News Snippets No. 4

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When there has not been a post here for a couple of weeks, and then the drought is broken by a trusty ‘news snippets’ post, you know that things are slowing down. Not entirely accurate, there is rarely nothing happening, it’s just that the issue might be shrouded in confidential secrecy, or plain old malicious gossip – and we leave that sort of stuff to the mainstream media.

The year in Review

With the busy peak season now behind us, and only a handful of trips to run for the remainder of the season, it’s worthwhile reviewing the year that has nearly finished. We approached the year with some trepidation, what with the financial crisis and a looming recession imminent, we were wondering if anyone was going to experience the Savannahlander this year. While it was less busy than we have experienced in the past, our expectations were exceeded for most of the year. Our numbers were buoyed by a couple of large rail enthusiast groups that travelled late in the year and extended our peak season by a few weeks.  One positive result from the slightly quieter season was that it was easier to supply peoples first choice of accommodation during the year.  Also, there are more groups travelling on the charter trains which takes pressure off the accommodation on nights that the scheduled train visits.   There are plenty of pointers for an increasingly busy year next year, so if you’re thinking of coming, get in early!

Bridge Work

The bridge gangs have been out doing some strengthening to the many bridges along the line. The Copperfield River Bridge at Einasleigh in particular has been receiving some treatment with many of the fenders being upgraded to steel beams. This bridge is a particularly fragile link on the line, and expensive to replace if it is washed away. We are greatly pleased that this work has increased its chances of surviving a flood in future wet seasons. The photos in the gallery below are a series taken in 2002 , eight months after it was washed away in February of that year. Repairs were not completed until July 2004.

2010 Prices and Itinerary

Most vendors have provided their pricing for next year, and we should be able to publish the pricing on the website later this week. The venues that supply our most popular packages have only applied minimal increases, certainly below the CPI rate.  Pricing the train is subject to external pricing influences as well as trying to predict the likely cost of fuel during the year. In consideration of not quite being out of the financial woods just yet, we have kept our prices as low as possible.  There has been one or two steeper than expected rises for some services offered, but leading up to final publication of next years prices, we will make adjustments to the Itinerary so that we can minimise exposure to these.

VIP Passengers

Many of our past passengers will have had some dealings with Kerrie when they were arranging their trip. The smooth organisation that the passengers enjoy is fully as a result on Kerries administrative skills.  She is planning a big overseas holiday next year (clearly we are paying her too much) and to fill the hole in the office, we will be training Wendy, who is currenly our presentation and hygiene manager. It is important to know exactly how the train trip works when you are booking and arranging someones holiday,  so the girls were our guests on last weeks train while Wendy was ‘familiarised’ with the trip. She enjoyed herself so much we are disappointed that we did not charge her for it.

In the comming weeks we have another set of VIP’s visiting the train – these are our friends from the Department of Transport and Main Roads – Passenger Services Division. They have been managing the contract for the Savannahlander for the past 6 years, and we have finally convinced them that they should experience the service they are contracting.