Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Slasher Newman's Cross River Rail 2

The problems with Campbell Newman's CRR 2
In a move that was a surprise to some, "Slasher Newman" has given Cross River Rail (CRR) a stay of execution, but albeit a half-cost and half-baked CRR 2 solution. The press release from Transport Minister Scott Emerson is linked below:

CRR is still planned be built, but without the crucial extra tracks between Yeerongpilly and Salisbury, and between the tunnel portal near Victoria Park and Bowen Hills. This will save between $2b and $4b depending on which political party you believe. With CRR still being at least 8 years away, the LNP have also suggested $200-300m worth of improvements to maximise existing capacity across the Merivale Bridge. These improvements include targeted signalling enhancements, dwell time management, more standing room/less seating in trains, new stabling, and turning back 7% of trains in the am peak.

There are positives and negatives of this news, which BrizCommuter has outlined below.

  • Cross River Rail is still planned to going ahead.
  • It is better than the ill-though out Cleveland Solution (which forgot to cost in the replacement of nearly $2b worth of level crossings with bridges).
  • Many of the interim capacity enhancement solution seem relatively sensible.
  • The lack of extra tracks at each end of the core tunnel will limit the usefulness of CRR 2. With the Exhibition Line already being busy during the peak and off-peak, BrizCommuter expects that the LNP's half-baked CRR 2 may only add approx. 8tph of capacity, instead of approx. 20tph with the original CRR. 
  • BrizCommuter can foresee operational issues with CRR 2 and it's interface with the rest of the rail system at Bowen Hills, with added grade junction conflicts. Originally all Caboolture/Sunshine Coast/Kippa-Ring services would have run through CRR. This probably won't now be possible, so how will these services be split?
  • The interim solution doesn't seem to include Gold Coast/Beenleigh Line track upgrades, making better than 12 minute Gold Coast peak frequencies impossible. 15 minute off-peak may be difficult to timetable as well. 
  • The interim solution doesn't outline where 7% of trains will be turned back. Roma Street would be more useful than South Brisbane! 
  • If the cost/benefit ration of CRR 2 is worse than the original CRR, the could this affect the chances of receiving Federal funding?
  • Between $2b to $4b (plus inflation) will have to be found post 2020 to make the most of CRR 2's potential capacity. 
BrizCommuter is eagerly awaiting further information on this solution, and the publishing of the full review by the "expert panel" that resulted in the half-cost, half-baked CRR 2. 


  1. "(which forgot to cost in the replacement of nearly $2m worth of level crossings with bridges)"

    Is $2m a typo?

  2. Thanks. Should read $2b. Has been corrected!


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