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Regional Express Delays/Cancellations

jb747

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While sometimes there's not many days' advance warning of likely fog, in such circumstances if one is bound for the suburbs (not connecting to another flight), it can be quicker and more reliable to catch the NSW TrainLink XPT or V/Line standard gauge local train to Southern Cross, and far easier on the wallet or purse.
Sounds like you’ve never tried to use it. Unreliable and slow. Over the past few days it’s been a 5 hour bus trip.
 

Melburnian1

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@Melburnian1 , didnt know Sandilands has passed. RIP.
That the ATSB investigates most incidents is not necessarily an indication of anything awry. These will take some time to get through the system. Though most fizzle out...
That's correct. Investigation timeframes (to final report publication) vary widely: for instance examination of a VA runway excursion at DRW (December 2016) was not completed until May 2019, and the lack of centreline lighting was attributed as the cause. Other reports take a couple of months to issue. These ones I suggest will perhaps take 12 to 18 months but they are the technical individuals not me.
 

Melburnian1

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Sounds like you’ve never tried to use it. Unreliable and slow. Over the past few days it’s been a 5 hour bus trip.
What we should really complain about is how we've not had the foresight to build and open true high speed rail linking our two major cities, and importantly, serving those who live in wonderful locales like Albury or Wodonga. I hear your frustration, because many other nations have built this and that technology keeps on improving. It would be terrific, but we lack decision makers at all levels who can learn from what other countries do.

Sorry, but I've used it more times whether Melbourne to Sydney or intermediate stopping stations than one could poke a stick at, day and night, just as I've been by both train and car to Albury/Wodonga numerous times over many years. I also used the former three intercapital trains, long since ceased.

Some recent days IIRC have seen some scheduled trackwork. This isn't often, but like airfield runways - LAX is one to which you used to refer, and soon MEL when it starts its third runway construction - there's work that cannot fit in between trains, even though the line is duplicated between Seymour and Wodonga, and in part closer to Melbourne. There was one instance where due to works being incomplete, a train took six hours from Albury to Southern Cross I gather - unacceptable.

Provided the trackwork isn't for weeks on end, it's unfair to criticise this, unless you'd prefer a train to derail, or to have to crawl over mudholes for ever, instead of them receiving attention from the Australian Rail Track Corporation. Ideally, there shouldn't have been mudholes when the westbound track was gauge converted several years ago, but that's history.

If you're referring to the NSW XPTs, they're not that slow. Average speed of c.85 - 90kmh Melbourne to Sydney that considering the railway north of Junee to Sydney is curvaceous, being built in the steam era, is creditable. Of course, nowhere near modern high speed rail median speeds.

Between Southern Cross and Albury, with four intermediate stops, the XPTs are timed to take 3 hours 15 to 3 hours 22 minutes. It's 315km by standard gauge rail via Sunshine, so average speed of as fast as 88.8kmh. Trains can't stop from a speed of 120kmh in 130 metres like many cars could, so the stops (with a typical minute plus at stations as well) slow it down.

When V/Line and NSW TrainLink have replacement road coaches, which I've travelled on quite a few times including in the past year, they usually take about 3.5 hours from Albury to Southern Cross, subject to traffic close to Melbourne - the express ones. For roadside passengers, stopping buses take longer, but the XPT only stops at Broadmeadows, Seymour, Benalla and Wangaratta (whereas V/Line has a few more stops: Avenel, Euroa, Violet Town, Springhurst and Chiltern, plus that large city of Wodonga.) V/Line always has an 'express' coach in such circumstances (that usually runs Southern Cross to Wodonga then Albury or vice versa.

It's usually irregular or non-users (you?) who claim the XPTs are unreliable. In summer, these trains, as with V/Line's can run late due to 90kmh heat speed restrictions imposed between IIRC 1200 'high noon' to 2000 or 2200 hours if the temperature is forecast to hit 36 or above. In practice if the BOM overestimates the temperature, they can occasionally be lifted, but they are a pain for travellers and not ideal, though some other railways worldwide also impose these.

The rest of the year, pretty good considering these trains are around 35 years old. As a lady recently said to me in one of the cities along the route 'I like the XPT: it's a pleasant journey', which it is, especially in first class.

Tonight's Melbourne - Sydney XPT is presently 34 minutes late while the southbound ex Sydney is two minutes late. That's better than Regional Express' performance ABX to MEL on many days (or for that matter when there's fog or other problems, ZL, QF or VARA from ABX to SYD.
 
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Melburnian1

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On Wednesday 4 September, ZL767 (VH-ZLJ), the 0755 hours SYD down to ABX took off at 0924 hours (although FR24 appears to incorrectly claim '0830) with arrival suggested as 1058, 98 minutes late. The BOM non-aviation forercast says merely 'partly cloudy' for Albury: was there fog earlier?
 

Melburnian1

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Much later on 4 September, ZL3684, the 1825 hjours early evening MEL - MQL (VH-ZXG) was in the sky at 2000 hours after departing at 1952, so expected arrival is 2111 hours, 86 minutes behind the schedule.
 

Melburnian1

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There may have again been fog in ABX, as the Thursday 5 September ZL762, the 0630 hours ABX to SYD did not become airborne until 0903 hours. Arrival for VH-ZLR should be at 1014 hours, 139 minutes past the allotted.

