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Author Topic: 29 May 2007: Queensland Long Distance Passenger Trains  (Read 3054 times)

Offline ozbob

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29 May 2007: Queensland Long Distance Passenger Trains
« on: May 29, 2007, 07:45:24 PM »
RAIL Back On Track - Media Release 29 May 2007

Queensland Long Distance Passenger Trains

RAIL ? Back On Track (http://backontrack.org)  a web based community organisation for the promotion of rail throughout Australia has called on Traveltrain and the Queensland Government to maintain present long distance passenger train services.
 
Robert Dow said

 ?The long distance passenger trains in Queensland are unique.  Providing a quality tourist travel experience on the Queensland narrow gauge 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.?

?From the 18th June one weekly Sunlander from Brisbane to Cairns is to be cut from the timetable, but will be effectively replaced by a new Tilt train service. RAIL Back On Track encourages a long term view and suggests that investing in some new and upgraded passenger carriages for the remaining long distance passenger services will bring long term benefits to the state, and send a signal of support to the rural communities of Queensland.?

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« Last Edit: July 23, 2007, 04:05:54 AM by ozbob »
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Offline ozbob

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Following the publication of a story in today's Courier Mail Taxpayers' subsidise Traveltrain --> http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,21900711-952,00.html I was invited on to ABC Radio 612 for a short interview this morning on the breakfast show to represent RAIL Back On Track.

It is important to put this story into context.  Road and Air infrastructure costs are rarely factored in to their apparent costs of travel.  Rail is an important community service.  The Queensland Government has said that they will continue to support long distance rail travel, as they recognise the overall benefits to the community at large, and particularly to the economy from tourist rail travel and the flow on effects as well.  Long distance rail travel has always been subsidised from other revenues, as is health, education and transport generally.

Thanks to ABC Radio 612 Brisbane Host Spencer Howson for inviting different points of view on this topical issue.

Regards
Ozbob
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« Last Edit: June 14, 2007, 08:58:03 AM by ozbob »
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Offline ozbob

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As I said during the interview this morning, the Queensland Government does support long distance rail travel.  This ministerial statement  confirms that.


Ministerial Statement.

Minister for Transport and Main Roads
The Honourable Paul Lucas
14/06/2007


LIBERAL RAIL COMMENTS REVEAL ANTI-REGION AGENDA

Calls by Liberals today for the State Government to consider shutting down Traveltrain services revealed they don't understand and don't care about regional Queenslanders, Minister for Transport and Main Roads Paul Lucas said.

Opposition public transport spokesman, Tim Nicholls, told Brisbane radio this morning that the State Government should consider shutting passenger rail services in regional Queensland.

"This reveals just how Brisbane-centric the Liberals are," Mr Lucas said.

"Opposition Leader Jeff Seeney needs to state categorically whether this is Coalition policy, and if not, he should pull the Liberals into line."

Mr Lucas said Traveltrain services had carried 327,000 passengers between July 2006 and March 2007.

Total forecast patronage for 2006-07 is 432,000 passengers.

"That's half a million people that Mr Nicholls wants to leave stranded at the station."

"Yes, these vital regional Queensland services are subsidised by the State Government. But I remind Mr Nicholls this isn't his money or mine.

"This money comes from taxpayers in rural and regional Queensland and they have every right to have a say on the services they're receiving and not have it dictated to them by Liberals who never get out of Brisbane.

"Clearly the Coalition's public transport spokesman either doesn't know that South East Queensland public transport fares are also subsidised by the State Government or he doesn't care.

"Mr Nicholls thinks it's fine for passengers using Citytrain in his electorate to travel from Hendra or Clayfield on a subsidised fare. But he criticises the State Government for subsidising fares to places like Barcaldine, Blackwater, Home Hill and Ayr.

"Traveltrain provides a vital service for residents of regional towns not serviced by air; or where air travel between regional cities is not discounted. These services are vital to a decentralized state like Queensland.

"If it's good enough for Clayfield, Mr Nicholls, it's good enough for Cloncurry."

Mr Lucas said forecast Traveltrain patronage for 2007-08 was 433,500 people, slightly up on expected numbers for this financial year.

"Around half of the passengers are pensioners travelling on a subsidized fare," Mr Lucas said.

"Many of them would never be able to afford the airfare - even if services were on offer. Does Mr Nicholls think they should walk?

"Clearly Mr Nicholls doesn't understand how Traveltrain works.

"The Spirit of the Outback, which departs Brisbane twice a week to travel to Winton stops at 26 towns along the way, including Duaringa, Bluff, Blackwater and Barcaldine to name a few.

"The Coalition needs to come clean on whether it supports services to towns like these.

"If Mr Nicholls believes subsidies should be stopped he should tell us his plan to get people around Queensland."

==============================================================
« Last Edit: June 14, 2007, 02:32:29 PM by ozbob »
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Offline ozbob

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This follow up letter was published in the Courier Mail 18th June


The article ?End of the line feared (C-M June 15)" highlights subsidies to Queensland long distance trains.  Support of the rural community by the Queensland Government in maintaining 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 it was, it too would show such distortions of cost and subsidies.

Governments are there to support their communities. Governments of late have lacked the long term vision of our pioneers who laid down our basic rail network.  For example, the short term 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 viable transport mode will be rail.  Air and road will be subject to extreme fuel and environmental costs.  The federal government has also recently indicated that the inland railway from Melbourne to Brisbane is now very likely.  Rather than pontificating about possible cutbacks, governments need to be thinking of long term needs and expanding and continuing support for rail networks.  Rail is the sustainable and environmentally friendly transport solution for Queensland and the nation.
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Offline ozbob

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Some feedback received from a North Queensland Resident.

Quote
The aim should be the go to get people off the roads and onto trains including long distant trains.
I feel that QR should issue a challange to the airlines for just one month (preferably not school holiday time) with similar cheap fares for example Brisbane to Townsville $129.00 (example only as cheap fares are available to Mackay, Proserpine, Townsville, Cairns & vice versa)  with non refundable conditions similar to airlines (and during that month NO pension or concession specials) for sitting passengers only on all Travel Train & Cairns Tilt Train services. With lead in advertising similar to the airlines for example month October if tickets purchased on or before September 15th and after that date it is back to normal fares for all unsold seats. These specials could be brought in at random when bookings are light of which QR know from previous years.

I feel that once people get used to the travel some will continue to travel. It is amazing to see the trains in passing with hugh amount of vacant seats. Sleeping accommodation fares to remain static.
A special $50 each way sector standby fare Cairns/Townsville/Cairns, Townsville/Proserpine/Townsville, Townsville/Mackay/Townsville available only 48hrs prior to travel. A special $25 each way Ingham/Townsville/Ingham, Townsville/Ayr/Townsville would ensure passengers on empty seats. It costs QR money if those seats are not filled as staffing costs still have to be met and backpackers travelling those sectors by coach would also be advantaged. NO CONCESSIONS TO APPLY.

Thanks for your comments.

Regards
Ozbob
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