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" Inlander and the Westlander, they are continuing "

Started by ozbob, October 30, 2014, 10:22:32 AM

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ozbob

Queensland Parliament Hansard 29th October 2014
Inlander and the Westlander, they are continuing

Questions without notice:

Mr KATTER: My question without notice is to the Minister for Transport and Main Roads. Senior citizens and lower income members in remote western and north-western communities critically rely upon the Inlander rail passenger service, with limited other modes of transport available. Will the minister commit to improving this service, as has been done in Brisbane, and in doing so ensure that the Inlander is not taken away from us?

Mr EMERSON: I thank the member for Mount Isa for the question. In terms of the Inlander and the Westlander, they are continuing. I understand the importance of rail travel across Queensland, and they are continuing as services. We have made no decision in terms of changing that at all. What I would say to the member for Mount Isa is that across public transport we are delivering for Queensland and we will continue to deliver for Queensland. Since we have come into office, we now have the most reliable metropolitan public transport rail system in Australia and the most reliable in Queensland Rail's proud 150-year history.

Next week we will see a historic day for public transport in Queensland, because we will see for the first time in Queensland history a state-wide cut in public transport fares—the first time this has ever occurred. As you know, Madam Speaker, we went out to the community and asked them how they would like to see us spend the savings from the axed carbon tax. Overwhelmingly, the feedback from the more than 22,000 people who got involved in that survey was that they wanted to see us cut fares. That is understandable, given their experience under Labor and under the now Leader of the Opposition when she was transport minister. There were 15 per cent fare increases every year—year after year after year—and they planned to keep on going that way year after year.

In fact, under Labor, in their last three years in office we saw fares go up by 52 per cent—in just three years. Since we came to office we have kept our very clear election promise to halve Labor's planned fare increases. We have brought in the incredibly successful free trips after nine journeys. Every week about 80,000 people benefit from that policy. As I said, on 3 November we will see, for the first time in Queensland history, a state-wide cut to public transport fares. Let's be very clear about that: this is not just in Brisbane or in the south-east corner; this is across the state. Wherever we run public transport we will see this five per cent cut. We are delivering, unlike Labor, unlike the then transport minister and now Leader of the Opposition, unlike members opposite such as the member for Mulgrave who voted to support increasing fares by 15 per cent year after year after year after year after year. That was Labor's sole policy on public transport: to keep putting fares up. We know that if they get back into power what will they do? They will put it up again by 15 per cent every year—year after year after year because that was the Leader of the Opposition's policy.
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ozbob

Twitter

Robert Dow ‏@Robert_Dow

. @scottemerson Good news re Inlander and Westlander thanks. Can freight be put back on them please? Used to work well and generates $$
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dancingmongoose

Apparently the Inlander is losing it's sleeping cars next year.

ozbob

The Spirit of Queensland is not a very enjoyable journey according to some who have done it.

Long distance passenger rail in Queensland is largely finished. 

I am grateful that I have experienced the great days of passenger rail.  Many here and those to come will never get the opportunity, the pleasure, the thrills and sheer relaxing enjoyment of long distance rail travel say from Melbourne to Cairns as it was.

It's over. 
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ozbob

The North West Star --> Sleeping, dining cars scrapped on Inlander Rail service

QuoteSleeping, dining cars scrapped on Inlander Rail service
By BRAD THOMPSON
Nov. 16, 2014, 8 p.m.

In a move by Queensland Rail and the state government, passengers on the historic Mount Isa to Townsville rail service will be forced to sit up for the 20-hour trip, with sleeping and dining cars scrapped.

Queensland Rail has blamed the retirement of 60-year-old carriages for the change.

"The removal of older carriages from the fleet means the Inlander and Westlander will now offer seated-only services from 1 January 2015," Queensland Rail executive general manager customer service Martin Ryan said.

Despite the loss of the sleeping and dining cars, Mr Ryan was adamant that "customers can continue to expect the same great service".

"But carriages may look a little different as the on-board offering has changed," he said.

Mount Isa Mayor Tony McGrady slammed the move as a masked way to force the closure of the service, with the Inlander becoming less attractive for passengers, forcing a likely drop in patronage.

"This is an insult to the west and it is essentially closure by stealth," he said.

"The passengers, many of them elderly, will be treated like second-class citizens.

"To expect seniors to sit up for that duration is impossible and an absolute insult.

''It is setting transport back 100 years."

Cr McGrady said the move was likely to be part of the state government's plan to privatise state-owned assets, including the Mount Isa to Townsville rail line.

The Inlander service runs at a loss and would be a sticking point for likely suitors to take up the long-term lease of the rail line.

"I agree some state-owned assets should be privatised but not transport, which is a community service obligation," Cr McGrady said.
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Sent to all outlets:

17th November 2014

Vale Westlander and Inlander

Greetings,

Rumours  have been confirmed.  The Westlander and the Inlander, our two great Queensland Inland passenger trains are to lose their onboard facilities such as sleeping and dining cars.

