Tuesday, January 17, 2017

QR's Rail Fail to continue for at least a year!

QR - World's worst train operator?
Last updated 24/01/2017

Since the Redcliffe Peninsula Line opened in early October, SE Queensland commuters have been suffering badly from abysmal train service provision caused by lack of drivers and trains, due to the decision making failures of three successive (ALP and LNP) Queensland Governments, and of course Queensland Rail's (QR) incompetence.

For the last few weeks, the School Holiday Interim Timetable (SHIT) has been in operation, with peak and daytime off-peak service cuts of 50-60% despite reduced patronage of only 25%. These cuts, combined with express services being eliminated has caused even more Brisbane commuters to give up on using public transport.

New timetables were expected from the 23rd January 2016. Long suffering commuters were hoping for the return of the half-decent, but still sub-optimal "normal" timetables. However, as nothing was announced until Tuesday 17th January, it was pretty obvious that the new timetables were only going to be bad news. In fact, the news was far worse than expected. Not only has the diabolical Interim Timetable Mk2 been revived, it has been stated by the CEO of Queensland Rail that this timetable will remain in place for the whole of 2017! This is absolutely disgraceful. So what are the issues with the Interim Timetable Mk2?
  • Over 330 train services cut from the timetable per week. 
  • Different timetables for Mon-Thu and Friday which will continue to cause mass confusion and annoyance. 
  • Friday's Ferny Grove Line am peak service has been savaged, with two usually full 3-car services completely removed, potentially resulting in overcrowding on preceding and following services. 
  • The early finishing pm peak Cleveland Line express service now finishes even earlier. 
  • Excessive gaps between peak services - 22 minute am peak service gap on inner Beenleigh Line, 30 minute am peak service gap on the outer Cleveland Line Monday to Friday, 30 minute pm peak service gap on the inner Cleveland Line on Fridays, 24 minute pm peak service gap on the Ipswich Line (at different times of course on Fridays), 60 minute am peak service gap on the Doomben Line on Fridays, and more. 
  • Seemingly random service gaps in early morning, daytime, and evening off-peak services making the system unusable for shift workers, and leaving school kids stranded on platforms. 
  • 77% service cuts (compared to pre-October 2016 timetable) to the "Inner North" services, providing ongoing misery for Nundah, Toombul, Wooloowin, and Albion commuters which have had peak service frequency reduced from every 3 minutes to 15 minutes at times, and the added "fun" of overcrowded 3-car trains.  
  • Expectations of ongoing cancellations and delays due to "operational issues", with delayed or non-existent customer information. Rumours that Fridays may continue to be a cancellation-fest! 
  • Ongoing poor communication from QR about service changes.
  • Politicians obsessed by on-time running statistics over QR actually providing an adequate train service to meet demand. 
  • TransLink are still expecting passengers to pay expensive fares for poor service, with no financial compensation for delays. 
  • No .pdf timetables available on TransLink's website at the time of writing, despite this timetable being re-cycled! 
The failure to implement the "normal" timetables in time for the busiest time of the year for passenger loads (after school and universities start) will result in severe overcrowding on some services, commuter frustration, and political suicide for the ALP Queensland Government. The only thing that may reduce overcrowding is that so many commuters have given up on using trains (including more than 50% of BrizCommuter's work colleagues). Patronage could easily drop to figures similar to the start of the previous decade. However this rail patronage drop will just make road congestion worse, something that RACQ have already voiced concerns about. 

Brisbanites are unable to rely on QR getting them to work, school, university, the airport, or appointments on time. Commuters who were hoping for urgently required service improvements such as additional pm peak services on the Ferny Grove Line, and extension of the pm peak express service on the Cleveland Line will be bitterly disappointed. With, the 2018 Commonwealth Games likely to result in short term improvements only on the Gold Coast Line, commuters expecting to see any improvements will be waiting a long time. In fact, BrizCommuter has little confidence in train services in SE Queensland for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Maybe the games should have been handed to a rival third world country instead?

QR are also acting delusional, by reportedly asking their community reference group members to re-write QR's customer charter. Given QR's ongoing contempt for the travelling public, this exercise amounts to putting lipstick on a pig. It would be far more constructive for QR to truthfully inform commuters of when this #RailFail is going to end! Is the ongoing #RailFail still due to lack of drivers, or is it just a budget equalisation measure? Please tell the truth QR?

