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allrite
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Of Points And Pointlessness: SYD-MEL A330, Train

Tue Nov 24, 2015 4:25 am

The quest for status makes one perform acts of irrationality. So does fear. The deadline for earning enough points to keep my Silver level of Qantas status was fast approaching. The only way to earn status is to fly, so I desperately searched for potential flights that could earn me the required points.

Why is status important? To be perfectly honest, to someone in my position it probably isn't. I simply can't fly enough or expensively enough to earn the kind of status where the real perks kick in. But I do fly enough that the little privileges are welcomed and I do genuinely enjoy flying Qantas and Jetstar. The fact that virtually every employee of theirs that I meet speaks of their pride for working for them also helps engender a sense of loyalty too.

I would have had those points had the last trip to Singapore worked out. Instead I got as far as Melbourne and headed home. On Virgin Australia. So only ten points out of the required fifty earned there.

I like airlines, I love travel, but as time passes I struggle more and more with a fear of turbulence that threatens to ruin the experience. In many ways the anticipation is worse than the event itself. I know I shouldn't fear, I know I can cope. So I try to face that fear, to ensure that it doesn't stop me.

But I also do my best to avoid the situation where I can. That means avoidance of adverse weather.

I scry the weather maps, the turbulence forecasts. It's November, storm season, when hot moist air forms towering cumulonimbus full of severe updrafts and downdrafts, when walls of roiling clouds envelop whole cities.

I know this. I've seen it happen right outside my office window, watching a grey hell engulf Sydney, aircraft disappearing from their usual flight paths as they circle, waiting for the storms to pass.

Massive storm front strikes south of Sydney


Plus there are at least two cities to concern myself with along with all the skies between those two. An origin, a destination. And then they swap, time passing between them. Time for a change to pass through or a late storm to develop.

There is an added complication that my times are limited due to work and family commitments. A day trip is preferred, a night away at most. But short trips mean reduced points earn unless one is willing to pay for the highest fares.

I'm not going to try for a 8 hour flight only to turn straight back. That didn't work out for Singapore. New Zealand or Perth? Tempting way to use the Jetstar credit from my last trip, but ultimately I'd be flying for points and not to see anything. If I'm going to do that it's got to be short.

As they say, first world problems!

After the ferocious storms, a couple of gorgeous November days pass me by. Long contrails streak across clear skies, their paths untroubled by breezes. I prevaricate, identify some other days from the long range forecast that should be suitable.

It is a Tuesday as I step out of my house in the morning and set off towards work. As I wait at the bus stop I see the skies are clear and calm and think, today is a good day to fly! I check forecasts and then fares on my phone as the bus makes its short trip to the station and find myself quickly booking return Qantas flights to Melbourne. Along with the 50% bonus I registered for it should take me to within 10 points of Silver Status.

Unfortunately, Qantas only permits you to select seats after purchasing the ticket (I prefer Jetstar's way of letting you do it first). On the way down I'm in seat 40K, near the back of the wing but still close enough. But on the way up it's 48K too near to the rear.

It's too late to check in on my phone, but my train passes by the airport station, so I hop off there and check in through the kiosk, hoping that better seats will appear.

They don't.

Terminal 3 and kiosks

I'm quite early, so I go to the Qantas Club and take out my laptop to do some work.

I've had breakfast and I'm not really hungry, so I limit myself to drinks and nibblies (I love licorice allsorts!). Anyway, I know I'll be fed on the flight and I've got another Qantas Club to look forward to in Melbourne.

The windows are facing out towards the Qantas Jetbase and the northern gates of the terminal. I spot the Qantas Retro Roo and then the Retro Roo II appears, it's 707 scheme unveiled only the day before. Qantas 95 year birthday has just passed and they have been celebrating. Inside the lounge are glass cases containing Barbie and Ken dolls dressed with old uniforms. No pics sorry.

Let me apologise now for the quality of photos in this report. I only had my phone with me.

