Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Timetables - One Week Later

Move down the aisles! 
The new train timetables on the Rosewood, Ipswich, Richlands, Caboolture, and Sunshine Coast have not received the best press over the last week, as well as misguided comments by the Shadow Transport Minister. This negativity is despite the new timetables increasing the overall frequency of the Ipswich and Caboolture Lines by approx. 15% in the peaks, pretty good 6-12 minute peak frequencies, more homogenous peak service patterns, and 7 days a week 15 minute off-peak services between Northgate and Darra. BrizCommuter decided to make observations from 4:30pm to 5:25pm at Central station today to see how the new timetables were working.

The first thing that BrizCommuter noticed were QR staff doing the same thing - observing, and recording the loading of services affected by the new timetables. It seems that QR are serious about making sure the new timetables work effectively, and BrizCommuter expects that a few alterations will occur after travel patterns settle down, and more trains are available.

Anyway, back to the observations. Apart from 3 services, all trains departed Central with only a few standees per carriage, and often a few empty seats. Obviously some more passengers will join at CBD stations after Central, but these loadings are pretty good, and shows that the timetables have been very effective at reducing crowding on most services. The 5:16pm to Ipswich had around 20-40 passengers standing per carriage, but this is nothing too excessive for a "peak within a peak" service. Certainly in a few years time an extra pm peak services to Ipswich may well be required around 5:10pm. The 5:19pm to Petrie, and the 5:22pm to Nambour were both overcrowded with between 40-60 passengers standing in most carriages, although a few minutes gave late running would have added a few more passengers than usual. With two more CBD stations to take on more passengers, both services were in danger of leaving passengers behind by Fortitude Valley and Bowen Hills. Although it is unrealistic to expect a train at around 5:20pm to have spare seats, the overcrowding on these two services is excessive for a brand new timetable. Suggestions as to how to solve this situation were suggested in last weeks blog post, so there is no need to repeat them here.

Not all pm peak services were observed, some excessive shoulder peak service gaps remain, counter peak frequencies could be better, and there may some am peak issues as well. However, in general overcrowding has been significantly reduced by the increase in peak frequencies. If QR can sort out the overcrowding on the 5:19pm to Petrie, and 5:22pm to Nambour, then the new timetables should be seen as a success.

Now roll on the new timetables (including 15 minutes off peak) for the other lines...


  1. I waited for the 5:34 train to Caboolture. Nobody had to stand, practically everyone had a seat to themselves. Amazing the difference a 12 minute wait makes.

  2. Why would you think that the new timetables for the other lines would include 15 minutes off peak, given that it only applies on lines which currently have the branching effect now?

  3. Simon - there have been 3 studies, all commissioned by the Queensland Government (Metropolitan Brisbane Coal Capacity Study, Rail Service and Infrastructure Requirements Study, and Inner City Rail Capacity Study) which have been based around the (pre Cross River Rail) intermediate off-peak scenario - 15 minute off-peak services to Darra, Ferny Grove, Manly, and Kuraby. The latter study assumed implementation in 2010, which was also when QR CRG members were originally told that there would be new timetables in two phases. We've just had the delayed first phase, with the even more delayed second phase due next year.

  4. You are being more optimistic than me. Although it is interesting that none of those studies mention a 15 minute frequency for Petrie/Caboolture.

  5. I'd like to point out a side effect of the new timetables that is not being publicised. The Ferny Grove line had no timetable changes, yet every peak morning train is delayed just outside of Bowen Hills for 5-10 mins, waiting for "congestion" to clear or "clearance signals", since the new timetables commenced. QR owes me nearly 2 hours in late arrivals to work in the last 3 weeks.


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