SG ordered are 6 x 3 car sg inter Citys sets with buffet. On Albury they WILL run as 6 car sets so the initial sets will support a frequency of three trains each way daily plus 1 consist rotating PPM/spare. Each 3 car set only sits 150 , whereas a 4 car set would seat around 240. For Albury, Swan Hill, Warrnambool and Bairnsdale 4 car sets are a much better fit for patronage. The reason continually given is we have no choice - the existing maintenance facilities are all set up for 3 cars. A fourth consist of 2 x 3 car sets will be required ultimately to allow operation of a fourth and fifth daily return service as promised to Albury.
Seems a very lazy way to run a railway in that the maintenance pits at CMD , and Ballarat East are easily modified to lift 4 car sets. Plus potential new maintenance facilities at Ballarat West, Waurn Ponds etc can easily and should be be built to handle up to 4 car sets.
Effectively by failing to introduce a mix of 2, 3 and 4 car VL sets we are just blowing $ tens of millions dollars in wasted opex and maintenance costs over each year. Currently we can only run 3, 6 or 9v cars. With say 12 x 2 car, 44 x 4 car, and 50 x 3 car sets we could actually carry more pax at peak times and better match train sizes to patronage for each return trip pair . Viz: Off Peak trains of 2, 3, or 4 cars And at Peaks of 4, 6, 7, or 8 cars.
Take like Ballarat - Ararat, Ballarat - Maryborough, and Bendigo - Echuca we only need two cars, but we currently operate 3. So potentially we can cut train opex/maintenance costs by 1/3 rd !!!! Adds up to a lot of $ over a year which in the case of both Maryborough and Echuca could be used to increase service frequency each weekday by an extra return trip.
Plus 6 VL cars gives 444 seats , but 4+3 gives 310 or 2 x 4 gives 620 compared to 9 for 666. Why spend scarce capex buying extra drivers cabs that are rarely used, instead of maximizing peak seating for the paying punters ? Ironic given on-going failure to introduce a mix of 3 and 4 car sets going back over a decade through lack of foresight is now being blamed as the reason for not re-configuring the fleet when it is acknowledged that would be better today and going forward.