Retro Roo from the Qantas Club
Retro Roo II
Retro Roo II

I'm fortunate in that I can work anywhere there's an internet connection. I even hold join a team meeting via video conference, though mostly on mute.

It's time to head down the the gate. It's crowded and there are few free seats. It's not long until boarding begins and I am near the back of the queue. We move forward and I am soon walking down the long glass walled jet bridge, trying to feel excited.

Welcome to Sydney, but advertising New Zealand? You can't even fly there from this terminal!
VH-EBD, or what you can see of her.

The aircraft is VH-EBD. Last time I flew her she was in Jetstar colours. Now she has been returned to Qantas. Most flights between Sydney and Melbourne with Qantas are on Boeing 737-800's. That's what I'd flown last month. But I'd picked an Airbus A330-200 flights thinking that their larger flight would make for a smoother flight and for the minor novelty of it. I say minor because I feel like I've done more A330 flights than 737-800s, certainly in recent times!

VH-EBD has not yet undergone the latest refurbishments with the swanky new business class seats and other enhancements. However, there have been some largely cosmetic changes from its Jetstar stint with the standard hexagonal grey Qantas seat covers replacing the black leather economy seats, except for the adjustable headrests. No more orange highlights either. The seats are comfortable and the legroom sufficient for my stumpy limbs.

Out the window
Cabin shot with safety briefing

In the seat pockets are iPad Minis which can be hooked to the rear of the seat for comfortable viewing in flight. There are also drop down screens for the safety video and news updates.

I've just downloaded the Qantas streaming app for my phone, but this aircraft isn't equipped for it. No matter, I was just curious.

I have a brief browse through the offerings on the iPad, which can be used throughout the entire flight, though only mounted during cruise. On a flight of roughly an hour there's not much point in watching a movie and I'd rather look out the window. The soundtrack selection in the audio section was typically pathetic, full of musicals and pop music. This one area Qantas consistently fails with. I tried the Mad Max Fury Road album, but couldn't get into it. No matter, I have thousands of tracks on my phone.

The first officer is a talkative one. He announces that the front door is now closed and that we are waiting for the last of the cargo to be loaded. This takes longer than expected and his next announcement is to apologise for the late departure, but that we should be able to make up much of the time. However, due to gusty winds at Melbourne there is only one runway open which may cause a delay. And not to worry about the wind and the bumps because aircraft are designed for it and we'll be completely safe.

Gusty winds? Who said anything about gusty winds? And that's not reassuring to me. Yes I know the aircraft won't crash but if it gets to the point of me worrying about that then I'll be having the ride from hell inside.

Too late now. I'm stuck inside.

Okay, I'm calm. It will be fine for a while. And anyway, when I flew into Melbourne in March there were big wind gusts and it was okay. True, I was in a 787 with its advanced turbulence suppression technology, but it will be fine.

The weather now couldn't be better. Beautiful clear skies with only the slightest hints of cloud in the distance. Though there is a bit of chop in the waters of Botany Bay that surround the runways, indicating a stiff breeze is blowing.

QantasLink Dash 8 Q400

We have a long taxi out to the southern end of the third runway for a takeoff towards the north. As we lift off from the ground the large aircraft makes a sharp bank to the right and we head out over the coast in exactly the wrong direction.

We have liftoff!
Turning
Looking back over the airport runways and Botany Bay
Heading out to sea
Over water


Once out over the blue sea we make another right hand turn until we are align with the coast and heading south, hugging it for a while before turning inland, crossing the coast again over the city of Wollongong.

Looking back towards Botany Bay and Cronulla
Sydney
And Wollongong


There is a bit of chop as we fly over the textured landscape of the Southern Highlands. The crew come through the cabin serving meals. I was impressed with the breakfast on my last flight with Qantas and I am looking forward to what's in store for us today.

Except that it's steak and mushroom pie.

Fungus. Yuck!

Not a large nor exciting meal either. Disappointing.

My neighbour also rejects the meal.

