Wednesday, May 9, 2018

QR's most unreliable service - 7:28am from Manly?

Queensland Rail (QR), currently the worst rail operator in Oceania, is copping even more flak than usual from long suffering Cleveland Line users. This is due to the 7:28am from Manly to Shorncliffe running late and/or being expressed past stations on what seems like an almost daily basis. The reliability is so bad, that commuters are suggesting that QR should just remove it from the timetable instead of advertising a train that regularly omits stopping at stations. Regular excuses from QR include the rather obscure "congestion on the network".

Unfortunately, the lack of investment in infrastructure from successive governments has left the Cleveland Line with insufficient infrastructure to reliable run a peak train service. Between Manly and Cleveland the line is single track with passing places. This allows for a service in each direction every 15 minutes, but with little operating margin for late running before a delayed service delays services in the opposite direction. To add to the problem, there are only 2 tracks at Manly, where the additional "inner all stations" services start and terminate every 15 minutes. The train blocks a track during the turn-back at Manly, with minimal operating margin to allow for late running. Thus it is very easy for the Cleveland Line service to fall to pieces during the peak period, which can cause subsequent delays on other lines. A 3rd track and platform at Manly by 2012 was recommended in the the Inner City Rail Capacity Study (2008), but was never constructed.
Inadequate Cleveland Line infrastructure. Source: QR NAG 046.

With QR being obsessed by on-time running KPIs, and to avoid the knock on effect of late running services, QR will often run services express past stations that they are scheduled to stop at, much to the annoyance of commuters. It is unknown if there is a particular issue with the provision of the empty service that forms the 7:28am from Manly. QR's ongoing lack of driver #RailFail, lack of trains, and unreliable EMU trains are also not helping matters.

With a projected 10tph am peak service on the Cleveland Line when Cross River Rail opens in the mid-2020s, work needs to start soon to duplicate the single track sections of the Cleveland Line, and provide improved intermediate turn-back facilities for services that are not running all the way to/from Cleveland. More drivers and trains will also be required. The clock is ticking!


  1. 10 trains per hour... in QLD?! you sure?
    I'd even settle for 4.

    1. Well, the Cleveland Line is currently supposed to run 8tph, apart from the axed services, or the ones that get cancelled.

  2. The Cleveland line is a disaster. It is sometimes faster to catch the express 275 bus from the city to Cleveland than catch the train all stops.

    1. The Cleveland Line has suffered badly due to the inadequate Jan 2014 timetable (which was due to lack of trains), #RailFail, and inadequate infrastructure. BrizCommuter is aware of many Cleveland Line commuters who have gone back to driving.

  3. Every system is perfectly designed to get the outcomes it gets.

    I write this after an hour delay on the Gold Coast line - we are only 10 mins out of Brisbane, so essentially I haven't started my journey home.

    I don't care about the reasons for the delays that are now happening about every 4 weeks. I don't care that "they really appreciate my patience" (they are thanking me for something I don't have - or my understanding). Honestly, at 7:15 on a Friday night, I really just want to GET HOME! I'm looking at the $80 Uber ride as a viable option.

    Is public transport at the tipping point where it is no longer viable?

    1. Given that Brisbane's public transport use is stagnant at the same time that the population is growing shows that something is seriously wrong. There is huge latent demand for public transport, but high fares, abysmal train services, a confusing bus network, and frequent fixed fares (and risk of being fined) due to faulty go card readers/gates are acting as deterrents to "doing the right thing".

  4. When saying SEQ public transport is no longer a viable option, rail, buses, trams and ferries need to be split apart.
    If you are on a decent bus route, ferry service or the glink, then public transport is not too bad at certain times of the day.

    But if you are talking rail, then no, it is not a viable public transport option and I really do feel sorry for those who have to catch trains.

  5. at least some of the private operators are slowly but gradually going in the right direction. its the BCC-bus area that is seriously stagnating.

  6. Off topic, but in an NGR now and I've noticed a few things on NGR:
    Emergency buttons aligns with hand rail such that sitting or leaning on the hand rail presses the emergency button. I saw this after drivers asking passengers to stop pressing the button every trip this week.

    Airconditioning is set to too hot year round. Out little winter sauna.

    There are no signs on most NGR to indicate quite carriages.

    The handle position for standing passengers are poorly placed.

    The seats are uncomfortable. Thin foam and high edges means something is always digging into you.

    To quote the present of the United States: "sad"

  7. Don't forget that if the train is running too late, a cancellation still doesn't impact on-time stats. It is literally the key performance indicators that are driving trains becoming express and being cancelled. The key performance indicators MUST be changed to change these behaviours.

  8. This site does not have to be completely negative, and there are stories to report on that are new content.

    But when the site does not update at all and there is no way to know when a new blog post has been made, it starts to feel like it is time to give up on the site.


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