• The Overland in 2019

    From joyce.whitchurch@btinternet.com@21:1/5 to All on Wed Aug 8 02:44:51 2018
    Great Southern Rail have published their 2019 timetables for the Ghan and the Indian Pacific but significantly, not for The Overland (Adelaide-Melbourne). Is its future in doubt?
    --
    Joyce Whitchurch, Stalybridge, UK
    =================================

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From joyce.whitchurch@btinternet.com@21:1/5 to All on Sat Dec 1 05:01:28 2018
    Well, clearly the answer to my question was Yes all along. But there's now an update on Great Southern Rail's website, at <https://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/news/2018/11/29/update-the-overland>.

    The gist is that the Victorian Government has confirmed support for the train in 2019 but South Australia has said its support definitely ends this year. GSR are now trying to "explore any opportunities available to provide a short-term transitional
    travel phase beyond December 2018".

    (I have a personal interest in this as I was planning to use the Overland to get from Adelaide to Geelong in February. The only other options seem to be a painfully long coach journey or hiring a car.)
    --
    Joyce Whitchurch, Stalybridge, UK
    =================================

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From joyce.whitchurch@btinternet.com@21:1/5 to All on Tue Dec 11 16:24:22 2018
    I seem to be talking to myself here, but anyway, the latest news is that the Overland will continue for another year:

    <quote>
    the Victorian Government has made an additional AUD200,000 contribution to its existing funding agreement to support the operation of the Adelaide-Melbourne service.

    Great Southern Rail has made the decision to absorb a further AUD130,000 in operational costs to ensure the level of required financial support is met for this service.

    We [GSR] have also committed to a full review of The Overland in early 2019 to explore its long-term sustainability beyond 31 December 2019.

    We will open up for 2019 bookings for The Overland from Wednesday, 12 December.

    To mark the 12-month extension, we are offering a special deal for 10 days only (12 to 21 December 2018).

    • Adults who book a ReadyRail fare will receive a 50 per cent discount off the Adult Everyday fare
    • Eligible concession travellers who book a Pension Saver fare will receive a 50 per cent discount
    • Children travelling with a person holding one of these discounted fares will receive an additional 20 per cent discount

    This limited-time offer applies to travel only for the first three months of 2019 and is available for both Red and Red Premium bookings on The Overland.
    </quote>

    (from <https://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/news/2018/12/11/the-overland-to-travel-in-2019>.
    --
    Joyce Whitchurch, Stalybridge, UK
    =================================

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Frank Slootweg@21:1/5 to joyce.whitchurch@btinternet.com on Wed Dec 12 11:37:14 2018
    joyce.whitchurch@btinternet.com wrote:
    I seem to be talking to myself here, but anyway, the latest news is
    that the Overland will continue for another year:

    Well, maybe you're talking to yourself, but at least I am listening! :-)

    Thanks for the updates. We're into - special - trains, so this is
    quite interesting.

    We've done the Indian-Pacific (ADL-PER) and Ghan (ADL-DRW) and will be
    doing the Savannahlander (Cairns-Cairns) in April.

    Frank (The Netherlands)

    <quote>
    the Victorian Government has made an additional AUD200,000
    contribution to its existing funding agreement to support the
    operation of the Adelaide-Melbourne service.

    Great Southern Rail has made the decision to absorb a further
    AUD130,000 in operational costs to ensure the level of required
    financial support is met for this service.

    We [GSR] have also committed to a full review of The Overland in early
    2019 to explore its long-term sustainability beyond 31 December 2019.

    We will open up for 2019 bookings for The Overland from Wednesday, 12 December.

    To mark the 12-month extension, we are offering a special deal for 10
    days only (12 to 21 December 2018).

    ? Adults who book a ReadyRail fare will receive a 50 per cent discount
    off the Adult Everyday fare
    ? Eligible concession travellers who book a Pension Saver fare will
    receive a 50 per cent discount
    ? Children travelling with a person holding one of these discounted
    fares will receive an additional 20 per cent discount

    This limited-time offer applies to travel only for the first three
    months of 2019 and is available for both Red and Red Premium bookings
    on The Overland.
    </quote>

    (from <https://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/news/2018/12/11/the-overland-to-travel-in-2019>.
    --
    Joyce Whitchurch, Stalybridge, UK
    =================================

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From joyce.whitchurch@btinternet.com@21:1/5 to Frank Slootweg on Wed Dec 12 04:44:01 2018
    On Wednesday, 12 December 2018 11:37:17 UTC, Frank Slootweg wrote:

    Well, maybe you're talking to yourself, but at least I am listening! :-)

    Thanks Frank, that's very comforting!