The North West Star --> http://www.northweststar.com.au/story/2700489/sleeping-dining-cars-scrapped-on-inlander-rail-service/?cs=12

This is reality means the end of these services.  It is doubtful that passengers will even bother once the basic facilities are removed.  It is clearing the way for the privatisation of the Mount Isa - Townsville railway (Inlander) and the closure of the Western line (Westlander).

INLANDER to lose sleeping cars and snack-bar lounge car. John Coyle video.
--> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHvlgbxqjOw

A very sad day for passenger rail in Queensland.

QuoteQueensland Parliament Hansard 29th October 2014
Inlander and the Westlander, they are continuing

Questions without notice:

Mr KATTER: My question without notice is to the Minister for Transport and Main Roads. Senior citizens and lower income members in remote western and north-western communities critically rely upon the Inlander rail passenger service, with limited other modes of transport available. Will the minister commit to improving this service, as has been done in Brisbane, and in doing so ensure that the Inlander is not taken away from us?

Mr EMERSON: I thank the member for Mount Isa for the question. In terms of the Inlander and the Westlander, they are continuing. I understand the importance of rail travel across Queensland, and they are continuing as services. We have made no decision in terms of changing that at all. What I would say to the member for Mount Isa is that across public transport we are delivering for Queensland and we will continue to deliver for Queensland. Since we have come into office, we now have the most reliable metropolitan public transport rail system in Australia and the most reliable in Queensland Rail's proud 150-year history.

Next week we will see a historic day for public transport in Queensland, because we will see for the first time in Queensland history a state-wide cut in public transport fares—the first time this has ever occurred. As you know, Madam Speaker, we went out to the community and asked them how they would like to see us spend the savings from the axed carbon tax. Overwhelmingly, the feedback from the more than 22,000 people who got involved in that survey was that they wanted to see us cut fares. That is understandable, given their experience under Labor and under the now Leader of the Opposition when she was transport minister. There were 15 per cent fare increases every year—year after year after year—and they planned to keep on going that way year after year.

In fact, under Labor, in their last three years in office we saw fares go up by 52 per cent—in just three years. Since we came to office we have kept our very clear election promise to halve Labor's planned fare increases. We have brought in the incredibly successful free trips after nine journeys. Every week about 80,000 people benefit from that policy. As I said, on 3 November we will see, for the first time in Queensland history, a state-wide cut to public transport fares. Let's be very clear about that: this is not just in Brisbane or in the south-east corner; this is across the state. Wherever we run public transport we will see this five per cent cut. We are delivering, unlike Labor, unlike the then transport minister and now Leader of the Opposition, unlike members opposite such as the member for Mulgrave who voted to support increasing fares by 15 per cent year after year after year after year after year. That was Labor's sole policy on public transport: to keep putting fares up. We know that if they get back into power what will they do? They will put it up again by 15 per cent every year—year after year after year because that was the Leader of the Opposition's policy.

Best wishes
Robert

Robert Dow
Administration
admin@backontrack.org
RAIL Back On Track http://backontrack.org
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ozbob

Junk them.  Roll out the Road Coaches.

No one is using them in significant numbers, Queensland Rail has done its best to run them at poor times and ensure their demise.

Next to be flogged off will be Queensland Rail itself no doubt.
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SurfRail

Quote from: ozbob on November 17, 2014, 17:12:34 PM
Next to be flogged off will be Queensland Rail itself no doubt.

Along with many other members, I consider that it remains to be seen whether this is actually a bad thing.

QR is far too hidebound to operate the 'lander services in a way which would actually do them some justice.  The timetables are wretched and useless for the most part, and what actual effort has there been to fix them?

They should have invested in some 6 car DMUs in the 1990s, then the rollingstock wouldn't have been an excuse.  Far too late now.
Ride the G:

ozbob

Yep, all over now.

I think it was 1989, widespread pilot strike (commercial).  I had to go a conference in Adelaide from Sydney.  I went by bus.  It was horrid.  I remember that the bus stopped at all the level crossings though  before proceeding ( I think it was the law in NSW at the time).

It was such a rugged trip that to come back to Sydney I went to the RAAF Base at Edinburgh and hitched a ride on Hercules back to Richmond (I was in the green machine at that time).

Coaches today are more comfortable no doubt.  The thing I don't like is that you cannot move around in the same way as a train, and not the facilities dining cars etc.  Some sleeper buses do operate overseas but I don't think there are any running in Oz - anyone know?



Indian sleeper bus ...
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ozbob

QRNational's 2388 hauls #3M34 (The Inlander) between Antill Plains and Woodstock.