ZL463 (0830 hours SYD down to GFF) took off at 0913 hours, about half an hour late, so arrival is suggested at 1030, half an hour behind. VH-ZXU is the aircraft.
 
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Melburnian1

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Friday 6 September 2019's NTL - SYD morning ZL353, the 0630 hours that took off at 0745 and is the waste of a precious peak slot at SYD as passengers could easily travel by train or drive on the F3, is displaying as arriving at 0821, 66 late with VH-RXS. In practice it may be later as at 0808 it remained in a hold west of Cessnock.

UPDATE: Arrival is further delayed to 0845 hours,

The MYA to SYD ZL114 (VH-ZLO) is the 0715 hours in the sky at 0732, only about 10 late. Arrival is 0847, 32 late as the aircraft had to hold for quite a while north of the Wombeyan Caves.

The 0630 hours MQL down to MEL was airborne at 0919 on Friday 6. VH-EKH should arrive at 1040, 170 minutes late.

The 0700 hours MEL - MIM took off at 0937. VH_ZXS should arrive at 1025, 125 late.
 
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Melburnian1

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Much later on 6 September 2019, the evening ZL477 (1855 hours SYD to GFF that was in the sky at 2031 with VH-VNA) should arrive at 2146, 86 minutes behind schedule.
 

Melburnian1

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With much late running yesterday and Saturday 7 September 2019 winds gusting at SYD to 56kmh and consequently down to single runway ops, ZL826, the 0920 hours SYD - DBO (VH-VNA) took off at 1235 with estimated arrival 1329, 179 minutes late.
 

Melburnian1

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ZL323, Saturday 7's 1135 hours GFN down to SYD was in the sky at 1337. Arrival for VH-ZLO should be 1522 hours, 137 minutes behind the schedule.
 

Melburnian1

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The evening of Sunday 8 September finds ZL527, the 1740 hours late afternoon PKE across to SYD (airborne at 1916) arriving at 2011 hours, 91 late. Aircraft is SAAB 340B VH-ZLJ.

Colleague VH-PRX on ZL983 from ARM to SYD, the 1735 hours that pointed skywards at 1910 is remarkably similar with expected arrival 2014 hours, 89 behind.
 

Melburnian1

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On a blustery Monday 9 September 2019 in SYD (and at times MEL), ZL454 (VH-ZLO, the 0650 hours GFF to SYD) took off at 0827b with arrival suggested as 1007 hours, 117 minutes late.

The 0630 hours BNK - SYD (ZL211, VH-ZXK) took off at 0748 with arrival likely at 0955 hours, 95 late as SYD is down to using only the east-west runway.
 
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Melburnian1

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Later on 9 September, the 0630 hours PKE - SYD took off at 1007 hours with VH-ZLF. While arrival is displaying as 1103 (218 minute slate), at 1047, the aircraft remained holding north of the Wombeyan caves so this time is an underestimate of the delay.

The OAG - SYD ZL165 (0910 hours in the sky at 1010, VH-ZXF) was circling in the same position so is likely to be more than an hour late.
 

Melburnian1

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Continuing with Monday 9 September, ZL467 (ZL-VLJ, the 1030 hours midmorning SYD down to GFF) is having a shocker of a day with takeoff mid afternoon at 1530. Arrival should be 1645, 285 minutes behind the timetable.
 

Melburnian1

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Sydney has waited many days for a bucketing, but the rain is coming down as ZL114 on Tuesday 17 September (VH-ZLW, the 0715 hours MYA - SYD airborne at 0822) holds in the usual location for turboprops north of Wombeyan Caves as at 0907. Arrival is showing as 0924 hours, 69 late but that is likely to be an underestimate of the delay.

ZL954, the 0830 hours SYD - ARM (VH-VNA) was still taxiing in SYD at 0922, so will be at least 45 minutes late into the northern university city.
 
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Melburnian1

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Continuing with a rainy Tuesday 17 September in Sydney, ZL717 (0900 hours SYD down to OOM) was airborne at 1003 hours. Arrival should be 1101, 61 late.

The ARM - SYD ZL955 (VH-VNA) is arriving at 1155 hours, half an hour behind schedule.
 
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Melburnian1

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With the very wet day in the Sydney Basin continuing into the night, the 1920 houers SYD to BHS (ZL632) that should arrive at 2010 did not take off until 2027, so expected arrival has become 2101 hours, 51 minutes tardy. Aircraft is (as always) a SAAB 340B, in this case VH-TRX.

ZL681 (1900 hours evening SYD - WGA) was airborne t a1952. Predicted arrival for VH-ZLF is 33 minutes late at 2048 hours.
 

Melburnian1

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Wednesday 18 September sees ZL767, the 0755 hours SYD - ABX taking off at 0856 with VH-OLM. Expected arrival is 1009, 49 late.
 

Melburnian1

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ZL767 is late for a second consecutive day, with the Thursday 19 September flight (the 0755 hours) airborne at 0907. Suggested arrival for VH-RXX is 1019 hours, 59 behind the schedule.
 

Melburnian1

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On Friday 20 September 2019, winds as at 0810 hours were gusting to 69kmh at MEL (and had earlier been as high as 72kmh) so ZL3752, the 0630 hours MGB across to MEL airborne at 0659 (VH-ZPA, the usual SAAB 340B) has held jut west of Meredith. Arrival will be at least 40 minutes later than the schedule of 0805 hours.
 

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