Monday, November 25, 2013

Sector 2 Train Timetables - Which Gold Coast trains will be congested?

QR overcrowding (on Ferny Grove Line)
As has been mentioned in a previous blog post, from January 20th 2014, the Gold Coast Line will run a 15 minute peak service, with some alternate 15 minute cycles having an additional train service. This will result in a 15, 7, 8, 15, 7, 8, 15 minute service pattern. More passengers will be using Gold Coast Line services due to passenger growth, and extra stops at Loganlea, Altandi, and Park Road. The result of this, is that some services may be much busier than at present, and other services may be much quieter. For example, in the pm peak passengers typically catch the first service home after they arrive at the station. The trains after the 7 to 8 minute gaps are likely to be quieter, and the trains after the 15 minute gaps are likely to be busier. In the am peak, passengers tend to catch the train that will arrive just time for them to get to work (with a margin for delays). Thus services before the 15 minute gap may be busier, and services before the 7 to 8 minute gaps may be quieter.

It is quite clear that there is likely to be a big variation in loading between Gold Coast Line train services. The Beenleigh Line (am and pm peaks), and Ferny Grove Line (in pm peak) may also have uneven loadings due to uneven scheduling. BrizCommuter suggests that once travelling patterns have settled down after the timetable change, that Queensland Rail or TransLink measure the loadings on each service. The results can then be presented on a webpage and/or information poster. This may then give passengers an informed choice to change their travelling patterns, to help even out the loads.

An example would be below (times and loadings are fictional).

Departures from Central to Varsity Lakes
16:30    Spare seats usually available
16:45    Passengers usually standing to Altandi
16:52    Spare seats usually available
17:00    Spare seats usually available
17:15    Passengers usually standing to Beenleigh

Further thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Brisbane Underground - more information revealed

Double decked bus and rail tunnel.
Last updated 25/11/2013 - 8pm - Public Consultation

More on the LNP Newman government's Cross River Rail (CRR) replacement - Brisbane Underground has been announced. This also has the working name of Underground Bus and Train (UBAT).

So what are the announced plans?
  • 15m diameter bored tunnel (one of the largest diameter rock tunnels in the world) between Dutton Park and Victoria Park (Herston), following a (cheaper to tunnel) George Street alignment through the CBD. 
  • Double deck tunnel with 2 lane busway and 2 train tracks.
  • Trains tracks - connected with Beenleigh/Gold Coast Line around Dutton Park, and Exhibition Line around Victoria Park. 
  • Busway - connected with Eastern Busway near Princess Alexandra Hospital, Inner Northern Busway near RBWH, and Legacy Way tunnel. 
  • Underground stations at Wooloongabba, George Street (Parliament/QUT end), and Roma Street. It is assumed that these would be double decked bus and train stations, constructed by "cut and cover" methods. 
  • Dutton Park station will be closed and demolished. 
  • $5m price tag - similar to "cut price CRR". 
  • Planned for 2015 start, and 2021 completion. 
  • Platforms long enough for 6 to 7 car trains. 
What is missing from the plans?
  • Station at Boggo Road/Park Road has been removed - was in CRR plans. 
  • Station at Spring Hill is still removed - was removed from CRR plans to reduce costs. 
  • No busway station or busway portal around Queen Street. 
  • Plans (and costs) on how trains will avoid Exhibition Line congestion between Victoria Park and Mayne/Bowen Hills, and how tracks will connect with Caboolture Line corridor. 
  • Plans (and costs) on associated infrastructure capacity enhancements in the Gold Coast/Beenleigh Line corridor - e.g. quadruplication between Salisbury and Kuraby, and duplication between Helensvale and Coomera. 
  • No connection with Legacy Way. 
So what are the advantages of the Brisbane Underground/UBAT plans?
  • Solves rail congestion across the Merivale Bridge (Park Road to Bowen Hills), as per the purpose of CRR - potentially allowing for more Gold Coast/Beenleigh/Cleveland Line services. 
  • Solves busway congestions on SE Busway via Cultural Centre (Mater Hill to Queen Street Bus Station section).
  • Removes buses from the Captain Cook Bridge. 
  • Solves all of the above, in one project. 
  • Improves public transport access to Wooloongabba, and Parliament/QUT end of Brisbane's CBD.
  • Allows improved access between CBD and Centenary Suburbs/Kenmore area via Legacy Way tunnel (although Legacy Way should have been connected with the Northern Busway anyway).
What are the problems with Brisbane Underground/UBAT plans, which need to be addressed?
  • Worse connections between Gold Coast/Beenleigh, and Cleveland Line corridor due to removal of Boggo Road/Park Road interchange from plans. Note: Access to UQ and PA Hospital is assumed to be unaffected if  passengers can change from rail to bus at the combined Wooloongabba station. This is dependant on bus network design, which hopefully will be removed from Brisbane City Council by the time Brisbane Underground/UBAT opens.
  • Northern Busway services would be able to bypass RCH Herston, QUT Kelvin Grove, and Normanby busyway stations. This is the busiest part of the Northern Busway, with QUT Kelvin Grove being a huge trip generator. Thus the busway portion north of Roma Street will be of limited use. 
  • No busway station around the busy Queen Street precinct. 
  • Does not assist with bus transport on East-West axis through CBD (e.g. buses that travel through CBD to Fortitude Valley (and beyond) - this was the purpose of the debatably required City2Suburbs bus tunnel, which Brisbane Underground/UBAT is intended to replace. 
  • Cost does not appear to include other associated rail infrastructure projects required to maximise its use (see what is missing section). 
  • Platforms cannot accommodate 9 car trains, as per CRR. 
  • Requires completely new design, accurate costing, and environmental impact assessments. CRR was "ready to process" aside from lack of funding. 
  • Construction needs to coincide with George Street redevelopments - limited timeframe for design and funding. 
To conclude. Brisbane Underground is potentially a cost effective solution that solves both rail and bus congestion, particularly from the South side. There are concerns about the removal of the station at Park Road, effectiveness of linking with the Northern Busway, lack of busway station around Queen Street, and shorter platforms than CRR. The cost of other associated rail infrastructure projects also needs to be made clear.

