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The Westlander!

Started by ozbob, December 19, 2011, 07:42:32 AM

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techblitz

https://open.abc.net.au/explore/19604



I passed through Charleville on a greyhound bus having to take the back way from blackwater due to floods......remember seeing the charred ruins of that pub.....very eery as it was around midnight with no traffic.
Also didn't know that it was a falveys pub which if I'm not mistaken would be the same family who own the cecil @ Goodna?

ozbob

Yes, I think so.  Great shot, thanks TB.  :-c
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SurfRail

I did a flying trip some years back, 6 hours in town and then on the same train back.  Back when the buffet car team would make you a fresh hamburger.

It was very enjoyable, but it just reinforced how woefully unnecessary this train has become.  I had a whole sleeper to myself.  At $4,000 per head per trip it really does belong to another age, and it can't compete with either the subsidised or commercially run flights and bus trips if you are not in a position to just drive. 

Better off focusing on improving the coastal services.  I'd be looking to ultimately get a daily or better train to Cairns and better scheduled trains from Rocky and Bundaberg so people can use them for commuting purposes (trains that arrive after 9am and leave before 5pm really don't work), so that probably means 1-2 new diesel tilts and 2-3 new electric tilts. 

The Inlander is in the same boat. (People actually catch the SOTO and that is reflected in the subsidy being 3.5 to 4 times lower than the other 2.)
Ride the G:

ozbob

Gazza is onboard the Westy ...

Posting some photographs on RBoT Facebook >> https://www.facebook.com/RAILBackOnTrack/posts/2150286788318830
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Gazza

Review time.

The outbound trip on Tuesday night had about 13 onboard, and the inbound trip had about 10 onboard (Most of whom had come on the outbound one.
With 4 staff onboard (Two customer service, guard, driver) 2 sitting cars, luggage car and lounge.... for 13 people, maybe they could rename it the wastelander  :-r

I boarded at Corinda... doesn't show on the PIDs (Does at Ipswich though) , luckily i was there 20 mins early because it arrived well ahead of schedule, so i had to very quickly get Down the stairs.
Once seated you get your paper bag, containing a chicken sandwich, mini mars bar, apple, fruit cake, and 20% orange drink popper.... a meal fit for a 10 year old.
The club car has a boiling/,chilled water tap with unlimited tea/covfefe, so bring along your cup noodles!
You can buy from a small selection of beers, soft drinks and nibbles.


Despite being sitting cars, they recline well and you get a good level of comfort for sleep.

We didn't stop between Ipswich and Toowoomba, no lockeyer valley pax i guess.
I fell asleep going up the range from memory, but woke up as we pulled into Toowoomba.... Didn't realize it was A wye arrangement, so the train reverses in.
Its the first of a few 15 min Crew change stops....Roma, and Morven being the others.
A couple of people got on at Toowoomba, and one person got off! (I guess a novelty compared to the coach if the times matched?)
Again, i dozed off as we made our way through the moonlit hills west of Toowoomba.
I woke up briefly when we stopped to let someone off at Chinchilla, and then Woke up again at Roma since its 6am by then and the sun is rising.
The landscape shifts to red and scrubby, and there are a few small curvy bits on the way as there are gentle curves to negotiate.

Our arrival Mitchell was early enough in the morning that we has an extra 15 min stop (I think there is about an hour of fat in the timetable) so enough time to go for a jog around the block, have a quick look at the main Street, and get back on.

Ditto at Morven, we had 15 min... enough time to head across the road to the general store.

The final push got us into Charleville on time by 11:30

Unless you want to do a daytrip to places like Cunnamulla, then a car is unnecessary to explore the town.
The cosmos Centre and RFDS exhibit are 2km from the station so are walkable, everything else is an easy walk too (rock Wallaby enclosure at the national park hq, rain gun park, Riverwallk, hotel corones)
If you want to get more out of the Cosmos center, try to go When it is a new moon or close to it.... the full moon we had makes it too bright to see some stars)

The Tuesday departure and Friday return gives you 2.5 days, which is adequate.