    Thanks for the updates. We're into - special - trains, so this is
    quite interesting.

    We've done the Indian-Pacific (ADL-PER) and Ghan (ADL-DRW) and will be doing the Savannahlander (Cairns-Cairns) in April.

    I have previously done the Indian Pacific from Adelaide to Sydney, and the strangely unnamed XPT service from Sydney to Melbourne - except that we were bustituted for the last couple of hours because a derailed freight train had ripped up the track. We'
    ve currently got Perth to Adelaide booked for next year, but the uncertainty over the Overland has stopped us booking the Adelaide to Melbourne leg. Which would have been a big problem, given that we're flying back home from Melbourne.

    BTW Great Southern are launching another "special" train next year, appropriately named the "Great Southern". It will run between Adelaide and Brisbane, via Melbourne and Sydney. Four days, three nights and nine meals, says the blurb at <https://www.
    greatsouthernrail.com.au/trains/great-southern#itinerary>. A variety of coach excursions seems to be on offer for visiting interesting places off the rail network, like the Twelve Apostles and Canberra.

    The first train leaves Adelaide on 6th December 2019, and the last run for the inaugural season will leave Brisbane on 30th January 2020.
    --
    Joyce Whitchurch, Stalybridge, UK
    =================================

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Frank Slootweg@21:1/5 to joyce.whitchurch@btinternet.com on Wed Dec 12 15:06:39 2018
    joyce.whitchurch@btinternet.com wrote:
    On Wednesday, 12 December 2018 11:37:17 UTC, Frank Slootweg wrote:

    Well, maybe you're talking to yourself, but at least I am listening! :-)

    Thanks Frank, that's very comforting!

    Thanks for the updates. We're into - special - trains, so this is
    quite interesting.

    We've done the Indian-Pacific (ADL-PER) and Ghan (ADL-DRW) and will be doing the Savannahlander (Cairns-Cairns) in April.

    I have previously done the Indian Pacific from Adelaide to Sydney, and
    the strangely unnamed XPT service from Sydney to Melbourne - except
    that we were bustituted for the last couple of hours because a
    derailed freight train had ripped up the track.

    We did Sydney to Melbourne in early 2012. Quite a nice trip and very
    cheap - $75 pp - at least for Dutch standards.

    We've currently got
    Perth to Adelaide booked for next year, but the uncertainty over the
    Overland has stopped us booking the Adelaide to Melbourne leg. Which
    would have been a big problem, given that we're flying back home from Melbourne.

    If you're up for it, you could do Adelaide to Melbourne via coach
    (bus) and train, but you would probably want/need to spend a night
    somewhere.

    We've regularly done Adelaide to Mount Gambier (we've Aussie rellies
    in that area) by coach and Melbourne to Mount Gambier by train (Adelaide
    to Ballarat) and coach (Ballarat to Melbourne. Let me know if you would
    like some pointers for these services.

    BTW Great Southern are launching another "special" train next year, appropriately named the "Great Southern". It will run between Adelaide
    and Brisbane, via Melbourne and Sydney. Four days, three nights and
    nine meals, says the blurb at <https://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/trains/great-southern#itinerary>.
    A variety of coach excursions seems to be on offer for visiting
    interesting places off the rail network, like the Twelve Apostles and Canberra.

    The first train leaves Adelaide on 6th December 2019, and the last run
    for the inaugural season will leave Brisbane on 30th January 2020.

    Yes, thanks to your earlier links, we saw these. Another item for our
    bucket list! :-)

    Thanks again.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From joyce.whitchurch@btinternet.com@21:1/5 to Frank Slootweg on Wed Dec 12 07:55:41 2018
    On Wednesday, 12 December 2018 15:06:40 UTC, Frank Slootweg wrote:

    If you're up for it, you could do Adelaide to Melbourne via coach
    (bus) and train, but you would probably want/need to spend a night
    somewhere.

    We've regularly done Adelaide to Mount Gambier (we've Aussie rellies
    in that area) by coach and Melbourne to Mount Gambier by train (Adelaide
    to Ballarat) and coach (Ballarat to Melbourne. Let me know if you would
    like some pointers for these services.

    Thanks for the offer. I'm still hoping we can book the train. I've got the travel agent working on it now. Travelling by road, whether coach or car, does seem to mean spending a night somewhere. It's a long way to travel! Most Australians would fly,
    which is why the train struggles to survive. But we will have heavy luggage, and that's not easy or cheap on a plane.

