Thursday, October 27, 2011

Anatomy of a Station Refurbishment

$200m was spent in 2010 on refurbishing a group of QR train stations. BrizCommuter decided to have a look at what was done at one of these (almost completed) stations - Enoggera. The TransLink blurb is here:

The "Cage"
  • Platform - Drainage was added in the centre of the platform, with a slope created towards the middle of the island platform. Unfortunately, there was no raising of the platform edge to make it easier to access trains with wheelchairs or prams. Whilst a slight curve on one platform may make this problematic, the other platform is dead straight - no excuse! A yellow tactile edge was added to the platform in keeping with modern safety codes.
  • Buildings - The ticket office windows have been lowered to improve access, and a short ramp has been built to access the windows. The station buildings have had a fresh coat of grey paint, and security panels have been placed in front of the high windows making the station look rather "prison" like. Some more of the cage panels on the bridge and ramp have been added and/or replaced, and handrails on the bridge, stairs, and ramp have been re-painted yellow. BrizCommuter hasn't inspected the toilets yet, nor tested the shiny new platform seats for comfort.
  • Lighting - Bright new LED lighting has been added. This is a big improvement over the previous fluorescent lighting, and makes the station feel safer at night (although the security guard at night tends to help too). 
  • Signage - Ageing signage has been replaced in TransLink corporate style. No big station entrance sign yet. 
  • Passenger Information Display (PIDs) - The fairly new dot matrix display was removed, and has yet to come back. Maybe Enoggera will be getting a new colour LED display? At the end of the day, the PIDs are often pretty useless during a major delay anyway. 
  • Car Park - One of the three car park sections appears to have been resurfaced. 
  • Gardening - A bit of mulching and gardening was done around the Northern entrance and the Southern car park. Just like BrizCommuter's garden, it looked great until the weeds came through. 
  • Local scenic artwork - Token artwork from a local school is on the side of the ticket office, and helps brighten up the building's greyness.
  • Bus Interchange - BrizCommuter is unsure of who actually owns the Enoggera Bus Interchange. Anyway, it is still the same old desolate unrefurbished (and drainage deficient) white elephant. Tactile edges would be nice for consistency, but then again you would have to extremely unlucky to be flattened by a bus here.
So Enoggera now looks slightly spruced up, but still isn't going to win any design awards. When it comes to public transport spending priorities, it seems odd that there are an increasing number of smarter looking train stations, but still with a rather infrequent train service. At least one can now admire the  quality of the mulching whilst waiting 29 minutes for a train!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Chermside - with empty car parking spaces!  Image: Nearmap
Since Westfield announced that they would start charging for use of their Chermside car park for more than three hours, a transport meltdown was seemingly inevitable. Westfield Chermside shopping centre's car park is/was used by hundreds of public transport users daily from Northern suburbs, who have little alternative but to use it as a park and ride, and then catch the multitude of frequent bus services into the CBD and Herston Hospital Campus (RBWH and RCH). This avoided paying extortionate costs for parking in these inner-city locations. However, as typical commuters parking at Chermside will now be slugged with a $20 parking fee, many of these commuters have had to find ways of getting around the parking fee. Continued use of Chermside's car park could increase the cost of commuting by $100 a week! This has not surprisingly resulted in suburban streets around Chermside becoming choc-a-block with cars early in the morning, with media reports of some homeowners being trapped in their driveways, and a nearby club having to hire security guards to keep commuters out. For those who cannot get parking, there have also been reports of Gympie/Lutwyche road being busier than usual in the am peak as more commuters are forced to drive to their destination instead. BrizCommuter has also heard reports of RBWH and RCH hospital car parks filling up earlier than usual, preventing out patients from being able to park in time for their appointments.

