Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Inner City Rail Capacity Study - where are we now?

Screen shot from the study
Back in 2008, the Inner City Rail Capacity Study was published. This was commissioned by the Queensland Government, and written by a strategic advisor company called Systemwide. It looked at the state of the Queensland Rail network in Brisbane and SE Queensland, with recommendations on what infrastructure needed to be built to cope with the expected demands in train travel. In this blog post, BrizCommuter looks at what was recommended up until 2016, and what has actually occurred.

Off-peak services:
  • 2010: 15 minutes frequency to Ferny Grove, Darra, Manly, and Kuraby, and 7.5mins at Eagle Junction - DELAYED (to 2013), and FAIL for Kuraby.
  • 2015: 15 minutes frequency to Shorncliffe, Cleveland, Beenleigh, Robina, and Springfield - FAIL.
AM peak services in 2015:
  • Ferny Grove - 8tph instead of 11tph - FAIL.
  • Sunshine Coast/Caboolture - 9tph instead of 18tph - FAIL.
  • Petrie - 9tph instead of 10tph - FAIL.
  • Doomben/Shorncliffe/Airport - 10tph instead of 13tph - FAIL.
  • Cleveland/Manly - 8tph instead of 13tph - FAIL.
  • Beenleigh/Kuraby - 6tph instead of 9tph - FAIL.
  • Gold Coast - 6tph instead of 12tph - FAIL.
  • Springfield - 8tph instead of 6tph - PASS.
  • Ipswich/Rosewood - 8tph instead of 14tph - FAIL.
Cross River Rail:
  • New underground rail corridor to open by 2015 - EPIC FAIL - now in the planning stages for the 3rd time.
Rail infrastructure:
  • 2010: Duplication from Keperra to Ferny Grove - DELAYED (Opened in 2012).
  • Duplication between Sandgate and Shorncliffe is required to enable higher service levels to operate reliably - FAIL.
  • A second platform is required at Shorncliffe due to increased service levels - FAIL.
  • Stabling for services utilising the first new corridor could be located near Banyo - ALMOST (2016).
  • By 2015: duplication is required from Beerburrum to Beerwah/Landsborough for the Caloundra spur - FAIL.
  • 2015: Nambour - an additional platform and stabling are required by 2015 due to the 15- minute off-peak service pattern and increased service levels - FAIL (though stabling is under construction).
  • The Caloundra spur is introduced in 2015 - FAIL.
  • By 2012, duplication is required from Caboolture to Beerburrum - PASS (opened in 2009).
  • Stabling upgrades are required at Caboolture by 2010 for the intermediate off-peak service pattern - PASS (?)
  • A station and stabling upgrade is required by 2015 at Petrie for the 15-minute off-peak service pattern - ALMOST (2016 for Moreton Bay Rail Link.) 
  • By 2012, a third track is required between Lawnton and Petrie - DELAYED (2016 for Moreton Bay Rail Link).
  • A 5th track is required between Northgate and Bowen Hills by 2015, to allow overtaking of all stations services by Northern express services - FAIL.
  • By 2010, Thorneside requires stabling that can provide services to Manly and Cleveland - FAIL.
  • By 2010, duplication is required from Birkdale to Wellington Point and Ormiston to Cleveland - FAIL.
  • By 2012, a 3rd platform is required at Manly station - FAIL. 
  • By 2015, full duplication of the Cleveland Line is required to support the 15 minute off-peak service pattern - FAIL. 
  • By 2010, a grade separation is required at Park Road junction - FAIL.
  • A 4th track is required from Dutton Park/Fairfield to Banoon to support a 15 minute off-peak service pattern - FAIL.
  • Stabling is required at Clapham yard by 2015 for Northern services utilising the first new corridor - FAIL. 
  • By 2010, a 4th platform at Kuraby is required to allow Kuraby starters - FAIL. 
  • A 3rd track from Kuraby to Kingston is required in 2010 due to timetabing constraints in the inner city - FAIL. 
  • A 3rd track to from Kingston to Loganlea is required in 2012 - FAIL, 
  • A 3rd track is required from Loganlea to Bethania in 2014 - FAIL.
  • By 2015, a 3rd track is required from Bethania to Holmview - FAIL. 
  • New platform at Beenleigh or stabling re-arrangement - FAIL.
  • A stabling upgrade is required at Robina in 2010 - DELAYED (under construction).
  • A 4th track between Corinda and Darra is required to support Springfield services by 2015 - FAIL (there is a 4th track, but not electrified).
  • 3rd track between Corinda and Darra is required by 2010 - PASS.
  • A grade separation is required at Darra to support Springfield services by 2011, which was recommended as part of RSIRS - PASS (was built with grade separated junction). 
  • Full duplication of the Springfield spur is recommended by 2015 to support the 15- minute off-peak service pattern - PASS (was built dual track).
  • Redbank stabling requires an upgrade in 2015 - UNKNOWN
  • By 2015, additional stabling on the West of Ipswich and in Rosewood is required - ALMOST (opens in 2016).
Anything constructed that wasn't on the list?
  • Moreton Bay Rail Link - opens in 2016. 
As you can see, the vast majority of projects have not been realised, and many of these are not even on the drawing board. So what went wrong?
  • Fare increase - consecutive fare increases by both the ALP and LNP resulted the previously large growth in public transport use being stunted. Thus the demand has not increased as expected. Not surprisingly, roads have thus become more congested.  
  • Politics - with both state and federal, ALP and LNP government's unable to/unwilling to fund Cross River Rail and other rail infrastructure, Cross River Rail is still a long way off. 
  • More politics - rather than a bi-partisan approach, the Newman LNP government, canned Cross River Rail, replaced it with the flawed BaT tunnel, which then got canned by the Palaszczuk ALP government, who are now re-designing Cross River Rail again. All of this political football playing has only scored own-goals for Queensland. 
  • Brisbane City Council - rather than fully co-operating with Cross River Rail, Brisbane City Council keep coming up ludicrous alternatives such as the Cleveland Solution and now converting part of a busway into a metro. 
What is in store for the future?
  • Due to lack of rail infrastructure (and trains) Brisbane is now a very long way behind where it needs to be to cope with future growth and development. 
  • Without Cross River Rail and other network improvements there is limited capacity for improving services on existing lines including Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast to Brisbane, and building new lines to Greater Flagstone, Caloundra, Ripley, and along the Trout's Road corridor. 
  • Brisbane's reliance on a congested road transport will continue, with the pollution and road trauma that goes with it. Brisbane is at high risk of a transport meltdown if there is a significant rise is petrol, as could occur if there was a major war or political crisis in an oil producing region.   
  • Congestion on rail will continue to worsen (especially if there is not a significant increase in orders for the Next Generation Rollingstock). 
  • A dent in Brisbane's reputation (or continuation of its 'backwards' reputation) as rail projects in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, and Gold Coast appear to be on-track. Not good for business!
How can Brisbane's transport meltdown be resolved?
  • There needs to be bi-partisan support for Cross River Rail by both sides of Queensland politics in State Government and Brisbane City Council level. Rather than thinking about themselves, politicians need to think about Queenslanders.
  • Funding needs to be prioritised for rail over poor value for money road and busway projects. Remember, just one 60% full train can take around 500 cars off the road, that is 15 minutes worth of one traffic lane!  
  • The urban sprawl needs to be restricted, or at least be concentrated around existing transport corridors. 
BrizCommuter is extremely concerned about how far behind public transport infrastructure is in SE Queensland compared to where it needs to be. 