QR's Rail Fail is likely to result in privatisation when the LNP are inevitably re-elected, something they were secretly trying to achieve by causing the lack of driver issue in the first place. After a 150 year history, the nail is in the coffin for QR as an organisation. 

With QR's Rail Fail now guaranteed to last at least another year, Brisbane will also to continue to slide down the rankings in regards of liveability. This is bad for existing businesses, and bad for Brisbane trying to attract new businesses, especially when rival Oceana cities such as Auckland and Perth have considerably better public transport. Brisbane really is proving itself to be a backwards pissant town!

TransLinks website for 23rd January 2017 train timetable:


  1. I think the service provided is very good when compared to other OECD countries etc, especially considering the population size of Brisbane/Queensland and the area the QR budget has to cover.
    I also think continuous complaining about an issue that obviously will take some time to correct is only hindering the process as the added political pressure induces further mistakes and prolongs the agony.

    1. You are kidding? There are many smaller cities with better off-peak frequencies than QR's current mess (Perth being a good example). Peak frequencies are in many cases irregular, and inadequate on many lines resulting on overcrowding (i.e. passengers unable to board), notably on the Cleveland and Ferny Grove Lines.

    2. Canada's public transport is far far worse.
      Up until recently (last year I think) the shorncliffe line was every half hour. I'd be interested to know what timing you define as irregular and inadequate.
      I am yet to see a Brisbane train passengers were unable to board, there is ALWAYS room to stand and I have seen very few occasions where no seats at all are available but people choose to stand anyway. The problem is not with the service or the frequency, it is with the attitude and expectations of the public.

    3. Trolling again "anonymous" - do you work for QR by any chance? The 2 minute peak frequency on the Toronto and Montreal Subway are terrible aren't they? Take a ride on some of the 3-car services in the Ferny Grove, Shorncliffe, and Cleveland Lines and you will see passengers unable to board on a daily basis.

    4. Although it does seem like trolling (anonymous with clearly pro QR bent), we simply don't know what anon's use of public transport that is informing their views. Let's face it, if they are travelling from Roma St to Central, they may be very happy with options, speed and reliability. For me, that is the only excuse for a total and utter failure of management, resource planning, ability to schedule timetables, reliability, and consumer rights.

      You know the system has failed when you have the Bombay Express to the GC and the announcer states there will be a "short delay" and everyone on the cartridge laughs and/or groans. You know that the system is failing when train passengers frequently have to take replacement buses. You know the system is failing when trains are cancelled and no replacement is offered (bus or otherwise), and no refund is supplied.

      I'm not pointing fingers at who is to blame and why (that's why I come to BrizCommunter), But to say "the service provided is very good when compared to other OECD countries" means that either the passenger has VERY limited use of translink, or VERY limited use of OECD public transport.

      Finally, in a democracy "continuous complaining about an issue" (also known as protesting or lobbying) is integral to a healthy democracy, not detrimental to it.

      It won't "hinder the process", the point is that the complaining is MEANT to add "political pressure" to REDUCE "further mistakes" and decrease the duration of agony.

      I, for one, support freedom of speech and believe political pressure is a positive thing in a democracy.

  2. I agree that Queensland Rail passenger services are a disgrace however I disagree that all aspects of Brisbane public transport are poor. The tram, bus and ferry services for example are actually reasonably frequent for the large area that they service as well as generally being clean and reliable. Time to privatize Queensland Rail and replace it with an overseas company who actually knows how to run a railway.

    1. If you actually believed that you would not be Anonymous. You are either deluded or trolling if you make false and inflammatory statements like that but remain anonymous.

    2. Totally agree clearly u don't catch peak services catch a gold coast service 5pm they don't call it the Bombay Express for nothing can't get a seat on 6 car train

  3. all seats + people in aisles isn't bombay express. GC commuters are just melodramatic

  4. I don't understand any of QR's logic. I thought the point of the Friday timetable was to allow for driver hours being needed to provide the late night Friday-only services in the timetable - so why on earth are there other trains that run only on a Friday and not Monday - Thursday? Like the 4:50pm Ipswich to Central express?

    And meanwhile other lines cop 60 minute off-peak service gaps on a Friday, but Ipswich's 60 minute Monday - Thursday gaps are plugged only on Fridays!


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