Project info on TMR website:
.pdf info on TMR website:
You Tube fly-through:

Public consultation open

Public consultation is now possible until 20th Dec 2013 at the following web page:

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sector 2 Train Timetables - Designed for 24tph?

Is 24tph across the Merivale Bridge possible?
Whilst researching the previous blog posts, BrizCommuter picked up on an interest way that the service patterns are designed in the sector 2 train timetables. BrizCommuter was expecting the timetables to based around a train running through the CBD every 3 minutes/20 trains per hour (tph) as per the sector 1 train timetables. However, this isn't the case...

The sector 2 train timetables are based around a repeating 2/3/2/3 minute service pattern, although in many cases as not all potential track slots have be filled, it is a repeating 2/3/5 or 3/2/5 minute pattern. Given that trains cannot realistically run closer than every 2.5 minutes, BrizCommuter suspects that this is actually a repeating 2.5 minute/24tph service pattern, and that the printed timetable simply does not show the half minute. This is not confirmed, but has been assumed for the rest of this blog post. If it is not the case, then it certainly should be!

It appears that no more than 18tph will actually be operated through the CBD (Park Rd to Bowen Hills) in the sector 2 timetables so why do we have a service pattern based around 2.5 minutes/24tph intervals  instead if 3 minute/20 kph intervals:
  1. It allows for more regular scheduling. With 3 minute intervals, the Ferny Grove Line would have an uneven alternating 6/9 minute frequency. This would result in uneven loadings. With a 2.5 minute interval, the Ferny Grove Line has a regular 7.5 minute frequency (shown as alternating 7/8 minute frequency. 
  2. It allows for more flexibility. Additional services run in each 15 minute cycle on either the Gold Coast or Beenleigh Lines. However, they optimally require different slots in the 15 minute cycle through the CBD. This would not be possible using 3 minute intervals without slowing down journey times, but is possible using 2.5 minute intervals. 
  3. It may allow for an ultimate capacity of 24tph through the CBD, the limit with current signalling (with minimal margin for delays). This would allow for 8tph to be run in the peak direction on the Gold Coast Line, as well as 8tph each on the Beenleigh and Cleveland Lines. However, to allow this to be possible would require more trains, stabling for those trains, and more infrastructure (such as Coomera to Helensvale duplication) on the Gold Coast/Beenleigh Line corridor, all of which cost $$$. For reliable operation at 24tph, improved signalling may be required. 
  4. Until (3) occurs, the timetable will allow for at least 2.5mins of additional operating margin (delay catch up time) per 15 minute cycle. 
To conclude, it appears that the timetables are based around 2.5min (or alternating 2/3min) intervals. Whilst ultimately this could allow for 24tph operation, until there are sufficient trains, tracks, and signalling to allows 24tph to be operated reliably, then the service pattern will just allow for more flexibility in scheduling to cope with the 7 lines that share the sector 2 changes.

