The Null Device

Melbourne-Sydney XPT upgrade

Apparently they're upgrading the Melbourne-Sydney XPT passenger rail service. I hadn't heard much about it for a while; I heard a rumour that it was to be scrapped because everybody was choosing, instead, to fly for half the price and 1/5 or so of the time. The last time I caught it (in December 2003), I recall that there were quite a few empty seats, and most of the patrons were elderly people, rural commuters and one rather drunk bikie.

The Victorian and NSW governments are investing A$35M into the XPT, which apparently buys a new lick of paint, new furnishing for all carriages, and better refreshment and toilet facilities. (And, given that there's nothing in the news report about it shaving a minute off the 11 or so hours that a one-way journey takes, that's probably a good thing.) I suspect that the upgrade won't include power points in seats/tables (as, say, Virgin Trains in the UK have), as pensioners and bikies in rural Australia generally don't carry laptops.

Anyway, it's good to hear that the XPT is not only still kicking around but actively being invested in. When the oil crunch comes and the cheap flights dry up, it'll undoubtedly come in handy.

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