Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Election is over. Now where are the new timetables?

It was quite obvious that the release of the stage 2 timetables were being held until after the Queensland state election. With capacity across the Merivale Bridge limited to approximately 20 trains per hour in the am peak, there is only room for 1 extra train service per hour for the Gold Coast, Beenleigh, and Cleveland Lines. That's not 1 extra train each, 1 extra train between all three lines! Releasing the timetable before the election would have upset some voters even more. Now that the election is over, BrizCommuter would like to know when will we see the draft timetables?

There are two infrastructure projects that affect the stage 2 timetables for the Ferny Grove, Shorncliffe, Airport, Doomben, Beenleigh, Cleveland, and Gold Coast Lines. The first is the belated Keperra to Ferny Grove line duplication. It is strongly rumoured that the track work will be complete after the Easter shutdown. Will the signalling also be in place to allow for the duplication to be fully operational after Easter? With no sign of the phase 2 timetables, will Queensland be in the embarrassing situation of having newly opened rail infrastructure with no service improvements for months, or will be see a work go slow until we get a new timetable?

Sandgate -2 tracks, 1 is a bit rusty!  Image: Google Maps
The second infrastructure project is the Sandgate station upgrade. Only one of the two platforms is fully accessible. This means that trains usually serve only one platform, effectively extending the single track section that limits the line's capacity. With BrizCommuter expecting the new peak timetable to based around a 15 minute cycle, then the Shorncliffe Line's peak timetable would be considerably more reliable if Sandgate's second platform and track could be used in the peak period. Unfortunately Queensland Rail's website has no mention of timeframe for the Sandgate station upgrade.

It should be noted that TransLink were once quoted as saying that the new timetables would be introduced in late 2011. It is now approaching mid 2012! In this now apparently "Can Do" state, when will TransLink and QR finally introduce the stage 2 train timetables?

Update 28/02/2012

There is mention on TransLink's website of minor changes to the Ferny Grove Line timetable (and connecting bus services) from the 10th April, after the duplication has opened. Unfortunately, with less than 2 weeks to go, TransLink have failed to actually publish the timetable. With track slot limitations through the CBD until the stage 2 changes, BrizCommuter is not expecting any significant improvements to the Ferny Grove Line's mediocre timetable on the 10th April. The most likely change will be some services arriving at Ferny Grove a few minutes earlier than currently.


  1. Based on the tender documents for the Sandgate DDA upgrade, the indicative timeframe for the upgrade to be functionally complete was by October-ish this year, with minor and cosmetic things to be finalised by January 2013. No idea if that is still the case though.

  2. Newly opened rail infrastructure with no rail service improvement for months? Try YEARS! That's how long we've been waiting for more frequent trains down here at Kuraby on the Beenleigh line, despite the shiny (not so) new stations & triple line from Salisbury to Kuraby.

    Still the same crappy old half hourly service, and minutes slower from Beenleigh to the city than it was over 20 years ago with double track to Kuraby and SINGLE from there to Beenleigh.

    Its a Queensland thing. We build infrastructure, but then fall way short on the service delivery.

  3. SurfRail - thanks for the info.

    colinw - true. 15 mins off peak on Beenleigh would slightly slow down Gold Coast services as a 4th track should have been instead of 3. The Gold Coast Line saw peak improvements after the 3rd track, but the Beenleigh Line didn't. Not much am peak capacity left across the Merivale Bridge for extra peak services now. Oh dear!


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