Update 05/12/2013

From insider information, it is likely that points 1, 2, and 4 are the case with current infrastructure. With a maximum capacity of 20tph, only one additional Gold Coast or Beenleigh Line (but not both) train can be operated per 15 minute cycle.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Queensland Rail - Christmas Party Pooper

...or in fact the whole weekend.
The weekend of 14th/15th December 2013 is expected to be the busiest weekend for Christmas shopping, and also one of the busiest weekends of the Christmas party season. In a show of complete lack of customer respect, Queensland Rail have decided to close half of Brisbane's inner-city rail network over this weekend. Trains will be replaced by buses between Roma Street to Corinda, Yeerongpilly, and Murarrie, affecting the Beenleigh, Cleveland, Gold Coast, Ipswich, and Springfield Line services. With no direct access from the South and Western suburb to Brisbane's shopping and party precincts, South Bank, and Park Road (Milton) restaurants, this closure will cause pre-festive season chaos. BrizCommuter feels sorry for rail replacement bus staff who will have to deal with lots of confused, annoyed, and drunk (in many cases all at the same time) customers.

In the UK, with more customer focussed London Underground, there is only 1 minor track closure, and that is from 7am to 8:45am on the Sunday, on just one branch line. Given Queensland Rail's claims of being customer focussed, this track closure is extremely disappointing!

The bad news on TransLink's website:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sector 2 Train Timetables - More on the Beenleigh and Gold Coast Lines

More trains from Brisbane to the Gold Coast
The Beenleigh and Gold Coast Lines share the same corridor from Beenleigh into Brisbane's CBD. Limitations of the current Gold Coast and Beenleigh Lines timetables are:

  • Two tracks between Beenleigh and Kuraby restrict faster Gold Coast trains overtaking slower Beenleigh Line trains. 
  • Three tracks between Kuraby and South Brisbane allows for Gold Coast Coast trains to overtake slower Beenleigh Line trains in one direction only. 
  • Single track section between Coomera and Helensvale. 
  • Gold Coast services are (based on the existing off-peak timetable) 16 mins faster along this corridor than Beenleigh Line trains - a problem if you want to increase frequency better than every 22 minutes. 
  • Some peak Gold Coast services have a handful of standing passengers for long distances (very politically sensitive), and are thus regarded as overcrowded, yet are only marginally above 50% passenger capacity. 
  • Some peak Beenleigh Line services have almost full standing loads, over 80% passenger capacity, however some other services only require 3 car units. 
  • Some track slots in existing timetable are taken up by ex-Corinda via Tennyson services that now terminate to passengers at Yeerongpilly, but still run empty to Corinda.
  • Requirement to avoid conflicting train movements at Park Road junction.
  • No reversing track at Kuraby (trains reversing block running lines). 
  • Requirement to slot in Cleveland Line services (which is currently done a rather "random" manner). 
  • Requirement to avoid the outbound Brisbane to Sydney XPT service in the am peak. 
  • Requirement for fast journey times from Gold Coast to Brisbane. 
  • Platform 4 at Park Road unavailable for use due to gap between train and platform. 
The new sector 2 timetables (due Jan 2014) has the following modifications to requirements:
  • Corinda via Tennyson services removed, freeing up two track slots.
  • Expectation for better rail to rail, and rail to bus connections at Park Road, and rail to bus at Altandi. 
  • Expectations for 15 minute off-peak services (and more frequent late evening services). 
  • Sector 2 timetables based around a 15 minute cycle - preventing for example the current every (approx.) 15 minute Gold Coast peak service being changed to every 10 or 12 minutes.
  • Availability of Park Road platform 4, after rubber strips added to platform edge. 
So as we can see, the Gold Coast and Beenleigh Lines have the potential of being a schedulers nightmare. Now BrizCommuter takes a look to see what changes have occurred:

