The Vinelander

 
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
You wonder with all the revenue from coal and commodities in Queensland how they could not be breaking even as a state. Then again they did sell their rail system which was providing a lot of revenue to the state?
bevans

Not hard to work out.
- Significant Increase in PS/head of population over 5 years
- A number of major natural disasters for which there was no insurance (previously cancelled to save money)
- Costs of dealing with a record drought with a large amount of water infrastructure exceeding $6B for which none has ever been needed as it flooded shortly after it was open and hasn't stopped raining much since.
- $400m and pre-engineering studies to buy up properties for a dam that will never be built
- Failed Hospital parole system
- QR needed a few billion to deal with the mineral boom
- Large spending on PT, some very costly projects.
- Large road projects

All in all, spending more money than you take in leading to a total $80B debt and nearly $10B annual deficit.

The revenue from QRN was not long-term significant after capital outlays.

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  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Shane: Just to finish that digression -

I don't put a lot of faith in the unemployment numbers because they have all sorts of clever ways of disguising the official numbers now. Work-for-the-Dole (WTFD) numbers aren't counted as unemployed any more because they earn an extra $20 per week while they're doing it.  That program absorbs a really significant cohort of unemployed which I feel is the real reason why it was bought in by Howard (and set to return in its full form under Abbott). Some WFTD programs are okay; I had a friend who did a TAFE Cert III as a WFTD and it helped him a lot; others are really pointless 'busy-work' like pulling weeds .  Also, Johnny Howard started out with a policy of 'making the Disability Pension tougher to get ' but by the end of his reign it went the other way- I think partly because it made the unemployment numbers fall.

Are you sure we have cheap power in this country?  I was told it's one of the most expensive because it averages 0.20-0.40c per k/w hour (off-peak/peak) whereas in the USA you can pay as little as 0.05c per k/w hour.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Shane: Just to finish that digression -

I don't put a lot of faith in the unemployment numbers because they have all sorts of clever ways of disguising the official numbers now. Work-for-the-Dole (WTFD) numbers aren't counted as unemployed any more because they earn an extra $20 per week while they're doing it. That program absorbs a really significant cohort of unemployed which I feel is the real reason why it was bought in by Howard (and set to return in its full form under Abbott). Some WFTD programs are okay; I had a friend who did a TAFE Cert III as a WFTD and it helped him a lot; others are really pointless 'busy-work' like pulling weeds . Also, Johnny Howard started out with a policy of 'making the Disability Pension tougher to get ' but by the end of his reign it went the other way- I think partly because it made the unemployment numbers fall.

Are you sure we have cheap power in this country? I was told it's one of the most expensive because it averages 0.20-0.40c per k/w hour (off-peak/peak) whereas in the USA you can pay as little as 0.05c per k/w hour.
don_dunstan

Hi,
Power, you will find this interesting. But first let me re qualify my statement. I work in the evil aluminium industry so my power price comparisons are usually based on what aluminium smelters pay which is 20year type contracts, pay by the month, take or pay, fixed consumption at >99% load factor. ie you don't get a better customer than this if you own a base load power station.

However the domestic prices even on world scale are heavily influenced by other factors such as fixed costs associated to maintain the wires and poles which tends to lead to lower unit costs, where as some networks pay no fixed price but higher usage rates, govt subsidies and/or price manipulation for political reasons. Additionally in many parts of Australia retail power prices are covering the cost of solar and renewable energy schemes where as base use whole sale customers don't unless they pay for the benefit (usually not).

