Saturday, September 30, 2017

1 Year of Rail Fail, No End in Sight!

Lets celebrate
by running hourly trains!
Today is the 1st birthday of Queensland Rail's (QR) Rail Fail (#RailFail), with the first wave of mass service cancellations occurring on 30th September 2016, a few days ahead of the opening of the Redcliffe Peninsula Line.

So what caused Rail Fail?
  • Recruitment freeze under the LNP Newman Government at the same time as construction was occurring on the Redcliffe Peninsula Line, and expansion of 15 minute off-peak services.
  • Changes to train driver breaks, requiring more drivers for the same number of services. 
  • Slow driver training programs, and Union influence internal recruitment slowed down recruitment. 
  • Chronic incompetence at QR failed to see that the October 2016 timetable was not possible with the staff availability at the time. 
How have commuters suffered?
  • Waves of last minute service cancellations (usually on Fridays and Sundays) during late 2016. 
  • Multiple timetable changes during late 2016 with axed services. 
  • Confusingly different timetables between Monday-Thursdays and Fridays.
  • 333 axed services per week in the 2017 timetable, of which only 2 have since been restored. 
  • Service gaps of up to 1 hour in the peaks, and increased overcrowding on some services.
  • Hourly weekend timetables during School Holidays and Public Holidays - worst train service in Australia and New Zealand (Oceania)!
  • Up to 60% peak period service cuts during the Summer School Holidays.
  • 2/3 of services cancelled on Xmas Day 2016. 
  • Looming Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Rail Fail - services to be axed on train lines other than the Gold Coast Line. 
  • Looming service cuts during School Holidays throughout 2018. 
What other issues have there been?
  • Chronic lack of trains since the January 2014 timetable limiting train services and resulting  overcrowded 3-car services. 
  • Nearly 600 day delay in New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) entering service.
  • Not enough NGR trains have been ordered to maximise use of existing infrastructure - politics and lack of perceived problem may prevent further orders from Indian Bombardier factory, and delay subsequent orders. 
  • NGR train toilets are not large enough for wheelchairs. 
  • NGR train guard position has moved to back of train, away from accessibility "seating" area, and raised platforms.
  • Increasing unreliability of ageing EMU and ICU trains. 
  • Poor train/platform interface at most stations. 
  • Chronic issue with trains running early.
  • Chronic issue with CBD track closures during the daytime causing delays of up to 15 minutes and missed connections.
  • Late night track closures creating a headache for shift workers. 
  • On-time running statistics exclude "expressed" services and off-peak services. 
What has been the result of Rail Fail?
  • Decline in patronage on QR's network (taking into account opening of Redcliffe Peninsula Line) - though statistics have gone "missing in action". 
  • Increased road congestion. 
  • Permanent damage to QR's reputation - privatisation almost inevitable when the LNP next gain power. 
  • Damage to Brisbane and SE Queensland's reputation - including lower liveability than other Australian capitals. 
  • High risk of Cross River Rail getting axed.
  • Due to massive number of 1 star reviews on Facebook, QR removed all Facebook reviews, and started concentrating on posts irrelevant to running a train service - trying to hid the truth QR?
When will Rail Fail be resolved?
  • Information of Rail Fail resolution and service recovery was conveniently dropped from the last CityTrain response - so little information is available. 
  • Likely that some of the axed 333 services will be restored during the second half of 2018. Expect further Friday and School Holiday service cuts throughout 2018. 
  • Most of the axed 333 services should be restored during 2019. Some axed services may not return. 
  • Urgently required service improvements (such as extending Cleveland Line pm peak expresses) unlikely until late 2019 or 2020. 
  • Major improvements to timetables (such as improved off-peak services and pm peak services on most lines) unlikely until well into 2020s. 
Whilst Queensland Rail's annual report states that Queensland Rail is focussed on becoming a "world class" rail operator, it is quite obvious that Queensland Rail is just a "world class" embarrassment to Brisbane and SE Queensland. 


  1. Happy Birthday #RailFail. Did you ear how they celebrated their birthday? They held a special "close the Gold Coast" long weekend spectacular. This was a really successful celebration of an otherwise "old-had" RailFail. Closing Gold Coast stations meant that Gold Coast was all but excluded from RiverFire and the Birsbane Festival. It also meant the Gold Coast was not accessible by train for the entire long weekend.

    I arrived at Helensvale station to travel to RiverFire and found it closed. I said "What, on RiverFire!?". The guy sighed and said yes. I understood his response when within 5 minutes of trying to work out other arrangements over a dozen other people showed up, were told the station was closed and each time they said "What, on RiverFire!?"

    The fact that nobody believed such a spectacularly stupid decision could be made shows just how great RailFail anniversary was. A great outcome for QR over logic and public demand.

    1. Yep, QR continue to be self-serving, not customer serving. They've previously been blasted in the Courier Mail for closing the Ferny Grove Line during Riverfire, and yet they still keep closing lines. This weekend the line through the CBD is closed completely during Brisbane Open House weekend.

  2. I still maintain that QR need to update their mission statement to one more attainable:
    "We aim to be Australia's best performing railway delivering safe, on time, customer-focused and efficient rail services"
    "We aim to deliver rail services"

    Because at this stage, that is attainable within the 2019-2020 timeframe. Based on social media and personal experience, they are not safe, on time, customer focused, nor efficient.

    1. The mission statement should be "we aim to increase our drivers overtime, be generally incompetent, have no automatic train protection, and put the customers last".

  3. Where's your optimism, Brizcommuter?
    Every time I hear anyone bag Qld, typically Qlders will try to stuck up for this crap state, tell people to 'go back to where they came from', or say that 'yeah but our transport sucks cos this is god's country and we win at footy!' etc. So how about some faux talking up of our quaint little state?

  4. I was stuck on a train 100m past Bald Hills for an hour until they dispatched a "rescue train" from Bowen Hills to tow us back. 2 hours to travel no where. That is the 3rd EMU in 3 months which I have had to leave due to a mechanical issue. I have heard from a very reliable source that 3 recent issues for the old-old EMUs is the traction engines are breaking. EDI are being instructed to not even fit and test the replacements so they can be shipped straight back to Mayne to get them into service as quickly as possible!


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