Great Southern Railways Sold and what does it mean now?

 
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Hi All,

Looks like GSR is cutting Indian Pacific and Ghan services again this morning...

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-06/great-southern-rail-halves-services-the-ghan-indian-pacific/6676174

Amazing - didn't think it was possible to cut them back any more than twice a week, but only once a week...wow.

Catcha,
Epsilon
Epsilon2012
The story is a tad misleading in respect to frequency, the title says "Great Southern Rail to halve services on Indian Pacific, The Ghan".
Yet further down it states "GSR currently operates 13 to 14 double-weekly services from Adelaide to Darwin during the Dry Season"

The fact is currently the Ghan and IP only run once a week with the second service running only during the peak season (May to August for the Ghan and September to November for the IP)  
And the Ghan currently only runs once a fortnight during the northern "Wet Season" (December and January)

And it should be noted the GSR CEO did say that the current weekly trains could be "lengthened to cater for increased demand"

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  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
The only reason both of these trains ran before was because they were 'propped up' by Government subsidies but the private sector who said they 'could do it better' have found that it cant be done.
Too much emphasis has been placed on the Tourist trade being the financier of many ventures based on the often erroneous projections that Tourists were going to beat a path to Australia's door.
Tourists did for a period but with that Global Financial Crash a few years ago, countries like Greece, Spain and a few others that suffered severely because of it, have kept the Tourist numbers down and of course the distance to travel to Australia, even by the fastest jet, is still a long long trip when you can go elsewhere quicker and cheaper.........

We have already lost the Southern Aurora and The Spirit of Progress so I wonder how long the Ghan and Indian Pacific will continue to pound the rails.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
The story is a tad misleading in respect to frequency, the title says "Great Southern Rail to halve services on Indian Pacific, The Ghan".
Yet further down it states "GSR currently operates 13 to 14 double-weekly services from Adelaide to Darwin during the Dry Season"
Pressman
I agree, the article had somewhat of a misleading headline; it's a total of about 12 services that have been pulled.

And it should be noted the GSR CEO did say that the current weekly trains could be "lengthened to cater for increased demand"
Pressman
They obviously aren't really sure how the changes to the Commonwealth scheme will actually affect those services but probably the peak season extras were going to go anyway.

Still no formal news from either GSR or the respective state governments about the future of the Overland... yet.
  nscaler69 Deputy Commissioner

Location: There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots.
There was kind-off an announcement re the Overland, "from July next year a standard pensioner fare between Adelaide and Bordertown will almost double ($45 to $83)", but they didn't say which train was going via Bordertown. Given the story was on the I.P. & Ghan read into it what you like.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
The only reason both of these trains ran before was because they were 'propped up' by Government subsidies but the private sector who said they 'could do it better' have found that it cant be done.
gordon_s1942
In my opinion the unusually high $AU after the GFC killed a lot of the international tourist trade that those trains relied on, think about it - we were more expensive than the USA to visit. That situation has eased now but I think the damage was done.

The roads through to Perth and through to Darwin are really excellent now, you don't need a 4WD to complete the journey by car and I think a great many people simply do that now anyway - if you don't have a lot of time then you naturally fly and rent a car once you're there. The potential market for the trains has shrunk because of competition from other modes but also because the train journey simply wouldn't appeal to lots of people - lots of people I know have driven across the Nullabor plain or to the Top End by car because you're free to set your own pace.

I don't know what the answer is personally - it will be interesting to see if anything else changes under the new ownership but I think you are fundamentally right about the private sector doing no better than AN in keeping these services viable - and I don't see any governments wanting to intervene to save the services from being eventually closed (if that's what ultimately happens).
  mclaren2007 Assistant Commissioner

Location: recharging my myki
$689 for a trip to Broken Hill, what a joke.

Who does GSR think we are, B. Bishop?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
You're paying for a journey, not a destination.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
$689 for a trip to Broken Hill, what a joke.

Who does GSR think we are, B. Bishop?
mclaren2007

Time to wake up and realise that the IP (and Ghan) are NOT commuter trains!

Current fare for that sector is $606. Gold class with 5 star service, and not sharing a seat with an unwashed druggie like Adelaide Metro expect you to do between Adelaide and Gawler!

If you'd bothered to read the linked article you'd see that the fare rises and service cuts are due to the Federal Government removing their subsidies of up to 55 per cent for pensioners and 88 per cent for war veterans that were part of the original privatisation agreement made in 1997 when GSR was formed.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

War vets and Pensioners don't get subsidised cruises around the coast from Sydney to Perth so why should they get subsidised luxury rail travel?
In the USA Amtrak, which is subsidised, give concession fares for seniors but they pay the same sleeping berth rates as full fare travellers.
Amtrak have a sliding scale for berth charges. Get in early and the costs are very reasonable; book the last berths and you pay through the nose.
The IP and Ghan are no longer "common carriers" and there are more cost effective ways of moving vets and pensioners about the country without loss of comfort.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
GSR also offer discounts for advance purchase fares (around 20% off)
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
With the recent withdrawal of the peak season second Ghan and IP services GSR have now announced changes to the Ghan Service for next year.
During the Peak season the South bound Ghan (4DA8 ) will be extended to a 4 day trip (instead of 3 days)
The Ghan between 3 August 2016 to 26 October 2016 will follow the new timetable
Wednesday
Depart Darwin        10.00am
Arrive Katherine      13.40pm - Off train tours (4 hours 40 mins)
Depart Katherine     18.20pm
Thursday
Arrive Alice Springs 10.00am  - Off train tours (11 hours 45 mins) (was 3hr 35mins)
Depart Alice Springs 21.45pm  
Friday
Arrive Coober Pedy (Manguri) 09.00am - Off train tours (8 hours 45mins) (was 1hr 50 mins)
Depart Coober Pedy (Manguri) 17.45pm
Saturday
Arrive Adelaide       10.45am
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Interesting changes.  I wonder if this extra time might add to the perceived value to the passengers?
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Along with shedding the ball-and-chain which was the Overland, it certainly signals that the new management have quickly done what Serco failed to do in the entire time they ran the joint - made a firm decision as to what they are actually operating instead of continuing to do a worse job of being an all-rounder than Shane Watson.
  SA_trains Deputy Commissioner

Location: ACT
Interesting changes.  I wonder if this extra time might add to the perceived value to the passengers?
jamesbushell.au
Perhaps... It interests me as a potential passenger, but would depend on what the "shore excursions" were to use the cruise liner analogy.

Much travel is at night according to the schedule posted... that is a double edge sword... you don't then get to see much of the landscape which, to me at least, is also part of the adventure.

Anyway, focusing on the cruise liner aspect is probably a good move...
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
As observed earlier, new management is not mucking around. Is Economy class (Red or whatever they call it) going to be taken away completely from all services or just the Indian-Pacific?

When I last took the Ghan it was GSR's early days and it was straight through from Alice Springs to Adelaide. Those days of being a train with a proper destination are long gone now aren't they.
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
I've just read that Red class is being taken off the Indian Pacific in the second half of next year.

A much fairer arrangement IMHO would be for subsidies to be retained just for Red class as someone relying on a pension alone would not be able to afford to travel in Gold Class.

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