Scattered cloud inland. The wing needs a touch up of paint

I just request a can of Coke, which is duly served. The crew member returns shortly afterwards and offers an apple instead of the meal. I appreciate that but decide to go without. After all, there will be food in the lounge.

Below is Lake George, an ephemeral brown waterless expanse. I should love to see it absolutely full again. I wonder if I ever will.

Empty Lake George

Canberra passes far beneath us and I think of my colleagues down there. The cloud below is increasing and in the distance I can see what looks like high cloud, even perhaps some cumulonimbus. Though it takes longer than I expect, the clouds are indeed waiting for us at the Victorian border and there are a few bumps as we pass through their upper reaches.

Canberra from above
.
The cloud is changing
Heading south and the clouds are getting higher
High cloud


The border also signals the start of our slow descent into Melbourne.

There a glimpses of granite mountain tops and bright blue reservoir lakes beneath us through gaps in the cloud, but they disappear beneath an even carpet of white towards which we are approaching.

Through that lot
Keep going
Lake Eildon


More bumps as we pass through them, white and grey, a grey-green-dull yellow landscape below. The seatbelt lights are switched on, but there is no cheery announcement from the cabin manager that "The captain has switched on the seatbelt lights in preparation for landing." only a terse "All passengers and crew please bet seated." from the first officer.

That's not good. We were obviously hitting the weather.

Descending towards the clouds
Partly though
It's bumpy!

It isn't the worst turbulence I have ever felt, but it is pretty bad. The aircraft is obviously fighting hard against the gusting variable winds at times. Up and down, up and down the aircraft bucks. Our approach will be from the south, first passing over Essendon Airport, and the A330 struggles to make its turns against the wind, to keeps its course all the way until we touch the tarmac.

Over greater Melbourne
Essendon Airport
Western Ring Road intersection
Looking back towards Essendon Airport
Almost there!
Braking!
Taxiing towards the terming
Qantas Airbus A380


I feel a massive sense of relief to be on the ground again.

The First Officer welcomes us to Melbourne and apologises that Melbourne ATC has delayed us.

There is the usual tour of the different aircraft types, international and domestic, parked along the way. I'm barely taking any notice as I'm now desperately in need of another form of relief.
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allrite
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RE: Of Points And Pointlessness: SYD-MEL A330, Train

Tue Nov 24, 2015 4:26 am

After we finally dock with the jetbridge and I find a rest room I look at the time.

I haven't got much. So much for going to the lounge and getting a meal. I'm going to have to start queuing for my flight back to Sydney any moment now. On the same aircraft, taking what is basically the same route back through the same windy skies. If not worse by the time we reach Sydney with possible afternoon cloud.

And I'm not sitting on the wing this time, but back towards the rear of the aircraft.

I'm hungry, I'm tired, I'm scared and I don't know what to think. In the back of my mind I know that I can survive the flight back, but I don't feel like I have the time to prepare mentally for it. And suddenly I just can't face it.

As the last queue to reboard the aircraft shortens I go up to the counter and state that I'm not going to board the flight.

"Do you have any checked luggage?"

"No."

"That makes it easy then."

And that's that. I'm not longer boarding the flight. Efficiently done, but no attempt to dissuade me or to give me any options. I guess there was no time.

Now I have to find a way to get back to Sydney. I'm not flying. These skies are only going to get worse. I can tell by the clouds. But I need to get back by early the next morning as I will be taking Alex to school.

I have three options. Bus, car, or train.

No buses seem to run when I need them to.

I go to the car hire desks. There's no availability to hire a car for a one way drive up to Sydney. And if there had been it would be very expensive.

Last option - train. They are still showing seats, first class only, on the Melbourne to Sydney overnight XPT service. They only cost $5 less than the air ticket I have just given up.

I should be able to reach home by about 7.30 AM. No choice.

I catch the Skybus into Southern Cross Station in Melbourne's CBD. My stomach is churning. This is a crazy and stupid idea. I used to travel on a lot of overnight XPT rides as a university student and they weren't pleasant, no matter how much of a train fan I am or were.

