With Horsham and the wider Grampians Region awaiting a return of effective rail services and other areas which could benefit from a daily service there remains potential in a regional rail link on the Melbourne - Adelaide route.
It won't ever win much market share from air. It would offer a realistic alternative to a long drive and one not everyone is able to make for diverse reasons. End-to-end traffic would always be welcome and can be won in the backpacker and senior travel markets as much as anywhere.
Yeah okay - so pay V/line to reinstate a once-a-day Dimboola Sprinter.
The present service still doesn't make any headway into providing the kind of service you're talking about: There's no need for Victorian taxpayers to be paying for a tourist-orientated train to go all the way through to Adelaide if the market you actually want to recapture is actually Wimmera-Ballarat-Melbourne. But as we've discussed before, it takes too long at five hours to Southern Cross and it's simply not a suitable service for Wimmera people - many of whom are actually not going any further than Ballarat.
There are multiple problems with the current service that GSR provides that makes it unsuitable as a regional train service.
Agree with all of the above. What the naysayers and doom-mongers are bleating about in these pages misses the point. The Overland isn't attempting to compete with the airlines, it's attempting to create and retain a clientele who don't need to pay $50.00 for an hour flight, but the tourist who has a day to see the countryside and travel through the Lofty Ranges & vice-versa. An increase in the frequency of the service will see an increase in patronage...it's always worked that way. Mike.
Unlike those services that Gwiwer mentioned, this train has had years and years of very high taxpayer subsidies and big money spent on re-doing stations to try and turn that situation around and yet it has continued to shed passengers. So obviously in your funny little Pollyanna world we should all keep paying for something just in case
the situation turns around. I have to ask - how many years should we keep throwing money at it do you think before you change your mind - until the only people riding it are the staff? What's your criteria to declare 'failed experiment, time to move on' or do you think it should just go on forever and ever because that's how you like your trains?
My argument is quite simple - there is a very limited pool of money for these things and presently the GSR Overland is not providing value for taxpayer money.
If you want to spend money on attracting tourists on a slow train trip then why not pay someone like SteamRail to run an authentic return trip to Adelaide once a week using various vintage rolling-stock? Or a semi-regular subsidised steam train to your favourite un-viable dream destination of Mildura? I reckon it would be a lot more popular than what GSR presently provide and subsidising heritage operations over the existing networks could be a real tourist draw-card, money much better spent. At the moment the GSR Overland is trying to be all things to all people - a serious commuter service for regional passengers - and an authentic and unique tourist experience for people who have all day to look at that landscape and appreciate the journey.It fails on both scores.
RTT_Rules hit the nail on the head earlier - why should everyone have to keep paying when there is no sign of the numbers turning around - why not shovel that money and someone else (other than GSR) to provide something that is either wholly-tourist orientated (subsidised heritage operations of some sort) or wholly-transport focused (V/line to run standard gauge Spinters to Horsham)?
I obviously have no hope of convincing you that the present model is undeserving of further government funding but I do hold out hope that the Victorian government is capable of reasoned thinking.