One of BrizCommuters work colleagues has had a torrid few days since "Chermsideaggedon". On the first attempt, she tried to park in the streets around Chermside, only to find out that so had everyone else. After wasting 30 minutes trying to find somewhere to park within walking distance of Chermside Bus Station, she gave up, and drove to Herston, only to find car parks there were also full. Eventually she found a location in a back street, 15 minutes walk from work where she arrived to work 80 minutes late! Attempt two involved using infrequent public transport from near to her Northern suburbs home. Unfortunately the bus allegedly failed to turn up, so she had to wait an hour for the next bus to Chermside. The bus from Chermside then became stuck in worse traffic than usual, resulting a slightly improved arrival at work only 75 minutes late.

So who is to blame? Many have justifiably accused Westfield of corporate greed by adding parking charges. It is well known that aside from the run up the Christmas, the car park at Chermside is rarely full during the Monday to Friday commuting week. So what is Westfield's problem with commuters? BrizCommuter is also pretty sure that Westfield would not have contributed to the entire cost of the extensive Chermside bus interchange next to the shopping centre! On the other hand, are Brisbane City Council, and the Queensland Government rather naive in expecting private companies to provide commuter park and ride facilities on their properties for free?  Also, the existing bus network fails to provide an attractive feeder network to the core high frequency routes, forcing commuters to drive to park and ride facilities.

So what can be done? Can politicians force Westfield to reverse their corporate greed? BrizCommuter thinks this is unlikely. Will people power do the same? BrizCommuter doubts this due to the typical Australian apathy? Will TransLink suddenly introduce a raft of frequent feeder buses, and alternative park and ride locations. Not likely, and certainly not in the short term. It seems that Northern Suburbs commuters and residents around Chermside have been well and truly screwed by a combination of Westfield, and poor political planning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Connecting SEQ 2031 - LameLink to UrbanLink

The Connecting SEQ 2031 has recently been released, and is downloadable from the link below:
This document replaces the draft version that was released and commented upon by BrizCommuter some time ago. There are a few differences from the draft version, see if you can spot the differences! Below are BrizCommuter's opinions on the document and it's plans.

More Green Bridges?
Page 1 - Starts with the title "Vision for a sustainable transport system", and the plans to double the share of active transport from 10% to 20%, double the share of public transport from 7% to 14%, and reducing private motor vehicle trips from 83% to 66%. This seems rather optimistic given the Government and TransLink's current policy of high fares and limited improvements discouraging the use of public transport, and turning public transport users back to using private motor vehicles! Not a good start is it?

Page 28 - Whilst it is noted that better connected, and higher density communities are required around public transport corridors, this study assumes that the unsustainable low-density urban sprawls of Ripley Valley, Yarrabilba, Greater Flagstone, and Caloundra South will continue to go ahead. These developments appear to contribute to the urban development problems identified. Three of these will require new rail lines, and one (Yarrabilba) just gets a bus service or two. Given the delays in building rail line to Springfield, and delays in providing upgrades to existing rail lines, the Government has better get their act in gear for providing half-decent public transport to the above mentioned urban sprawl developments before their populations become car reliant.

Page 39 - The progressive removal of level crossings is mentioned, with 7 level crossings listed as being given "priority". With level crossing incidents being an almost daily occurrence, BrizCommuter would expect far more level crossings would need to be replaced by bridges by 2031.

Page 46 - Rail network sectorisation is mentioned. These include a frequent inner-suburban UrbanLink service, outer-suburban ExpressLink, and express CoastLink services. This triple layer rail service will require considerable infrastructure investment (not necessarily mentioned) such as overtaking tracks, and new reversing points at locations such as Loganlea and Helensvale. The 15 minute off-peak UrbanLink services are required now (as per Melbourne and Perth), rather than at some unknown time in the future. As mentioned previously, the failure to implement 15 minute off-peak inner-suburban rail services in the 2012 timetables will be a disgrace. The extortionate train fares in SE Queensland mean that we currently have one of the worlds least value for money train services. Maybe the current service should be called LameLink?

