Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Cross River Rail - Boggo Road - A Change for the Worse?

Whilst the rail operation plan for Cross River Rail (CRR) is still being kept a state secret, there is no question that many passengers will need to change trains at Boggo Road / Park Road Stations. Depending on the rail operations (which are not helped by the diabolical 3 track layout South of the Dutton Park Portal) all Gold Coast/Beenleigh/Beaudesert Line services will run through CRR, or approximately 6tph local services will run via South Brisbane, whilst the rest will run via CRR. This effectively means that up to 10,000 passengers a day will have to change from the Gold Coast, Beenleigh (and eventually Beaudesert) Lines to the Cleveland Line to access South Bank and South Brisbane stations. There will also be the requirement for passengers to change between Eastern Busway/Brisbane Metro bus services and train at this location. In fact, CRR's website states that this will be the second busiest public transport interchange in Brisbane. So you would expect a well integrated interchange station then? Sadly, no...

Park Road & Boggo Road - no direct interchange
As you can see in the Diagram, Boggo Road and Park Road stations are not quite adjacent. Now this wouldn't be a huge issue if there was an elevated walkway within the "gated" area between the two stations (not that Park Road has any fare gates), linking Boggo Road station with the South end of Park Road station. This is entirely possible, but for some bizarre reason has been left out of the design. Instead, these 10,000 passengers will need to walk over 200m outdoors to change trains. This won't be fun in Brisbane's hot, humid, and often stormy summer weather. As passengers will have to change outside of the "gated" fare area, the mix of ungated Park Road and gated Boggo Road stations is also likely to confuse many go card users resulting in fixed fares. The interchange between Boggo Road and Park Road stations needs an urgent rethink, to allow a shorter distance transfer, protected from the sun and rain, and within a gated fare area.

This dysfunctional interchange will annoy rather a lot of commuters who currently access South Bank and South Brisbane stations from the Gold Coast and Beenleigh Line corridor without having to change trains. Just to make the change worse, there is still little understanding of how frequent train services will be from Park Road to South Bank and South Brisbane. If there are no capacity enhancements to the Cleveland Line at Cross River Rail's opening, then the worst case scenario is these passengers will be trying to cram their way onto just 8tph worth of already busy train services to get to their final destination. These passengers will expect a more frequent connecting train service if they are to be forced to change, and the rail operations on the South Bank section of the network needs to meet this demand. It is critical that CRR, Queensland Government, Department of Transport and Main Roads and Queensland Rail, come clean about the rail operations to be expected at CRR's opening.

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