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A viable and affordable option for INLANDER and WESTLANDER services.

Started by Tramwayjohn, May 26, 2016, 18:11:01 PM

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Tramwayjohn

Although the Spirit of the Outback train has four sleeping cars, the long overnight INLANDER train service to Mt Isa has sitting cars. It would seem that QR have no intention of providing even just ONE sleeping car on that service. My suggestion is. . . . rebuild an existing car with some Rail Bed seating of say, nine Rail Bed seats, and the rest of the car, standard 2 + 1 seats. Similar action can be taken on the WESTLANDER train. 

Gazza

Here is my suggestion for an affordable replacement for those trains.
Its faster and uses less fuel per passenger.

SurfRail

2014/2015 stats.



We are at a point where subsidised air routes are carrying more than subsidised train services.  To put these numbers into perspective, the total number of train trips made is roughly equal to 20-25% of the annual passenger movements at Townsville Airport alone - leaving aside Cairns (much busier) and every other regional airport. Clearly the non-subsidised operators like Qantas, Virgin, Premier, Greyhound etc are carrying most of the regional travel market for non-car journeys, because they deliver a service which is faster, cheaper, more convenient or some combination of each.

Traveltrain is dying in the arse, and no amount of frills is going to fix that.  It exists purely as a community obligation and a tourist treat.  I fully expect that within a matter of years the only long distance trains running will be the SOTO and the Spirit of Queensland.

Some people are not going to be happy with this next bit:     I don't think this is a bad thing.

Railways do their best at bulk movement.  Minerals, containers, livestock (cattle and humans).  A 4 car train being hauled by 3 DELs up the range is not only a waste of money, it is an obscenity.

Get the coastal route running properly, and if the SOTO can pay its way then it gets a reprieve.  But - I can no longer see any point in justifying the Charleville or Mt Isa services.  I had a fantastic time enjoying government largesse in 2012 when I had an entire M class sleeper to myself in both directions on the Westlander, and again in 2013 westbound on the Inlander, but is that really what sensible rail advocates should be pushing for?  Is putting a sleeping car on, or indeed spending anything, going to fix the fundamental problem?

The focus has to be on sustainable services that meet people's needs, and that means focussing on where people are actually travelling.  I just can't see that they can make this work anymore on these 2 routes, or indeed on any subsidised service that doesn't even have the justification to operate at least one return trip each day.
Ride the G:

petey3801

Exactly what has been said above.
Before the Westlander had the sleeper cars taken off the service, it was lucky to have patronage in double figures anyway. What makes you think it would be any different if sleepers were put back on the train again??
All opinions stated are my own and do not reflect those held by my employer.

#Metro

Speed. You need speed.

The current long distance rail network is too slow. The tilts are too slow. Overseas, trains are much faster and thus get more passengers.

Not sure about the future of the inland services. They seem slow and not connect major destinations.
I'm not a TMR. Negative people... have a problem for every solution. Posts are commentary and are not necessarily endorsed by RAIL Back on Track or its members.

tazzer9

Timetables are also the things killing the Inlander and westlander.   Even the spirit of Queensland.
It was so stupid of the government not to put in a real sleeping car and buy another unit for the SOQ.   It should be a daily service, with the same times each day at the minimum. (what idiot decides that 6x a week with differing departure times was a good idea) The tilt trains themselves are actually very good train, it does show the staggering amount of money that went into designing them worked. Just not enough were procured.

The inlander between toowoomba and charliville has potential if they had a real timetable.  It doesn't help that it only runs 2x a week.  The 4 hour trip between brisbane and toowomba is the icing on the cake.    maybe if the Inland rail gets built between toowoomba and ipswich it may become viable again.

However if you are to turn the idea of these trains from a crappy transport option into a tourist train.  Then buying say two trainsets that have a bit of luxury on them and run the Inlander, Westlander, winelander and Sunlander once every two weeks, then it may become viable. 

ozbob

RBoT member mufreight has made constant efforts to get the timetables changed and improved.

They just ignore the efforts in the end.
Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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BrizCommuter

Quote from: SurfRail on May 26, 2016, 22:02:33 PM
2014/2015 stats.



We are at a point where subsidised air routes are carrying more than subsidised train services.  To put these numbers into perspective, the total number of train trips made is roughly equal to 20-25% of the annual passenger movements at Townsville Airport alone - leaving aside Cairns (much busier) and every other regional airport. Clearly the non-subsidised operators like Qantas, Virgin, Premier, Greyhound etc are carrying most of the regional travel market for non-car journeys, because they deliver a service which is faster, cheaper, more convenient or some combination of each.