Page 46 (continued) - BrizCommuter strongly supports Cross River Rail, but still laughs at the plan for a "Brisbane Subway" from Toowong to Newstead. It would be better for the latter line to allow through services from the Ipswich/Springfield Lines to selected rail lines from the North, so as to avoid the inevitable meltdown that will occur when the Ipswich/Springfield Line reached capacity due to lack of tracks through the CBD. BrizCommuter supports the plan to further integrate the bus and rail network. Will this mean that Enoggera bus station will cease to be a white elephant?

Page 51 - BrizCommuter likes the plan for a "people centred approach" to public transport planning. This appears to be in contrast to current thinking. Lets face it, the lack of information boards telling passengers where each CBD bus routes departs from is not exactly "people centred".

Page 52 - There is mention of a trunk and feeder network design. This makes sense for feeding railways with bus services, as long as the feeder buses maintain a decent frequency and connections are made. For the bus network it's a bit more tricky. Certainly a trunk and feeder network design could make for more efficient use of South East busway capacity (where some buses are full, but others are empty). However, if a journey is changed from a one seat journey to a two seat journey, the connections and frequency of both feeder and trunk services needs to be decent enough for the use of public transport to be attractive.

Page 57 - The ill-thought out idea of the Brisbane Subway is mentioned again. Longer term (pie in the sky) options for this UQ avoiding metro are mentioned. These include an extension to Airport Village via Northshore Hamilton. The Airport Line already runs past the Airport Village, and why not extend the Doomben Line to Northshore Hamilton? Another plan is Newstead to Bulimba. Why not just build a "green bridge" for buses across the river, and extend the CityGlider service across it? The last future plan comes straight out of the fantasy foaming files collection - "Potential conversion of some sections of Brisbane's busway network to subway". The successful SE Busway is a victim of it's own success, but converting it to light rail or subway would come at a huge expense, with the former not offering any capacity advantage over busway.

Page 58 - This page shows the rather messy rail network planned for 2031. This includes the grand plans of Cross River Rail, new trains lines to Ripley, Maroochydore, Kippa-Ring, Flagstone, and extension  of the Springfield Line to Redbank Plains. The North East Transport Corridor/Alderley to Strathpine/Trouts Road Line is also shown (which according to the diagram on page 99 will connect with Cross River Rail around Roma Street.

Page 71 - BrizCommuter welcomes plans to connect Brisbane's disjointed cycle networks. At the moment getting from A to B by bike often required running the gauntlet of Brisbane's road network, with a risk of ending up in the RBWH (which funnily enough can be easier to reach by ambulance than by the Inner Northern Busway in the am peak). Brisbane requires a cycleway network that is separated from main roads.

Page 99 - In addition to the above mentioned infrastructure improvements, there is mention of Victoria Bridge Bus Access improvements, TransitWays (i.e. bus lanes), various Busway extensions, and investigations of "Green Bridges" from West End to UQ, Bulimba to Newstead, and Kangaroo Point to CBD. Rail infrastructure improvements include Eagle Junction to Domestic Airport, Sandgate to Shorncliffe, Manly to Cleveland, Kuraby to Beenleigh, and Darra to Redbank.

The big question, is that with a broke State Government which has dropped public transport improvements left and right and centre in the last few years (Sunshine Coast Line, Kuraby to Kingston triplication, 15 mins off-peak), where will the $200+ billion required for these plans to come to fruition arise from?

