Thursday, March 3, 2016

06:54 from Shorncliffe - more sardines please?

A Queensland Rail 3-car unit train
Some Shorncliffe Line commuters are well aware of the squishy nature of some of their 3-car unit train services. One of these is the 06:54am from Shorncliffe to Cleveland, which often has standing passengers from Boondall. In fact, this train can be so busy that a passenger was recently observed accidentally standing on a guide dog! (Quite why the guide dog wasn't standing and holding the rails, who knows?)

From a currently unannounced date in 2016 when Moreton Bay Rail Link opens (probably mid-April) this train service could become worse. Why?

  • The Caboolture Line trains will express past Nundah, Toombul, Wooloowin, and Albion. Thus passengers from these stations who would catch the current ex-Cabooloture and ex-Petrie services that stop at Nundah at 07:10am and 07:13am may now be catching the 06:54am from Shorncliffe which stops at Nundah at 07:14am. (On the first day of new timetable you can add passengers who usually catch the 07:01am from Nundah to that list too!)
  • Despite TransLink and QR claiming that there will be a train between Northgate and Roma Street every 7.5 minutes in the peak, there is no evidence on the timetable of any Northgate starting train in-between the 06:54am from Shorncliffe and the 06:39am from Shorncliffe. (Existing Doomben and Airport Line train fills the gap, but only for Wooloowin and Albion).  
  • There is an extra Northgate to Roma Street service 7.5 minutes after the 06:54am from Shorncliffe, but as can be observed on the Ferny Grove and Cleveland Lines, commuters do not like having to wait for a later train because they cannot board the one they want to use. 
  • Some passengers from Redcliffe may use the Kippa-Ring Line instead of the Shorncliffe Line. Thus may remove some passengers from this overcrowded service. However, given the increased journey times and fares from Kippa-Ring, BrizCommuter expects that the loss of passengers from the Shorncliffe Line may be less than expected. 
Now of course, if this service is magically upgraded by Queensland Rail to a 6-car train, the problem will be solved. Unfortunately, as QR do not publish train lengths in their timetables, commuters will not known until day 1 of the new timetable if they will even fit onto this or other train services. 

Depending on the (re-)allocation of 3-car units, there may also be quite a few other "sardine can" train services from the start of new timetables expected in April. With the Next Generation Rollingstock being many months away from passenger service, things may get a lot of worse before they get better. There will be quite a few people late for work on the first few days of the new timetables!


  1. What I'd like to know is, where are all these park and riders coming from? (which prob makes up for 50% of Shorncliffe peak hour train commuters) meanwhile feeder and non-feeder buses suffer(310/306/335 probably could use with a some of these commuters actually using the bus and not park and riding)

    I know Banyo/Boondall/Deagon/Sandgate are low-density areas, and can imagine that a lot drive from the non-train areas such as Murrumba Downs

  2. Any park and riders from the southern end of the Redcliffe peninsular (Woody Point and Clontarf) will be better off time and cost wise still driving to Sandgate.

  3. Some work needs to be done on naming and capacity on the Gold Coast line. "The Gold Coast inbound is suffering delays", at what point everyone is meant to realise the translation to "The train coming form the Gold Coast inbound to Brisbane is delayed". The name is simply wrong, "Gold Coast inbound" is English for this train is going in to the Gold Coast. The argument given to me is that everything is relevant to Central station falls apart when they could just add some words like "The Gold Coast inbound to Brisbane", I mean it's two little words that clarify the route.

    Anyway - that's a bit off topic, RE the crowding. I've been traveling for 3 years on the train and from the Gold Coast and it is now busier than I have ever seen it.It is standing room only from about Coomera.

    It is only a matter of time before it is standing room only from Helensvale. Something needs to be done to increase capacity.

  4. Philip - Out of interest, which train service is overcrowded? The Gold Coast Line cannot increase its peak direction capacity until the Coomera to Helensvale duplication is complete. Of course, this should have been completed almost a decade ago along with the rest of the Gold Coast Line duplication, which should have been built double track another decade earlier.

  5. Maybe the MBRL is opening at the end of April or later perhaps; looking at these site tour dates (12,13,14 April) at


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