Friday, March 2, 2018

NGR Denied!

Mothballed NGRs eating grass at Redbank
Can things get even worse for Queensland Rail's (QR) New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) trains? Yes. The disastrous NGR project, which was run by Department of Transport and Main Roads (and not QR) has taken another turn into the depths of disappointment. As BrizCommuter readers will be aware, the LNP Newman government ordered trains that have toilet cubicles too narrow to fit wheelchairs, and are thus in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act. After a few years of sitting on their heels, the ALP Palaszczuk government decided to modify the trains, by adding a compliant toilet in nearly half of the trains, and annoyingly remove toilets from the the remainder of the fleet. Despite being "illegal", the trains were arrogantly entered into passenger service anyway, with the requirement for 8 trains to be in service for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018). A temporary exemption by the Australian Human Rights Condition was applied for. Today, this exemption was turned down. The Queensland Government has two weeks to respond. So what will happen?
  • Will QR continue to run the trains in service until there is a legal challenge?
  • Will the NGRs have to be withdrawn from service before the Commonwealth Games - turning GC2018 Rail Fail into GC2018 Epic Rail Fail?
  • Will the NGRs have to be completely re-designed and re-built?
  • Will completely new train designs have to be ordered for Cross River Rail? (Hint, procurement will need to start soon)
  • Will more NGR's be put out to pasture at Redbank?
  • Will the geriatric and unreliable EMU trains have to keep going for years to come?
  • Will frustrated commuters ever see the end of overcrowded 3-car services due to lack of trains?
There is no question that there needs to be a Commission of Inquiry into the huge botch that is the NGR project, and those that made seriously bad design decisions need to be held accountable for their actions. 

17 comments:

  1. This is a fantastic decision, even though it is only the AHRC's initial judgement. We will find out in two weeks their final call on the matter.

    If the final judgement is to deny the temporary exemption, I think it is a great decision. As I said on fb for Rail Back on Track and will expand further here, the Labor Government had two years at least to fix these trains and did not do so and then asked for an exemption.

    And now for more content- And then, when asking for the exemption and knowing their trains were not DDA compliant, they decide to shove them out into service. That has to be height of hubris.

    Know your trains are not DDA compliant, apply to the organisation for a temporary exemption and whilst awaiting for that exemption, run the trains anyway.

    It would not surprise me if before the Qld Government decided to run the trains, that the AHRC was considering allowing the exemption, but then they had to go and run the trains, showing complete arrogance for the law and the AHRC decision making process, so the AHRC decided, oh well, if you think that much of our process, temporary exemption denied.

    Get your damn non compliant trains off the tracks before they get legally challenged.

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  2. Given that Emerson, who was transport minister at the time, has lost his seat, it should be Scales, the DG of transport and main roads, who should offer his head for the block. At least that should be a start. It's a pity that political parties cannot be made to pay for the mistakes they leave when they get turfed out. Given the scale of this disaster, it would probably send the LNP into bankruptcy.

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    Replies
    1. There needs to be an inquiry into this mess. BrizCommuter wouldn't be surprised if Mr Scales is removed from his position after the Comm Games. He should have been removed ages ago.

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  3. What's concerning me now is the amount of commentary on social media, which is blaming this on the disabled. I read one comment by a particularly ignorant person who said that "they should go to the toilet before boarding the train, why should I suffer bad services for two weeks because some cripples (his words) can't hold on" Disgraceful stuff indeed.

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    1. Agree - quite disgraceful comments. BrizCommuter's brother is disabled, and thus BrizCommuter is a keen advocate for disability access.

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  4. I can see the solution.... keep running the NGRs but close and lock the toilet doors until further notice. That way no one will be discriminated against.

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    Replies
    1. Would that be discriminating against those with small bladders, pregnant, dodgy prostates, and drunks?

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    2. Equity means ensuring that everyone has the same amenity. On the surface you might assume it means "if some can't have it, nobody can have it - that's fair". But as BrizCommuter says, some people have issues that you need to cater for in order to give them equal access to public transport. Things like small bladders (such as every pregnant woman and child), as well as irritable bowel, crones disease, ostomy bags, colitis, and other bowel disabilities, let alone otherwise healthy people with short-term issues like gastro, food poisoning, bladder infections and... let's face it... the boozed up patrons after sporting events or any Friday/Saturday night.

      oh... and not to forget everyone else: Varsity to Airport is a 1 1/2 hour journey, and a coffee/drink you had before getting on needs to come out before you get off.

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    3. Right on the button, lock the toilets or better still turn the area into bagage storage. None of the other trains in service have toilets

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  5. Whilst locking the toilets might solve the issue of not enough space for wheelchairs in the toilets, it does not solve the issue of the gap between the toilet and side of the carriage, which is to small for a wheelchair to pass.

    And with the guard in car 6 and the wheelchair person in car 3, they get forgotten on long trips.

    These issues have not been addressed

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  6. The drunks will di what they always do regardless if whether there is a toilet or not, which is why the Ipswich train always smells so bad.

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  7. Yeah, I know it’s not the best solution but it may keep the NGRs running till the toilet problem is sorted.
    The small bladders, pregnant, dodgy prostates people do have a problem. They will just have to go toilet before starting their journey and hope for the best. They might be able to get off mid journey if station facilities are open. However, they could be waiting a while for the next train.
    Even if there were toilets, the drunks will usually miss the bowl and spray it over the seat, floor and walls.
    Once I saw a bloke urinate in between the carriages. A very short time later three Translink inspectors boarded the train. I had no hesitation and I dobbed him in. The evidence was still fresh so to speak and he was carted off the train.

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    1. Your point about going to the toilet before they get on, and getting off mid journey is an acceptable solution... as long as Translink makes it clear which stations have toilets, what times those toilets are open, and whether they are disability friendly. Also, once I stopped a passenger who was busting from getting off the train because it was the last train of the night and he would have been stranded.

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  8. Mind you when it comes to rail fails, no one can beat the current NSW government (Coalition - sigh, of course), apparently their new generation of rolling stock maybe too wide for their rail tunnels which means an extra 2 billion may need to be spent to fix that problem. What is with the Coalition or LNP that they cant seem make a success out of what should be a simple procurement exercise?

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    Replies
    1. Ummm... You are a few decades behind QLD. In QLD we built trains too high for our tunnels about 20 years ago. Maybe in another 20 years you too will get trains that are not suitable to run at all.

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  9. http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/public-servants-involved-with-procurement-of-queenslands-bungled-4bn-new-trains-still-hold-senior-positions-in-the-state-government/news-story/4c9e90977fd70a5440cba081e48a25bd

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  10. Still no final decision from ahrc. I wonder if they are going to delay they final decision till after the Commonwealth Games?

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