Friday, October 21, 2011

RFID cards compete for supremacy!

go card internals!
Most go card users will know that it uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) to communicate with the readers. Many go card users would have learnt by now that having other RFID cards in their wallet can cause issues with go card readers, notably an "Invalid Card" error. The most common offenders are usually work ID passes, however there are some new offenders on the block battling for radio-frequency domination every time you try to touch on or off - the contactless Visa PayWave and MasterCard PayPass cards.  BrizCommuter has recently seen an increased spate of "Invalid Card" errors from other users, and then had issues himself whilst using another public transport smart card system whilst on holiday abroad with a Visa Pay Wave card in his wallet for the first time. Despite the obvious give away in the name of the card, BrizCommuter (and it seems lots of other users) did not realise that these are RFID cards, similar in design to the go card. So unless you want to multiple fixed fares, and the seemingly endless wait to get refunds from TransLink, do yourselves a favour, and make sure your go card is in a different wallet to Visa PayWave, MasterCard PayPass, and all other RFID cards! Of course, this begs a question in our card carrying world that when all cards become RFID cards, instead of carrying 10 cards on one wallet, will we have to carry 10 cards in 10 wallets?

PS: TransLink, can you make those go card wallets a bit smaller, as go cards just float about in the oversized plastic wallets.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

New frequent user discount - Gimmick?

Still too expensive in 2012!
It has been announced today by the Queensland Government, that from the 2nd of January 2012 the go card frequent user discount will change from having a 50% discount, to having free journeys after the 10th journey between Monday and Sunday. As previously planned, the peak fares will also increase by another extortionate 15%. The off-peak fare discount will increase to 20%, but this still means that off-peak fares will still increase by double the CPI. BrizCommuter thinks that the new frequent user discount is a panic move by a Government with failing public transport policies ahead of an election.

So who will benefit? Frequent users who make more than 10 journeys (excluding free travel to sporting events) between Monday to Sunday. Students make up a considerable portion of these users, as many students have to travel to/from university as well as to/from jobs. With all journeys being free after the 10th journey irrespective of zones used, a free weekend trip to the surf on the Gold Coast could be a good use of go card for an inner-city dwelling student!  Which frequent users will not benefit? Shift workers (such as BrizCommuter) who do not always work in a Monday to Sunday pattern. For example when BrizCommuter works a weekend shift, he will usually work 9 days consecutively from Wednesday to Thursday. As the frequent user discount resets on the Sunday evening, then despite 18 journeys across 9 consecutive days, the frequent user discount will not kick into action! The frequent user discount will also not apply for tourists making multiple journeys over a few days, but not making it to the elusive 11th journey. There is still considerable need for daily, and weekly/7-day ticketing options to make public transport use more attractive in SE Queensland for all users.

So will the new frequent user discount help with the rising cost of living? With the 15% fare rise in January 2012, 10 zone 1-2 peak journeys will cost an estimated $35.70. Currently, 10 zone 1-2 peak journeys cost $31.10. With the current 50% discount resulting in weekend off-peak zone 1-2 fares costing $1.33, then unless you made 14 or more journeys between Monday and Sunday, the 2011 fare structure would still be cheaper than the 2012 fare structure. Very few public transport users make 14 journeys in one week, so for the vast majority of public transport users the new fare structure will still result in an overall fare increase putting even more pressure on the hip pocket. With very limited public transport improvements planned for this financial year, the Queensland Government will need to do far more to win back votes from public transport users!

Pollie quote of the week in this press release is from Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk referring to the 20% off-peak discount "This will give people even more of an incentive to travel outside of the peak period and take advantage of the growing number of high frequency bus, train, and ferry services". Ms Palaszczuk, can you please tell use where there have or will be any new high frequency off-peak train services this financial year?

Finally, some food for thought. If you reach your free 11th journey in one week, then statistically you will have had a 33% chance of incurring a $5 to $10 fixed fare!

Update 03/11/2011

Campbell Newman has announced that if elected, the LNP will provide free journeys after the 9th journey instead of the 10th. Whilst this will give benefit to more public transport users, the policy just stinks of political point scoring. There was no announcement of lowering base fares, which are already some of the highest in the world. There was also no announcement of daily ticketing options such as a daily cap, or free journeys after the 3rd for example for tourists. BrizCommuter is very concerned that whoever wins the next election, that public transport users will continue to suffer poor frequency and extortionate fares.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Value for Money?