Existing am peak Gold Coast/Beenleigh Line timetable (arrivals at Roma Street):
7:01 from Beenleigh
7:05 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to South Bank)
7:14 from Beenleigh
7:20 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to South Bank)
7:30 from Beenleigh
7:36 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to South Bank, calling at Loganlea)
7:43 from Beenleigh
7:48 from Kuraby
7:51 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to South Bank)
8:01 from Beenleigh
8:06 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to South Bank)
8:10 from Beenleigh (expressish from Sunnybank to Park Road)
8:19 from Kuraby 
8:21 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to South Bank)
8:25 from Beenleigh (expressish from Sunnybank to Park Road)
8:32 from Yeerongpilly
8:38 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to South Bank)
8:41 from Kuraby
8:47 from Beenleigh
8:50 from Yeerongpilly

New Gold Coast/Beenleigh Line timetable (arrivals at Roma Street):

7:07 from Beenleigh
7:12 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to Park Road, calling at Loganlea and Altandi)
7:19 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to Park Road, calling at Loganlea and Altandi)
7:22 from Beenleigh
7:27 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to Park Road, calling at Loganlea and Altandi)
7:37 from Beenleigh
7:42 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to Park Road, calling at Loganlea and Altandi)
7:49 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to Park Road, calling at Loganlea and Altandi)
7:52 from Beenleigh
7:57 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to Park Road, calling at Loganlea and Altandi)
8:07 from Beenleigh
8:12 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to Park Road, calling at Loganlea and Altandi)
8:15 from Kuraby
8:22 from Beenleigh
8:27 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to Park Road, calling at Loganlea and Altandi)
8:29 from Coopers Plains
8:37 from Beenleigh
8:42 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to Park Road, calling at Loganlea and Altandi)
8:44 from Kuraby
8:52 from Beenleigh
8:57 from Gold Coast (express Beenleigh to Park Road, calling at Loganlea and Altandi)

Existing pm peak Gold Coast/Beenleigh Line timetable (departures from Roma Street):
(3:57 Gold Coast)
4:03 Beenleigh
4:22 Kuraby
4:26 Gold Coast (express South Bank to Beenleigh)
4:34 Beenleigh
4:41 Gold Coast (express South Bank to Beenleigh)
4:46 Kuraby
4:53 Beenleigh (expressish Park Road to Sunnybank)
4:56 Gold Coast (express South Bank to Beenleigh)
5:06 Beenleigh
5:13 Kuraby
5:17 Gold Coast (express South Bank to Beenleigh)
5:26 Beenleigh (expressish Park Road to Sunnybank)
5:30 Gold Coast (express South Bank to Beenleigh, calling at Loganlea)
5:36 Beenleigh
5:42 Gold Coast (express South Bank to Beenleigh, calling at Loganlea)
5:48 Kuraby
5:58 Gold Coast (express South Bank to Beenleigh, calling at Loganlea)

New pm peak Gold Coast/Beenleigh Line timetable (departures from Roma Street):
4:02 Gold Coast (express Park Road to Beenleigh, calling at Altandi and Loganlea)
4:07 Beenleigh
4:17 Gold Coast (express Park Road to Beenleigh, calling at Altandi and Loganlea)
4:22 Beenleigh
4:32 Gold Coast (express Park Road to Beenleigh, calling at Altandi and Loganlea)
4:37 Beenleigh
4:40 Gold Coast (express Park Road to Beenleigh, calling at Altandi and Loganlea)
4:47 Gold Coast (express Park Road to Beenleigh, calling at Altandi and Loganlea)
4:52 Beenleigh
5:00 Kuraby
5:02 Gold Coast (express Park Road to Beenleigh, calling at Altandi and Loganlea)
5:07 Beenleigh
5:10 Gold Coast (express Park Road to Beenleigh, calling at Altandi and Loganlea)
5:17 Gold Coast (express Park Road to Beenleigh, calling at Altandi and Loganlea)
5:22 Beenleigh
5:30 Kuraby
5:32 Gold Coast (express Park Road to Beenleigh, calling at Altandi and Loganlea)
5:37 Beenleigh
5:47 Gold Coast (express Park Road to Beenleigh, calling at Altandi and Loganlea)
5:52 Beenleigh

