Friday, March 3, 2017

QR's Friday Timetable from Hell

Overcrowding on 07:17 from Ferny Grove to City
Source: Supplied
As most of the remaining rail users in Brisbane and SE Queensland will know, Friday is the "Day from Hell" when trying to get to and from work, school, university, appointments, and even getting pissed in the Valley. Due to Queensland Rail's (QR) lack of drivers, and drivers only being able to work 11 days on a row, Fridays have a further reduced timetable. This is different to the Monday to Thursday timetable. Even BrizCommuter, who is a self confessed "public transport expert", keeps getting caught out by the timetable changes on Friday. So what are the problems with QR's Friday timetable from hell?
  • Completely different service cuts on Friday compared to Monday to Thursday causes massive confusion to passengers who have to remember two different "dismembered" timetables. 
  • Totally unacceptable 60 minute gaps between trains on the Doomben Line in the am peak, early pm peak, and pm peak. 
  • The previously full to capacity 07:10am and 07:25am services from Ferny Grove to the City has been axed, resulting on severe overcrowding (as in passengers unable to board from Alderley) on the 07:17am from Ferny Grove service. 
  • Multiple 30 minute gaps between peak period train services on the Cleveland Line, with the pm peak express service being reduced by 50%, and "dangerous overcrowding" reported.
  • 30 minute late am peak gap on the Caboolture Line. 
  • Pm peak services axed during the busiest part of the peak period from Ipswich and Springfield Lines with 24 minute service gaps, and annoyingly different times to axed services on Monday to Thursday. 
  • 32 minute gap between Springfield services at school finish time.
  • Large number of axed "Inner North" services from Northgate to City (and vice versa)
  • The "Turn Up and Go" 15 minute daytime off-peak services on the Ferny Grove, Beenleigh, and Cleveland Lines have been butchered - more like "Turn Up and Hope"! 
  • 06:02am from Varsity Lakes to City runs all stations, slowing down the Gold Coast to Brisbane commute by 18 minutes. In fact this train gets overtaken by the following service. It would be awfully nice if QR could inform commuters of this fact!
  • 30 minute am peak gap to Brisbane Airport delaying passengers trying to catch morning flights. 
  • Considerable reduction in via South Bank services, causing disruption to hospitals, workplaces,  and education. 
  • Some axed services from Monday to Thursday run on Fridays, causing passengers to avoid services that are actually running. 
  • Increase in last minute cancelled (or "altered" as QR like to call it) services on Fridays. 
  • Plenty of other service changes that have missed off this list causing annoyance and frustration to passengers. 
  • Mistakes in the timetables and TransLink journey planner. 
Whilst the lack of driver issue is not going to be solved overnight (in fact, possibly not until 2019, due to QR still not hiring external applicants), BrizCommuter calls that the Friday services need to be same as Thursday services as soon as reasonably possible. In the mean time, there needs to be improved communications to passengers about the changes. Some passengers (who must be living under a rock) are still unaware that Friday has a different timetable, and many passengers are unaware of the changes that affect them.

Rail services on Fridays are an embarrassment for Brisbane, and resulting voter anger may well be end for the ALP Palaszczuk government, irrespective of the Newman and Emerson cause. Does any other developed city in the world run a "special cut-back" timetable Fridays? No!

Addendum 10/03/2017

The above service advisory from TransLink should read: The 4:50pm Ipswich to Kippa-Ring train is delayed 10 minutes due to inadequate train service caused by institutional incompetence. 


  1. Thanks for the 6:02 Varsity service. Has anyone ever found why QR is still not hiring external applicants? There must be some very horrific consequences in place to enforce this unacceptable position. My guess is that there would be strikes on any hiring of external - even fully qualified city train drivers from larger Australian cities, or fully trained drivers from Queensland outside QR city rail.

    It also has to be something not in the public interest for us to know, otherwise we would know the reason why (the agreements in place). How can public transport agreements be outside the public interest? We are meant to have "Right to Information" in QLD - a transparent system where everyone has the right to know what the Government is doing unless there are substantially important public interest or commercial in confidence reasons for us not to have that right.

  2. The delay in hiring externally certainly smacks of Unionism. Whilst the seeds of rail fail were sown by the LNP Newman government, the Palaszczuk government are not exactly helping themselves with rectifying the problem.

    QR have been accused of blocking quite a few Right to Information requests. Same goes for transparency on patronage - the passenger load survey has been missing in action for years.

  3. There is no need for any more to be hired. internally or externally. In fact many of the internal hires haven't even started training. Why hire people when you don't have enough people to train them

    1. From internal sources, BrizCommuter has heard that QR are not running the driver training schools at the maximum capacity (i.e. making maximum use of resources to increase the throughput of trainees).


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