One of the Queensland Rail’s New Generation Rollingstock trains.
One of the Queensland Rail’s New Generation Rollingstock trains.

Ridiculous time it will take to restore rail timetable

DOZENS of new services have been added to southeast Queensland's rail network 2½ years after the system spectacularly collapsed.

The 32 new services are the first signs of recovery for Queensland Rail's timetable since the Government's "rail fail", which led to 472 services being cut at the height of the crisis in 2016.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said new services would be added from Monday, May 13 to busy peak periods.

"Customers travelling during the busiest times in the morning and afternoon peak on the Shorncliffe, Cleveland, Redcliffe Peninsula, Ferny Grove, Springfield, Gold Coast and Airport lines will benefit," Mr Bailey said.

"Queensland Rail is on track to deliver further timetable improvements later this year, following the largest driver recruitment and training campaign in its history."

Transport Minister Mark Bailey. Picture: AAP/Dave Hunt
Transport Minister Mark Bailey. Picture: AAP/Dave Hunt

 

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled

The new services will add 14,000 seats to the southeast's network.

However, Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said it would take 37 years at the current rate just to restore the timetable to where it was in 2016.

"This was despite the fact that Labor's hand-picked man to fix the fail, Phillip Strachan said the 472 weekly services cut should have been restored by the end of 2018," she said.

"That's because Labor are owned by the rail unions lock, stock and barrel."

Rail Back on Track spokesman Robert Dow wants the October 2016 timetable fully restored. Picture: AAP/Josh Woning
Rail Back on Track spokesman Robert Dow wants the October 2016 timetable fully restored. Picture: AAP/Josh Woning

Rail Back on Track spokesman Robert Dow said the Government had targeted the two biggest "festering sores" from the rail fail hangover by restoring peak hours services to the Shorncliffe and Cleveland lines.

"We have argued for some time that incremental improvement is the way forward to particularly plug the gaps on the Shorncliffe and Cleveland lines, and help restore confidence in the network by the travelling public," he said.

"We look forward to the full restoration of the October 2016 timetable in time. We believe the next step should be the introduction of a consistent Monday to Friday timetable."

 

The announcement comes as the State Government revealed it had paid consultants $335,488 between July, 2018 and February this year to help implement the scathing Strachan Inquiry.

The figure was revealed in an answer to a Question on Notice.

Payments have dropped from the $40,000 a day the Government was paying Deloitte for "additional expertise and support" to additional QR staff at the height of the fail.

Responding to another Question on Notice from Greens MP Michael Berkman, Mr Bailey revealed there had been 93 service delays due to QR staff assisting passengers to board the fleet of troubled NGR trains, which are being retrofitted at a cost of $335.7 million to improve access for people with disabilities.