Working with a former Power Station Manager in 2010, his comments was that the typical Australian wholesale prices paid to the power generators was too low across most of Australia to encourage private investment and hence the required govt investment is usually done at a long-term loss to the state (read subsidy). Some of the newer private generators have price protection. Many a time in Melbourne the spot whole price drops below that for which aluminium smelters are paying. Hence the move by JH to deregulate the industry so whole sale customers like RTA and ALCOA could buy extra power off the grid at the spot price and sell some of their demand to the grid during higher prices to improve their economics. Anglesa Aluminium in UK used to go zero load twice a day with no notice for up to 1hr to help stablise the UK grid during peak.

http://www.euaa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/FINAL-INTERNATIONAL-PRICE-COMPARISON-FOR-PUBLIC-RELEASE-19-MARCH-2012.pdf

As the attachment says, retail prices (up to 2012) have risen against world bench marks in part driven by currency changes, the rest is driven by other factors such as renewable energy costs and in the case of Qld simply infrastructure spending on the poles and wires for which the cost is added to the price of power.

There is also a page comparing states to other countries, note the states with mostly govt owned power generation are roughly the same as Vic.

In summary, the rise in price is not related to privatisation as the govt controls the price anyway and Victoria is roughly the same as NSW.

Unemployment, yes it can be hidden to a degree. But no way no how is 2014 unemployment worse than 1992 and for most Aussies their job prospects are not as bad as they think. Not as good as the boom years, but still good. Yes there are pockets in Australia things are worse off. But overall. Just have to look at key consumer indicators like new car sales.

Look up Trading economics country performance and you will see alot of developed world countries are worse off than Australia.

regards
Shane
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
But no way no how is 2014 unemployment worse than 1992 and for most Aussies their job prospects are not as bad as they think. Not as good as the boom years, but still good. Yes there are pockets in Australia things are worse off. But overall. Just have to look at key consumer indicators like new car sales.
RTT_Rules

I just don't buy that.  Just because some people in the economy are doing okay (newly-retired, finance, real-estate, construction) buying new cars and spending money on real-estate doesn't mean everyone else is hunky-dory.

I don't intend to continue derailing this thread discussing this but if you are interested in the unemployment/underemployment conundrum I was talking about earlier then have a look at this article.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
If the Vinelander was getting about 60 a trip leading up to the announcement of closure, then its more than likely the numbers would have continued to dwindle with the advent of discount airlines to the regional areas, as had happened to many other similar services. Old rollingstock, slow overnight service I'm sure would have continued to eat into its viability.

I suspect if the track is given its much needed upgrade, then with a late model DMU doing the trip in less than 6hr, it will probably get more than 100 per trip on 3 days per week basis. However its a pity the Swan Hill line cannot be extended to Mildura as I suspect this maybe more favourable.
  Flygon Train Controller

Location: Australia
I suspect if the track is given its much needed upgrade, then with a late model DMU doing the trip in less than 6hr, it will probably get more than 100 per trip on 3 days per week basis. However its a pity the Swan Hill line cannot be extended to Mildura as I suspect this maybe more favourable.
RTT_Rules

I am in absolute full agreement. The perfect chance to build an additional route to Mildura (With Class 1 or 2 track, even! The land between Swan Hill and Mildura seems pretty much ideal for building on, in any case). Bonus points for allowing freight to go down a secondary line.
  aulj7 Beginner

I have wanted to know where does the Vinelander go to? I saw carriages of the Vinelander at Steamrail's  Newport workshops on the open days.
NAB123456789
It travelled to Mildura; its service was withdrawn on September 12 1993.
As a Mildura local, this annoys me that we in Mildura have no trains.
Additional info, It included motorail and sleeper facilities and ran 2 times a week. Journey time was close to 10 hours.
Nice one, Jeff (the premier who withdrew a bunch of train services because he has no brain)
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
I have wanted to know where does the Vinelander go to? I saw carriages of the Vinelander at Steamrail's  Newport workshops on the open days.
It travelled to Mildura; its service was withdrawn on September 12 1993.
As a Mildura local, this annoys me that we in Mildura have no trains.
Additional info, It included motorail and sleeper facilities and ran 2 times a week. Journey time was close to 10 hours.
Nice one, Jeff (the premier who withdrew a bunch of train services because he has no brain)
aulj7
THE UNHINGED POWER OF THE FREE MARKET WILL SOLVE ALL PROBLEMS. MAH PRIVATISATION AND CUTS
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
Aaaahhh truk, here we go.......
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I know we have discussed this but Mildura is a large regional city and deserves a passenger train.
  billybaxter Deputy Commissioner

