End of an Era

 
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Again, people, such as yourself who don't see an opportunity for growth of a service, but to cut it down because it's not paying in their bean-counter minds, and the rolling stock is old.
The Vinelander
The 'growth' that recently forced GSR to cut it down to twice a week?

Agreed, the train should operate daily...and no doubt that will come into the consideration of the GSR talks with the Victorian government.
The Vinelander

Obviously you would be delighted if the Victorian government saw what the SA Govt were wasting on trying to retain this dinosaur and threw even more money at it for some bizarre reason.

Before you pass judgement on the catering on the train, I travelled on The Overland last Saturday to Ararat and purchased food from the cafeteria car...may I ask when you last travelled on it https://www.railpage.com.au/images/smiles/icon_question.gif
The Vinelander
I haven't used it in years because like most normal people I find it slow, uncomfortable and too expensive compared with buses or flying. And that's the core of the problem, Mike, people aren't using it - if there are no passengers then doesn't matter if they've changed from soggy microwave pies to dry-as-a-chip bain marie food.

May I also suggest you take off your blinkers, swallow your bile, and accept your defeat graciously...and we can continue this discussion some time in 2018. Mike.
The Vinelander
'Graciously'? This is well and truly rich coming from someone who compulsively looks for any angle whatsoever to bring up their obsession with bringing back Mildura passenger services - despite being told by multiple people to cease and desist. In fact I noticed only last week you were picking at that scab yet again, yet you have the temerity to tell me to accept defeat graciously?

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  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
The 'growth' that recently forced GSR to cut it down to twice a week?

I'm not convinced it was "negative growth" which "forced" GSR to cut out the midweek service.  More a case of spotting a way to save a few bucks on access charges, hook and pull fees, staffing costs and rolling stock wear and tear for what was typically the least well used of the three round trips.

As well with only a single train set having just one day per week for maintenance might have proven inadequate.  

I assume GSR do actually do some maintenance?  Wink

  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Either way twice a week is not a meaningful service that deserves government funding.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
I'm not convinced it was "negative growth" which "forced" GSR to cut out the midweek service.  More a case of spotting a way to save a few bucks on access charges, hook and pull fees, staffing costs and rolling stock wear and tear for what was typically the least well used of the three round trips.

As well with only a single train set having just one day per week for maintenance might have proven inadequate.  

I assume GSR do actually do some maintenance?  Wink

Gwiwer
GSR maintenance is contracted to UGL Limited who have a maintenance/repair facility on-site at GSR's terminal at Keswick

The main reason slated for the withdrawal on the mid week Overland was an increase in the cost of the Hook and Pull contract with PN
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Either way twice a week is not a meaningful service that deserves government funding.
don_dunstan

I'm amused by your wacky way of thinking from an armchair commentator who says ...pfft...'I haven't used it in years'.

What makes you qualified to comment....you haven't used it in years...open bias ...did you have a run in with a conductor on it once....found yourself in 1st Class when you should have been in 2nd QuestionLaughing

Further to your wackiness...you are openly suggesting the service be axed in order to save it ExclamationLaughing

As you won't accept your argument is defeated with your flawed logic, I'm not dignifying any more of your bile or nonsensical bias with a response....

I'll continue this particular discussion in 2018.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
I've actually caught that medieval abomination at least half a dozen times up until 2012 (after the last refurbishment) when I finally decided that I preferred driving or flying or even the V/line bus if the first two weren't available. Earlier this year when I passed up an opportunity to catch it because I just couldn't be buggered being there at 6:30am on the appointed day to wait around for an hour for no reason other than they want to make it as passenger-unfriendly as possible by emulating a plane trip.

One of the only improvements I actually noticed over the years in so-called Red Class was the removal of the overhead TV's together with the enforced watching of rubbish movies - only for that to be replaced with the loudest and most unpleasant muzak I've ever heard in public... it makes trying to read extremely difficult.

But again - according to you I should keep catching that creaky, slow, expensive train and support it just in case it actually improves? How many times to you want me to get confined in that 11 and a half hour rattle-trap before I'm allowed to reach the same conclusion I got to earlier on?

Hmm, no thanks. I think I'll stick to my strategy of boycotting that substandard service until it get replaced with something that I want to use.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
As you won't accept your argument is defeated with your flawed logic, I'm not dignifying any more of your bile or nonsensical bias with a response....
The Vinelander
Being wrong doesn't stop you from trolling incessantly about the Mildura passenger train and yet you have the effrontery to try and shut people down that you don't agree with.
  patsstuffnow Junior Train Controller

To maintain the current model of the Overland is really a waste of time.  The current target market is for Pensioners and retired people to take a trip interstate. Too many things are not right with that marketing strategy. How many 80 year old people want to arrive at a station in the middle of the forest at 6.30 am? That means waking up before 5 am for many, to then be locked into a train for 11 hours and arrive mostly after dark. Then go the same process when you come back.