Traveltrain is dying in the arse, and no amount of frills is going to fix that.  It exists purely as a community obligation and a tourist treat.  I fully expect that within a matter of years the only long distance trains running will be the SOTO and the Spirit of Queensland.

Some people are not going to be happy with this next bit:     I don't think this is a bad thing.

Railways do their best at bulk movement.  Minerals, containers, livestock (cattle and humans).  A 4 car train being hauled by 3 DELs up the range is not only a waste of money, it is an obscenity.

Get the coastal route running properly, and if the SOTO can pay its way then it gets a reprieve.  But - I can no longer see any point in justifying the Charleville or Mt Isa services.  I had a fantastic time enjoying government largesse in 2012 when I had an entire M class sleeper to myself in both directions on the Westlander, and again in 2013 westbound on the Inlander, but is that really what sensible rail advocates should be pushing for?  Is putting a sleeping car on, or indeed spending anything, going to fix the fundamental problem?

The focus has to be on sustainable services that meet people's needs, and that means focussing on where people are actually travelling.  I just can't see that they can make this work anymore on these 2 routes, or indeed on any subsidised service that doesn't even have the justification to operate at least one return trip each day.
+1.
The inland rail routes are just not cost justifiable compared to running coaches (which can also run more frequently). Time for the executioners axe.

Gazza

For the outback services, why not just get GSR to run them as a proper "rail holiday" service, and charge a proper premium price for the experience.




SurfRail

I can see that working for the SOTO.  Lack of rollingstock would probably kill off the idea elsewhere.

What really surprises me is that they keep these services going yet completely ignore the possibility of a tourist service to Stanthorpe which I expect would have some real potential (even if it was only seasonal).

Interestingly an AHRS tour has just been out to Thallon.  The days of the Dirranbandi Mail have long ended...
Ride the G:

James

Quote from: Gazza on May 27, 2016, 09:04:13 AMFor the outback services, why not just get GSR to run them as a proper "rail holiday" service, and charge a proper premium price for the experience.

^ Nailed it. The trains are already mostly tourist traffic anyway. The few who still use the train for trips to the "big smoke" can just use the bus. The distances between towns are enormous and the population levels very low when you compare it to places which run intercity long-distance rail successfully (Europe).
Is it really that hard to run frequent, reliable public transport?

tazzer9

My suggestion earlier pretty much said that. The only reason I would be against GSR running it over QR is because if a private company can run it for profit, then why shouldn't QR just do.   It would need completely new rollingstock. The whole reasoning for low frequencies like once every two weeks is so you need less rollingstock, and because its not running as often, you can get more passengers per train. 
From memory SOTO doesn't run at a profit but its doesn't lose that much money.   

HappyTrainGuy

QuoteFrom memory SOTO doesn't run at a profit but its doesn't lose that much money.   

.....until the QR/QRN/Aurizon split where there was a clause that the passengers trains weren't allowed to carry freight. Now they are just p%ssing money away.



Stillwater

^^ Splitting passenger/freight was the killer.  As has been reported here previously, they are getting an inferior road freight service now in places like Charleville whereas previously th freight came regular as clockwork with little to no damage.

verbatim9

Building a new dual track dual guage new line coninciding with the inland rail to Toowoomba would make sense and have electrified until Toowoomba. (Majority of the funding would hopefully be Federal). Passenger trains could the easily fly along @ 140-160kph from Ipswich to Toowoomba.

ozbob

Quote from: HappyTrainGuy on May 27, 2016, 10:45:33 AM
QuoteFrom memory SOTO doesn't run at a profit but its doesn't lose that much money.   

.....until the QR/QRN/Aurizon split where there was a clause that the passengers trains weren't allowed to carry freight. Now they are just p%ssing money away.




Yes indeed.  The future passenger rail services sacrificed for political and corporate greed.  Disgusting actions by all involved.
Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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Gazza

Quote from: verbatim9 on May 28, 2016, 09:28:34 AM
Building a new dual track dual guage new line coninciding with the inland rail to Toowoomba would make sense and have electrified until Toowoomba. (Majority of the funding would hopefully be Federal). Passenger trains could the easily fly along @ 140-160kph from Ipswich to Toowoomba.
What about getting up the range? Thats the killer for rail to Toowoomba...unless you did some deep level underground station beneath Toowoomba  :fo:

Or just terminate the line at Withcott, with a Gympie North type Parkway arrangement....

Unless there's someone on here who has looked at how you might handle the range in more detail?

tazzer9

Rail is slightly more advanced now than in 1870.   We could easily get up the range up now without it taking some slow meandering route.