Location: Bosnia Park, Fairfield
What are the criteria for 'deserves'? Population? Economic output of the catchment area? Competition for influence from another state capital? A big dot or bold font on a map?
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
What are the criteria for 'deserves'? Population? Economic output of the catchment area? Competition for influence from another state capital? A big dot or bold font on a map?
billybaxter

Hi Mr. Baxter, the population of Mildura is over 60,000 and more if you take into account the NSW towns in the district.  Warrnambool has a population of 35,000 as a comparison.  Lots of discussion already on this topic and don't forget to add the populations for the towns between Maryborough and Mildura who would also benefit.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Why reviving a five year old thread was today’s course of action I have no idea but here we are.

I can’t be bothered going to look for it - maybe if this site had a functional search engine I might - but last time we went over this I demonstrated that Mildura’s public transport connection to Melbourne is superior to its peer cities on speed and frequency (and the fact there are two useful routes offered).

Why the taxpayer should be on the hook for a service that will be slower, less frequent, and therefore contribute precisely nothing to induced patronage, I have no idea.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

I have wanted to know where does the Vinelander go to? I saw carriages of the Vinelander at Steamrail's  Newport workshops on the open days.
It travelled to Mildura; its service was withdrawn on September 12 1993.
As a Mildura local, this annoys me that we in Mildura have no trains.
Additional info, It included motorail and sleeper facilities and ran 2 times a week. Journey time was close to 10 hours.
Nice one, Jeff (the premier who withdrew a bunch of train services because he has no brain)
aulj7
When the service commenced in the 1970s it ran six days a week in each direction, Sundays to Fridays.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Even further off topic I'm afraid...Sad

The Westlander has been 'getting the chop' for the last 18 months....it's still trundling along twice a week as we speak...

Mike.

The fact that the State of Queensland Is spiling deeper and deeper In to crippling debt, means the camels back has to break very soon with the trains future.
Nightfire

5 years later to the day... Exclamation

Despite the western Queensland floods cancelling the Townsville - Mt Isa, the Inlander for a few months, the axing of the sleeping cars and refreshment cars on both trains a few years ago...both trains are still rattling along with single digit pax numbers.

Mike.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
I have wanted to know where does the Vinelander go to? I saw carriages of the Vinelander at Steamrail's  Newport workshops on the open days.
It travelled to Mildura; its service was withdrawn on September 12 1993.
As a Mildura local, this annoys me that we in Mildura have no trains.
Additional info, It included motorail and sleeper facilities and ran 2 times a week. Journey time was close to 10 hours.
Nice one, Jeff (the premier who withdrew a bunch of train services because he has no brain)
THE UNHINGED POWER OF THE FREE MARKET WILL SOLVE ALL PROBLEMS. MAH PRIVATISATION AND CUTS
Dangersdan707

It is absolutely unnecessary to SHOUT your reply...particularly a reply that is difficult to understand.

M.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Why reviving a five year old thread was today’s course of action I have no idea but here we are.

I can’t be bothered going to look for it - maybe if this site had a functional search engine I might - but last time we went over this I demonstrated that Mildura’s public transport connection to Melbourne is superior to its peer cities on speed and frequency (and the fact there are two useful routes offered).

Why the taxpayer should be on the hook for a service that will be slower, less frequent, and therefore contribute precisely nothing to induced patronage, I have no idea.
potatoinmymouth

Three routes actually PIMM, I'll leave it to you to find the third one if you wish....no not that one, that's arguably a fourth... Smile

You forgot to mention the election of an Independent MP at last years state election on a 12% swing from the National party, specifically, among other things to improve the PT options for people travelling to/from Mildura and other local matters.