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ozbob

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dancingmongoose

If the Westy left Brisbane Friday night I would ride it regularly. Instead it's the middle of the week, not exactly helpful for someone with a full time job.

ozbob

The Westlander has the distinction of being one of a few Queensland rail passenger services that was air conditioned and steam hauled.

1959  The Westlander leaving Roma, double headed PB15s


http://www.queenslandplaces.com.au/sites/queenslandplaces.com.au/files/imagecache/thumbnail/exhibits/slides/PAC136.jpg

on http://www.queenslandplaces.com.au/category/headwords/roma?page=5
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From http://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=7301.0

On the way to Charleville, 1994.  This was an ARHS tour to Wandoan, Charleville, Quilpie and Cunnamulla

Passing inbound Westlander west of Toowoomba



Charleville or bust!



Lunch on the 3' 6"



Photographs R Dow May 1994.
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mufreight

#14
While it would be difficult to make an argument for the retention of the Inlander a case can be mare for the retention of the Westlander which is seemingly to be sacrificed on the alter of political bastardy.

Some two years ago a submission was made to Queensland Rail that would have seen an acceleration of the trains running times and a more efficient operation but this proposal like so many others was passed straight into the too hard basket on the premise that it was too difficult, would require changes to operating practices, was not how we do things, the main problem was not what could be done but what we dont want to do.

It is well past time that some more of the cant do that chairs in Queensland Rail were emptied out and refill with fresh grey matter with a new culture, a culture of lets make this work rather than a culture of lets do nothing.

The rescheduling would have seen the Westie depart Brisbane at 3.00pm from either Platform 2 or 3, the first time saving would be the 10 minutes the train took to traverse the line between Roma Street platform 10 and the Main Western Line.  The response, train pathing problems and to the starting the train from platform 2 or 3 was the old fall back of bureaucratic bull artists, we havent done it that way.

The next time saving was in the accelerated running achieved by using a pair of 60tonne locos, there is no reason why they could not be operated at a 100kph maximum line speed in place of the existing 80 kph, a time saving of better than 40 minutes between Brisbane and Toowoomba, it can be done elsewhere so why not here. on reaching Toowoomba more time can be saved by doing away with the archaic practice of hauling the train in and back out of the platform at Toowoomba.  A purpose built simple platform of about 70m length could be constructed alongside the western leg of the fork junction and would save a further 10 minutes.

The accelerated running times possible with the lighter locos would see another 15 minutes off the table between Toowoomba and Roma and another 20 minutes could be taken off the running times between Roma and Charleville.

Compared to the present running times a saving in total of 95minutes overall, enough of a shortning of journey time and coupled with the more convenient timings enough to attract some custom.

The next part of the submission was freight, if Aurizon does not want to haul freight why should Queensland Rail be denied the opportunity, the equipment needed is small, six container flats, these could be easily loaded from road with a side lift container trailer and could be loaded with the clients freight anywhere in the Brisbane metropolitan area and moved k kto rail at a bare bones depot at say Wacol, no shunting required.  Freight for Roma could be dropped off at a short run through siding and eastbound a single shunt move and a continuity test and the train would be on its way,  The loading of containers could be subcontracted out with all the equipment needed supplied by the contractor, the train does what rail does best and the trucking operation has a vested interest in making it all work.

Why has it not happened, incompetence, laxiness the George Street warrior mentality, hold my chair and do nothing untill I get back and collect my pension, take your pick and probably a little of all of the above.

The excuse of the age of the rollingstock, yes it is getting a bit long in the tooth but the heritage groups con manage to fit even older rollingstock with retention toilets, say five cars at most and fitting one car with disability access is no great expense.

If it all works a political win if it fails after an honest try, the costs are minimal and it would be seen for what it was, an honest attempt.

Next question which western Queensland politician has the balls to try ...

beauyboy

I am seriously P*ssed over this. I missed traveling on the Sunlander due to his b*rstead boss now we are going to miss out on the other.
I am disgusted!
www.space4cyclingbne.com
www.cbdbug.org.au

ozbob

#16
Brisbanetimes --> Westlander and Inlander to lose dining and sleeping cars

QuoteWestlander and Inlander to lose dining and sleeping cars

Two of Queensland's great train journeys – the Westlander and the Inlander - are going to change forever after Christmas, when the dining and sleeping cars are removed from January 1, Queensland Rail has confirmed.

Passengers on both trains – introduced in the 1950s - will no longer be able to enjoy the romance of the sleeping or restaurant cars, which have long been part of the romance and attraction of the two services.

The 777 kilometre Westlander service runs twice-weekly between Brisbane and Charleville.

It became known as "The Westlander" in August 1954, when the service evolved from the train service known as "Western Mail" which had run between Brisbane and Roma since 1888.

In North Queensland, The Inlander was introduced in 1953 and still runs twice weekly between Mt Isa and Townsville.

It is a slow trip, taking 21 hours to complete a journey of 977 kilometres.

