Melbourne to Sydney by overnight XPT train

mrsterryn

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Interestingly this TR is over 2years old
The discovery pass is still $550 Screenshot_2020-07-23-16-33-46-68.jpg

 

Memma

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Discovery pass is good value. It also allows you to upgrade to sleepers for $88 a night so if you're doing say a Melbourne - Brisbane trip $300 + $88 + $88 can save quite a lot of money!
 

Melburnian1

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Discovery pass is good value. It also allows you to upgrade to sleepers for $88 a night so if you're doing say a Melbourne - Brisbane trip $300 + $88 + $88 can save quite a lot of money!

I had one last year and among other travel used it for a couple of overnight trips to Sydney, saving heaps on airline fares, especially since one of my trips was short notice.

NSW TrainLink staff at the time told me the operator sold 'a lot' of Discovery Passes in first class. No wonder: I can't think of a travel product that in normal times is better value in Oz. The only downside is one can't go to Perth, Kalgoorlie or north of Brisbane.

Mattg however used his more widely than me as he even visited Condoblin NSW! (Some would have to look its location up on Google).
 

Memma

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I had one last year and among other travel used it for a couple of overnight trips to Sydney, saving heaps on airline fares, especially since one of my trips was short notice.

Mattg however used his more widely than me as he even visited Condoblin NSW! (Some would have to look its location up on Google).

Been to Condoblin a number of times in my 100 or so Indian Pacific trips :)
 

coles525

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Bump.

Thinking of taking a sleeper train (2 adults, 1 child) Mel - Syd in the next few months.

Regular cost (with 1x YHA 10% discount fare) is $1,470.80 return.

Would likely purchase 3x discovery passes (2 adult, 1 child), to use on this hopeful trip (pending change of accomodation dates allowed), then again use it within the 6 month travel limit (starting the date of 1st train travel).

Could even use it for day trips within NSW, to view other areas.

I've looked at the travel map, but not really understanding it. Can we catch any train that travels between listed stations, or are we required to book bybphone for every trip, including if it is 5 stops away?


NSW Discovery pass permitted travel map
 

Melburnian1

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Bump.

Thinking of taking a sleeper train (2 adults, 1 child) Mel - Syd in the next few months.

Regular cost (with 1x YHA 10% discount fare) is $1,470.80 return.

Would likely purchase 3x discovery passes (2 adult, 1 child), to use on this hopeful trip (pending change of accomodation dates allowed), then again use it within the 6 month travel limit (starting the date of 1st train travel).

Could even use it for day trips within NSW, to view other areas.

I've looked at the travel map, but not really understanding it. Can we catch any train that travels between listed stations, or are we required to book bybphone for every trip, including if it is 5 stops away?


NSW Discovery pass permitted travel map

You can book online. Go into the Transport NSW website, or just type in 'NSW TrainLink bookings' to your browser.

When I occasionally buy a DP, I usually buy in person in Melbourne at Southern Cross where there's a small office next to the luggage hall. Next best is to purchase by phone and then the staff at the Sydney call centre email you the passes (be sure to carry these, or have them on your phone) and can make reservations for you if you wish.

If booking online relatively new orange booking website will appear, but either before or after you make a 'ghost' booking, it will somewhere give you the option to use the 'old' booking site that has a blue background. This is better. When you book, select 'Discovery Pass'. If you want to sit together, best however to make bookings by phone, and essential for the sleepers.

If you book by phone, or want to change seats/sleeping berth allocations after you've booked online, ring the call centre and staff will arrange. For instance if paying the $88 supplement per berth for a Sydney to Grafton trip on the Brisbane-bound XPT, you might discover that the compartment's seat (which for day travel seats three, but only two at night: upper and lower berths) is facing backwards, so the call centre can try to change you and your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend to a forward facing sleeping cabin.

You can travel between any stations with NSW TL services.

You have to book in advance even if only for five stations. In busier times, seats can turn over two or three times during a trip. For instance I've been on a Melbourne to Sydney train that although only having about 220 seats, had a total of 400 passengers booked. Someone would travel Melbourne to Wagga, the next person Wagga to Cootamundra to connect with one of the many road coaches and then a third might join at Yass Junction to travel to Campbelltown. That's why you can't just jump on at the last minute, though if you had a Discovery Pass that had been validated by previous use, maybe a passenger attendant (conductor) would allow you on as usually (like airlines) there are no-shows.