Southern Cross Station

It takes me a while to find the right ticket office at Southern Cross Station. I first line up at the V/Line (Victorian railways) office where the lady in front of me is confronted by an irate man, her ex perhaps, blaming her for her son's drug problems.

V/Line direct me to the NSW Trainlink Office. Considering that they only run two services a day from Melbourne I find it odd they need an office and can't just piggyback off the V/Line operation.

Eventually the very pleasant staff sell me the ticket. The train will not leave until 7.50 PM and I now have to find something to do with myself until then.

I have a headache coming on so I stop at one of the outlet eateries upstairs and wash down some paracetamol with a Coke and a jelly slice, seemingly a Victorian pastry that isn't sold in NSW, but of which I am rather fond. But I can't stomach anything else now.

I'd not planned on actually exploring Melbourne, so I had not brought a Myki smart card with me. Pity, because I would have been quite happy to catch a train to nowhere and relax. Instead, I can either catch the free inner city trams or walk into the city centre.

I choose to walk,

I love Melbourne. It is my birthplace and still feels like my home. The wide streets and tree lined foot paths. The historic churches and pubs towered over by modern skyscrapers. I'll be back here in late December with the family and I suddenly realise why it is the right place to be, even if I did not think of it at the time. I can watch the new Star Wars movie in Melbourne as I have done for all but The Phantom Menace. I even flew down there twice to watch the later two movies right at the end of their runs. Star Wars and Melbourne are inextricably linked for me and it will be a chance to share that with Alex's first Star Wars movie at a cinema (though no doubt we will have watched it at least once before).

The thought cheers me up.

I walk up Bourke Street, all the way to the Mall, up to Swanston Street. I try to think of places I can hang out in the city. One of the beautiful parks perhaps?

I remember Federation Square and the free Australian Centre for the Moving Image. As I approach Fed Square I suddenly remember than my organisation is holding a bit of even there. I must try not to be spotted! Although I can work anywhere I'm not officially here.

ACMI and the Forum - I remember watching movies here with the star lit sky

It's quite funny. As I was getting off the train this morning somebody wearing my organisation's t-shirt was boarding right past me.

Swinging away at Federation Square

Without the others in tow I can enjoy the history of film and games at ACMI at my leisure, though afterwards I realise that maybe I should have visited an art gallery instead. Anyway, I stay until closing time, then must find somewhere else to go.

I take a walk in the very warm late afternoon sun along the Yarra River Southbank. I'm really quite hungry now, it's almost dinner time, but I can't find anything that suits both my desire for food or my budget.

That's the think about city centres in Australia. It can be hard to find nice places to eat that aren't either chain stores or too pricey.

Hot pink tram advertising Hell for Men in Paris.  
Princess Bridge
The were having a row about something
This will look nice lit up at night


I slowly make my way back towards the station, crossing the Yarra, walking along the leafy streets looking for something to eat, past apartment blocks filled with people from elsewhere.

Finally, at King Street I spot some international cafes that have the appearance of cheap student dives, Japanese, Turkish and one call Kedai Satay. Can't go past a satay!

It's Indonesian and the satay skewers have that proper charcoal roasted taste, though the sauce is very smooth. Some coconut rice and salad washed down with a bandung, rose flavoured evaporated milk drink. Nice.

Feeling a bit better now I continue the short way back to Southern Cross Station. I've still got time to kill so I wander around the area, call B and Alex, laugh when Alex replies to my emails with lots of poo emojies.

VLocity set
Another VLocity
They have signs saying made in Victoria for Victorians. Meanwhile the latest Sydney trains came from China and India


Southern Cross station feels so much more alive than its NSW counterpart of Central. Rather than silver sets, there's more colour here. It holds many precious memories for me. Back when I was around Alex's age I made my first journey to Sydney, by train.

.


