Wednesday, June 14, 2017

QR's Rail Fail gets even worse

QR Ruins the School Winter Holidays
After the dreadfully inadequate Summer School Holiday Timetable, and appalling hourly Easter Timetables, surely commuters would be expecting some improvements to Rail Fail by now? Sadly, SE Queensland rail operator Queensland Rail (QR) has sunk even further into the black hole of customer service, by plans to run hourly train services on Sunday 26th June, 2nd July, and 9th July during the Winter School Holidays. Sunshine Coast Line commuters will only see trains running every 2 hours. Only the Airport Line will still run the usual 30 minute service. Just to annoy passengers further, QR have bizarrely decided to run train times at a different time to the normal clock face times, which will frustrate passengers with even longer waits and missed bus/train connections. Did QR and TransLink not learn from the Easter Rail Fail?

This horrendous service reduction will take QR back to era of diesel hauled services in the late 70s, early 80s. Quite clearly, QR continue to have disregard for those who actually need to use public transport, including:

  • Hospital and Emergency Service workers.
  • Hospitality and Restaurant workers.
  • Retail workers.
  • People wanting to go shopping (or other amenities) in and around Brisbane CBD.
  • Families wanting to get to/from various timed events in and around Brisbane.
  • People wanting to travel to/from the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. 
  • Anyone else trying to avoid holiday road congestion. 

At the time of announcing the last minute changes, TransLink have failed to publish any .pdf timetables, and the usual half-arsed communications from QR will be expected. No mention of the changes on QR's Facebook page, as that now seems to concentrate on wide angle photos of dogs instead of informing customers about train services. The ongoing rail fail makes Brisbane appear to be a laughing stock of the western world, yet again having the worse urban rail frequent in Australia and New Zealand over these weekends.

The Winter School Holiday #RailFail begs the following questions:

  • With the Commonwealth Games only 10 months away - how bad are the train service cut backs going to be on lines other than the Gold Coast Line?
  • Will there be more timetable cut backs in 2017 and 2018?
  • Is the "invisible" Citytrain Response Unit actually doing anything? 
  • Do QR and the Palaszczuk government realise the reputational damage this is causing Brisbane and SE Queensland?
  • Do QR and the Palaszczuk government realise the Cross Rail Rail could be axed by the LNP if they get back in power due to voters fed up with Rail Fail?
TransLink's information:


  1. I could have sworn somebody said that the timetable wouldn't change. This was before this change, before the Easter change, in fact it was about 4 or 5 changes ago. I'm not sure how everyone else is fairing but it seems the entire network is now less adaptable to incidents. Any incident (mostly outside the control of QR), is resulting in cascading major delays throughout the entire network. It also seems that any issue after about 5:30pm has little to no notification, update or response. I'm really eager to see their KPI data.

    1. Yes, QR told passengers that the 2017 timetable would be in place for the rest of 2017. They just forgot to mention the 6 days around Easter, and 3 during the Winter Hols when they have decided to screw commuters even more by running hourly services. Expect further mediocrity in the Spring Hols, Summer Hols, and during the Commonwealth Games.

  2. So... apparently 1 in 10 trips are not arriving with a 12 minute window (6 minutes early to 6 minutes late).

    This is leaving 1/3 of customers "not satisfied"

    For the airport/gold coast line I think the on-time is higher than this, and the satisfaction lower.

    There is an axiom, "What get's measured gets managed.", so I would like to see measurements around areas that I think are major failings right now: response to incidents and impact of planned rail-outages.

    What I would like to see measured
    1) measure of responsiveness to incidents (force majeure, police incident, bridge strike, etc.). My experience is that response to any issue is inefficient, ineffective and poorly coordinated. Bus drivers who don't know where they are going, staff at stations and on trains being told nothing or wrong information, and delay notifications on social media that are wrong by a factor of 3-5 times.
    2) measure of number of passenger journeys taken when trains are replaced by busses. I've noticed that trains have been replaced by busses at very high usage usage times, such as the Gold Coast Boat Show, and several sporting and community events that have been in the papers. Queensland rail refuses - pointblank - to ever change maintenance scheduling, even if it affects major events.

  3. Philip: In regards to when QR does track maintenance and timing for sporting events. Whilst sometimes it is inevitable that there will be clashes, with numerous sporting events, concerts, race days and other events going on, QR seems to go out of their way to schedule track work for the line or lines that will cause the most inconvenience to that sector of the event public.

    A very good example of this was the recent debacle of the back and forth over the Doomben race day, when all the Inner City Northern lines were shut down on the same weekend.

    Both sides blamed each other, but QR, knowing months in advance of when that race weekend was on, could have scheduled trackwork, say on the Cleveland line and then done the inner city trackwork for the next weekend.

    It is really difficult not to come to the conclusion that QR does not give a stuff about their customers.

    1. Regarding trackwork scheduling - you really need to blame the event organisers rather than QR on that one. All trackwork schedules are published on the QR website AT LEAST twelve months in advance. Currently they've got closures out to 22/Nov/18. I would actually say it is the event organisers that clearly don't give a stuff about their patrons by failing to co-ordinate with QR a year before the event rather than whinging about it less than a month before.


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