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Railway_Digest__February_2018

Readers Write My first

Readers Write My first comment would be to ask whether there is the political will to do anything about gauge conversion? I have seen no evidence of a will to change. Secondly, I wonder about the magnitude of the task, as I think of the length of track to be changed and changing from narrow gauge to a track that is approximately a third wider. The article re the Victorian project in the December issue suggests wide gauge to standard is comparatively simple. Does the failure to adopt standard gauge when the coal network was being established decades ago and when the Great Northern Line was rebuilt mean that it will never be done? I hope I am wrong. I also hope that any new rail construction in Queensland is being designed for future standard gauge use. John Parker Boyne Island, Qld Rail Travel in NSW Referring to Stephen Miller’s Letter on Rail Travel in NSW (Readers Write: Railway Digest December 2017) I have to say that I agree with what Stephen has said in his submission on Rail Travel in NSW. Rail travel in Sydney and NSW compared to the rest of the world is quite poor. I have travelled on the bullet trains in Italy and on the rapid transit system of Vancouver in Canada. Here are some of my suggestions to help the network: 1. Duplication of the line in between Schofields and Richmond. More services cannot operate in between Schofields and Richmond until the line is fully duplicated. The minimum would be more sidings along the line to allow trains to pass; in a way, this would be a step backwards, however, when the line is duplicated, it would be three steps forward. 2. Half hourly frequencies should be abolished across the suburban network (bordered by Berowra, Macarthur, Waterfall and Emu Plains). An eight-carriage set every 30 minutes? In off-peak? Seriously? I think most would agree that a train every 15 minutes being four carriages is better than an eight carriage train, especially in places like Waterfall, where the train population wouldn’t usually fill a single carriage. 3. Unnecessary services 8 car air-conditioned Waratah at Leppington? The place that has so little for a current population. It is a wonder why Campbelltown residents don’t drive to Leppington to receive a better service. Eight-car S set, in off-peak to Olympic Park, when the number of people on the train wouldn’t even fit in a carriage. 4. The extension of train services. Trains terminating at Epping, Hurstville, Revesby, Liverpool, Lidcombe, Clyde and Penrith. These services should be continued. Hurstville: All stops to Waterfall to provide more services to the suburbs after Sutherland and also for Como and Oatley. Epping: Continuation of the service to Hornsby or Berowra. Currently, Berowra (Asquith, Mount Colah, Mount Kuring-Gai, Berowra) commuters only have a half hourly frequency even in peak. Wouldn’t be better to provide a limited stops service to the City via Strathfield from Berowra? (enter stopping pattern here) Revesby: Why not continue the service from Revesby to Leppington. This way, everyone east of Revesby on this line, has a direct connection to everyone west of Revesby on this line. Liverpool: Now that there are no more direct train services in between Liverpool and Campbelltown, why not continue the Bankstown Line from Liverpool to Macarthur. Lidcombe: Trains from the Bankstown Line terminating at Lidcombe? And before the 2013 timetable these trains continued to the City via the Inner West, this provides a more circular network and decrease commute times. Clyde: Carlingford Line services start and end at Clyde. The only use of Clyde station is to serve a small industrial area and to be a terminus. These trains should continue to Olympic Park or Lidcombe. In this way, it would link the two lines together no longer requiring multiple interchanges. Penrith: Trains should continue to Emu Plains instead, it’s only one suburb. This is just some of the many changes that need to be done to help Sydney have a better rail network, and I haven’t even started on NSW Rail Travel yet. David McCafferty via email Rail transport and the Queensland election I rang the LNP during the recent Queensland state election, congratulating them on their policy of providing free off-peak transport for pensioners and seniors, and I discussed a viable and affordable means of fixing the Inlander and Westlander trains. The ALP was returned to power, and I urge the government to either accept the concept of free travel off peak as I have outlined, or having a reasonable ‘cap’ on go card users, who are on a concession. Perhaps $5.00. Which is in fact, double what concession card holders in NSW pay! I suggested that two sitting cars be converted to rail bed cars, and placed onto the Spirit of the Outback. Then place one sleeping car onto each of the Westlander and Inlander trains, plus a dining car. The SOTO would then have two sleeping cars and two Rail Bed cars, plus the existing dining, lounge and sitting cars. The total failure of the LNP to take up the suggestions would indicate that the party, and for that matter the current Government, are intending to replace the Western Queensland train services with a bus service! John Coyle via email Re: Nathan Watson’s letter in January Railway Digest Thank you to Nathan Watson for making readers aware of possible errors in the Westlander article by Rod Milne in December 2017 RD. However, phrases like, ‘If Rod Milne had done some research,’ and ‘sweeping, ill-informed statement’ that were used in Nathan’s letter give the, perhaps mistaken, impression that he was not really interested in making readers aware of those errors but was more concerned about showing us that he knows more than Rod. Highlighting possible mistakes in articles should be handled sensitively and relationally. The best way to achieve this is by writing a three-part letter: 1. Thank the article writer for the work that has been put into the article. I can vouch from experience that articles like this take considerable time and effort to write. 2. Respectfully point out the errors. 3. Outline the corrections that are required. It is often a good idea firstly to write a fridge letter, where the letter is left for a day or two before posting. It is amazing what changes are made after the passage of a little time. If Nathan’s letter had been written in this form I, for one, would have better appreciated his input. Neville Pollard via email A Grand Day Out I’m writing to tell you about a day I spent using public transport. With a friend, I boarded a Brisbane city bus from Stafford Heights to the city, there we boarded a Gold Coast train at Roma Street station. That train has limited stops to Beenleigh; after that stop the train runs high speed between stations. On arrival at Helensvale we got off the QR train and boarded the light rail to travel to the terminus. The light rail was very well patronised. It took a total of nearly two hours from Stafford to the light rail terminus. The line from the previous terminus to Helensvale is duplicated and built to a very high standard. Speeds of seventy kilometres per hour are attained between stops. We gave public transport a very big tick for a stress-free day of travel, and the fares are not expensive. We would recommend this form of public transport to anyone looking for a different day out. Graham Larkin Greenslopes, Qld 58 RAILWAY DIGEST

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