Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Floods - here we go again!

This blog post will be added to as public transport related events change over the next few days, with newest blog posts at the bottom of the page. Last updated Saturday 2nd February 2013 - 12:40pm.

Sunday 27th Jan 2013 - 8:30pm

The high winds and heavy rain have not surprisingly caused massive disruption to public transport, and with the situation changing by the minute making it difficult to provide information to public transport users. However, whilst other transit authorities manage to cope with almost real time information, TransLink are struggling. This can be seen in the below screenshot where TransLink published a web page without finishing a sentence, and completely lacking useful information (e.g suspended between which stations? are buses replacing trains?). Do not travel unless your journey is absolutely necessary tonight!

Screenshot - lacking information

Monday 28th Jan 2013 - 1pm

The high winds and heavy rain have reduced, with Ipswich and Brisbane expected to flood at levels  well below the 2011 levels from later today until Wednesday. TransLink are now providing quite accurate information on train line closures (nearly all train lines are affected in some way), but information on individual bus routes is lacking. This makes using a bus today a case of turn up and hope. All Westside bus routes (in Ipswich) are suspended. BrizCommuter observed a passenger in a wheelchair waiting for a rail replacement bus at Gaythorne this morning. What is the chance of the replacement bus being wheelchair accessible?

BrizCommuter hopes that TransLink can provide accurate information on what services are expected to be running for the Tuesday morning peak period by late afternoon. With flood levels expected to reach 2.6m in Brisbane, most workers (including CBD workers) will be unaffected by the flood. The trains and buses (including busways) were still running in 2011 when water levels were above this level (SE Busway is flooded at Cultural Centre at approx. 3m). Lets hope that common sense prevails and public transport is operated to as much of normal capacity as is safely possible on Tuesday.

Screenshot - oh dear!
Monday 28th January 2013 - 7:30pm

According to a ministerial statement, train services will be impacted severely due to storm damage to many parts of SE Queensland's rail network. Scaffolding has fallen on the tracks just north of Fortitude Valley station damaging track and overhead power. This is unlikely to be cleared until Wednesday at the earliest, and even then only two of the four tracks may be available.

Unfortunately, TransLink have not yet provided information specific to Tuesdays am peak service. Information missing is which parts of the network will be in operation (? same as on Monday), whether operating sections will run to normal or altered timetable, and rail replacement options for closed parts of the network. Whilst the closure of many parts of the rail network is obviously unavoidable, the lack forward planning information from TransLink is unacceptable. With most CBD businesses expected to operate as normal on Tuesday there is likely to be public transport chaos! The buses and debris strewn roads will be taking a lot of strain. It is also likely, that unlike during the last floods when public transport was made free, that TransLink will charge for the highly disrupted service on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It should be noted that the Exhibition Loop is being used to re-route Caboolture Line services around the closed CBD tracks to allow trains to run to Roma Street. This shows that Cross River Rail may be very useful in the future for system redundancy at times of disruption.

Monday 28th January 2013 - 8:00pm

Thankfully, Queensland Rail has provided the information that TransLink have to failed to provide to commuters. The link is on QR's facebook site below:
As stated on the page, please share the above information widely!

Tuesday 29th January 2013 - 6:00am

TransLink did eventually publish QR's disruption information a little bit too late. Info below:
Now, lets brave the replacement bus services...

Tuesday 29th January 2013 - 8:00pm

Well done to Queensland Rail for working hard to re-open one of track pairs through the CBD in time to run a limited pm peak service.

With bus services almost back to normal, buses were taking the strain instead of the train today. BrizCommuter observed by many a full bus (and was himself unable to board a full outbound 333 at Normanby in the am peak). Failed go card readers were all too common. With train services varying between limited to non-existent, bus services full and late, and a semi-functioning go card system it is disappointing that TransLink charged customers to use SE Queensland's public transport system today.

At the time of writing, TransLink are displaying good information on tonights resumed train services (Note: CBD only services will be suspended again for more repairs from 8pm, with buses replacing trains). Info below:
Unfortunately despite it now being mid-evening, TransLink have yet again failed to publish information on tomorrow's (Wednesday) am peak train service. This makes it difficult to plan ahead for the Wednesday morning commute as service frequencies and travel time are a big unknown. Poor show TransLink.

Wednesday 30th January 2013 - 6:25am

The latest updated information on train services is here:
Whilst most lines are now open, track capacity is limited to one track pair through the CBD. This will result in delays and reduced train frequencies as up to 32 trains per hour (tph) try to squeeze down a track that can only handle 20tph. Unfortunately, it is not clear how much the frequencies on each line will be reduced by. It is likely that delays will build as the peak period progresses. BrizCommuter would advise that if you live near an alternative bus route (for example Alderley station is served by the frequent 345 and P343) then consider taking the bus instead!

It appears that again TransLink will charge commuters to use this mediocre train service. At least TransLink have stated that they will automatically correct fixed fares from the last few days due to faulty go card readers. Still, check your go card balance just in case!

Wednesday 30th January 2013 - 4:40pm

QR did a very good job of trying to fit four tracks worth of trains down two tracks in this mornings peak period. BrizCommuter observed trains consistently running through Bowen Hills and Fortitude Valley station at 2min 30sec intervals, equivalent to 24tph. There should be no problems running 20tph in the stage 2 timetables then QR?

Information during the morning commuter was a little bit disappointing. No information from a guard whilst the train was stuck in the inevitable queue of trains outside of Bowen Hills. Passenger information displays at Bowen Hills displayed "no trains from this platform in the next 4 hours" as the default message between trains. BrizCommuter was also not amused to see the closed Tennyson station appear as a stop on a diverted Gold Coast train.

Buses appear to be almost back to normal, with diversions around storm damaged or flooded locations. With fast flowing water likely to be an issue for a week as Wivenhoe Dam's flood storage is emptied, BrizCommuter is not expecting CityCats and other ferries to be operational for a short while. Train services are still suspended between Wellington Point and Cleveland, and the entire Doomben Line. No dates have yet been provided by TransLink as to when these services and full services through the CBD will be resumed. Gympie train services will resume from this evenings service.

Thursday 31st January 2013 - 6:30am

All train services are now back to normal (i.e. random peak timetables, infrequent off-peak services, delays due to cars hitting level crossing barriers and bridges). Please be aware that lifts are unavailable at quite a few stations. These are listed on TransLink's service update webpage:

Bus services are almost back to normal with only a few routes suspended or diverted, mainly in Logan and Ipswich areas due to flood waters.

Ferries are still suspended until further notice. Some sections of the CityCat network have a replacement bus service.

Saturday 2nd February 2013 - 12:40pm

The CityCats and Ferries are now back in service, but with some speed restrictions and a few termini temporarily out of service. Congratulations to Brisbane City Council for fast restoration of the river services.

General flood recovery information from TransLink:
Photo of storm damage at Fortitude Valley:
2013 Red Cross flood appeal:


  1. But yesterday was a Sunday and today is a Public Holiday, so a lot of people across SEQ wouldn't have services existing to be disrupted in the first place!

  2. I was standing at Toombul station waiting for a Shorncliffe train. It never came. There was no information. I went to the ticket office and asked what's happening, no announcement? The worker complained she was the only one there and had too much to do. Still, I asked her to make an announcement so people know what's going on. Eventually she said to take a Caboolture service to Northgate. Shorncliffe train never appeared. Low point of this mess was the Caboolture train had no air-conditioning inside on a 33 degree day. It was hotter in the carriage, like a sauna. Couldn't wait to get outside again.


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