  1. I'm more concerned about the crap weekend and evening rail frequencies. Also, after spending about $2bn on Springfield and the MBRL they think it is acceptable to run a 30 minute frequency service. No, it is not. Then there is the speed.

  2. Victoria Point needs a train station. Redland Bay and Victoria point are growing. 4000 Homes planed with a population of an extra 10,000. Rail needs to be expanded asap. Or make an express way from Victoria point to Brisbane CBD

  3. Or they can bulldoze some homes and have a 10,000+ park and ride near Cleveland station :)

  4. I agree that the fare increases is what really prevented growth and stunted the incentive to invest in the rail network, however it's important to remember that these plans are gold-plated, and no one who wrote it would have thought they'd get all of it. Rather, because it's there as a big, long list, it means completing most of the list is a big achievement.

    CRR aside (and yes, what's happened there is a travesty), considering the lack of patronage growth for the past 5 years, the improvements to the network since 2008 have been incredible. I remember when the GC Line had 2 trains per hour in peak, then it went to 4, which was fantastic, and now it's 6!

    Absolutely, there's no doubt that more could have, and should have been done, but credit where credit's due, management at Translink should be congratulated for what improvements they have achieved, given the challenging circumstances of the last 5 years.

  5. Macca - there have been some improvements in the last decade on some lines - mainly where things were seriously lagging due to lack of trains and single tracks such as the Gold Coast Line. However, given the population growth, the situation is still far behind where it should be. For example, off-peak and counter-peak services to some employment and centres (e.g. Ipswich, Indro, Toowong, Springfield) are still dreadful. There are some stations on the Ferny Grove Line that have a worse pm peak service than in 2007. Beenleigh Line services have to wait for ages at Bethania due to lack of overtaking tracks. The current train network is now close to track capacity in parts of the am and pm peak. New towns are being built without rail access. It is not a good situation!

    Without Cross River Rail and associated infrastructure improvements, SE Queensland has a very big looming transport problem.

  6. Once toondah harbour is built there will be an extra 10,000 people in cleveland. Large estates comming up in thornlands and Victoria point.. Cleveland trains are alrlready full in peak hour. 2 years from now there will be issues...


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.