New trains in storage 'risks Ipswich rail services'
IPSWICH'S train services could be reduced or slashed during the Commonwealth Games if New Generation Rollingstock carriages are not put into service, rail advocate Robert Dow has warned.
Mr Dow's concerns come as three of the new trains are put in storage at Redbank Workshops, due to the Wulkuraka Maintenance Centre reaching capacity.
The $190million maintenance centre is designed to service, maintain and repair up to 15 NGR trains.
But Mr Dow, who operates the Rail Back on Track advocacy group, raised questions about capacity at the Wulkuraka Maintenance Centre and the storage of trains at Redbank Workshops.
"They've had to find somewhere to put the trains that still haven't been accepted because of the limitations at Wulkuraka,” he said.
Mr Dow estimates about 23 NGR trains are in southeast Queensland, with five in service across the network.
He said the fleet was supposed to be running by 2016 so the "progressive importation of the trains would not create the logjam which has forced them to place trains at Redbank Workshops”.
Mr Dow declared the failure to have the NGR trains working delayed the phasing out of Queensland Rail's older carriages, causing constant mechanical problems and cancellations.
"Queensland Rail has been forced to keep them running as best they can and this is why they're failing,” he said.
A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesman confirmed some NGR trains were "being held in temporary overflow stabling at the Redbank site”.
"This is intended to free-up stabling at the NGR Maintenance Centre at Wulkuraka for trains currently undergoing routine testing and readiness for service,” he said.
The trains at Redbank will be rotated back to the Maintenance Centre in due course for testing in the lead-up to their introduction into service.
It comes as the Australian Human Rights Commission continues taking submissions on a joint-application to grant the State of Queensland and Queensland Rail an exemption to the Disability Discrimination Act for the NGR trains.
Problems include the aisles and on-board toilets on the NGR trains, which are non-compliant.
Mr Dow said the commission should grant Queensland Rail an exemption to allow the new trains to operate during the Commonwealth Games.
He said at least 10 NGR trains needed to be running during the games or risk "serious problems for the network”.
"They're going to take crew and trains from all the other lines to maintain the high-frequency service on the Gold Coast,” he said.
"We're looking at pretty severe service reductions on the rest of the network.
"We're even worried about lines such as Rosewood, whether they chop that and run buses between Ipswich and Rosewood, which is pretty poor.”
He said the Springfield line could be cut if an application to allow the NGR trains to operate is rejected.
"If they're forced to stop running the New Generation Rollingstock trains we've got a major problem as a community,” he said.
"It will make a big difference if they can get those running or there will be cutbacks on other lines.”