Queensland's regional rail map. The Inlander is shown in dark green and the Westlander in yellow.



Queensland Rail's general manager of customer service Martin Ryan confirmed that sleeping and dining cars would be removed from the Westlander and the Inlander at the beginning of 2015.

"The removal of older carriages from the fleet means the Inlander and Westlander will now offer seated-only services from 1 January 2015," Mr Ryan said in a statement.

The Inlander will lose its first-class "roomettes" and "twinette" sleeping cars and its club car.

The Westlander will lose its "twin" and "triple sleeper" cars and it's licensed club car, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinners and a range of drinks.

Despite the loss of the sleeping and dining cars, Mr Ryan was adamant that "customers can continue to expect the same great service", the statement reads.

"But carriages may look a little different as the on-board offering has changed," he said.

In State Parliament last month, Mr Isa MP Rob Katter asked Transport Minister Scott Emerson if there were changes being made to the Mt Isa to Townsville, Inlander and Westlander rail services.

Mr Emerson said the services would continue, but did not tell Parliament that dining or sleeping cars on both services would be withdrawn.

"I thank the member for Mount Isa for the question," Mr Emerson said.

"In terms of the Inlander and the Westlander, they are continuing," Mr Emerson said on October 29.

"I understand the importance of rail travel across Queensland, and they are continuing as services."

He went to criticise the Labor Party for its fare increases before 2012 – two years ago - when the LNP won office.

A spokesperson for Mr Emerson said the decision to withdraw the dining and sleeping cars was only made last week.

"On advice from engineering experts, the carriages must be retired by the end of this year as they are 60 years old," the spokeswoman said.

"This decision was only made early last week."

Rail: Back on Track spokesman Robert Dow said the changes meant the inevitable decline of the two historic rail services.

"This in reality means the end of these services," Mr Dow said.

"It is doubtful that passengers will even bother once the basic facilities are removed,"he said.

"It is clearing the way for the privatisation of the Mount Isa - Townsville railway, or The Inlander, and the closure of the Western line, Westlander."

The Sunlander will also be retired at the end of 2014 and will be replaced by three new "Spirit of Queensland" trains which have been built by Maryborough's Downer Rail.

Former Labor MP, now Mt Isa Mayor Tony McGrady, has told his local paper, the North West Star, the move was an insult to the West.

He said it was a masked way to force the closure of the service, because the Inlander would become becoming less attractive for passengers, forcing a likely drop in patronage.

"This is an insult to the west and it is essentially closure by stealth," he said.

"The passengers, many of them elderly, will be treated like second-class citizens.

"To expect seniors to sit up for that duration is impossible and an absolute insult."
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Sent to all outlets:

19th November 2014

Westlander and Inlander - two great icons smashed by incompetence

Greetings,

The loss of the Westlander and Inlander as we know it is a sad day.  It is not as though we have not tried.  We did put plans forward that would have turned around the services, but the will to succeed is not there in Queensland.  A Media Release from April 2012 below, a sad reflection on transport mediocrity in Queensland.

Today,  Brisbanetimes -->  Westlander and Inlander to lose dining and sleeping cars

Best wishes
Robert

Robert Dow
Administration
admin@backontrack.org
RAIL Back On Track http://backontrack.org

============================



Media Release 12 April 2012

Queensland:  Long distance passenger rail travel is a winner!

RAIL Back On Track (http://backontrack.org) a web based community support group for rail and public transport and an advocate for public transport is highlighting the value of the long distance passenger rail services in Queensland.  Today RAIL Back On Track representatives will be departing Brisbane on the Westlander and will be arriving in Charleville at noon on Friday (13th April).

Robert Dow, Spokesman for RAIL Back On Track said:

"The Westlander is one of the great long distance passenger trains in Queensland. In 2004 there were Golden Anniversary celebrations marking 50 years of the Westlander serving the community and visitors of western Queensland (1). The long distance passenger trains in Queensland are unique.  Providing a quality tourist travel experience they are also important transport communication links for many remote towns throughout Queensland. The Sunlander, the Spirit of the Outback, the Westlander, the Inlander and the Tilt Train services all value add to the economy of Queensland, directly and indirectly.  This was further reinforced with Queensland Rail's Traveltrain Holidays taking out the Major Tourist Attraction award at the 2008 Outback Queensland Tourism Awards (2)."

"Subsidies to Queensland Rail's long distance passenger trains are sensible and are of benefit to the whole community.  Support for the rural community by the Queensland Government in maintaining and improving these services is to be applauded.  It should also be noted that public transport in south-east Queensland is also heavily subsidised.  So is health, electricity, water, education and other transport modes.  Rarely is the true cost of road and air infrastructure, and their environmental penalties costed into those transport modes. If they were, they too would show distortions of cost and subsidies. The cost of road trauma is breaking our nation (3). As freight is moved from rail to road, ever increasing numbers of road trucks are causing costly road damage. Queensland is more than just the south-east! Rail subsidies are returned as broader economic benefits which is why the world getting on with the rail revolution."