We rode the luxurious Southern Aurora. Well, luxurious by Australian standards at the time. Nothing like the image of a luxury train now. The five of us travelled in a sleeper compartment for the overnight journey. I usually tried to stay awake the entire night and look out the window, but I had no chance this time, for I was sick with a very nasty bout of the flu and remember little of the journey.

XPT
On board


Now I would be glad of a bed and a chance to sleep. But alas the last berth was reserved for females only.

Instead I am sitting by the window in a the first class section of a carriage half taken up by the buffet counter. What makes it first class, apart from the additional ticket price? The legroom is 10 centimetres longer and the seat recline greater. Apart from that I can't see much difference.

I wish that I were on a Japanese Shinkansen rather than somewhat worn diesel electric set. The journey would be shorter for a start. Whereas the flight takes around one and a half hours between Sydney and Melbourne this takes around eleven. It's almost comparable with a car when you factor in sensible rest breaks. But a Very Fast Train would definitely be a wonderful thing.

Outside the station is bathed in a gorgeous evening light. The fluorescent lamps are casting the platforms in that bluish tinge that casts my mind back to those childhood journeys of the Overland and the Southern Aurora.

Etihad Stadium

As we waited to depart a Filipino family boarded to say goodbye to the young mother who was uncomfortably seated next to a younger but much larger swarthy male. Across from me a rheumy eyed oldster reminded me of my many terrible overnight train trips as a student, stuck next to old seat hogs who stank of alcohol, cigarettes and a peculiar odour that recalls the smell of a horrible luncheon meat sausage we'd bought on the way to the Great Wall of China.

I could smell it here too.

There had been a wheelchair gangplank at the doorway as I entered the carriage but the conductor stowed it in preparation for departure. Now, with only a couple of minutes to go, comes a frantic request for its return. An elderly woman is loaded on board with her wheelchair and a couple of young helpers. But something is not right with the seating or wheelchair and the crew have to spend the next twenty minutes trying to come to some arrangement while the train begins its journey.

I am ignoring the ruckus, my earphones in, staring outside at the gorgeous evening scenery as we slowly roll out of the station and past the yards of passenger and freight trains. Some of these locomotives have been in operation far longer than I have been alive and they bring back happy memories, especially the round nose B class.

The frizzy ice clouds above speak of winds at altitude and I am glad not to be in the air.

Evening skies
.
.


At Broadmeadows a grandma and her grandaughter heading back to her parents in Albury take the seats in front of me, The young girl has an iPad full of movies. I am a little envious.

I'm unprepared for such a long journey. It's not that I don't have any amusements with me - what can't a phone do these days? Internet access is sporadic, especially in the rural areas, but I managed to download one movie to it and I have my work laptop with an infinite amount of work that I could do on it. No the problem is a lack of power to run them. My battery charger barely takes the phone to 40% charge and I drain the last of the laptop's power charging it a further 10%. It has to last for 10 hours and still have enough for a phone call at the end.

Fortunately listening to music only drains the battery slowly and so that is what I do for the rest of the ride. I listen, stare out into the night, relax and dream awake.

Fortunately this is not like my student rides squashed in by an obese stinker. The clientel of this train seem to be mainly those that live in country towns not served by airlines, the elderly and the poor and rough. I feel out of place. There are several warnings not to smoke anywhere on the train or the platforms, though I don't think they are always heeded. At Seymour during an unscheduled stop, one rough looking younger bloke with a cigarette in his hand, is evicted from the train and into the company of a couple of police.

Nobody sits next to me all night and I spread out, even grab a couple of hours sleep.

The cabin lights are dimmed and I can see the shadows of trees, the colourful parade of lights from the odd car or truck, red flashes from signals and level crossings. It is the towns I love most. My imagination fills in the life under the stark blue-white and amber street lights, the warm yellows of the few houses and shops with interiors still lit.

Albury Station, first stop in New South Wales


Now and then a pub or club with bright neon, recalling the bright pachinko parlours of Japan. A 24 hour petrol station where truck drivers can fill both their tanks and bellies.

