Monday, March 28, 2016

Will Cross River Rail be a Metro?

With much talk about the completely unnecessary Quirky Metro plan from the LNP in the last few weeks, a big question needs to be addressed - will Cross River Rail (CRR) be a Metro?

For starters, what is the definition of a Metro? BrizCommuter's preferred definition is from the excellent metro website
  1. An urban electric mass rail transport system, i.e. it is primarily used to move within the city.
  2. Totally independent from other traffic, rail or street traffic.
  3. High frequency service (maximum interval approx. 10 minutes during normal daytime service.)
There are a wide range of different types of Metro system, as below:
  • Underground, surface, or elevated tracks. 
  • Trains varying from 13m to 250m in length, and 2m to 3.2m in width. 
  • Trains varying from light weight (e.g. London's DLR), to double deck trains (e.g. Paris RER). 
  • Steel wheel (most common), linear motor or rubber-tyre (for steeper gradients or tight bends), or (extremely rarely) MAGLEV. 
  • Self-contained running (e.g Paris Metro), or part of wider suburban rail network (e.g. Paris RER, most Tokyo Metro lines, London's Crossrail). 
  • Frequencies between 85secs (or even shorter on some mini metros) to 12 minutes (looking at you Los Angeles). 
So will the core section of Cross River Rail be a Metro system?
  • Underground tracks - tick!
  • Grade separated on core section - tick!
  • "Heavy rail" suburban trains - tick (though with slow boarding due to only two sets of doors per car side, similar to San Francisco's BART.)
  • Steel wheel - tick!
  • Part of wider suburban rail network - tick (as per Tokyo, Paris RER, and London's Crossrail.) 
  • Frequency - ?? (see below.)
Cross River Rail station
Brisbane's long proposed CRR appears in most respects appears to be a Metro. The big question is frequency. It would be assumed that during the peak, trains will be plentiful, with at least 12tph in the peaks (up to 7.5 mins gap between services) at opening based on 8tph Gold Coast Line and 4tph Beenleigh Line services. This may be better depending on track amplifications between Brisbane and Beenleigh to allow more Gold Coast trains to overtake Beenleigh Line trains. Off-peak, BrizCommuter would expect 8tph, consisting of 4tph Gold Coast Line and 4tph Beenleigh Line services. This would have worst case gaps between services of between 7.5 mins to 12.5 mins. This would again be affected by scheduling possibilities limited by the locations where Gold Coast trains can overtake Beenleigh Line trains. At 7.5 to 10 min frequency - CRR would indeed be able to be counted as a Metro. At 12.5 min frequency, this would be rather debatable as it exceeds the 10 minute frequency generally regarded as a Metro-like "turn up and go" train service. It should however be noted that Los Angeles Metro only runs at 12 minutes frequency!

Could other parts of Queensland Rail's (QR) rain network be counted as a Metro? Many parts of the QR CityTrain network have a 10 minutes or better Metro-like frequency throughout most of the am peak (Springfield Line, Ipswich Line, Ferny Grove Line, Caboolture Line, Kippa-Ring Line, Northgate to City, inner Cleveland Line, South Bank area). However during the daytime off peak, pm peak, and evening, very little of QR's network has a consistent 10 minutes or better train service. Thus at the present, only 4 stations between Bowen Hills to Roma Street (inclusive) can be regarded as having a Metro-like service in Brisbane. With enough trains, crew, and funding, this could easily be expanded.

Getting back to the original question- as long as scheduling permits 10 minute off-peak frequencies or better through CRR (which is quite possible), then CRR could be classed as a Metro. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Mr Quirk! 

1 comment:

  1. Note that no one in Paris would ever call the RER a "metro". It's a suburban train that happen to criss-cross the city (intramuros) underground yes, but it wouldn't be said to be part of the metro... even if it fits the definition in this post :P


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