Tuesday, September 18, 2012

At last - Ferny Grove gets a 15 min off-peak service!

Ferny Grove Line
Updated 26/09/2012

Brisbane has finally taken a small step towards catching up with the rest of the world with the introduction of the first 15 minute (4tph) off-peak timetable on a single train line in SE Queensland. The only parts of Brisbane previously served by a 15 minute off-peak service was where two lines share the same tracks - out to Northgate, Darra, and Park Road. Ironically, the changes now mean that there isn't a 15 minute service to Northgate anymore on weekday daytimes. The introduction of this $18m 2 year trial service is as a result of an election promise by the LNP government - the Ferny Grove Line serves Campbell Newman's Ashgrove constituency). The service starts on October 8th 2012.

Rather than just running the extra trains between Ferny Grove and Roma Street, QR will be running the services through to Park Road (it is not known if the trains will actually reverse at Park Road). This allows for the following improvements:
  • 100% improved train frequency to Brisbane's CBD (with onward busway and train connections) from all 11 Ferny Grove Line stations.
  • 33% improved train frequency between Park Road and Roma Street (serving South Bank and South Brisbane businesses, parkland, hospitals, etc).
  • 33% improved train frequency to Park Road (for EcoSciences Precinct, plus Eastern Busway connections to UQ and Princess Alexandra Hospital).
Despite this excellent news, there are quite a few points where BrizCommuter has to be critical:
  • The off-peak is only between approx. 9am to 3pm. Monday to Friday. The lack of weekend and evening 15 min off-peak services is very disappointing, and significantly reduces the effectiveness of this initiative. 
  • There are multiple peak period service gaps of 20 minutes or longer on the Ferny Grove Line. In fact after the new 3:18pm outbound service, the following two gaps are of 20 minutes! For many commuters the unmodified peak service will be worse than the off-peak service, which rather defeats the purpose of the $100m+ Ferny Grove Line duplication!! 
  • The 60 minute service gaps on Sunday mornings still exist.  
  • The 60 minute Mon-Thu late night gap (between ex-Central 10:33 to 11:33pm) still exists despite the Beenleigh and Shorncliffe Lines getting their late night gaps recently filled. 
  • There are some counter-peak (outbound in am peak, and inbound in pm peak) service gaps in excess of 30 minutes. 
  • It appears that the 15 minute service to Northgate will be turned into an unimpressive alternating 22 and 8 minute frequency during weekday daytimes- very bad news for users of stations between Albion and Northgate. Shorncliffe Line and Doomben Line users need to be aware of timing changes to their services, which in the case of the Shorncliffe Line are now confusingly inconsistent between weekday daytime and other off-peak times. 
The 15 minute daytime off-peak service on the Ferny Grove Line is welcomed by BrizCommuter. However, this initiative is completely half-baked until a 15 minute off-peak service covers weekends,  evenings, and most connecting lines (in particular the Airport Line). Lets hope that these significant limitations to patronage growth do not provide an excuse for the government to brand this 15 min off-peak service trial as a failure.

The new Ferny Grove Line timetable is below:
Information on service alterations on the Shorncliffe, Doomben, and Beenleigh Lines is available at the below link:


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Why couldn't QR have waited until the stage 2 timetables? This is a mess. We now have a stuffed up Northgate service, and different Shorncliffe times between daytime and night.

  3. ...because this is Queensland, the half-baked state!

    By the way, the phase 2 timetables are now a year late!!

  4. Are we even going to see the stage 2 timetables this financial year?

  5. Unfortunately for those of us who live between Mitchelton and Ferny Grove, having 15 min services only between 9am and 3pm is not much of an improvement.

    The 15 min services are required for times when there are no or very few bus options, which are after 5pm and on weekends.

    Actually, for out here it could be said that there are very few bus options 24/7.

    I travel quite often during the week at night and having that one hour gap between the second last and last train is a major pain. I find it disgusting that it can take 1 hour by public transport to travel 15kms, which is exactly the situation if you miss the 10:33pm train from Central to stations past Mitchelton.

  6. Garvin - It would be very disappointing if that 60 minute late night gap is not filled in the new timetable on 8th October, especially as the Beenleigh Line is getting it's 60 minute late night gap filled from that date.

  7. Thanks for the reply BrizCommuter. I am wondering how you are getting your inside info because I have seen nothing on the translink info or elsewhere about the off peak services only being between 9am and 3pm, but it does sound like something that would happen.

    And also you are right that ringing translink is a waste of time and talking to a brick wall. Except for providing basic information, the 'customer service representatives' have no ability or power to make decisions and all they can do is refer an issue or complaint to either QR, the relevant bus service or ferries.

    I have tried ringing Brisbane Transport direct and I get told I have to ring translink.

    What an unaccountable bureaucracy.

  8. Related: has anybody noticed constant discrepancies between JourneyPlanner (JP) and the actual services?

    On 4 occasions in recent weeks, 2 such discrepancies have impacted me (Centrl -> FernyGrove):
    1. 17:5x service. JP shows 17:46 and 18:04 departures vs Red screen's extra 17:5x service (which did arrive).
    2. 18:5x service. JP shows 18:5x service vs Red screen's which didn't have it (didn't exist!)

    So I ask platform attendees, show them the misleading JP Website results (via mobile phone). Their response: "Oh yes, it's quite possible; complain to Translink".

    True, it's not their fault, and I don't want to shoot-the-messenger. However, I am angry about something so simple not working and want heads to roll after years of such performance. Truly I do hope that the inbreds responsible for such stuff ups at Translink/QR have been dealt with by the recent sackings.

    Brisbane, "Australia's new World City" (sic) really is 3rd world in many respects. I feel embarassed to be a Queenslander.

  9. Re "There are multiple peak period service gaps of 20 minutes or longer on the Ferny Grove Line. In fact after the new 3:18pm outbound service, the following two gaps are of 20 minutes!*". Defeats the purpose is an understatement. What a joke - esp. @ $9 bucks a day.

  10. If you go to the translink website it looks like the 15 min timetable is now out and it is as we feared.

    15 min services during the day and they have NOT closed the 1 hour gap between last services Mon to Thur.

    I enquired about this a long time ago about the 1 hour gap and was told it was due to lack of drivers at that time of night, but that is garbage as there is a service from Beenleigh that terminates at Bowen Hills at 11:08pm, so that could easily be continued to Ferny Grove to cover the 'missing' service.

    It is a deliberate choice by QR and translink not to provide that service, rather than being because of operational reasons.

    I am going to hit my head up against a brick wall again and ring translink again to see if they will add that service in.

    Wish me good luck cause I will need it :)

  11. Garvin - The drivers of that train that terminates at Bowen Hills may be near to the end of their shift, so QR may have an excuse. However, this hour gap still needs to be filled!

  12. Progress is progress - however slow. Let's just make sure the service is used so the government gets the idea!


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