Saturday, June 5, 2021

New Trains, but Not Enough

Transperth trains made in Maryborough until 2019

The good news - the Queensland Government will fund new trains for Queensland Rail's CityTrain network, to be build in Maryborough. The bad news - not enough trains have been ordered.

So why do we need more trains?

  • The current CityTrain timetable has relatively few spare trains, requiring 40 year old EMUs to keep running to cover NGR train modifications.
  • Unreliable and ageing ICE and SMU200 trains are likely to be retired soon.
  • Approximately 7 additional trains are required to make optimal use of the existing train network pre-CRR and ETCS. 
  • Approximately 40 additional trains were required to meet the (now impossible) service proposals in the Cross River Rail business case. 
  • Approximately 25 trains are required to meet the "best case" outcomes for Cross River Rail based on infrastructure available in 2025.

The initial order has has been placed at just 20 6-car trains. Taking into account the replacement of some ageing and unreliable trains, this may leave a net increase of just 12 new trains for Cross River Rail's opening. This adds to the evidence that Cross River Rail's rail operations are a shambles, and that there won't be "More Trains, More Often" to most SE Queensland commuters when Cross River Rail opens in 2025. Whilst there is an option for 45 additional trains, there isn't a great track record of adding to train orders in the last 2 decades, and by 2025 the IMU100 fleet will be nearing 30 years of age as well. 4 years is a very short period to design, build, test, and implement new trains before Cross River Rail opens, and it is thus likely Cross River Rail could open with no more trains than at present!

It can be pretty much guaranteed that if you are expecting any significant improvement to train services in Brisbane and SE Queensland during the next 5 years, and possibly even the next decade, then you will most likely be very disappointed.


  1. Fairly accurate, however the SMU200s will be running for quite some time yet.

  2. 45 have been confirmed. Should fix train shortages post CRR

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