For people to take a trip to the football is completely useless. Leave at 7.40 Friday and get back to Adelaide Tuesday night. That means four nights in a hotel so it is cheaper to take a plane the night before the game and pay for three of your friends as well.  
For people who want to leave Melbourne you need to leave four days early and pay for a hotel as well.

The range of food and drink available is an insult to anybody who likes any quality of food and beverages.

To attract real people who will actually spend money on a quality daytime experience they need a proper dining car like they used to.
My last Easter trip was a total disaster. Train ran very late, the Hot cross bun offered was a soggy mash wrapped in clingwrap. And the stupid conductor told us at Bordertown that we would arrive in two hours in Adelaide.  Two x 1 seating is a real bonus for a social experience. And how do wheelchair people move between carriages anyway? How many places can you actually board or alight nowadays?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Either way twice a week is not a meaningful service that deserves government funding.

I'm amused by your wacky way of thinking from an armchair commentator who says ...pfft...'I haven't used it in years'.

What makes you qualified to comment....you haven't used it in years...open bias ...did you have a run in with a conductor on it once....found yourself in 1st Class when you should have been in 2nd QuestionLaughing

Further to your wackiness...you are openly suggesting the service be axed in order to save it ExclamationLaughing

As you won't accept your argument is defeated with your flawed logic, I'm not dignifying any more of your bile or nonsensical bias with a response....

I'll continue this particular discussion in 2018.
The Vinelander
No axe it now to save the taxpayer increasingly levels of subsidy per seat as numbers continue to decline as people who want to travel by rail between Mel and Adel continue to decline.

The same ongoing decline in long distance rail travellers has impacted QR's traditional landers including the still running SOTO and Westie and Inlander up until late last year and including the IP and GHAN.

In 2018, I suspect it will be finally finished.

Do I agree no, I don't want to see it close more than most gunzels. But why should the tax payer continue to prop up a method of transport people are increasingly don't want to use. At what point to we say enough?
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

Do I agree no, I don't want to see it close more than most gunzels. But why should the tax payer continue to prop up a method of transport people are increasingly don't want to use. At what point to we say enough?
RTT_Rules

Unlike in the desert country where you live and where fuel is but a few cents a litre and people probably don't travel on what little or any trains that operate in that God forsaken place, here in Victoria there's been a huge resurgence in regional rail travel, consequently provided services are frequent and timely as all regional trains are here, the people will vote with their feet and use them.

The only thing wrong with the Overland, apart from the obvious bile, and bias by some that they won't use it until the train meets THEIR standard of that mode of travel is the obvious necessity to operate the train as a daily service like all other regional Victorian services and there will, over time be an increase in patronage.

Also bearing in mind that it took almost a generation for increased frequency regional trains to be so well patronised as they are in Victoria, and due to the lack of trains on the Adelaide line and that only buses which are never as well patronised as trains, hence the generational change in the mode of travel on that line for the same reason has not occurred.

Hence my argument contrary to others against axing the service in order to save it.

Mike.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Maryborough re-started as a once-daily service.  Echuca was down to one return trip and one one-way per week.  Both now support more frequent daily trains (in addition to V/line coach services) thanks to financial support provided in part to support and develop regional Victoria.

The same applies to the Ararat extension.

While that latter could be argued to abstract traffic potential from the Overland it hardly offers any competition when the latter comes through late in the day twice a week - and too often later than scheduled as well and living up to its nickname of Overdue.

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.  

GSR has offered backpacker fares in Red Class seats for years so must recognise at least this much.  It's cheaper to buy a YHA / Nomads membership and a Backpacker ticket than it is to buy a full fare ticket.  I suspect few users realise and ever fewer would bother but that's the bottom line.

Three train sets would be required for a daily operation assuming one in traffic each way and one spare for maintenance.  A six-day service might just be possible with two sets though the margin for error is then uncomfortably small.  Even a five-days-a-week service (still using two sets) would be a huge improvement and be a credible travel option rather than the apology for service we have currently.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
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.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE

Do I agree no, I don't want to see it close more than most gunzels. But why should the tax payer continue to prop up a method of transport people are increasingly don't want to use. At what point to we say enough?
Unlike in the desert country where you live and where fuel is but a few cents a litre and people probably don't travel on what little or any trains that operate in that God forsaken place, here in Victoria there's been a huge resurgence in regional rail travel, consequently provided services are frequent and timely as all regional trains are here, the people will vote with their feet and use them.

The only thing wrong with the Overland, apart from the obvious bile, and bias by some that they won't use it until the train meets THEIR standard of that mode of travel is the obvious necessity to operate the train as a daily service like all other regional Victorian services and there will, over time be an increase in patronage.

