Saturday, March 20, 2021

Cross River Rail - The Incompetence Gets Worse

The offending track layout

Are there any words in the English language for "worse than incompetent"? Because if there is, it would describe Brisbane's Cross River Rail (CRR) project. BrizCommuter has previously discussed how the 3 tracks between Dutton Park and Salisbury, and track layouts at Mayne will result in Cross River Rail only adding a handful of additional train services to SE Queensland's train network. Just when you thought things can't get any worse - they have!

A third platform face is being added at stations between Dutton Park and Moorooka (inclusive) for operational flexibility, allowing express services to overtake all stations in the peak direction (but not the contra-peak direction due to lack of 4th track). The track layout at Dutton Park previously allowed for this flexibility. Unfortunately in Project Change 9, to allow the shallower gradients into the tunnel's Southern Portal, this junction has been simplified. Now, via CRR trains can only run along the Up and Down Suburban tracks between Dutton Park and Yeerongpilly, with no access to the 3rd Dual Gauge track and new platforms.  

This issue could be partially resolved with some additional track switches to the South of Dutton Park, but these are not shown on project drawings. 

The negative impacts of Project Change 9 are that:

1) Gold Coast express services will get stuck behind the inner-Beenleigh Line all stations services between Yeerongpilly and Dutton Park in both directions. This will SLOW DOWN Gold Coast services - not a good outcome for Cross River Rail. 

2) Unless there is a bizarre peak direction only via South Bank service using the Dual Gauge Track, the brand new platforms at Dutton Park, Fairfield, and Yeeronga on the Dual Gauge track will NOT BE USED.

3) Providing 2 platforms, and 4 tracks instead of the under-construction, and now possibly pointless 3 platforms and 3 tracks between Salisbury and Dutton Park would have solved Cross River Rail's south side capacity constraints. 

The Cross River Rail project is plumbing new depths of incompetence. The project needs to be stopped now before any more incorrectly designed infrastructure is built, and reviewed by independent rail experts who can advise on the most optimal track layouts to increase train services through SE Queensland. The inquiry into Cross River Rail needs to start now, not after the impending disaster that will be the opening in 2025.