I dream of a small town that doesn't sleep, a diner open all hours, a mysterious emporium of things from my childhood to give to the future.

Cootamundra, where I used to board for trips to Albury from Canberra

And I gaze at the stars. So brilliant out here in the dark country, despite the glass between my eyes and them. How we miss out in the cities, lose the wonder of the heavens above.

There are fireballs in the sky. The first starts as a bright blue-white light then explodes into a red orange trail like a firework. Another perhaps and later, near Yass, streaks across the sky brighter than anything above but the faint moon, long set in the West.

The buffet is open throughout almost the entire trip and I grab some nice egg and salad sandwiches for an early morning breakfast. The lack of light and lack of sleep plays tricks on my mind. I mistake one cabin attendant for a young Asian lady, which seems unusual. Instead she is revealed to be a middle aged Caucasian.

The last hour of a journey always seems to stretch longer. We leave the Southern Highlands to the first glimmerings of dawn. Tendrils of mist rise from the country dams and lakes like boiling spectres, belying the cold morning air.

I am not riding this train all the way to the end, a pity because an arrival at the dingily grand Central Station would be appropriate. Instead I step off at nondescript Campbelltown and transfer to one of the same type of suburban trains that might take me to work on any other day. The same line too.

Goodbye at Campbelltown

Then it is a bus ride home and a knock on the neighbour's door to collect Alex. I'm home and only 15 hours late!

Fear has defeated me and yet opened up another opportunity for a different experience at the same time. I missed out on precious time with those I love, replaced by relaxation/exhaustion time instead.

I've had an unintended adventure.

If it is speed you value then the flight is definitely the way to go. This certainly wasn't one of the great train rides, but it was surprisingly pleasant and a good alternative, I think, to driving between Sydney and Melbourne. There is a daylight service which would be even nicer for admiring the scenery and old towns along the route. I should like to take it one day.

That afternoon I check my mailbox and spot a letter from Qantas, thinking it must be my recently renewed Qantas Club membership. Opening it, I discover a silver frequent flyer card. The accompanying letter states that, although I haven't earned enough points this year, as a reward for my loyalty to Qantas and Jetstar that, just this once, they are renewing my membership.

To say that I was grateful would be an extreme understatement. But it did make the previous day's events rather pointless.

You've got to laugh.
I like artificial banana essence!
 
VapourTrails
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RE: Of Points And Pointlessness: SYD-MEL A330, Train

Tue Nov 24, 2015 5:51 am

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
The windows are facing out towards the Qantas Jetbase and the northern gates of the terminal. I spot the Qantas Retro Roo and then the Retro Roo II appears, it's 707 scheme unveiled only the day before. Qantas 95 year birthday has just passed and they have been celebrating.

Lucky to see the Retro Roos together!

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
I'm fortunate in that I can work anywhere there's an internet connection. I even hold join a team meeting via video conference, though mostly on mute.

That would be interesting!

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
Too late now. I'm stuck inside.

   I'll say a prayer for you that you may be cured (too) even for a time. It is an awful feeling when that thought goes through your mind. I am waiting for December for my next flight to see whether I seem to be still cured of any flight anxiety, sound optomistic don't I? Flying is meant to be enjoyable and should be!   

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
Fungus. Yuck!

I agree!   

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
That afternoon I check my mailbox and spot a letter from Qantas, thinking it must be my recently renewed Qantas Club membership. Opening it, I discover a silver frequent flyer card. The accompanying letter states that, although I haven't earned enough points this year, as a reward for my loyalty to Qantas and Jetstar that, just this once, they are renewing my membership.

To say that I was grateful would be an extreme understatement. But it did make the previous day's events rather pointless.

You've got to laugh.

At least you got to write a very readable trip report. Thanks.

=  
 
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allrite
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RE: Of Points And Pointlessness: SYD-MEL A330, Train

Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:55 am

Quoting VapourTrails (Reply 2):
Lucky to see the Retro Roos together!