Mike.
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
I have wanted to know where does the Vinelander go to? I saw carriages of the Vinelander at Steamrail's  Newport workshops on the open days.
It travelled to Mildura; its service was withdrawn on September 12 1993.
As a Mildura local, this annoys me that we in Mildura have no trains.
Additional info, It included motorail and sleeper facilities and ran 2 times a week. Journey time was close to 10 hours.
Nice one, Jeff (the premier who withdrew a bunch of train services because he has no brain)
THE UNHINGED POWER OF THE FREE MARKET WILL SOLVE ALL PROBLEMS. MAH PRIVATISATION AND CUTS
It is absolutely unnecessary to SHOUT your reply...particularly a reply that is difficult to understand.
M.
The Vinelander
Mike, I suspect it was a dig at a certain political group who are fond of asserting the free market will solve all the world's problems, then  Dan 707 added his opinion of that claim.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
It's now gauge-incompatible with the V/line system in that area - even if that changes with the rest of the somewhat delayed Murray Basin project the track is still only capable of 80kmh trains.

Forget it Mike, it's gone. Even in WA they're thinking about killing off the rest of their trains bar the Prospector. Long distance rail in Australia isn't viable any more, cheap air travel has killed it.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Long distance rail in Australia isn't viable any more, cheap air travel has killed it.
don_dunstan

If you are prepared to cop $308.00 return, Melbourne to Mildura on the upcoming Queens Birthday weekend on my airline of choice. Virgin.

Not including of course travel to Melbourne airport, an additional minimum of $40.00 return or car parking which is an open ended expense at Melbourne airport...

Still 'cheap air travel' Question

Mike.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Forget it Mike, it's gone. Even in WA they're thinking about killing off the rest of their trains bar the Prospector. Long distance rail in Australia isn't viable any more, cheap air travel has killed it.
don_dunstan
The rest of WA trains? That's the Australind, twice daily to near Bunbury. Are there any more? Other than suburban services, which I reckon seem to come under your "rest of their trains" clause.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Why reviving a five year old thread was today’s course of action I have no idea but here we are.

I can’t be bothered going to look for it - maybe if this site had a functional search engine I might - but last time we went over this I demonstrated that Mildura’s public transport connection to Melbourne is superior to its peer cities on speed and frequency (and the fact there are two useful routes offered).

Why the taxpayer should be on the hook for a service that will be slower, less frequent, and therefore contribute precisely nothing to induced patronage, I have no idea.

Three routes actually PIMM, I'll leave it to you to find the third one if you wish....no not that one, that's arguably a fourth... Smile

You forgot to mention the election of an Independent MP at last years state election on a 12% swing from the National party, specifically, among other things to improve the PT options for people travelling to/from Mildura and other local matters.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Yes, I was oversimplifying the routes, but you clearly get my point.

What people voted for is really no indication of whether they will actually use any service that arrives. This is not my Melbourne-centrism: just because Melbourne voters collectively affirmed the Andrews government's transport agenda does not mean it is a well-planned one; there is little doubt that they are not taking the most efficient route to improve Melbourne's public transport.

The economics of operating either a gauge-isolated service using antiquated stock, or a through service on a ludicrously roundabout route through the countryside, are simply outrageous. The railway is now barely viable as a freight line, and even the great and glorious Commissioners knew from the beginning there was no money to be made carrying passengers where there was no freight.

Had the Bracks government made good on its promise way back in 2000 to return the train, this would be a very different discussion. The presence of a passenger service at the beginning of the era where Victorian governments accepted public transport could no longer be a profitable venture would have changed the calculus on gauge conversion drastically, and it would either have never been attempted, or provision made to retain the passenger train. I would not be arguing for the train's abolition in such circumstances, just as I do not argue for the cancellation of the heavily-subsidised long distance services which continue to operate.