    We need to get to south of Geelong and the coach option is actually three coaches, changing at Horsham and Ballarat. Or an insanely long overnight trip, arriving at a silly time in the morning.
    --
    Joyce Whitchurch, Stalybridge, UK
    =================================

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Frank Slootweg@21:1/5 to joyce.whitchurch@btinternet.com on Wed Dec 12 19:31:15 2018
    joyce.whitchurch@btinternet.com wrote:
    On Wednesday, 12 December 2018 15:06:40 UTC, Frank Slootweg wrote:

    If you're up for it, you could do Adelaide to Melbourne via coach
    (bus) and train, but you would probably want/need to spend a night somewhere.

    We've regularly done Adelaide to Mount Gambier (we've Aussie rellies
    in that area) by coach and Melbourne to Mount Gambier by train (Adelaide
    to Ballarat) and coach (Ballarat to Melbourne. Let me know if you would like some pointers for these services.

    Thanks for the offer. I'm still hoping we can book the train. I've got
    the travel agent working on it now. Travelling by road, whether coach
    or car, does seem to mean spending a night somewhere. It's a long way
    to travel! Most Australians would fly, which is why the train
    struggles to survive. But we will have heavy luggage, and that's not
    easy or cheap on a plane.

    We need to get to south of Geelong and the coach option is actually
    three coaches, changing at Horsham and Ballarat. Or an insanely long overnight trip, arriving at a silly time in the morning.

    There are trains from Warrnambool to Melbourne, which stop at Geelong.
    And there are coaches from Mount Gambier to Warrnambool. (We did
    Melbourne -> Warrnambool -> Mount Gambier.)

    Anyway, just in case you don't have it, here are all the V/Line
    timetables (and a planner) which cover SA to Geelong/Melbourne:

    <https://www.vline.com.au/Timetables/Additional-pages/Timetable-list>

    (Coach timetables-> South Western Victoria -> Mt Gambier to Melbourne
    via Geelong (covers coach and train parts))

    (Train timetables -> Geelong line timetables -> Warrnambool to Melbourne
    via Geelong)

    And this is the site of the bus from Adelaide to Mount Gambier:

    <http://premierstateliner.com.au>

    Happy travels.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From joyce.whitchurch@btinternet.com@21:1/5 to All on Tue Dec 18 12:14:29 2018
    Thanks for the coach stuff, Frank. But I am extremely pleased to tell you that we now have our tickets. I had to e-mail GSR, then e-mail them back with sundry details like name and phone number of emergency contacts. I'm still not clear if they meant "
    next of kin" in case of an accident, or just a fast way of contacting us if the train wasn't running.

    And then, having supplied all this, I had to telephone their sales office in Adelaide at dead of night [1], to pay them over the phone. And pay a credit card surcharge of 1.4 per cent. Still, we did get a discount on the normal fare because of all the
    delays in advertising the 2019 service.

    We're going in Red Premium class, so we get three square meals (breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea), and "Access to the licenced Café 828 Carriage". Licensed for the sale of Alcoholic Beverages, I trust, but I wonder why it's called Café 828. Perhaps
    it's open from 8 in the morning till 8 at night, though that would imply being at least an hour late reaching Melbourne.

    (More details at <https://greatsouthernrail.com.au/onboard/service-levels/red-service>.)

    [1] South Australia is currently 9.5 hours ahead of us in the UK.
    --
    Joyce Whitchurch, Stalybridge, UK
    =================================

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Frank Slootweg@21:1/5 to joyce.whitchurch@btinternet.com on Tue Dec 18 21:08:01 2018
    joyce.whitchurch@btinternet.com wrote:
    Thanks for the coach stuff, Frank. But I am extremely pleased to tell
    you that we now have our tickets. I had to e-mail GSR, then e-mail
    them back with sundry details like name and phone number of emergency contacts. I'm still not clear if they meant "next of kin" in case of
    an accident, or just a fast way of contacting us if the train wasn't
    running.

    And then, having supplied all this, I had to telephone their sales
    office in Adelaide at dead of night [1], to pay them over the phone.
    And pay a credit card surcharge of 1.4 per cent. Still, we did get a
    discount on the normal fare because of all the delays in advertising
    the 2019 service.

    We're going in Red Premium class, so we get three square meals
    (breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea), and "Access to the licenced Caf
    828 Carriage". Licensed for the sale of Alcoholic Beverages, I trust,
    but I wonder why it's called Caf 828. Perhaps it's open from 8 in the morning till 8 at night, though that would imply being at least an
    hour late reaching Melbourne.

