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NSW TrainLink reduces fares

Melbourne, Australia
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NSW TrainLink reduces fares

The replacement in name for the previous Countrylink NSW, NSW TrainLink, has finally permanently introduced the concept of 30 per cent off adult fares in the low season, 15 per cent off in the shoulder season but standard adult fares during the busiest times of the year such as most of the school holidays.

For instance a Sydney to Melbourne adult single economy fare is now $91.18:

nswtrainlink.info/deals/offers/seasonal_fares

At times, particularly if you are wanting to travel at the last moment, these 30 per cent off train fares can be cheaper than going by air, as the airlines try very hard to make one pay top dollar if one has to travel at short notice.

NSW TrainLink operates an extensive rail and coach network within NSW and also to Echuca and Mildura (Vic), Melbourne (Vic), Brisbane (Qld), Gold Coast (Qld) and naturally Canberra (ACT).

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: NSW TrainLink reduces fares

Oh good grief. The country train services operate at a huge loss already, and now management wants to make it worse. So few people use these trains that it would be better if the whole system were closed down.

Sydney/Melbourne
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2. Re: NSW TrainLink reduces fares

If they really want to encourage more people to use the trains they need to not only lower the prices but do something to improve the dreadful state of the rolling stock. Even V Line is an improvement on NSW CountryLink or whatever they want to call it. Perhaps someone from NSW TrainLink should travel to the UK or Europe to see how it's done properly.

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3. Re: NSW TrainLink reduces fares

sydneynick, while I take your point, the NSW TrainLink XPT and Xplorer trains are actually used by about 500,000 passengers a year.

Some travel to or from small towns where populations have been declining for years, but there are no other coaches serving these population centres (the coaches typically connect with main line trains).

The fare reductions will not necessarily increase losses. If a higher number of adult fare paying passengers (as opposed to pensioners and other concession card holders) travel, fare revenue per seat - yield - will rise.

It's true that often the trains can be quite empty, but during some school holidays, patronage increases markedly.

evamelb, having just been to the UK, I can assure you that the trains vary widely in quality. One main line train on which I travelled was excellent; a second (of a different operator) had older rollingstock while some of the branch line trains were (at best) in 'fair' condition (being 35 years old and needing refurbishment). The UK and Europe has a much higher population density per square kilometre than NSW or Australia, and by the way, NSW TrainLink's XPT trainshave been refurbished internally and are quite pleasant in which to travel - certainly more comfortable than an economy class airline seat or a road coach seat.

Sydney/Melbourne
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4. Re: NSW TrainLink reduces fares

I've had the misfortune of taking a few rides on country link in the past year and other than rolling stock in former Eastern Bloc countries, I've not come across slower, less comfortable transport. Not only, IMO, is the train seat less comfortable than a seat on a plane - any plane- you're stuck in it for longer - much longer in NSW since the train crawl along at a glacial pace. SYD to CBR is a perfect example. A trip between the biggest city and the capital of NSW and the Nation's capital takes 20 minutes by air, 3 hours by car, 3.5 hours by bus and 4.5 hours by train and there's not even any first class seating even though you can pay extra for first class.

So I guess we'll agree to disagree on the merits of train vs plane in NSW.

Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: NSW TrainLink reduces fares

evamelb, it would be wonderful if one could fly between Sydney and Canberra in 20 minutes. In that direction, a Qantas flight is usually timetabled to take 55 minutes.

What matters is elapsed journey times. So one must take account of getting to the airport (or railway station) checking in (for air, not usually not for rail), going through security (again, not for rail), actually travelling then collecting luggage if you have any stowed (typically a longer wait for air) and then travelling to one's final destination.

I'm not suggesting that the train is quicker between Sydney and Canberra than flying - it normally is not - but it's not quite as simple as stating that the plane will 'take 20 minutes.'

Sydney
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6. Re: NSW TrainLink reduces fares

I don't think it is the fare level that is changing, but rather some consistency in pricing.

Yes, NSW trains are slower than driving or flying. But, I've never had my knees hard into the seat in front, like I do on just about every domestic airline these days.

South Pole
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7. Re: NSW TrainLink reduces fares

well they haven't won me yet ie. pay me to travel with them.

Sydney
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8. Re: NSW TrainLink reduces fares

Well, the government pays an average $80+ for everyone who does travel on them - so you're missing out on your share :-)

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: NSW TrainLink reduces fares

The SYD-CBR travel times are certainly too slow.

To the NSW north coast cities, the travel times by Countrylink are faster and immeasurably more comfortable than the competing road services.

There is a high patronage by people travelling to major rural cities and to connecting rpoad services to smaller communities nearby. The level of traffic between Melbourne & Wangaratta by XPT places serious question over the quality of the V/Line services. There are growing complaints in Victoria about the V/Line services on the north-east line.

Quainton, United...
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10. Re: NSW TrainLink reduces fares

Going to an airport just for a 400 mile journey is obscene, you simply shouldn't have to.

As is 400 miles in a bus - again, you should have to, not in a grown-up civilised country... ;0)

It's great that there remains a proper, civilised train service between NSW cities, as there should be. I've used both daytime and overnight sleeper services between Sydney and Melbourne and they were pretty good indeed - especially the overnight Sydney-Melbourne XPT sleeper train, where you sleep, wake, shower, had breakfast and are delivered to the city centre in time for business.

It's good if they are now yield-managing fares, it means more passengers, and more revenue.