XPT passengers get taste of luxury


The disruption to the Sydney-Melbourne XPT CountryLink rail service this week could have an up-side, as passengers switch to luxury coach travel south of the NSW border.

XPT passengers get taste of luxury
XPT passengers get taste of luxury

By David Goeldner | August 13, 2010

Passengers caught up in this week’s disrupted Sydney-Melbourne CountryLink XPT rail service are making the switch to high-spec luxury coach travel on the Hume Highway.

Wangaratta Coachlines and Sunbury Coaches are running the stand-by service while track work continues to disrupt rail travel south of Albury.

Victorian operators are selected from a panel of coach companies determined by CountryLink to cover any service disruptions at the southern end of the Sydney-Melbourne rail line, a NSW Railcorp spokesperson says.

Wangaratta Coachlines Managing Director Don Joyce says it’s a matter of meeting the express timetable from Albury to Melbourne, stopping at Wangaratta and Benalla.

He says there is a bank of coaches in both directions covered by the two coach operators to meet the four XPT daily services – two south and two travelling north.

"We leave in the evening from Albury and return the next morning from Melbourne while Sunbury travels the reverse route."

Joyce says there is an efficient plan in place to cover the disrupted XPT express service.

"It is additional work, and it does happen from time to time – it’s nothing new to us," he says.

"We have a great working partnership with V Line and CountryLink."

The company’s core business is V-line, intercity services in north-eastern regional Victoria and school runs.

Joyce is keen to showcase his company’s luxury fleet, recently expanded with a new 3-axle Scania coach, complete with leather seats.

He says Wangaratta Coachlines takes passenger comfort seriously, starting with luxury-level appointments and safety features on school runs.

"That’s why we’ve been successful, and it’s always been my approach, and our client base has increased."

Temporary Services

NSW Railcorp says CountryLink is monitoring the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s track work progress while the temporary coach travel arrangements are in place.

Railcorp says CountryLink is making direct contact with affected customers to advise them of changes to travel and posting updates on www.countrylink.info

The following services have been affected:

From Melbourne:

08:30 Southern Cross to Albury

19:55 Southern Cross to Albury

To Melbourne:

04:15 Albury to Southern Cross

15:19 Albury to Southern Cross

In Melbourne, coaches will arrive and depart from the Southern Cross Station coach terminal located on Spencer Street, opposite little Bourke Street.

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