Monday, January 20, 2014

Sector 2 Train Timetables - Off to a bad start!

Good luck trying to board the 17:11pm to Ferny Grove!
Well, the sector 2 train timetables looked good on paper. Unfortunately, QR got off to a very poor start today:

  • The 6:40am, 6:47am, 7:10am, and 7:25am from Ferny Grove were all reported to be 3-car units, and overcrowded. 
  • A car vs boom gate incident on the Gold Coast/Beenleigh Line then caused massive delays of up to 60 minutes.
  • Multiple other delays and cancellations due to "mechanical faults" and "staffing issues" throughout the day on many lines. Trains observed running consistently late through the CBD around midday. 
  • A truck stuck under a bridge at Morayfield at 5pm delayed Caboolture and Sunshine Coast Lines by up to 40 minutes. 
  • The 5:11pm and 5:26pm Central to Ferny Grove services were both reduced to 3-car units. The 5:11pm train was almost full to capacity. The 5:26pm train, which was expected to overcrowded anyway due to being after a 15 minute gap, was completely full to capacity. Hundreds of passengers at Central, Fortitude Valley, and Bowen Hills stations were unable to board. No apologies from QR. 
Whilst the bridge and boom gates strikes were beyond QR's control. Given todays system meltdown, there are concerns about the sector 2 timetables and whether they are sustainable. Today was almost a repeat of the disastrous introduction of March 2008 timetables. Given the recent fare increases, commuters were expecting much better than what they received today. Major concerns are:
  • Are there enough staff and trains to reliably run the sector 2 timetables?
  • Which of these overcrowded services are permanently timetabled to be 3-car units?
  • With alternate am peak Ferny Grove Line trains being 3-car units today, has overall capacity been decreased with the new timetables?
  • Even with "operational and staffing issues", why was a 3-car service run for what was expected to be the busiest service of the evening peak, when other peak services with 6-car trains had spare seats?
Better luck tomorrow QR? Or are we going to have to wait for new trains in 2016 for any major improvement?

The rest if the first week of the new sector 2 train timetables:
The lack of trains problem:


  1. I think we need a clean day without the boom gate issues to see the full effect, even though it does show how stretched everything is.

    This might explain why services have been stopped at Northgate, Cannon Hill etc. Lack of guards.

    Of course if they had atp. Oh dear.

  2. Garvin - yes a "clean" day, once loads have balanced out would be good. Loads will increase in late Feb/March when universities are back. The 3-car services on the Ferny Grove Line, and the 15 minute gap before the 17:26 to Ferny Grove are looking like a long term basket case. They may be other yet unreported issues as well.

  3. I bet I could have fitted onto that train. You just step onto the train backwards and face outwards. Watch what the Japanese do from about 0:54 seconds in this video:

  4. 6:40am ex FYG was not overcrowded, despite your "reports".

  5. After reading this post, and my previous comment from RBOT about 3 carriage trains, I thought it was most logical, if there was going to be any logic (a big assumption I know) that for the FG line from Central, that the 3 cars would be at 4:33pm, 5:03pm and 5:33pm. They are the ones in the middle, with seven minute approx gaps either side.

    Also, as you point out, the 5:11pm and 5:26pm are most likely to have the most people, so need the 6 cars.

    Are you going to do a blog post on the fact that our Minister is currently on holidays climbing Mt Kilimanjaro right at the time when the fare hikes have occurred?

  6. Gavin - yes, the Brisbane version of a "full train" is around 2.5 pax per sq m, which is about half of many other rail systems. However, the seat layouts and lack of handholds do not help. Few passengers attempted to board the 5:26pm.

    Nick - Thanks for the feedback. BrizCommuter can only go by verbal feedback, twitter, and Facebook reports, and sometimes they are not reliable. However, the 3-car issue on the Ferny Grove Line needs to be highlighted. BrizCommuter may try and do some more observations today.

    Garvin - the Ferny Grove Line is way too busy for 3-car units on FG departures between around 7am and 8am, and CBD departures between 4:30pm and 5:30pm, even at 7-8min frequency.

    1. I didn't make it in time yesterday, but I caught the 5:26pm FG today and it seemed not as bad. Standing room only, yeah - but everyone could still get on and by Newmarket/Alderley there were plenty of seats.

      Gotta say that 3-cars on a good frequent timetable are still far preferable to 6-cars on a crappy timetable. FG is a bit different because the timetable was already improved years ago, so with only minor tweaks this seems like a step back. But looking at the network as a whole... it's far better. It's more than raw capacity, it's convenience too.

      Would have preferred 6-cars for the peak FG services, but also aware of the various logistical requirements - the trains can't just drive themselves there out of nowhere - and the preference still seems to be for "all day" runs to have 6 cars.

  7. It defies belief that a 3-car unit would travel after a 15 minute delay at that time of the afternoon on FG line. Being one of the few that managed to get on to the 5:26 pm service, I was interested to see how few passengers alighted in the stations prior to Mitchelton.

    Also, my goodness, is it that hard for people standing across the doorways to step out of the train to allow people off? Apparently so. The next challenge arises when those who did not move from the doorway block access for people who did step off the train to allow others to alight. Common sense (and common decency) is not all that common sometimes...


All comments are reviewed before being published, and it may take a few days for comments to appear. If comments do not add to the conversation, or are just plain stupid, they will not be published.