One of the major differences in the new timetables is the stopping pattern of Gold Coast peak services , now consistent with the off-peak services. Loganlea is now consistently served, as is Altandi (for good train to bus connections), and Park Road (for train to train, and train to bus connections e.g. access to UQ). The latter has been made possible due to the addition of rubber strips along Park Road's previously "dangerous" platform 4. These changes have obvious benefits (especially for students). It also appears that Gold Coast Line journey times have not been significantly slowed down, however Beenleigh Line services have been slowed down by approx. 4 mins. It is possible for more savvy outer-Beenleigh Line passengers to transfer to some Gold Coast services at Loganlea for a faster peak journey to the CBD. The above changes will likely result in increased loadings on Gold Coast services. Beenleigh Line services now stop all stations, with some peak services starting/terminating short at Kuraby or Coopers Plains. 

The new peak timetables are based around a base pattern of one Gold Coast service, and one Beenleigh service in each 15 minute cycle (4tph each). In each 15 minute cycle there appears to be the ability to add one additional Gold Coast service, or one additional Beenleigh Line service (starting/terminating at Kuraby or Coopers Plains), but not both. The single track section between Coomera and Helensvale prevents additional Gold Coast services in consecutive 15 minute cycles. The additional inbound Gold Coast Line services appear to overtake Beenleigh Line services at Bethania (corrected), which requires both services to be bang on schedule. The move to consistent 15 minute cycles, means that no passengers have more than a 15 minute wait for a train, previously up to 21-22 minutes for Beenleigh Line passengers and up to 30 minutes for Gold Coast passengers in the am peak, and up to 30 minutes for both lines in the pm peak. 

In the am peak, CBD arrivals between 7am and 8am see additional Gold Coast services added into two of the 15 minute cycles, increasing Gold Coast services to 6tph. The Beenleigh Line has additional services added into the 15 minute cycle in the 8:15am and 9am CBD arrival period. Whilst the latter results in 1tph less on the Beenleigh Line during this period, the more consistent service pattern is an overall improvement. BrizCommuter is concerned however, that the overall reduction in Beenleigh Line services in the 7:45am to 8:15am period could increase crowding. The lack of extra Gold Coast services in the 8:00am to 8:30am CBD arrival period could also increase crowding. There is a potential spare track slot between the 7:57 an 8:12am Roma St arrivals from the Gold Coast where an additional service may be added in the future (most likely a short Beenleigh Line service).

In the pm peak, there are major improvements in frequency due to the base pattern replacing some 30 minute service gaps with 15 minute service gaps. In addition to the base pattern there are additional Gold Coast services at 4:40pm and 5:10pm (from Roma Street) which will help reduce loading on following services, and additional Kuraby services at 5:00pm and 5:30pm (from Roma Street). Schedule changes are quite significant at times, making loadings difficult to predict. There are potential spare track slots in the early and late peak for additional services to be added in the future, but not between 4:30pm and 5:30pm. 

For counter-peak services and off-peak (weekday 6am to 8pm ish), there is a base 30 minute frequency for Beenleigh and Gold Coast services, but with additional services to/from Coopers Plains creating a 15 minute frequency (4tph) between Coopers Plains and the CBD. This is a significant improvement for inner-Beenleigh Line users. With current infrastructure, this is realistically the furthest out that 15 minute off-peak services can be run without significantly slowing down Gold Coast services. Other improvements include elimination of all late night 60 minute gaps, now every 30 mins, and improvements to early Sunday am services. 