"Governments are there to support their communities. Governments lost the transport plot in the 1950s and until recently have lacked the long term vision of our pioneers who laid down our basic rail network.  For example, the myopia demonstrated when the Gold Coast and Tweed Heads railways were closed during the 1960s and right of way lost is now hitting home in exorbitant infrastructure costs to re-establish those lines."

"In twenty or thirty years it is highly likely that the only sustainable bulk transport mode will be rail.  Air and road will be subject to extreme fuel and environmental costs. Governments need to be thinking long term and therefore expanding and continuing support for rail networks.  Rail is the safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly transport solution for Queensland and the nation."

"RAIL Back On Track has reason to believe the Westlander passenger rail service may be ceased in the not too distant future.  The aging Queensland Rail long distance passenger carriage fleet needs replacement. Consideration should then be given to other new diesel/hybrid multiple unit train sets besides the tilt trains for more local and long distance inland passenger services in Queensland (4). Regular commuter services could also be introduced from places such as Gatton, Helidon, and eventually Toowoomba and further west, and similarly from Gympie North and Maryborough.  Apart from the coastal services more local rail services for major provincial cities in Queensland could also be achieved. Local commuter rail services could be established in places like Cairns and Townsville with a bit of vision (5).

"Queensland Rail could also provide a light freight service attached as part of the inland passenger services.  The loss of regular rail freight services to towns such as Cunnamulla and Quilpie, and Charleville is hurting these communities."

"Country rail passenger services have boomed in Victoria under the V/Line banner.  There is no reason why similar results can not be achieved for rural Queensland."

References:

1.   WESTLANDER CELEBRATES GOLDEN MILESTONE http://statements.cabinet.qld.gov.au/MMS/StatementDisplaySingle.aspx?id=36990

2.   http://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=1510.0

3.   Road trauma is breaking the nation http://www.brisinst.org.au/here-and-now/october-2010-issue/7

4.   http://www.hitachi-rail.com/products/rolling_stock/hybrid/index.html

5.   http://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=4683.0

Contact:

Robert Dow
Administration
admin@backontrack.org
RAIL Back On Track http://backontrack.org
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Sent to all outlets:

19th November 2014

=====================

From the archives ... http://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=7301.msg94869#msg94869

15th April 2012

The Westlander

Greetings,

The journey to Charleville on the Westlander, departure 7.15pm  Thursday 12th April from Brisbane, return from Charleville, departure 6.15pm Friday the 13th April was a most enjoyable journey.

The Queensland Rail Travel train staff onboard were very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable.  Their attention in  making sure all passengers had a pleasant journey was exemplary.  Well done.

Some pictures here --> http://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=7301.msg94734#msg94734

The bigger issue though is the future of the Westlander and the Inlander services.  These are very important rail services for inland Queensland.  They are transport communication links and economic drivers.

The loss of these services would have a devastating impact on the respective communities.

There is a requirement for public transport operators to meet the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) which sets out to make public transport accessible to all users, including wheelchairs.  The Westlander passenger carriages were built in 1954, a long time before the DDA requirements were known.  The date that these requirements must be meet is 2016.  What can be done is that one sleeper carriage, and one sitting carriage be modified for wheelchair access.  This would allow the service to continue.

To further defray costs of running the train, the freight service that was once provided by the Westlander be re-instituted.  Historically the Westlander has always had a number of freight wagons attached to transport general goods.  The freight service was never started again after the 2011 floods. Putting freight back onto the Westlander would  serve the community well as there are problems with time reliability and damage of the road transport.   I was able to speak to a number of local business people who are having major problems with damage to goods transported by road, which they did not suffer when the Westlander was carrying freight.  Also the road transport is unreliable as to delivery dates. When the freight was being moved by rail the delivery was much more certain.

The Westlander is a great rail journey.  It could be improved by tweaking the timetable.  Presently it leaves Brisbane at 7.15pm Tue and Thu, if this was changed to around 3.30pm on Mon and Thu it would make for better intermediate transport links, and provide a daylight run up the range, a strong tourist initiative.  The return could be 10pm out of Charleville on the Tue and Fri.  Again provide more useful times for passengers and, another daylight run down the range.  Improved marketing and the service is a big success, and provides the community with a safe alternative to the road nightmare.

We have invested a lot of money in our rail network.  It is time it was utilised properly.  The damage being done to the road system by ever increasing truck transport is out of control, and the cost of road trauma is breaking the nation.

Time to get freight back onto rail.