Gazza

Understand, but what sort of gradient would it be at, and what route would you take?

Stillwater

I believe there was a plan at one stage (plans again) to run rail in a tunnel under part of Toowoomba to reduce the gradient.  Reach platforms beneath Toowoomba station via lift and escalators.  I believe it was considered too impractical.

tazzer9

I wouldn't want an underground station in toowomba just because of the many less than ideal citizens that live there.   Not even having a go here, just imagine what sort of headache an underground station would cause the police.

Old Northern Road

Will probably do the cheap option of building a Toowoomba North station at Gowrie although there is no reason why trains couldn't continue to the existing Toowoomba station if they were diesel

tazzer9

Going to toowomba station is still easy if it were electric, but the electrification further on will be difficult, in part due to the level crossings but there are also clearance issues with buildings that go over the line.   The line would need to be sunk.
I would go for a gowrie/north east toowoomba terminus for the electric line. 
I would also see if a frequent diesel railcar connection to drayton with infrequent services to warwick would work. 

Gazza

Why does electrification present an issue for level crossings?
I know the odd high vehicle/boat on trailer in brisbane knocks them out, but I dont think that's a deal breaker?
Ditto, I know they are expanding the shopping center over the tracks, but it doesn't look that low, and overhead conductor bar (Like in the perth city rail link/ north west rail link) is always an option.

Arnz

This might be a suggestion to replace the Inlander.  :fo:
Those type of buses (with sleeping bunks) operate between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but at a slower speed and the mandatory driver breaks. This type of bus would probably be unlikely to be introduced to Australia anytime soon, hence the  :fo:

http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2016/04/21/sleepbus-flat-bed-bus/
Rgds,
Arnz

Unless stated otherwise, Opinions stated in my posts are those of my own view only.

tazzer9

Quote from: Gazza on May 29, 2016, 09:46:14 AM
Why does electrification present an issue for level crossings?
I know the odd high vehicle/boat on trailer in brisbane knocks them out, but I dont think that's a deal breaker?
Ditto, I know they are expanding the shopping center over the tracks, but it doesn't look that low, and overhead conductor bar (Like in the perth city rail link/ north west rail link) is always an option.

Trust me for when i say one of the buildings over the line would not allow for any wires.   It looks like its just above the loading gauge, I have seen a grain train go underneath it and there isn't much clearance.   
The level crossings prohibiting electrification is a localised toowoomba problem.  Until a truck bypass is built, there are simply too high trucks going through the crossings.

Gazza

QuoteUntil a truck bypass is built
I think its safe to say the 2nd range crossing will be open for many years before anything starts on the rail front.

Tramwayjohn

I am not blind or stupid when it comes to public transport issues as I have been involved with lobby work from the 1980's in NSW and in the 1990's in Queensland. I fully understand the argument/case for replacing the INLANDER and WESTLANDER with a BUS service, but if 'that' is to happen, I want to suggest that in the case of the INLANDER a bus can connect with the Spirit of Queensland in Townsville, leaving at 9.15am SUNDAY TUESDAY THURSDAY reaching Mt Isa at 9.15pm. The bus would need to leave Mt Isa at about 3am to reach Townsville at about 3pm, MONDAY WEDNESDAY FRIDAY. Having said the above, does 'NOT' mean that I am advocating a bus service. I am simply pointing out that a three days a week service from Townsville to Mt Isa is possible and it would connect both ways to/from Brisbane. Pensioners and seniors card holders would still get their current concession travel on the bus services. I have suggested to Queensland Rail and to the Palaszczuk  Government that they consider providing RAIL RED seats on the INLANDER, but 'that' has been ignored. All I am asking is for the PALASZCZUK GOVERNMENT to be honest for a change, and tell us what they are doing with the INLANDER and WESTLANDER trains.

tazzer9

Rant time.
Maybe a good way of getting people on board the long distance rail services is to allow the booking system to actually get people a semi last minute booking.  Actually, 12 hours before isn't really that last minute for a rail journey.
I am staying up with family in toowoomba, and though I could get the westlander back on Thursday morning.  But at 7pm, the online booking system for that service has closed and its suggestion is to call the number for a booking between 7am and 7pm.  The service which I wanted to go on leaves at 7am. 

That is so monumentally pathetic that i cannot even get onto a service when it doesn't leave my departure station for another 12 hours.  To put it in perspective, I have gotten a brisbane - sydney XPT train booking less than 2 hours before it's departure.   

verbatim9

Return Flexi fares 40% discount/Non refundable 14 day Advance 50% then Stand by fares 25%. Like the Airlines use to do!

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