All NSW TL trains are reserved except the twice daily 'Bathurst Bullets' that operate Bathurst to Sydney.

(Strictly if I recall, interurban trains to Blue Mts, Newcastle Interchange, Maitland, Dungog, Scone, Goulburn and Nowra are NSW TL not Sydney Trains. All these are unreserved so just hop on).

You can use a Discovery Pass to connect to/from your NSW TL journey on Sydney Trains (but not ferries/buses/light rail).

There are a huge number of connecting road coaches. For instance NSW TL operates Broken Hill to Adelaide (road coach) twice a week and once a week has a great train from Sydney to BH (Mondays) and next day back again.

It really is a good deal.
 

Mattg

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Edit: Looks like @Melburnian1 wrote his reply at the same time as me. I'll leave mine here but it looks like we're giving similar info. However M1 is incorrect to say you can book between a ticket between any stations - there are a small number of restrictions about which journeys you can book - see below. Also, you can't just "hop on" unreserved services with a Discovery Pass - it's not a substitute for an Opal card.

Bump.

Thinking of taking a sleeper train (2 adults, 1 child) Mel - Syd in the next few months.

Regular cost (with 1x YHA 10% discount fare) is $1,470.80 return.

I'm seeing a cost of $1,268.50 return for 1 full fare adult, 1 adult with YHA discount + 1 child for Melbourne-Sydney return in the sleeper. Not sure where you got that price?

Would likely purchase 3x discovery passes (2 adult, 1 child), to use on this hopeful trip (pending change of accomodation dates allowed), then again use it within the 6 month travel limit (starting the date of 1st train travel).

Makes sense. The adult premium pass is $550 each and child is $275. So $1,375 for unlimited first class travel for 6 months. However, you do need to pay an extra $88 per passenger, per trip to upgrade to the sleeper.

Could even use it for day trips within NSW, to view other areas.

I've looked at the travel map, but not really understanding it. Can we catch any train that travels between listed stations, or are we required to book bybphone for every trip, including if it is 5 stops away?


NSW Discovery pass permitted travel map

With the Discovery Pass, you can catch any NSW TrainLink regional train or coach service which has reserved seats. I even used this pass last year to travel from Adelaide to Canberra via Broken Hill & Sydney. You can also use it for connecting intercity/suburban services, but only when connecting to/from a regional service on the same day.

Note that there are some restrictions about which stations you can book seats to/from. E.g. you can't just book a seat from Campbelltown to Sydney (or Melbourne to Seymour, for that matter). But you can book from Moss Vale to Sydney, or Melbourne to Benalla.

You just have to reserve your seats in advance (all these services have allocated seating). As long as there is a seat available, you can book it - there are no restrictions - and you can book online. The only reason you would need to book over the phone is to book a sleeper.
 
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Melburnian1

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Edit: Looks like @Melburnian1 wrote his reply at the same time as me. I'll leave mine here but it looks like we're giving similar info. However M1 is incorrect to say you can book between a ticket between any stations - there are a small number of restrictions about which journeys you can book - see below. Also, you can't just "hop on" unreserved services with a Discovery Pass - it's not a substitute for an Opal card.

Sorry, I assumed most know that on many rail systems worldwide, you can't use longer distance trains to travel (say) the equivalent of Sydney to Campbelltown or Melbourne to Broadmeadows.

You're correct re no travel Melb-Seymour on the XPT.

Some shorter journeys to/from Sydney (e.g. Sydney to Moss Vale or Broadmeadow NSW) have restrictions on how long before date of travel one can book. These are typically seven or 14 days.

There are also some limits on from and to what stations one can book sleepers. For instance, you can't get on the Melbourne-bound XPT at Cootamundra (where it stops at well after 0100 hours) as the official view is you'd disturb others in the sole sleeping car.

You can hop on unreserved services with a DP because there's this rule:

"Travel on NSW TrainLink Intercity or Sydney Train services is only permitted when travelling in conjunction with a connecting NSW TrainLink Regional service."

So if you're doing that, no problems: in that circumstance, Opal Card not required. Plus as I mentioned, Bathurst Bullet (Endeavour railcars) is unbooked, and I used it recently with a DP.
 
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Mattg

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You can hop on unreserved services with a DP because there's this rule:

"Travel on NSW TrainLink Intercity or Sydney Train services is only permitted when travelling in conjunction with a connecting NSW TrainLink Regional service."

So if you're doing that, no problems: in that circumstance, Opal Card not required. Plus as I mentioned, Bathurst Bullet (Endeavour railcars) is unbooked, and I used it recently with a DP.

