Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bombay Express - Part 2

The first part of this article looked at the current state of the Gold Coast Line. In the second part, BrizCommuter looks at the increasing gap between the recommended infrastructure improvements in the Inner City Rail Capacity Study, and the current state of infrastructure projects. The difference between the forecast patronage increases and current patronage are also looked at.

According to the Inner City Rail Capacity Study (ICRCS) - Rail Operations Review (2008), by 2010 the following infrastructure requirements were required on the Gold Coast and Beenleigh Lines:
- Grade separation at Park Road
- 4th track between Dutton Park to Banoon
- 4th platform at Kuraby
- 3rd track from Kuraby to Kingston
- A stabling upgrade at Robina

The reality, is that only the stabling upgrade at Robina has been delivered, and there is no mention of the other projects having even been started on the SEQIPRAIL website. This lack of infrastructure action from the Queensland Government is very disappointing for Gold Coast and Beenleigh Line commuters. The knock on effect is that services will not be significantly improved anytime, and there will be a resulting stunting of forecast patronage increases. 

The ICRCS stated that in 2010, there would be an intermediate off-peak service with an extra 2tph to Kuraby. This has not occurred. The ICRCS also projected that in 2010, 5tph would be required in the am peak, yet the reality is 20% less capacity at just 4tph. 

Not surprisingly, if there is less infrastructure than required, and less trains than required, then there will be less patronage than forecast. The study forecast  on average a 9.32% patronage increases per annum from 2010 to 2016. The reality is that between March 2009 and March 2010 the patronage increase was just 2.2% in the am peak. Recent and future large fare increases will also not help the patronage figures. 

Sadly, it is not just the Gold Coast Line where infrastructure projects are years behind. For example the ICRCS states that the Keperra to Ferny Grove duplication was required in 2010, or the Ferny Grove Line would require an 8tph am peak timetable. Yet the reality is a 2 year late duplication, and the same 7tph timetable from 2008. 

SE Queensland commuters need to send the Queensland Government, TransLink, and QR a very big please explain letter!

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