Best wishes,
Robert

Robert Dow
Administration
admin@backontrack.org
RAIL Back On Track http://backontrack.org

Quote from: ozbob on November 19, 2014, 03:49:34 AM
Sent to all outlets:

19th November 2014

Westlander and Inlander - two great icons smashed by incompetence

Greetings,

The loss of the Westlander and Inlander as we know it is a sad day.  It is not as though we have not tried.  We did put plans forward that would have turned around the services, but the will to succeed is not there in Queensland.  A Media Release from April 2012 below, a sad reflection on transport mediocrity in Queensland.

Today,  Brisbanetimes -->  Westlander and Inlander to lose dining and sleeping cars

Best wishes
Robert

Robert Dow
Administration
admin@backontrack.org
RAIL Back On Track http://backontrack.org

============================



Media Release 12 April 2012

Queensland:  Long distance passenger rail travel is a winner!

RAIL Back On Track (http://backontrack.org) a web based community support group for rail and public transport and an advocate for public transport is highlighting the value of the long distance passenger rail services in Queensland.  Today RAIL Back On Track representatives will be departing Brisbane on the Westlander and will be arriving in Charleville at noon on Friday (13th April).

Robert Dow, Spokesman for RAIL Back On Track said:

"The Westlander is one of the great long distance passenger trains in Queensland. In 2004 there were Golden Anniversary celebrations marking 50 years of the Westlander serving the community and visitors of western Queensland (1). The long distance passenger trains in Queensland are unique.  Providing a quality tourist travel experience they are also important transport communication links for many remote towns throughout Queensland. The Sunlander, the Spirit of the Outback, the Westlander, the Inlander and the Tilt Train services all value add to the economy of Queensland, directly and indirectly.  This was further reinforced with Queensland Rail's Traveltrain Holidays taking out the Major Tourist Attraction award at the 2008 Outback Queensland Tourism Awards (2)."

"Subsidies to Queensland Rail's long distance passenger trains are sensible and are of benefit to the whole community.  Support for the rural community by the Queensland Government in maintaining and improving these services is to be applauded.  It should also be noted that public transport in south-east Queensland is also heavily subsidised.  So is health, electricity, water, education and other transport modes.  Rarely is the true cost of road and air infrastructure, and their environmental penalties costed into those transport modes. If they were, they too would show distortions of cost and subsidies. The cost of road trauma is breaking our nation (3). As freight is moved from rail to road, ever increasing numbers of road trucks are causing costly road damage. Queensland is more than just the south-east! Rail subsidies are returned as broader economic benefits which is why the world getting on with the rail revolution."

"Governments are there to support their communities. Governments lost the transport plot in the 1950s and until recently have lacked the long term vision of our pioneers who laid down our basic rail network.  For example, the myopia demonstrated when the Gold Coast and Tweed Heads railways were closed during the 1960s and right of way lost is now hitting home in exorbitant infrastructure costs to re-establish those lines."

"In twenty or thirty years it is highly likely that the only sustainable bulk transport mode will be rail.  Air and road will be subject to extreme fuel and environmental costs. Governments need to be thinking long term and therefore expanding and continuing support for rail networks.  Rail is the safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly transport solution for Queensland and the nation."

"RAIL Back On Track has reason to believe the Westlander passenger rail service may be ceased in the not too distant future.  The aging Queensland Rail long distance passenger carriage fleet needs replacement. Consideration should then be given to other new diesel/hybrid multiple unit train sets besides the tilt trains for more local and long distance inland passenger services in Queensland (4). Regular commuter services could also be introduced from places such as Gatton, Helidon, and eventually Toowoomba and further west, and similarly from Gympie North and Maryborough.  Apart from the coastal services more local rail services for major provincial cities in Queensland could also be achieved. Local commuter rail services could be established in places like Cairns and Townsville with a bit of vision (5).

"Queensland Rail could also provide a light freight service attached as part of the inland passenger services.  The loss of regular rail freight services to towns such as Cunnamulla and Quilpie, and Charleville is hurting these communities."

"Country rail passenger services have boomed in Victoria under the V/Line banner.  There is no reason why similar results can not be achieved for rural Queensland."

References:

1.   WESTLANDER CELEBRATES GOLDEN MILESTONE http://statements.cabinet.qld.gov.au/MMS/StatementDisplaySingle.aspx?id=36990

2.   http://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=1510.0

3.   Road trauma is breaking the nation http://www.brisinst.org.au/here-and-now/october-2010-issue/7

4.   http://www.hitachi-rail.com/products/rolling_stock/hybrid/index.html

5.   http://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=4683.0

Contact:

Robert Dow
Administration
admin@backontrack.org
RAIL Back On Track http://backontrack.org
Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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ozbob

Letter to the editor Queensland Times published 19th November 2014 page 21

Sad day for our railways

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Stillwater

#20
It is the death of a thousand cuts for the Westlander and Inlander.  The freight operations that made the Westlander, in particular, earn revenue beyond seat sales were removed and now a once proud train and an iconic journey will become a bus on steel wheels.  The very things that make the Westlander attractive are being stripped away.

