Sunday, May 28, 2017

QR - Set-up to Fail?

NGR Project - Epic fail, but not QR's fault?
With recent political discussion around privatisation (or "outsourcing" for those averse to asset sales) of Queensland Rail (QR), BrizCommuter smells something fishy.

There is little question that QR has chronic issues with institutional incompetence, poor culture, and placing drivers overtime pay packets above getting commuters from A to B. However, a lot of QR's perceived problems appear to have been caused by the ousted LNP Newman government, and the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR).

Exhibit A - Rail Fail - whilst both QR and the ALP Palaszczuk government have handled Rail Fail badly, the original cause of the problem was the recruitment freeze under the LNP Newman government. This recruitment freeze occurred whilst Moreton Bay Rail Link was under construction, and 15 minute off-peak was introduced to limited parts of QR's network - both of which needed more staff, not less.

Exhibit B - Moreton Bay Rail Link - despite QR being in involved with many successful rail projects, this project was instead run by TMR, with very little involvement from QR. This is quite likely to be due to "secret" LNP plans to privatise QR. The badly designed track layout at Kippa-Ring delays trains on a daily basis. The signalling design stuff up massively delayed the opening of the Redcliffe Peninsula. Claims in the Courier Mail that QR did not perform due-diligence, could also be interpreted as DTMR didn't give QR enough time to perform due-diligence as they were almost frozen out the project.

Exhibit C - New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) - this project is heading towards being one of the World's most disastrous rolling stock projects of recent times. At the time of writing it is 463 days after the first NGR was delivered, and there is zero sign of them entering passenger services. The NGR were ordered under the LNP Newman government, and the project (badly) handled by TMR instead of QR. The LNP's plan to eliminate guards resulted in the train being ordered without guards accommodation. The guard will also now be located 3-carriages away from where the disabled passengers are waiting to board, with reports the NGR will require a ludicrous 4 members of staff on-board thanks to union nonsense. The trains have been ordered with toilets that may not meet the Disability Discrimination Act.

BrizCommuter is not adverse to QR being privatised, as it seems that at the moment, even some of the more mediocre private operators could do a better job. However it appears that QR have been set-up to fail by the LNP and TMR. A lot of the current mess is not directly the fault of QR, and much of the blame should lie with the destructive LNP Newman government, and Department of Transport and Main Roads. BrizCommuter cannot understand how "Captain Chaos" Neil Scales has not been sacked from the position of D-G of TMR given the number of failed projects. Whilst not the cause of the current issues, the ALP Palaszczuk government has poorly handled the resolution of these issues, has made transparency even worse than under the LNP (which is quite difficult), and are so incompetent at politics that they have failed to blame these issues on the LNP. The unions are also to blame for the potentially overstaffed NGR trains and restrictive recruitment policies. It doesn't look like there is any hope for public transport in Brisbane and SE Queensland.


  1. If, as you have documented, many of the problems were are seeing now can be sheeted to the feet of Chris Scales, who, from my understanding was a Newman appointee, why is Trad Et al so keen on protecting him? Why hasn't the ALP state government shown him the door?

    1. Neil Scales, not Chris. He was originally the head of TransLink but then moved to the head of TMR after TransLink was merged into TMR and the a previous Newman appointee Michael Caltabiano was sacked. I think.

  2. "All organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they are now getting. If we want different results, we must change the way we do things" Tom Northup


All comments are reviewed before being published, and it may take a few days for comments to appear. If comments do not add to the conversation, or are just plain stupid, they will not be published.