Oh yes, indeed you can use unreserved services in that context. Just need to be connecting to a regional service on the same day (and booking).

I wonder if you use a Discovery Pass to travel from (say) Canberra to Sydney Domestic Airport (changing to an unreserved suburban train at Campbelltown/Central)?
 

Melburnian1

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Oh yes, indeed you can use unreserved services in that context. Just need to be connecting to a regional service on the same day (and booking).

I wonder if you use a Discovery Pass to travel from (say) Canberra to Sydney Domestic Airport (changing to an unreserved suburban train at Campbelltown/Central)?

Yes, you could but they'd want you to pay that rascally station access fee. Westpac loves the revenue from that!

Numerous times, I have just waved a Discovery Pass at barrier gate attendants (not at the airport, but at various Sydney stations. They open the wide fare gate if not already open, and never ask questions). But I don't abuse it, and if my trip is clearly not a 'connection', I use an Opal Card.
 

SYD

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Yes, you could but they'd want you to pay that rascally station access fee. Westpac loves the revenue from that!

Numerous times, I have just waved a Discovery Pass at barrier gate attendants (not at the airport, but at various Sydney stations. They open the wide fare gate if not already open, and never ask questions). But I don't abuse it, and if my trip is clearly not a 'connection', I use an Opal Card.
For outta towners, you don’t need an Opal card now. Pretty much any debit/credit card (physical or phone with contactless payment) will work the same way and give similar pricing/discounts. Just make sure you use the same card in/out and ideally during the week (Mon-Sun) for daily, weekly, weekend caps, transfers and half price fares (after 8 trips each week).


Edit: the banner on that link shows $2.80 all-day Sunday, funday cap. Unfortunately, that went the way of the Doddo...☹️
 

dajop

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A question about the XPT in general - in the context of this thread research elsewhere suggests the only power supply on the XPT is the shaver ports in bathrooms and sleeping cabins and is strongly advised it is not used for laptops and phones. Is this correct, or is this outdated advice?
 

Melburnian1

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A question about the XPT in general - in the context of this thread research elsewhere suggests the only power supply on the XPT is the shaver ports in bathrooms and sleeping cabins and is strongly advised it is not used for laptops and phones. Is this correct, or is this outdated advice?

No, it's true. These trains will be replaced gradually by new noisier (railcars not locomotive hauled) trains from 2023.

Many may use the GPUs (power points) for phones and perhaps laptops. Maybe if appropriate bring a surge protector.
 

serfty

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Pretty much any debit/credit card (physical or phone with contactless payment) will work the same way and give similar pricing/discounts.
Except Concession/Seniors etc.

They could implement a way around this - In Chicago for example, you can register your contactless card as belonging to an eligible member of a concession group - that works fine.
 

SYD

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Except Concession/Seniors etc.

They could implement a way around this - In Chicago for example, you can register your contactless card as belonging to an eligible member of a concession group - that works fine.
Yes, good point!

Opal “Gold“ is one status level I’m not rushing for 🤣 but it’s just around the corner....

Still, for the occasional or short visit, it’s more user friendly than some cities eg MEL and $6 Myki (unless you stay in the “Freezone”...).

Oh, I just noticed that SYD airport still sting seniors much the same as non-concession card holders....
 
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openseat

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I used Discovery Passes quite regularly during 2017/8. Worked out well. Only one slightly dodgy experience.
No, it's true. These trains will be replaced gradually by new noisier (railcars not locomotive hauled) trains from 2023.
I agree this is a retrograde step. It's a great sadness that locomotive hauled passenger trains are disappearing around the world.
 

moa999

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Except Concession/Seniors etc.

They could implement a way around this - In Chicago for example, you can register your contactless card as belonging to an eligible member of a concession group - that works fine.
The problem is one of fare evasion..
Grandma's credit card will get borrowed.

The current light on the Opal hates for concession cards makes the job of RPOs much easier.

London's Oyster (a similar Cubic system to Opal) also only has adult fares on contactless.
 

Melburnian1

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The problem is one of fare evasion..
Grandma's credit card will get borrowed.

The current light on the Opal hates for concession cards makes the job of RPOs much easier.

London's Oyster (a similar Cubic system to Opal) also only has adult fares on contactless.

Wary of going OT, but Melbourne's myki fare gates/station barriers also have a light: in its case, amber - for concession cardholders.
 
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