In 2012, when I made the journey, I met an entire extended family of German tourists who said they had booked passage to see 'the Outback', and it was one of the highlights of their visit to Australia.   What will distinguish the service now?  People will start making direct fare comparisons between the train and the Greyhound bus, because there will be little difference.

And what of Mr Emerson's behaviour in parliament?  At the time he replied to Mr Katter's question, he possibly knew sleepers and dining facilities would be removed, but perhaps chose to tell only part of the story.

Could the crunch have come because QR would have had to spend a little money making the trains DDA compliant?  That could be achieved by altering the configuration of one carriage on each train, not the whole train set.

ozbob

Been invited for a chat on 4BC Newstalk 1116 afternoons with Clare Blake, about the Inlander and Westlander ~ 12.45pm today.
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ozbob

Quote from: ozbob on November 19, 2014, 12:31:12 PM
Been invited for a chat on 4BC Newstalk 1116 afternoons with Clare Blake, about the Inlander and Westlander ~ 12.45pm today.

Interview on 4BC with Clare --> here!  mp3
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ozbob

#23
Fact, the freight did return good revenue, actual advice from Queensland Rail.  It was also a great service - a fact verified by face to face meetings with business folk in Charleville.

Fact, Queensland Rail was prohibited from running freight after the split of Queensland Rail/National. There were some moves to reinstate the freight but this has gone west (poor pun I know).

Yes we all know patronage has waned a lot, particularly on the Inlander.

There was a good case to improve the timetable for the Westlander and put back the frieght.  Queensland Rail will be permitted to run freight again next year I think.

I had meetings about 5 years ago re the possibility of DMUs.  In fact even met with a Bombardier Rep who was real keen for 3'6" velocities. 

The stalemate was more at TMR level.

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ozbob

Quote from: ozbob on November 19, 2014, 13:04:50 PM
Quote from: ozbob on November 19, 2014, 12:31:12 PM
Been invited for a chat on 4BC Newstalk 1116 afternoons with Clare Blake, about the Inlander and Westlander ~ 12.45pm today.

Interview on 4BC with Clare --> here!  mp3

Verbal typo ... Tony McGrady is the Mayor of Mount Isa (not Townsville .. a track fault of sorts ..  :P )
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ozbob

Quote... YEs, I see this as the beginning of the end, but also why did the govt even retain the train at all? ...

A good and fair question.

Two schools of thought:

Glass half empty - waiting till after Queensland Votes to stop them absolutely.

Glass half full - still a chance of DMUs ...

So there you go ... make your decision!
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SteelPan

#27
CAN we please stop running long distance rail in Australia, like a patchwork 1800's inefficiency and finally establish a single federal national railway passenger corporation, an Oz version of Amtrak,  ie, agreed service standards, centralised booking system, and where possible, partner with the likes of GSR to run many (not all) of the services, in rollingstock that reflects the 21stC not the 1960's! Look at the leaps and bounds the US has made with Amtrak over the last decade and some would say it's still not in its glory days - but at least for them, they are coming, here, we're stuffing around!

Pratical infrastructure servicing peoples everyday transport needs!

Don't hold you breath.....  :frs:

http://tinyurl.com/krow6b2
If urban rail was a sports stadium - there'd be a station on every corner!  Keep it LOUD for Pro-Rail!  :pr

Stillwater

It is hard to imagine that, in the 'new federation' being contemplated, that the feds will hand over some fixed income tax revenue to the state to run hospitals and education all by themselves only to have trains passed to them.  Now, if we really wanted progress, we would abolish the states and retain the borders for the purposes of State of Origin only.  It is hard not to be jaded when one sees the evening telly news dominated by the likes of Clive Palmer, Jackie Lambie, Pauline Hanson and a PM in pugilist mode -- or budgie smugglers.


pandmaster

I have travelled extensively on Amtrak and loved every minute of it. There are absolutely fantastic and smashing patronage records year after year. I think it is time we followed suit here, though it is unlikely as others have pointed out. At least we should centralise the booking to one website.

BrizCommuter

Quote from: pandmaster on November 22, 2014, 15:08:19 PM
I have travelled extensively on Amtrak and loved every minute of it. There are absolutely fantastic and smashing patronage records year after year. I think it is time we followed suit here, though it is unlikely as others have pointed out. At least we should centralise the booking to one website.
Most of Amtrak's patronage is between major cities. The Westlander and Inlander run between a minor cities (by US standards) and villages. It's like comparing apples with oranges (or should that be cherries with watermelons).

Road coaches are considerably cheaper, and can run more frequently. Whilst sad from a rail enthusiast perspective, it is far from cost effective to continue with passenger rail services on these lines.

riccardo

Australia is a failed settlement colony. Build it, but they didn't come. I've argued this for a while, even with three centuries of overpopulation followed by bloodshed, Europe emptied itself of people to North and South America, that was plenty, they were closer, just not enough people were interested in Australia, and they implemented racist policies to stop the other millions who would have come.

