the poor $:votes ratio.

The main argument against rail based delivery of PT services is cost. But no-one should be surprised that a 30+ yo platform "costs too much".

Loco hauled - with appropriate modern equipment properly used - has a similar potential to reduce operating costs. Not over a modern DMU, but definitely over the legacy one. The chief benefit is there is only 1 grunty loco per train to maintain, rather than 2.

The other big advantage of loco hauled is it doesn't require as much sunk capital. The gvt doesn't have to commit to retaining the services for another 30 years.
djf01

The XPT is a loco hauled train, just in push pull configuration.

Those locomotives are captive and customised, but realistically that will be the case for any locomotives used on a routine basis for regional passenger work with the current passenger carriage stock - or you just shift from having a captive and customised loco fleet to a captive and customised fleet of supporting rolling stock such as power vans.

So all you are really suggesting is:

- Have one loco per train, instead of two, in which case the cost/benefit consideration needs to include the impact on flexibility and reliability that the current push-pull set-up offers.

- Outsourcing the ownership (and operation, but that is separate a issue) of the locomotive fleet.  Given that the outsourced fleet is likely to be captive anyway; the distinct lack of driver only operation equipment and practice in existing fleets; and the relatively cheap cost of capital for state governments for social benefit assets, this certainly doesn't seem like an obvious winner.

You could reduce ...lets use the word "expense"... by cutting service frequency.  But then you've cut service frequency, which is one of the major quality measures for a transport service.  The reason that there are three daily North Coast services today is not because you need three to handle the volume, it is because having three services at different times broadens the market for the services, and that broadened market increases the potential for revenue.  

The existing services are already struggling to remain relevant to the general population in the face of competition from other modes, I think making that worse would be the death knell to the last remnants of full fare paying revenue that the service gets now.  Consequently I expect that such a change may actually increase cost to government (revenue less expense).  It would definitely further marginalise passenger rail to be the bottom of the barrel, transport option of last resort.  There is no future in that position.

As a non-concession user of those services and as a taxpayer, I would rather the state put its money, if it has to put it into anything, into a higher frequency regional bus services than a low frequency rail service.

Regional passenger rail's primary problem at the moment in NSW is one of revenue and demand - the services that you run need to be full and you need to get the people who use the service to pay more.  Running an appropriate schedule that appeals to potential paying customers is critical to that.  Cost is absolutely important (and there are a number of cases where cost considerations prevent better scheduling), but I would think that a decently loaded rail service running over regional distances (shorter distances than where a Dash8-Q400 or larger can compete) is probably net cost competitive against other modes, particularly if you can get a revenue premium for the comfort benefit of rail.
  Westby3026 Locomotive Driver

A single loco hauled consist + powercar will not happen and id hate to see what would happen if it did. I can't seeing the government buying some massive loco and seperate stainless passenger cars.

The advantage with push pull and dmu is you have backup traction and hotel supply's. If one engine packs it in you have a spare (as internal combustion engines are prone to do in any application.

I favour push and pull diesel-electric over dmu diesel-hydraulic as there is less noise and vibration, less components to break (blow a hydro line and it's no go and a good sized mess for someone to clean up). Electric traction motors are protected by circuit breakers, and nearly unbreakable. It's quieter over long distances which is the main point, just the odd bogie squeak, from inferior track conditions.

Remember also the XPT was designed with the unions hanging over the builders shoulder. (remember the 5 notch power controller over the 8 to prevent them hauling freight) and much to my disgust they will be hanging around the next time as well.
  boromisa Junior Train Controller


Remember also the XPT was designed with the unions hanging over the builders shoulder. (remember the 5 notch power controller over the 8 to prevent them hauling freight) and much to my disgust they will be hanging around the next time as well.

Life would be so much better without unions.

It's outrageous that employers have to consult about health and safety of union members. Instead they could make locos full of asbestos and put drivers into them...

Or employers could make you drive trains for 20 hours straight... and you don't need a break you can eat at your driving console.

Oh and I am pretty sure that current terrorism threat is somehow caused by unions. Climate change too.

Nasty people they are.
  Westby3026 Locomotive Driver

They also thought to operate an XPT set in Victoria you needed a crew of 16 Hense the reason why it took 12 years of negotiation to get it down there. Then members complain that operating the train is unprofitable.

Makes a lot of sense doesn't it
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
When the XPT's were designed the OHS Acts that's now exist in all states didn't exist to anywhere near the same standard as today. There is no need to involve the unions in design of a loco anymore. Certainly the locos purchased OS and brought to Australia whole won't have this involvement. Yes you involve the drivers for their feedback for driveability, but this is just common sense and you usually do something like this by selecting a few nominees to work on the project.

But if the XPT locos were fitted with 5 notch over 8 to stop them being freight locos purely because of Union involvement then this is why Unions shouldn't be involved.

.......

I'm not sure why people cannot accept that the XPT's are not be replacement right now because they deem they need to be simply because the govt already has its hands full and that the govt has found a solution they believe will adequately extend the service life another 5 - 10 years? Look at all things going on right now, restructure into Sydney Trains and NSW trains, NWRL kick off, new rollingstock for V-sets and replace other interurban stock. Don't you feel Gladys has her hands full and also wait for the dust to settle on all this? Then there will be an election soon so of course for 6mths the govt basically stops work to focus on keeping their jobs.

