Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Moreton Bay Rail Link - not enough trains?

NGR - Can't come soon enough! 
The Moreton Bay Rail Link (MBRL) is expected to open in mid-late 2016.  Queensland Rail's Next Generation Rolling Stock (NGR) is also expected to be introduced into service from mid 2016 after being shipped in from India. There are currently only just about enough trains to run Queensland Rail's sub-optimal peak timetables, resulting in overcrowded 3-car units on the Ferny Grove and Cleveland Lines, odd gaps in peak services, and bizarre early finish of the pm peak express service on the Cleveland Line. Thus the big question, is will there be enough trains to operate a decent train service on the MBRL from opening?

In the am peak's busiest hour, 9 Caboolture Line services start from Petrie (every 6 minutes, with one 12 minute gap). It would be sensible to extend all of these services to start at from Kippa-Ring, the terminus of MBRL. Any less would result in overcrowding and/or uneven loadings. BrizCommuter estimates a 15 minute journey time in each direction (10 if the train is out of service), and an 8 minute peak dwell time at the terminus. Thus to handle all of the services that need to be extended from Petrie to Kippa-Ring, would require an estimated six additional 6-car trains.

Thus unless approximately six NGR trains are delivered, tested, and troubleshot, before the opening of MBRL, there is a big problem. Unfortunately, it looks like this may not be the case. BrizCommuter thinks is it is quite likely that due to lack of trains the Moreton Bail Rail Link could open with an inadequate train services due to lack of trains. If this occurs, the resulting initial overcrowding and poor service frequency will limit the uptake of use of this new train line, and create a poor reputation (a la Gold Coast Line). Alternatively MBRL opening may need to be delayed to wait for sufficient NGR trains to be introduced into services - movement of official opening dates to "late 2016" despite claims of the project being "months ahead of schedule" make this look like it could be the case. Thus MBRL could follow the list of SE Queensland infrastructure implementation disasters caused by piss poor planning, and clueless politicians:

  • Extension of Inner Northern Busway to RBWH, but the route 66 bus wasn't extended to RBWH until 7 months later -  resulting in passengers waiting up to 55 minutes to board a bus that wasn't already full!
  • Duplication of the Ferny Grove Line from Keperra to Ferny Grove - yet trains still terminated at Mitchelton for a further two years. 
  • Opening of Richlands Line, which initially operated with a dodgy peak shuttle service to Darra, and ensuing "just missed" connections.  

Better get those trains delivered quick!

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