It was quite obvious that the release of the stage 2 timetables were being held until after the Queensland state election. With capacity across the Merivale Bridge limited to approximately 20 trains per hour in the am peak, there is only room for 1 extra train service per hour for the Gold Coast, Beenleigh, and Cleveland Lines. That's not 1 extra train each, 1 extra train between all three lines! Releasing the timetable before the election would have upset some voters even more. Now that the election is over, BrizCommuter would like to know when will we see the draft timetables?
There are two infrastructure projects that affect the stage 2 timetables for the Ferny Grove, Shorncliffe, Airport, Doomben, Beenleigh, Cleveland, and Gold Coast Lines. The first is the belated Keperra to Ferny Grove line duplication. It is strongly rumoured that the track work will be complete after the Easter shutdown. Will the signalling also be in place to allow for the duplication to be fully operational after Easter? With no sign of the phase 2 timetables, will Queensland be in the embarrassing situation of having newly opened rail infrastructure with no service improvements for months, or will be see a work go slow until we get a new timetable?
|Sandgate -2 tracks, 1 is a bit rusty! Image: Google Maps|
The second infrastructure project is the Sandgate station upgrade. Only one of the two platforms is fully accessible. This means that trains usually serve only one platform, effectively extending the single track section that limits the line's capacity. With BrizCommuter expecting the new peak timetable to based around a 15 minute cycle, then the Shorncliffe Line's peak timetable would be considerably more reliable if Sandgate's second platform and track could be used in the peak period. Unfortunately Queensland Rail's website has no mention of timeframe for the Sandgate station upgrade.
It should be noted that TransLink were once quoted as saying that the new timetables would be introduced in late 2011. It is now approaching mid 2012! In this now apparently "Can Do" state, when will TransLink and QR finally introduce the stage 2 train timetables?
There is mention on TransLink's website of minor changes to the Ferny Grove Line timetable (and connecting bus services) from the 10th April, after the duplication has opened. Unfortunately, with less than 2 weeks to go, TransLink have failed to actually publish the timetable. With track slot limitations through the CBD until the stage 2 changes, BrizCommuter is not expecting any significant improvements to the Ferny Grove Line's mediocre timetable on the 10th April. The most likely change will be some services arriving at Ferny Grove a few minutes earlier than currently.