Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The End of RailFail is Nigh!

After exactly 1000 days of Rail Fail (#RailFail), Queensland Rail (QR) has finally announced that they will be restoring the axed services from 29th July (presumably 2019). According to the spin merchants at TransLink:

From Monday 29 July, Queensland Rail will introduce an extra 430 weekly train services across the South East Queensland train network.

Changes to the train network will include:

  • a consistent Monday to Friday timetable
  • 85 extra weekly peak services, in addition to the 32 weekly peak services introduced in May
  • a consistent departure times with 142 extra services each Friday
  • six-carriage upgrades to 59 three-carriage services.

Yet again, it needs to be clear that these are "restored" train services, not "extra" train services. Whilst the resolution of Rail Fail is good news, the fact that it took Queensland Rail more than 1000 days to recover from the destructiveness of the LPN Newman government is totally unacceptable. The ALP state government and Unions needs to take responsibility for the slow recovery. The lack of transparency as to when Rail Fail was to end was also unacceptable. On top of the lack of driver issue, the lack of trains issue (3-car peak services) has been a chronic issue since January 2014 timetable, over half a decade ago.

Now that the October 2016 timetable is due to be restored, there are still big questions that need to be answered:

  • Can QR's network actually reliably cope with the peak timetable running up to 22tph (on the suburban tracks) through the network core?
  • How much staff contingency is there in the short term? Are we likely to see many cancellations due to lack of train crew?
  • When are urgently required additional pm peak services going to be added (notably extension of the pm peak Cleveland Line express services, and filling in the more critical 12-15 minute pm peak gaps on many other lines)?
  • When will the 15 minute off-peak service be extended onto sector 1 lines (Caboolture/Kippa-Ring to Ipswich/Springfield)?
  • Do QR have a plan in place to have sufficient trains and drivers for the proposed Cross River Rail services in in the mid-2020s?