I'd guess they probably do the SYD-MEL-BNE triangle fairly regularly so it's not unexpected, but a nice surprise so soon after Retro Roo II's unveiling.

Quoting VapourTrails (Reply 2):
I'll say a prayer for you that you may be cured (too) even for a time. It is an awful feeling when that thought goes through your mind. I am waiting for December for my next flight to see whether I seem to be still cured of any flight anxiety, sound optomistic don't I? Flying is meant to be enjoyable and should be!

Thank you! I have no choice but to get over it. We've already got flights scheduled throughout next year! Not sure if I'm willing to do Canberra again though in December for work... Maybe if it were a 717... Have to check the weather/prices.

Hope your flights go okay. Let's face it, most flights are great and most of the discomfort is mental. Good luck!

Quoting VapourTrails (Reply 2):
At least you got to write a very readable trip report. Thanks.

Thank you!
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directorguy
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RE: Of Points And Pointlessness: SYD-MEL A330, Train

Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:24 am

This is a surprisingly wonderful trip report.
'Surprisingly', because it's so different from what I was expecting-and it makes for a real refreshing change. Reading about your decision to not take the flight (on A.net as well!) and take an overnight train with a bunch of strangers was very enjoyable. As they say, it's about the journey, not the destination.
 
WearyDrover
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RE: Of Points And Pointlessness: SYD-MEL A330, Train

Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:50 am

Hi allrite,

How sad it is that you suffer from anxiety and the ill-effects that arise from it. But it is good to see that you don't just give up but battle on, even if from time to time you must change your plans.

As always, a brilliant report written in a style that lovks the reader in. The photos are superb.

Note to self: must visit Melbourne sometime soon instead of just passing through en route to Ballarat or Launceston.

Take care,
Weary
A man may learn wisdom even from a foe - Aristophanes
 
SeaMeFly
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RE: Of Points And Pointlessness: SYD-MEL A330, Train

Tue Nov 24, 2015 12:15 pm

enjoyed so much as always.... Hope you'll soon overcome the anxiety. But I'll enjoy your train journals, too ! 
 
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allrite
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RE: Of Points And Pointlessness: SYD-MEL A330, Train

Tue Nov 24, 2015 12:44 pm

Quoting directorguy (Reply 4):
This is a surprisingly wonderful trip report.
'Surprisingly', because it's so different from what I was expecting-and it makes for a real refreshing change.

Thank you!

Quoting directorguy (Reply 4):
As they say, it's about the journey, not the destination.

And I do so like to take the slow scenic route!  
Quoting WearyDrover (Reply 5):
How sad it is that you suffer from anxiety and the ill-effects that arise from it. But it is good to see that you don't just give up but battle on, even if from time to time you must change your plans.

Thank you. The funny thing I find is that the more I fear the journey the better it usually ends up being. And the inverse too! I was expecting a smooth ride and I got turbulence. But how many times have I feared a terrible ride and it's been fine? (Quite a few). It's better when I have my family with me because then I can't change!  
Quoting WearyDrover (Reply 5):
ote to self: must visit Melbourne sometime soon instead of just passing through en route to Ballarat or Launceston.

Hehe, and one-day we must stop at and explore both of those places without just visiting tourist attractions at their peripheries! (Though Alex demands to return to Bendigo and its Art Hotel).  
Quoting SeaMeFly (Reply 6):
enjoyed so much as always.... Hope you'll soon overcome the anxiety. But I'll enjoy your train journals, too ! 