Also bearing in mind that it took almost a generation for increased frequency regional trains to be so well patronised as they are in Victoria, and due to the lack of trains on the Adelaide line and that only buses which are never as well patronised as trains, hence the generational change in the mode of travel on that line for the same reason has not occurred.

Hence my argument contrary to others against axing the service in order to save it.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Petrol here is 75c($A) a litre Mike. No longer subsidised liked to world oil price and wasn't much lower before hand anyway.

Metro rail in Dubai move nearly EDIT 350,000 a day on two lines (15% of the Dubai population) and the tram is becoming more popular although currently route limited. Regional rail is underconstruction, passenger trains will only run where freight trains do.

Since GSR took over it, they have progressively cut it back in frequency to cut costs. With no subsidy it does not run.

The XPT has some viability as it at least serves serves the large population along the route it follows. Between Ararat and Adelaide there is very little population. Hence the train is very much capital to capital over a route Air is far superior.

As I said before. I support it, but it must be viable, it must have a purpose. Going from one subsidy to the next slowly dying is not a future. When do we say no more?

If you can show me data on the service that shows growth, pls do as I only hear the opposite. And as I said before, perhaps its under marketted for the special events?

Regards
Shane
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
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.  
Gwiwer
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.
Vinelander
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.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
An increase in the frequency of the service will see an increase in patronage...it's always worked that way.
The Vinelander
An increase in the frequency of the service will see an increase in cost too.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
I must admit if I won a huge Lotto prize I'd be tempted to talk to GSR and say, lets try this for one year just to see how it goes. Not sure on how many carriages of the current price you need to make the train profitable, but there are other ways to get people to depart with their cash as well/

Most Sat day or night or Sunday day only Adelaide based tea, Foot ball game in Mel will have a Footy Special as I mentioned above. Talk to both clubs to see how to max it suitability for the crowds and promote within the club and yes I'll be sticking the cheerleaders or ones of equal "talent" in the same outfit on that train too to help create the party atmosphere and get the alcohol running in moderation to keep in family friendly, serve the drinks, run promotions, play hostess in Melbourne etc.

I'd also be targeting other events in Mel, Grand PRix, Footy finals, anything that has a proven history of attracting Adelaidians in large numbers to Mel.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
don'ttellmywife An increase in the frequency of the service will see an increase in cost too.
Shh... don't tell Vinelander that. He thinks it's all free.

( personal attack removed -Mod)
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Are European Night/sleeper trains really booming?

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/09/02/travel/european-night-sleeper-trains/index.html?hpt=travel_hp_blogroll

First section here, rest in the link


It's close to midnight and Berlin's Hauptbahnhof central station is almost deserted.

But on platform five, there are scenes of mild chaos.
The City Night Line sleeper has just pulled in and passengers -- me among them -- are grabbing their luggage and eyeing up the carriages that, for the next eight hours, will be their hotel on wheels.
I've been fascinated by night trains ever since I first took a sleeper from Munich to the Hungarian capital Budapest 20 years ago.
Back then such trains were still relatively common sights in European cities not yet in thrall to the budget airline revolution.
Today, it's a different story.
Night services are in decline against the competition of cheap airfares and faster daytime intercity train services.
Yet the allure of the trans-European night sleeper, the star of countless literary and film classics from Agatha Christie to James Bond, continues to endure.
So what's it like riding today's night sleepers?
The passengers waiting with me at Berlin's main station for the sleeper linking Prague to Oberhausen in western Germany are a mixed group.
There's a young couple, just returned from a vacation in Turkey using their rail-and-fly ticket to make a last connection.
A Norwegian family of three, spending a night on the train on their way to Germany's Ruhr region.
There are businessmen in suits with smart leather roller bags, and a group of backpackers playing hacky sack on the platform.



After the train has rolled into the station, passengers jostle past each other with bags and suitcases until everyone has found their seat or compartment.
On City Night Line, travelers have the choice between three comfort categories.
These range from economy or deluxe sleeper compartments, couchette cars for group use or single berths in multi-berth compartments, and seated cars with six-seat-compartments or open saloon cars with reclining seats, depending on the route.
Sleeper trains are comprised of different cars from different national operators that are split and recombined at specific stops, making it possible to offer several connections with a relatively small number of cars.
My sleeper compartment is in a Czech car with its own friendly Czech attendant.
Further down the train German staff are looking after passengers in the couchette and seated cars.
"It's always a bit chaotic in the beginning, until everyone has found their seats," says Jeannine Kroggel as she welcomes me on board.
Wearing the uniform of German rail company Deutsche Bahn (DB), Kroggel is the supervisor (Gruppenleiter) on my train, looking after both passengers and staff.
"Once everyone is settled in this is actually a pretty relaxed job -- I often find time to look after paperwork between stops."
She's right.
After Kroggel checks my ticket, I hear the doors of the other passengers' compartments closing one after another and a relative quietness descends.
I'm not ready to sleep, and instead walk the length of the train.

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