To conclude, Queensland Rail's (QR) schedulers have made a very good attempt at scheduling the Gold Coast and Beenleigh Lines when taking into account the list of problems, issues, and requirements. It is a good example of extreme problem solving! Limitations to the timetable, and resulting increasing crowding in the future are not the fault of QR's schedulers, but due to successive governments not investing in infrastructure improvements along the corridor, and not purchasing enough trains. Aside from adding a few additional services when the first next generation rolling stock (NGR) trains are available in 2015, the following infrastructure is required for significant improvements to services for Gold Coast and Beenleigh Line commuters:
  • Duplication of Coomera to Helensvale.
  • Additional reversing track/platform at Kuraby. 
  • Partial triplication between Kuraby and Beenleigh.
  • Partial quadruplication between Park Road and Kuraby. 
  • Improved signalling through the CBD (to allow reliable 24tph) and/or Cross River Rail. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sector 2 Train Timetables - Detailed Review

Merivale Bridge
Two and half years later than originally promised by TransLink, the sector 2 train timetables have now been made available to the public, ahead of an early 2014 introduction. These timetables are for the lines that share the "suburban" tracks through the CBD and across the Merivale Bridge - Ferny Grove, Shorncliffe, Airport, Doomben, Cleveland, Beenleigh, and Gold Coast Lines. With all of these lines sharing tracks through the CBD, as well as multiple infrastructure limitations, it needs to be remembered that there are limited options for Queensland Rail's schedulers, and in some cases limited opportunity for improvements. Due to this, and Brisbanites "I want an express to my stationitis" mentality, the consultation process appears to have been skipped. As predicted, the weekday timetables are based around a 15 minute cycle. Here is BrizCommuter's review of the timetables:

AM Peak

Overview -
Up to 18tph will run northbound across the Merivale Bridge in the am peak,  a surprising decrease of 1tph. Up to 18tph will run on the "suburbans" southbound through the CBD in the am peak, an increase of 3tph. Due to lack of trains, some services may consist of 3 car units, and at this point it is unknown which services will be served by 3 car units.
Ferny Grove Line - an 8tph service, every 7-8mins, serving all stations. This is a huge improvement over the previous irregular am peak service that contained Mitchelton starters, and Ferny Grove expresses that missed many stations, and resulted in service gaps of up to 23 minutes! Just a shame that it has taken 21 months since duplication for the Ferny Grove line to receive a decent peak timetable.
Shorncliffe Line - will receive a 4tph service, every 15 minutes. This also a huge improvement over the previous irregular 2-3tph service, made possible by use of both platforms at Sandgate. All trains will serve all stations.
Airport Line - will now has an outbound 4tph, every 15 minute frequency, and the same inbound after approx. 8am. This will make life much easier to access Brisbane Airport for morning flights. All trains will now surprisingly serve all stations, however the impact on journey time is minimal.
Doomben Line - now has a regular 2tph, every 30 minutes service.
Cleveland Line - will receive an 8tph service, with alternating Cleveland express services (express Manly to Morningside), and Manly all stations services every 15 minutes each. The reduction of stations served by the expresses sensibly allows for more even loadings, and allows for more regular scheduling. The timetable is now more consistent, although some stations may have seen an overall reduction in service. One negative point is the 22 minute gap between arrivals at CBD stations (8:19 to 8:41am at Central) for travellers from stations beyond Manly - this is worse than the current timetable! With Manly services departing only 2 minutes behind the express services, there is little margin for delays.
Beenleigh & Gold Coast Lines - are the timetables achilles heel, due to lack of overtaking opportunities along the shared corridor. Both lines have a 4tph, 15 minute base service, with some additional services slotted in. It seems that the Gold Coast Line has most of these extra slots in the first half of the am peak, and the Beenleigh Line most of these extra slots in the second half of the pm peak. Is this based around actual travelling patterns, or just a solution to a currently unsolvable problem? No Beenleigh Line services run express, and some services start/terminate at Kuraby or Coopers Plains. All Gold Coast services call at Loganlea, Altandi (with good bus connections), and Park Road (for connections to UQ). It will be interesting to see how this will affect passenger loading balances. Apparently Park Road's platform 4 will now be utilised after the addition of rubber platform edge strips, and overtaking may occur at Bethania, the latter having little margin for delays. BrizCommuter will take a look at the Beenleigh and Gold Coast Line schedules in more detail in a forthcoming blog post, along with comment on the combined service pattern through the CBD.

