It's pretty obvious to see that rail infrastructure in SE Queensland is severely lacking. Yet, whenever there is a major new rail infrastructure, only the bare minimum seems to get built. (Re-) Building the Gold Coast Line with a single track being a prime example of short sighted stupidity. Whilst there isn't an endless pot of money for infrastructure projects, the cost of having to restart a project to finish it properly would cost far more than getting the project completed properly in the first place. BrizCommuter had a look at some of the most recent half-baked projects:
Ferny Grove Line duplication
The Ferny Grove Line was duplicated from Mitchelton to Keperra in 2008, with a promise of an increase in peak services. In reality, as the single track section from Keperra to Ferny Grove remained, the peak service frequency on the line increased from 7tph, to the grand total of 7tph. Stations between Alderley (photographed) and Windsor have no better am peak frequency than occurred with steam trains in the 1950s (at 5tph). The post duplication pm peak timetable even reduced the service to Gaythorne and Enoggera (7tph to 4tph). The Keperra to Ferny Grove duplication will not be finished until 2012. In the mean time patronage is reported to be decreasing on the Ferny Grove Line, most likely due to a mediocre timetable, lack of new services, and large fare increases.
Salisbury to Kuraby triplication
This triplication opened in 2008, and was required to allow peak Gold Coast express services to overtake peak Beenleigh/Kuraby all stations trains. With 15 minute off-peak timetables looming (in commuters dreams), according to the Inner City Rail Capacity Study - Rail Operation Review (2008) 4 tracks are required between Banoon and Dutton Park. Otherwise off-peak and reverse-peak Gold Coast expresses will have to be slowed by 4 minutes. Of course we all know which is cheaper! The Inner City Rail Capacity Study also stated that a 4th platform is required at Kuraby to reverse peak services by 2010. It is now 2010, and neither the 4th track or 4th platform at Kuraby are mentioned in the SEQIPRAIL plan. This is not good for both Gold Coast and Beenleigh Line commuters.
Corinda to Darra quadruplication
Four tracks are being added between Corinda and Darra, from where a new spur line to Richlands (and eventually Springfield) is being constructed. This would have been a great opportunity to split the Ipswich line into express services to Ipswich on one track pair, and all stations services to Richlands on the other track pair. Unfortunately, to save a bit of money, one of the extra tracks has not been electrified, making it a freight only track. This will severely impact upon the frequency and reliability of train services that can be run to Richlands as the third track will operate in similar way to a single track section. Why do we have an essential rail infrastructure project to Richlands with a bottleneck between Corinda and Darra? BrizCommuter is disgusted by this short sighted lack of electrification!
Whilst on the subject of rail to Springfield, it is likely that the delayed Springfield Line will be built without stations at Ellen Grove and Springfield Lakes. This is not going to help reduce car culture in suburbia, nor attract people in these areas to using the new rail line. BrizCommuter wonders if the Queensland Government is at all serious about attracting people to public transport?