So there basically just isn't enough people in Townsville, Isa or in between. If i generously assumed 150,000 in the corridor, and a train can carry 1000 people, one in every 150 people, nearly one percent, would have to be on that train at any one time. From the total pool of people who might have travelled, by air bus or car. And anything less than that thousand would struggle to pay the bills for crew, track, locos etc.

riccardo

This is Queensland's alternative rail history, which supposed a proper political system rather than the 'deep north' modelled on the 'deep south' we had in fact.


1. The 'pony railway' built as happened in the 1860s.

2. But by thr 1920s most of the pathetic branchlines closed down, perhaps with little tin hares or rail motors for a a decade at most to wean some of them off rail while roads were sealed and buses and trucks put on

3: the real main lines standardised and structure gauge opened up, with potential to electrify high volume routes like Ipswich or Rocky. Elsewhere, big heavy steam locomotion to see out the 20s and 30s and US imported diesel traction from the forties.

4. Massive reduction in staffing, improvements in productivity from crewing, signalling, comms etc

5. Consideration from the 60s to a brisbane european style light rail network and now a metro system to complement the surface rail.

SurfRail

I think it's a mark of maturity for this group that we have realised it is no longer worth fighting for these services just for the sake of it.

The objectionable bit is simply the closure by stealth.  Do it properly, because they won't live out the year anyway.  Probably only waiting for the election to kill them off permanently.
Ride the G:

dancingmongoose

Apparently there has been a derailment on the Mt Isa line.

pandmaster

Quote from: rtt_rules on November 22, 2014, 15:27:05 PM
But the comparisons with Amtrak are purely based on the consumer level and there are alot of parrellels with Westie, but also significant differences.

I was just arguing that long distance NSW Trainlink and QR services (maybe even GSR if they got on board, though unlikely) should be under the one banner and managed centrally in order to promote the services and increase efficiencies under the concept of Amtrak. An Australian version would be quite different to Amtrak but IMHO it would be a vast improvement on today.

Quote from: rtt_rules on November 24, 2014, 02:48:12 AM
How do you fight for a service the public has voted with its feet? Remember the NSW branch linepax service closures, the only time the locals showed any interest in their local service for many was when the service/line was due to be closed due to lack of use. It happened in past and it still happens today.

Despite maybe less supportive efforts by QR up to this date in the way the services are run, are they chasing away at least 100 people per trip?

It is not like QR have made the services as appealing as possible and still the people will not come. The fares are high compared to coach and air travel, the equipment outdated making the customer experience poor, they both travel two days a week each way (as other posters have pointed out, the Thursday Westlander departure from Brisbane is perplexing), have no facility to take your car (and if they did it would be overpriced), the freight cars removed (at least on the Westlander, not sure about Inlander) and now no dining car or sleepers. The services may have poor patronage, but that does not necessarily mean the demand is not there for the service. If QR gave it a red hot go by fixing up the easy things that do not require capital (scheduling, fares, freight, keep the better sleeper and dining cars freed up from the Sunlander) and the service was still a flop then fine, axe the service.

SurfRail

What they should be doing is investing in the Spirit of Queensland.  Buy a fourth or even a fifth consist and get 2 sleeping cars on each train minimum and run it at sensible times.

Rejig the electric tilt to provide a more useful service in terms of timing, and route it via Central in both directions to allow stations stops at all from Bowen Hills to Roma Street for commuter convenience.  No reason why not, it fits on any 6 car platform.

Franchise the operation out to GSR or someone else.
Ride the G:

riccardo

First, double track to Beerwah and build Camcos. Build rail people are actually likely to use.

Second, get what remaining life the ICE cars have, if any, to work on a shuttle from beerwah to gympie north.

Third, make straightening the route rather than duplication as such the priority from beerwah to gympie north.

Fourth, plot and build a route from maroochy to noosa and back to gympie north

Fifth, straighten what can be straightened between g and rocky.

Sixth, back to urungan

You now have a workable interurban corridor route, with the best chance of supporting frequent local passenger journeys, as well as a few expresses through to bris from hb that would be vaguely competitive with flying and driving.

The rest, apart from tourist trains, is non starter.

pandmaster

Quote from: riccardo on December 02, 2014, 20:44:49 PM
First, double track to Beerwah and build Camcos. Build rail people are actually likely to use.

Second, get what remaining life the ICE cars have, if any, to work on a shuttle from beerwah to gympie north.

Great idea to have Gympie North - Beerwah shuttles.

Unless Sunshine Coast voters start to question the LNP, I doubt CAMCOS will ever happen. There are no votes to be won there in LNP heartland. I would love to see it though.

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