Poor value for money!
With the recent news that most of Brisbane's rail network will continue have laughable 30 minute off-peak frequencies, and another huge 15% fare rise around the corner, BrizCommuter decided to take a look at the value for money of Brisbane's train network. The value for money has been calculated by dividing the cost of the cheapest available adult off-peak single for a 15km journey, by the Monday to Friday midday off-peak frequency (trains per hour). Exchange rates and fares are as of 15/10/2011.

Worst VFM

Melbourne Metro (Hurstbridge, Epping Lines) = $5.10/3tph = 1.70 *
Brisbane QR City (Ferny Grove, Caboolture, Shorncliffe, Cleveland, Beenleigh Lines) $3.13/2tph = 1.57
Brisbane QR City (Ipswich/Richlands Line) $3.13/4tph = 0.78
London National Rail (Chingford, Hayes Line) $3.08/4tph = 0.77 *
Melbourne Metro (Alamein, Lilydale/Belgrave, Glen Waverley Lines) $3.02/4tph = 0.76 *
Perth TransPerth (All Lines) $2.85/4tph = 0.71 *
Berlin S-Bahn (Most Lines) $3.04/6tph = 0.52 *
Melbourne Metro (Frankston Line) $3.02/6tph = 0.50 *
Los Angeles (Red Line) $1.45/5tph = 0.29 *
London Underground (Jubilee Line) $3.76/18tph = 0.21 *
Singapore SMRT (NE Line) $1.69/10 = 0.17

Best VFM

* donates daily ticketing options also available.

The results show that the majority of the Brisbane's off-peak commuters suffer from the second worst value for money train service of all the studied train lines. Only 2 lines in Melbourne fared worse, and that was due to the stations being just over the zone 2 border, and having Melbourne's worst off-peak frequency of every 20 minutes (still 50% more frequent than most of Brisbane's rail network). Lucky commuters on the combined Ipswich/Richlands Line fared only slightly better thanks to the 15 minute off-peak service to Darra. It is a huge disappointment that the Queensland Government and TransLink do not appear to be interested in improving the off-peak train frequency across the rest of Brisbane's rail network, despite the huge patronage increases of high frequency bus routes. The winners of Australia's best value for money train line are those on the Frankston Line in Melbourne, where the 15km mark is within zone 1, and trains run every 10 minutes off-peak. All Perth, and most Melbourne rail lines are better value for money than all lines in Brisbane.

It should be noted that all studied rail systems apart from Brisbane and Singapore (which is more than 9 times better value for money than Brisbane anyway) offer daily tickets, or daily capping, resulting in huge potential savings for passengers who need to make lots of journeys in one day. Melbourne's Myki ticketing system also offers cheaper Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday fares. Brisbane's off-peak fares were used in this study. Unfortunately there are also many examples in Brisbane where an every 30 minutes off-peak train service is provided in the even more expensive peak fare period (which bizarrely starts at 2am when no trains are running!).

The latest TransLink Tracker Q4 2010/11 shows that rising fares have reduced train patronage, and the "affordability" statistic is plummeting. Can the Queensland Government and TransLink explain why SE Queenslanders have to contend with one of the least value for money suburban train networks in the world?

Friday, October 14, 2011

TransLink Network Plan 2011/12 - Huge Disappointment!

Infrequency to continue!
The previous 15% fare rises were met with a rather minimal (but great sounding) 300,000ish extra seats per week on public transport. Going by TransLink's 2011 network plan, the next 15% fare rise will be met with even less impressive service improvements.
Warning - reading the TransLink 2011 Network Plan may lead to commuter depression:
After 18 pages of waffle, only 1 page is devoted to improvements in 2011/12. No numbers of seats have yet been promised this year, making BrizCommuter think that commuters may be getting even less value for money from the 15% fare rise in January 2012. Here is the disappointing list of service "improvements":