    (More details at <https://greatsouthernrail.com.au/onboard/service-levels/red-service>.)

    [1] South Australia is currently 9.5 hours ahead of us in the UK.

    Thanks for the update, Joyce! Good on you and have a good one.

    Our trip, on the Savannahlander, will be totally different, but I'm
    sure it will also be a great experience.

    <http://www.savannahlander.com.au> and specifically this tour: <http://www.savannahlander.com.au/tours/savannah-explorer>

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Joyce Whitchurch@21:1/5 to All on Mon May 13 15:11:37 2019
    I rather think I owe you all (both?) an update on how we got on. The Overland is definitely running, at least until the end of this year. We had a very enjoyable trip on it. The train was formed of loco, three Red (= Standard Class) coaches (one locked
    out of use for staff only), something that British Rail would have called a buffet car, a Red Premium (= First Class) coach, and a baggage car.

    The loadings were odd, in that the Red Premium coach was full, with 37 passengers, and the standard Red coaches were less than half full, with about the same number of pax. The early departure (0745 from Adelaide, and required to check in at least half
    an hour beforehand) was rewarded with a glorious ride through the Adelaide Hills in brilliant sunshine, twisting and turning to climb up through the forests, stopping at every loop to let lengthy container trains go by. In Australia's winter months this
    would probably be all in the dark. The container trains by the way were mostly carrying refrigerated containers, which I suppose makes sense, given the outside temperatures.

    The food in Red Premium is not fantastic but it is enjoyable. Breakfast and lunch are served, and tea/coffee are offered at frequent intervals. The bar car is reasonably well stocked, and Cooper's Sparkling Ales feature prominently.

    The train has a relaxed timetable and ran pretty much to time throughout. A handful of passengers got on or off at the intermediate stations but most seemed to be making the through trip. We left at North Shore Geelong, along with 3 or 4 others. This is
    an odd station, because the Overland has to use one particular platform and it's rather short. Even a six coach train needs to pull up twice.

    The run through Victoria was notable for the number of out-of-use grain elevators, and the mass of telephone wires still drooping and rising between thousands of metal telegraph poles. I don't think they're in use, because the line is now signalled
    centrally from Ararat, by radio, but they don't look as though they've been out of use long. And no-one's tried to steal the copper (yet).

    Quite what will happen with the Overland in future is anybody's guess, but I think it could have a future as a once-a-week tourist train, perhaps with a faster schedule that means it runs in daylight all year round.

    In the course of our trip to Australia and New Zealand, we also travelled on the Indian Pacific, various commuter trains around Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne, and on the Taieri Gorge Railway on NZ's South Island. I'll report back on those trips when I
    get a round tuit (currently out of stock).
    --
    Joyce Whitchurch, Stalybridge, UK
    =================================

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Joyce Whitchurch@21:1/5 to All on Tue Nov 12 04:03:43 2019
    It's that time of year again, and the future of the Overland is again in doubt. Great Southern Rail are not taking bookings beyond the end of this year - which of course means they could stop running in the middle of the Australian summer holidays, just
    when you might expect them to be busy.

    The South Australian government is still declining to subsidise the train, and the Victorian government is unwilling to increase its payments. There's a bit of a story on Yahoo at <https://au.news.yahoo.com/future-adl-melb-train-doubt-052749016--spt.html>
    .
    --
    Joyce Whitchurch, Stalybridge, UK
    =================================

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Joyce Whitchurch@21:1/5 to All on Thu Dec 19 02:10:05 2019
    Update: GSR still aren't taking bookings for 2020. There's no official announcement that I can find but it looks very much as though The Overland's last run will be on 31st December 2019. Red Premium is sold out in both directions for the remaining runs
    but Red Standard seats are still available.
    --
    Joyce Whitchurch, Stalybridge, UK
    =================================

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Joyce Whitchurch@21:1/5 to All on Tue Dec 31 04:40:50 2019
    Well. As it's now after 2300 in South Australia, I reckon The Overland has finally completed its last run for 2019. I hope it kept to time.

    To my surprise, I find that Great Southern are now accepting bookings for The Overland in 2020. There has been no announcement or comment from them that I can find, but tickets are bookable up to the end of March. I learned this from YouTube, which has a
    video of today's run at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQENVVRwujI>.
    --
    Joyce Whitchurch, Stalybridge, UK
    =================================

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)