Intercapital services

Intercapital services

A promotional train to show off the new vehicles was run to Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Casino, Lismore, Byron Bay, Murwillumbah and Brisbane between 22/7/93 and 24/7/93. XP2016 - XL2226 - XD2225 - XAM2175 - XP2015 ran the service and the new vehicles were open for inspection. XD2225 had been fitted with its new buffet but had not yet been recoded.

Sleeping cars were first used on the Brisbane and Murwillumbah services on 30/7/93. The nine compartments accomodated 18 sleeping berth passengers, or 27 first class passengers sitting up during daylight runs. The XL cars entered service at the same time.

By late 1993 all the new rollingstock had been delivered and several changes were planned:

Xplorer railcars replaced the Tamworth XPT on 5/10/93, releasing the final XPT set for refurbishing. A promotional train consisting of XP2016 - XAM2180 - XDR2155 - XDH2102 - XM2212 - XD 2216 - XP2015 was run to Cootamundra, Wagga Wagga and Albury. The new XAM and refurbished XDR and XDH were opened for public inspection.

Despite the intentions, the new state government in Victoria would not support a daylight service to Melbourne. The last Melbourne Express departed Sydney on 20/11/93 with the final Sydney Express departing Melbourne the following night. The first regular XPT serivce departed Sydney on 21/11/93 with XP2008 - XAM2181 - XL2229 - XM 2207 - XDR 2153 - XD 2214 - XD 2221 - XFH 2106 - XP2015. Despite arriving 50 minutes late in Melbourne due to a puctured air bag, it was still 2 hours faster than the Melbourne Express the previous night. Late running was a regular feature until November 1993. The schedule was to depart Sydney at 20.43, arriving in Melbourne at 7.00. The return was to depart Melbourne at 20.10, arriving in Sydney at 6.45. From 1/5/94 the arrival in Melbourne was altered to 7.05 and the departure was altered to 20.05. The set was stabled in Melbourne during the day.

Meanwhile the Grafton XPT seervice had commenced on 25/11/93. This train also was the last to carry a Countrylink guard on 21/8/94.

The riding qualityof the NMA bogies on the XL and XAM trailers was inferior to the NHA and at least 13 modifications were made to improve the ride. For a short time in 1994, the XAM cars were restricted to 140km/h due to cracking bogies.

At long last the daylight XPT between Sydney and Melbourne commenced running on 13/12/94. The daylight XPT to Melbourne replaced the Riverina XPT to Albury. The first daylight XPT out of Melbourne was XP2011 - XFH2104 - XF2223 - XB2204 - XF2221 - XBR2157 - XL2233 - XAM2178 - XP2007.

Not much changed for several years.

On 1st December 1997, WT27 departed Sydney with one power car and five trailers. According to Countrylink, it was a deliberate trial to see if a 5 car set could be hauled by only one power car. The single power car was unable to cope, especially in the hot weather, and the "trial" was never repeated.

From March to June 1997, ST2 was regularly arriving in Sydney up to 3 hours late. This was due to permanent 80km/h speed restrictions in Victoria due trackwork between Violet Town Loop and Wodonga Loop. As a result, NT25 Grafton XPT was rescheduled to depart Sydney Terminal at 12.35. Normal services were resumed on or about 1st July.

For several weeks in February/March 1998, WT27/WT28 Central West XPT was running with only one power car and 4 trailers due to a shortage of servicable motive power. The standard consist for this time was XP - XL - XBR - XF - XFH. This required turning the XP at Dubbo. As this was the quiet season, patronage was low and the smaller consist could handle the traffic.

All 2+7 sets were reduced to 2+6 in May 1998 to allow for some refurbishment and general maintenance. Car F (an XF) was removed from each set in early May, then replaced and Car E removed from the middle of the month.