  • New train timetables on Ferny Grove, Shorncliffe, Airport, Doomben, Gold Coast, Beenleigh, and Cleveland Lines will probably NOT include 15 minute off-peak services originally planned for 2010. This is despite 15 min off-peak services being common place in Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney, and the success of every 15 minute bus routes in Brisbane. BrizCommuter's sources have even warned not to expect much in the way of overall improvements to peak services either. 
  • More than 125 new buses on the TransLink network. Can a few more be used on the overcrowded Inner Norther Busway? 30 minute waits to board a bus at Roma Street in the am peak is not good enough!
  • Regional review of bus services to meet new train timetable i.e. expect retimed, not extra services. 
  • New cross-town strategic bus routes servicing Number 1 Airport Drive, Garden City, UQ lakes, and the NorthWest Corridor. The former two have already had their service implemented, the latter two's services may be interesting. 
  • High frequency network upgrades to services in Carindale, Buranda, Aspley, NorthWest Corridor.  The former two have already has their upgrade (actually they already had a high frequency service), and will the latter be the same as the above mentioned cross town route?
  • Recast and optimisation of bus services in the inner-North to utilise the opening of Stage One of the Northern Busway, once complete. Will this solve Inner Northern Busway overcrowding, or make it even worse?
  • Infrastructure improvements include the Northern Busway from RBWH to Kedron, a few more bus stations, park'n'rides, and station refurbishments. 
The mediocrity that is public transport in Brisbane sadly appears to be set to continue as the cost of using public transport rises yet again.

Update 04/11/2011

According to this article on the Brisbane Times website, the extra weekly seat target for this financial year is 310,000 seats, the same as last year. Already around half of these seats have been delivered, not leaving much for the phase 2 rail timetables and Northern Busway opening if they fall into this financial year.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cross River Rail EIS

Merivale Bridge
The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Cross River Rail (CRR) has recently been released. There is rather a lot of information available, so BrizCommuter recommends reading the Executive Summary first, and then if you require further information (i.e. is your house going to be demolished), then download the relevant bits. Page numbers mentioned in this blog post are from the Executive Summary.
Cross River Rail EIS Webpage
Executive Summary .pdf

BrizCommuter is a strong supporter of CRR. Despite it's huge economic benefits, the ALP Federal and State Government's are having a few issues finding funding, and the LNP State Opposition appear to be sitting on the fence. With 3 out of 4 tracks through the CBD already operating near maximum track capacity in the am peak, there is little spare track capacity left already in 2011!  After a new timetable earlier this year, the Ipswich and Caboolture Line's will have spare passenger capacity on the majority of their services for many years. Whilst the forthcoming new timetable on the Gold Coast, Beenleigh, and Cleveland Lines lines may make for a more efficient use of limited track capacity, the passenger capacity across the Merivale Bridge will still be severely limited. This was slated to reach saturation in 2016. The 2016 figure appears to have disappeared from the EIS, although one graph (page 39) shows capacity being reached in 2018. The current public transport policy of high fares which is discouraging public transport use, may delay this saturation date whether intentional or not.

The design of CRR has had few changes since the excellent reference design which has previously been discussed in this blog. The most obvious changes are the relocation of Yeerongpilly station and the tunnel portal to reduce the number of required property resumptions. The "ultimate" track capacity is stated as being 24tph per direction which is the same as London's Cross Rail. The EIS is written around a belated 2015 construction start, and 2021 opening date. For non-believers, the benefits of CRR are outlined on page 43.