I'm sure between now and 2020 there will be a detailed review of regional services and new trains ordered to replace all XPT and XPL in one or one of a two part order. In the process there may or maynot be rationalisation of the regional services. 3 trains actually involve the input of two interstate govts. They may also be waiting for direction of HSR? Why buy a train they will be made redundant in 10 years?

....

I've never ridden a modern (something made past 2000) DMU where I felt the engine under the floor. I think you may also find now blown Hydraulic hoses will probably need to have zero spillage risk so they will be contained, otherwise the an oil response crew will need to clean up the mess.

....

Moving to single loco hauled trains increases risk of breakdown, perhaps maybe more so than keeping the XPT locos in service?

....

Lets ignore anything on the rails today in Australia made before 2000 as a suitable replacement for the XPT power cars. If its not old now it soon will be and/or not suitable for terminating at some of the locations. Moving to two driver operation adds significant cost. What you have now is the almost as cheap as it gets manning wise and hence turn-arounds of the XPT can be done in 30min which is the required time for the driver to have a break, not shunting locos.

I think anything that will replace the XPT will need to comply with the following or its just moving away from the standards the rest of the world and Australia is following.
- DOO
- No shunt turn around
- Min of two prime mover/traction systems per train that are fully redundant.
- Min of two house power systems per train that are fully redundant.
- Rated to 140km/hr
- Capable of the current higher XPT speed board allowances
- DDA compliant
- Made this century

Any suggestion that cannot comply with above simply won't happen.

regards
Shane
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
I’ve been followingthis thread with interest for some time.  
I think its pretty clear to all that any replacement for the XPT andeventually the Explorer fleet is going to be based on purely political considerations as these services are all non-commercial.   I still think even on community servicegrounds there is still probably one more last hurrah or is that gasp for regional rail services in NSW.   Having beenvery close to the Victorian regional rail sector what we do know here is that replacing trains with buses results in an immediate drop off in 30% of passengers when services are replaced for major civil works.   The patronage decline is even worse wheretrains are permanently discontinued).


We also knowin Victoria that where rail service has been reinstated there has been a huge rebound in patronage which some may contend could still adequately be covered by bus but the point is that rail is still the preferred mode even if it is costly.  The real decision is how muchare you prepared to spend and how many votes will you lose or gain depending on your decision.

At one stage(5-years+) I worked very closely with CountryLink management and they held a view (up to 2 years ago) that if they could have an Explorer set on the Dubbo services and 2 additional XPT sets they could deliver a vastly improved service that would significantly lift patronage including services like a Dubbo/Orange to Central morning and return evening service.  
An even better North Coast operation which is the flagship corridor forpopulation catchment on regional trains in NSW and improved frequencies and/or better timed services elsewhere.


The otherrelevant point is that HST’s in UK are still delivering frontline 200km/hour operations even with the influx of much more modern regional diesel multiple units.   A report in Modern Railwaysmagazine some years ago comparing all aspects of the Mk 111 trailer cars with equivalents across Europe found that these were a superior vehicle and the XPT cars are of the same family.

So if Iwanted to do a replacement for the XPT I’d seriously revisit the XP power cars for another re-engine and structural rehabilitation on the basis that the level of development, performance and reliability of high horsepower, high speed diesel engines has undergone a huge transformation in the past 5-years.   That would provide the opportunity toimprove the acceleration and braking rates of the XPT on the basis that for around the same weight a new generation diesel unit has an improved capability of around 25% to 30%.  The trailer carsare certainly good for another refurbishment as they are a very superior vehicle.

I wouldinvest in 4 or 5 sets of 4 car Explorer configured “V’Locity” type vehicles (as a means of being able to piggyback on the current V’Line V’Locity contract) to release XPT’s off the Dubbo XPT and perhaps the next least patronized XPT service so that the XPT’s are confined to the longer more heavily patronized corridors to deliver improved, better timed trips and the additional X’Plorers to also improve frequency/timing on those corridors.

Yes that’s avery expensive package but wholsesale replacement of XPT sets with a new generation DMU is also going to be hugely expensive at around $6million per car based on V’Locity prices.   Upgrading XPpower cars at say $3 million per unit and trailer cars at say $1m per unit plus 5x4 car sets of new Explorer referred to above buys a lot more in terms of upgraded and expanded fleet to deliver a much better service.  Frequency is a key patronage driver and thesecond is timing of trips to meet customer needs.

(While yourat it review the current staffing levels on the XPT.  Look at a current round trip from Sydney toMelbourne, do you really need 5 on board crew members to Albury, change crew to then work Albury to Melbourne and back to Albury and then pick up the first crew.  15 crew shifts plus penalties,away from home allowances etc).
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Comparing NSW to Victoria is very misleading, as country rail routes in Vic are extremely short
compared to NSW.
Melb to Albury is the furthest any of Vlines trains travel, which equals Central to Canberra and no further.
Bendigo is the furthest the Vlociities run.
If NSW trains only served 300 km from Central destinations , it could all be done with the existing Xplorer fleet.
The other issue is whats the future for Interstate trains at all.
No requirement for NSW trains to run services to Brisbane or Melbourne.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
TheVictorian experience about what the impact is on replacing trains with buses and reinstating trains on routes operated by buses is quite comparable.   Even the introduction of the service (yesits Sydney trains) from Bathurst is a NSW example.   I’m very well aware of the much longerdistances undertaken in NSW and probably that on certain routes probably has a greater impact hence the performance of NSW Trains/CountryLink on the North Coast.

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