PM Peak

Up to 19tph will run southbound across the Merivale Bridge in the pm peak, an increase of 3tph. Up to 17tph will run on the "suburbans" northbound through the CBD in the pm peak, an increase of 1tph. Service frequencies and stopping patterns are similar to the am peak, with a few exceptions. For starters, the Airport service is 4tph, every 15 mins throughout the peak period. The alternating Cleveland express/Manly all stations service strangely stops quite early in the pm peak, with the last Cleveland express departing Central at 5:09pm. The additional Beenleigh and Gold Coast Lines also seem to favour earlier travel on the Gold Coast Line, and later travel on the Beenleigh Line. There are also a few 15 minute gaps in the Ferny Grove pm peak service that will result in inconvenience and possible overcrowding.


Counter-peak services have traditionally been terrible in Brisbane, making decentralisation only realistic for car users, and causing a pain for school children and students. The new timetables now have a 15 minute reverse peak frequency to/from Ferny Grove, Airport (from 8am), Cleveland, Coopers Plains, and Shorncliffe. This is another big improvement.

The busy South Bank precinct also has an improved counter-peak service of up to 14tph in the am peak, and 11tph in the pm peak. Most services are within 5 minutes of each other, with no gaps longer than 10 minutes.

Weekday Off-peak

Weekday 15 minute off-peak has been extended from the Ferny Grove Line, to Northgate on the Shorncliffe Line, Cannon Hill on the Cleveland Line, and Coopers Plains on the Beenleigh Line. This service is from approx. 6am to 8pm. This is a major improvement to public transport in Brisbane, bringing the city into 21st century!  Of course, there will be some disappointment that the 15 minute off-peak services were not extended out further, but this may have been limited by infrastructure constraints, or cost. It is interesting to note that 15 minute off-peak to Cleveland is technically possible. The Cleveland Line is now paired with the Shorncliffe Line, and the Doomben Line runs as a shuttle to/from Roma Street.

The Doomben Line has had it's weekday off-peak service extended later at night (to approx.8pm), and in increase to 30 minute frequency throughout the day. This is a major improvement for Doomben Line users. Airport Line services have a longer shoulder peak period with 15 minute frequency, and again call at all stations.

It appears that most hourly late night gaps have been finally been filled in, with 30 minute services until the end of traffic. This makes it much easier to get home after nights out during the week.


Disappointingly, weekend frequencies are still based around a 30 minute service, Brisbane is thus still a long way behind Perth (15 minute frequency), and Melbourne (10 minute frequency). Brisbane may have moved into the 21st century with weekday 15 minute off-peak services, but is certainly not yet in the 2010s!

Doomben is now hourly on Saturdays, resulting in a worse service to and from the races (outboud around midday, and inbound late afternoon). There is still no Doomben Line service on Sundays.

Sunday am hourly gaps have now been eliminate at long last, making it much easier for shift workers to get to work on Sunday morning.


The sector 2 timetables are a huge improvement over the previous diabolical timetables dating from 2008. Credit must be given to Queensland Rail's schedulers for making the most of the available infrastructure and trains. Most limitations to the timetable are as a result of successive governments lack of rail infrastructure construction and lack of sufficient train purchases. Aside from a few issues mentioned in the blog post, the only big downside is the continuation of 30 mins off-peak frequency on weekends.

As previously mentioned, if it wasn't for excessively high train fares, these timetable improvements would have been expected to have caused a huge increase in public transport patronage, and possible reduction in road congestion.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Have TransLink employed a 3 year old to make maps?

Due to the forthcoming line pairing changes in Queensland Rail's sector 2 timetables, and the opening of the Springfield Line in early December 2013, a new SE Queensland rail network map has been published on TransLink's website. Unfortunately, it joins to long list of TransLink stuff ups. The map is so bad, that BrizCommuter wonders if TransLink employed a 3 year old to create it.

Fractured Richland's Line - the line could have just run under the Ipswich Line in the diagram, but instead TransLink have fractured it, making it look like Bowen Hills to Darra, and Darra to Richlands are two separate train services. 

Missing Line - "hey, no one will notice if we remove the busway from the diagram, but keep in the interchange station symbols". Wrong. 

Try harder next time TransLink!

Update 07/12/2013

Thankfully, a better map has now been introduced, although zone information is sadly lacking.