It's a shame that figure 4-1 on page 51 shows the existing trains per hour (tph) situation in Feb 2009. Since then there have been significant improvements to am peak services on the Ipswich and Caboolture Line which are not reflected in the EIS. The 2021 post-CRR am service chart on page 56 is however an improvement over the similar chart (for 2018) in the reference design which had very disappointing projected service improvements on some lines. Examples from the EIS include am peak services on the Ferny Grove Line increasing from the current 7tph to 10tph in 2021, Shorncliffe Line from 3tph to 7tph, Cleveland Line from 8-9tph to 12tph, Beenleigh Line from 8tph to 13tph, Sunshine Coast from 2-3tph to 4tph, and Gold Coast Line from 4tph to 11tph! The service increases on the Ipswich/Rosewood, Springfield/Richlands, Caboolture, and Redcliffe Lines are not so impressive. With Caboolture and Redcliffe (assuming the latter are extended Petrie services) only receiving 1tph more than at present in the am peak. These services will still only use 6-car trains, so will expressing a few inner city stations such as Toombul and Nundah allow for sufficient capacity in 10 years time? There is little planned service improvement in 2021 for the Ipswich/Rosewood and Springfield Lines (assuming the latter are extended Darra and Richlands services) of just 2tph and 1tph respectively. This is not good news for users of these lines.

On page 57 is the plan for 2031. Here things get messier the BabyCommuter's nappy! SE Queensland's rail network will include branches to the urban sprawl of Flagstone,  Ripley, and the long awaited line to Caloundra. Line pairings will change, as well as new reversing points to support 3 layers of service patterns to allow for a reasonable balance between frequency and journey times for all rail users. Considerable new infrastructure would have to be funded to allow for these service patterns, as well as 9-car outer-suburban trains, and new higher capacity trains for inner-suburban services. Lets hope the next train orders reflect these future plans.

The 2031 plan shows a spur from CRR north of Roma Street to Alderley, and then along the Alderley to Strathpine corridor, also known as the Trouts Road Line and North West Transport Corridor. There is also a junction at Alderley where Ferny Grove Line services will be split between Ferny Grove services and Strathpine services along the Alderley to Strathpine Line, reducing the number of services to Ferny Grove. The Alderley to Strathpine Line will also be used for express services to/from Nambour and Caloundra, with these services using a tunnel from Alderley to somewhere between Roma Street and Exhibition where it will join CRR. This means that CRR will have services split off North of Roma Street. BrizCommuter wonders if it makes sense to construct a separate tunnel from Roma Street to Alderley (continuing onto the Alderley to Strathpine Line), and run both stopping services to Strathpine and express services to Sunshine Coast along this line rather than splitting services on both CRR and the Ferny Grove Line? There is also no information in the CRR EIS as to construction requirements around Alderley, and thus some local residents maybe concerned if their house in the path of the junction!

Aside from higher capacity trains on the Springfield Line there are no plans for overall service improvements between 2021 and 2031 on the Ipswich/Rosewood/Ripley/Springfield corridor. These lines will share tracks through the CBD that will be limited to 19tph, just 3tph more than in 2011. BrizCommuter is very concerned about this future capacity constraint to and from the West of Brisbane which is not addressed by CRR.

The rest of the EIS goes into considerable depth about the construction methods and environmental impacts of CRR's construction. There is also not surprisingly a section on how CRR will be flood proofed, such as a raised entrance to the Albert Street station, a part of Brisbane which was inundated in January 2011.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Airtrain allowed to stay out later!

Today it was announced that from December 12th 2011 Airtrain will extend it's evening operations from the rather laughable 8pm to a much more reasonable 10pm. This will mean that Airtrain can be used to access the late night international flights out of Brisbane, and allows Airtrain to be used to get home after evening flights from East Coast destinations. Previously a post-work evening flight from Sydney at around 6pm would get into Brisbane around 7:15pm. With risks of delays and waiting for bags, catching the 8pm train could not be guaranteed. Now passengers can make the train! BrizCommuter welcomes this much needed service improvement.

Did Airtrain's record $12.5m profit last year push the decision to provide a better service? If Airtrain turn another large profit next year, will we see services run even later, and every 15 mins during the daytime off-peak? Airtrain is still playing catch up with nearly every other airport train service! BrizCommuter is also interested to know if the later Airtrain service will also result in improvements to the currently hourly evening Gold Coast Line service?