Thank you! Trains are my first transport love, but most of those reports are on my blog.  
I like artificial banana essence!
 
signol
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RE: Of Points And Pointlessness: SYD-MEL A330, Train

Mon Nov 30, 2015 6:52 pm

Hi Allrite,
Like the other responses above, I will give a thumbs up to the report   but feel for you and the turbulence issue. Still, it gave us a great train report, which is also welcome on there (at least for me!) I remember taking that train once, during my only trip to Australia, in 2002, the daytime southbound train with a friend. I think we must have drunk the onboard bar dry of VB   And to think that this is a regular service, and that here in the UK the longest possible rail journey is Aberdeen - Penzance, once per day southbound only, which takes 13h as well. One day I'll do that one as well. But to the memories, I took the Indian Pacific (during the same trip as above) Sydney to Adelaide, that was long enough in a seat!
Thanks
signol
Flights booked: NWI-AMS-JNB-DUR, JNB-AMS-NWI
 
cedarjet
Posts: 8868
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RE: Of Points And Pointlessness: SYD-MEL A330, Train

Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:31 pm

Thank you for that wonderful poetic piece. I have had the odd night stop in NSW country towns like Bathurst and Dubbo, and country trains and buses to and between the likes of Cowra, Orange, and Lithgow. Sentimental journey for me to read this and I thank you very very much for taking the time to write and share.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
EL-AL
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2001 8:29 am

RE: Of Points And Pointlessness: SYD-MEL A330, Train

Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:01 pm

Hey,

Thank you for interesting and must say unique report! I had some bad turbulence in my flights from time to time but never in a level that I couldn't fly back…
Good to know you achieved your goal, also nice look on ground domestic transport in Australia. Thx for shearing.
every day is a good day to fly
 
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allrite
Topic Author
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:28 pm

RE: Of Points And Pointlessness: SYD-MEL A330, Train

Wed Dec 30, 2015 10:46 am

Sorry for the late replies. I've been travelling to Melbourne and Canberra - by car! (Family trip, car is way cheaper around Xmas!)

Quoting signol (Reply 8):
Like the other responses above, I will give a thumbs up to the report   but feel for you and the turbulence issue. Still, it gave us a great train report, which is also welcome on there (at least for me!) I remember taking that train once, during my only trip to Australia, in 2002, the daytime southbound train with a friend. I think we must have drunk the onboard bar dry of VB

Be careful admitting you've drunk a lot of VB. I'm told it's terrible stuff, though True Blue Aussie Bogans swear oaths of allegiance on (not by, on) it.  
Quoting cedarjet (Reply 9):
I have had the odd night stop in NSW country towns like Bathurst and Dubbo, and country trains and buses to and between the likes of Cowra, Orange, and Lithgow. Sentimental journey for me to read this and I thank you very very much for taking the time to write and share.

You're welcome! It's a pity that Countrylink, as it was then known, didn't have frequent traveller points when I was a student.

Quoting EL-AL (Reply 10):
Good to know you achieved your goal, also nice look on ground domestic transport in Australia.

It's a pity that trains are a neglected form of transport in Australia, unlike in Europe, China and Japan. There are the luxurious Indian Pacific and Ghan trains, but they are beyond the price range of most.
I like artificial banana essence!
 
penguins
Posts: 430
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:52 pm

RE: Of Points And Pointlessness: SYD-MEL A330, Train

Fri Jan 01, 2016 8:46 am

Great TR! I was forced by family to take the same train from SYD to MEL instead of flying a QF 767 a couple of years back. It certainly seems out of place with such travel time. Perhaps HSR will come one day.
 
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dirktraveller
Posts: 715
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:37 pm

RE: Of Points And Pointlessness: SYD-MEL A330, Train

Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:19 pm

Hi Allrite,

Nice report on the SYD-MEL hop with the QF A330. Seems like the iPad streaming is the standard these days on domestic flights, with all the international aircraft getting re-configured.

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
So does fear. The deadline for earning enough points to keep my Silver level of Qantas status was fast approaching.

Haha on the same boat here, having flown less in 2015 I am struggling to keep my Silver, and having a high chance of losing it this year though. Hopefully you managed to get the status credits for retaining the Silver  .

Quoting allrite (Thread starter):
Retro Roo II

What a beautiful plane. Hopefully I'll get to see it myself soon!  

Enjoyed the train part as well. Many thanks for sharing the report with us.

Best Regards,
Dirktraveller

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