But the train did not return, and in that time the landscape has changed dramatically. The ludicrous capital investment required to return even a basic service at this point, when there is no real evidence it would be used in any great numbers, means it is for me beyond the pale.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Forget it Mike, it's gone. Even in WA they're thinking about killing off the rest of their trains bar the Prospector. Long distance rail in Australia isn't viable any more, cheap air travel has killed it.
The rest of WA trains? That's the Australind, twice daily to near Bunbury. Are there any more? Other than suburban services, which I reckon seem to come under your "rest of their trains" clause.
duttonbay
There's another one that goes to Northam (from memory); so yeah the Australind has had a cloud over it.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Long distance rail in Australia isn't viable any more, cheap air travel has killed it.

If you are prepared to cop $308.00 return, Melbourne to Mildura on the upcoming Queens Birthday weekend on my airline of choice. Virgin.

Not including of course travel to Melbourne airport, an additional minimum of $40.00 return or car parking which is an open ended expense at Melbourne airport...

Still 'cheap air travel' Question

Mike.
The Vinelander
Last time I travelled to VIC as an SA resident I caught V/line all the way to Melbourne but only Ballarat-Melbourne was by train. I flew home from Melbourne for $79 Jetstar, no comparison with the Overdue, which wasn't even a consideration since I needed to first go to Ballarat for a few days there. On the return leg why the frig would I want to sit all day on a slow moving tourist boat all day when I got an extra half a day in Melbourne? That's stupid, it doesn't make sense.

Mildura is expensive but it's a smaller regional destination like here in SA so it's priced accordingly.

Forget it, Mike, the VIC government is in austerity mode now - there's no hope of expanded long-distance services right now.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Yes, I was oversimplifying the routes, but you clearly get my point.

What people voted for is really no indication of whether they will actually use any service that arrives. This is not my Melbourne-centrism: just because Melbourne voters collectively affirmed the Andrews government's transport agenda does not mean it is a well-planned one; there is little doubt that they are not taking the most efficient route to improve Melbourne's public transport.

The economics of operating either a gauge-isolated service using antiquated stock, or a through service on a ludicrously roundabout route through the countryside, are simply outrageous. The railway is now barely viable as a freight line, and even the great and glorious Commissioners knew from the beginning there was no money to be made carrying passengers where there was no freight.

Had the Bracks government made good on its promise way back in 2000 to return the train, this would be a very different discussion. The presence of a passenger service at the beginning of the era where Victorian governments accepted public transport could no longer be a profitable venture would have changed the calculus on gauge conversion drastically, and it would either have never been attempted, or provision made to retain the passenger train. I would not be arguing for the train's abolition in such circumstances, just as I do not argue for the cancellation of the heavily-subsidised long distance services which continue to operate.

But the train did not return, and in that time the landscape has changed dramatically. The ludicrous capital investment required to return even a basic service at this point, when there is no real evidence it would be used in any great numbers, means it is for me beyond the pale.
potatoinmymouth
All excellent points.

Despite his shortcomings Bracks at least mostly delivered on his rail promises; there was a huge amount of money spent on brand new rolling-stock on brand-new track and although the Bendigo single section and lack of standard-gauge convertibility was a bit of a blight on the whole its one of those public projects that delivered a big return to the people of Victoria.

On top of that they returned trains to both Ararat and Bairnsdale which was a big expense considering some of the infrastructure had been idle for some time.

Mildura is a bridge too far for reasons that have been done to death repeatedly for long-term members on this board, there's been at least three threads on Mildura that I can remember. My only thought is that perhaps longer term there could be an Adelaide by-pass built along the old Morkalla line through the Riverland (which would generate some rail traffic) through to Morgan and then along existing right-of-way to the standard gauge network north of Adelaide. It'd probably be much cheaper than some of the other by-pass options explored including Mildura-Broken Hill.

Just a thought.

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