In terms of how to  improve it... Could it leave Brisbane later so more of the trip is in daylight?

The return timing seems to work well since you go down the range in the daytime.

It seemed like most people onboard were people doing it for the journey rather than as a form of transport, so maybe they could increase fares?

Its definitely very slow, Track speeds were generally 60 or 80

What about the rollling stock? Seems very over the top, and probably near the end of its life.





Stillwater

" ..... paper bag, containing a chicken sandwich, mini mars bar, apple, fruit cake, and 20% orange drink popper"

mmmm, a McQR meal?  Was there a cardboard cutout of the NGR train inside? 

ozbob

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Tramwayjohn

Queensland Rail ruined the WESTLANDER and the INLANDER by removing sleeping and dining cars. The answer  would be to convert an existing sitting car into a RAIL BED car and to use one of the FIVE L class dining cars that have a counter cut into the kitchen. Thus allowing ONE staff member to operate that service.  I will never sit up on an overnight train, as I feel many would agree. The RAIL BED concept would correct that problem. Sleeping berths are provided to the train crew, whilst passengers are required to sit up all night or lay on the floor!

ozbob

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tazzer9

Quote from: Tramwayjohn on February 13, 2020, 18:22:48 PM
Queensland Rail ruined the WESTLANDER and the INLANDER by removing sleeping and dining cars. The answer  would be to convert an existing sitting car into a RAIL BED car and to use one of the FIVE L class dining cars that have a counter cut into the kitchen. Thus allowing ONE staff member to operate that service.  I will never sit up on an overnight train, as I feel many would agree. The RAIL BED concept would correct that problem. Sleeping berths are provided to the train crew, whilst passengers are required to sit up all night or lay on the floor!

QR ruined the westlander by never upgrading the line and allowing what is a fairly short service to go on for 17 hours.   When in reality it could be done in 7 hours easily.

Gazza

QuoteQR ruined the westlander by never upgrading the line and allowing what is a fairly short service to go on for 17 hours.   When in reality it could be done in 7 hours easily.
Yeah but why would you spend rail money to give 160 km/h running to Charleville.

ozbob

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ozbob

https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/tableOffice/questionsAnswers/2020/1117-2020.pdf

Question on Notice
No. 1117

Asked on 1 December 2020

MS A LEAHY ASKED MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT AND MAIN ROADS (HON M BAILEY)

QUESTION:

Will the Minister provide patronage figures for the Westlander Rail Service for each year from
2015 to present and indicate the level of government subsidy in dollar terms, for this service for
each year (reported separately)?

ANSWER:

I thank the Member for Warrego for the question.

The Palaszczuk Government recognises the importance of continued investment in our public
transport network.

The Westlander connects communities along the outback route, from Brisbane to Charleville, with
two return services per week. The journey, which takes 17 hours and 10 minutes, travels
777 kilometres through the Darling Downs and South West Queensland.

This service provides a vital connection for Queenslanders visiting family or friends, or those
attending hospital or specialist appointments and are unable to travel by other modes of transport.
It also offers a transport option for school boarders, especially in the Toowoomba region.
Typically, there are approximately 4000 journeys on The Westlander each year. However, in
response to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions were implemented and The Westlander
was temporarily suspended from 30 March to 27 June 2020, when the service returned at a
reduced timetable and with reduced capacity, due to social distancing measures on board. As
such, patronage in 2019–20 is lower than in previous years.

From 24 September 2020, The Westlander services resumed full timetabled operations, with
social distancing and additional COVID-19 measures still in place.

2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20

Patronage 4984 3677 3946 4381 4298 3084

Government Subsidy ($)
11,665,773 10,668,273 11,175,981 11,406,210 13,755,994 13,326,937
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ozbob

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HappyTrainGuy

#94
Some??? Most times half the train was freight at its longest allowable length :P

ozbob

Quote from: HappyTrainGuy on July 02, 2021, 13:48:45 PM
Some??? Most times half the train was freight at its longest allowable length :P

:)
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