Sunday, February 4, 2018

Fail McFailFace - QR's Comm Games Train Service

The Beenleigh Line has been axed!
As predicted by BrizCommuter back in November 2016 after the onset of #RailFail, Queensland Rail's (QR) services for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) timetable will be a international embarrassment to Australia. Whilst the actual timetables have inconveniently yet to be been published, the service frequencies have been announced by TransLink. In order to increase frequencies on the Gold Coast Line to every 10 minutes or better, and allow for a rather pointless hourly overnight (24 hour) service, services have been heavily cut on all other train lines in Brisbane and SE Queensland. The frequencies on a line by line basis are available here:

So what is wrong with QR's GC2018 train service?
  • Overall 6% reduction in train services at a time when more are required. 
  • The Beenleigh Line has been axed, due to the lack of infrastructure to allow faster Gold Coast Line services to overtake slower Beenleigh Line services in both directions. The Gold Coast services will serve 4 additional Beenleigh Line stations, thus slowing down the Gold Coast Line service in the process. Beenleigh Line passengers from the 16 non-serviced stations will have to use (thankfully free to use) rail replacement buses, massively slowing down commutes. 
  • Peak services have been axed on all train lines other than the Gold Coast Line. It is expected that the peak service will be similar to that for the 2017/18 Summer Holiday Interim Timetable (SHIT) which was inadequate, resulted in overcrowded services, removed express services, and cut some direct journey opportunities by up to 75%. TransLink are still somehow charging peak fares! 
  • Weekday 15 minute off-peak services have been axed on all lines other than the Gold Coast Line, with a 30 minute weekday off-peak services on all lines. That's a worse frequency than in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Auckland! 
  • Weekend off-peak services have been reduced by 50%. Services have been reduced from every 30 minutes to only every 60 minutes on all lines other than the Gold Coast and Airport Lines. This is worse than all other heavy rail systems in Australia and New Zealand! These hourly weekend services will be a nightmare for Brisbanites who need to get work, such as hospital and emergency service workers, retail and hospitality staff. 
  • Long suffering Sunshine Coast Line commuters will see off-peak services reduced to an abysmal two hourly service. 
  • The poor frequency of connecting services (especially on weekends) makes travelling by train to GC2018 extremely unattractive for both staff and spectators, forcing these commuters onto the already busy M1 Pacific Highway.
  • Bus to train connections around Brisbane and SE Queensland will be broken due to the large number of train services being cut and changes to clockface times. 
  • The actual timetables (rather than service frequencies) are still unavailable two months out from GC2018. 
  • The commuter pain will not just be during GC2018, but cover a 22 day period including Easter and a whole week after the games. Expect severe train overcrowding in the week beginning 16th April. 
Who is to blame for this disastrous train service?
  • The Newman LNP government for stopping driver recruitment and demoting driver trainers, at a time when more train services were being added, or due to be added.  
  • The Newman LNP government ordered NGR trains that were not compliant with disability access laws and regulations. 
  • The Palaszczuk ALP government for mediocrity in fast tracking driver recruitment by giving in to Union demands and pressure. 
  • The Palaszczuk ALP government for being slow at resolving NGR train issues, that were known about in 2015. 
  • The Beattie/Bligh era ALP government for triplicating instead of quadding parts of the Gold Coast/Beenleigh Line corridor, thus preventing Gold Coast Line services from overtaking Beenleigh Line services in both directions (hence the axing of the Beenleigh Line).
  • The Beattie/Bligh era ALP government for dropping an add on order for the previous generation of trains, resulting in a lack of trains since 2014. 
  • Rail Transport and Bus Union - for trying to block and delay external driver recruitment.  
  • QR for chronically failed management. (Note: BrizCommuter has more faith in the new management, but the scale of past failure for them to fix is of epic proportions). 
  • Department of Transport and Main Roads - this government department has overseen NGR Fail, Moreton Bay Rail Link Signalling Fail, QR's Rail Fail, and GC2018 Timetable Fail. 
  • CityTrain Response Unit - for well, not doing much at all. 
  • Queensland's media for being being hopeless at investigative journalism and reporting pressing transport issues. Authorities in cities such as London for example, could not get away with the mediocrity that QR and the various Queensland Governments have got away with in the last decade. 
Whilst QR have tried to do the best with limited drivers and trains, the services frequencies for GC2018 show how bad #RailFail still is. Commuters on all train lines other than the Gold Coast Line will suffer from an inadequate "third world" train service between Friday 30th March and 20th April. Using trains to get to the games will be very unattractive due to poor service frequencies on connecting train lines, forcing more cars (including BrizCommuter's) onto the already congested M1 Pacific Highway. The only saviour to congestion chaos will be SE Queenslander's trying to avoid the dreaded M1 like the plague. 

The only positive that BrizCommuter can see, is if Queensland and Australia is embarrassed so much on the world stage, that it sparks changes to governance and investment for SE Queensland's failing public transport system. However, given that QLD politicians are so lost in their own spin, BrizCommuter isn't convinced there will be much change to the current status quo of mediocrity. 


  1. How long does it take to recruit drivers? ALP have had 3 years. LNP may have started the problem, ALP did not fix it.

    The voters have shown how they feel about the mediocrity at the ballot box, increasing the ALP majority.

    1. Unfortunately the ALP's bedfellow unions have resulted in slow progress in driver recruitment. Both sides of politics and QR are responsible for the current mess.

  2. The timetables have been "published" but not yet in the old style PDF format...

  3. Nitpicking a little - but 24 hour service to the Gold Coast is way... WAY overdue. The fact that Gold Coast/Airport line is NOT 24 hours now means that very few commuters can travel from the Gold Coast to the Airport to actually catch a flight. This is particularly an issue if you you are able to leave via the Airport "ghost" train and then arrive back at a reasonable time in the evening, only to find out the last train has already left.

    1. I would like to see a later train and improved frequency on the Airport Line, but I think there is minimal demand for 24 hour service. Track maintenance is still required.

  4. I wouldn't say the overnight hourly service is pointless. But i would say having 10 minute frequencies between 10pm and 1am is overkill. Towards brisbane ,10pm-11pm should be 20 minutes frequencies and between 11pm and 1am should be 30 minute frequencies. Doing this would probably mean you could run 30 minute services on the other lines during the weekend.

    Lets face it, not many people are going to be leaving the gold coast for brisbane at 11pm at night.

    1. A late evening high frequency service back to Brisbane is required to get spectators and staff back to Brisbane after events.

    2. I get that, and there will be alot of people coming back in those times, but the service is far more than patronage will require. And i think all those late night trains will terminate at bowen hills. Especially since anyone getting off one of those trains will have to get picked up by family/friend or cab/uber. Very few people live within walking distance of the any station served during late night service.

      No buses or other rail services will be running at those times. last Buz services leave the city around 11:15pm


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