OFF THE RAILS: Passengers travellintg to or from Brisbane this weekend will be forced onto slower buses
OFF THE RAILS: Passengers travellintg to or from Brisbane this weekend will be forced onto slower buses Craig Warhurst

Easter disaster for rail patrons between Gympie and Brisbane

GYMPIE region rail travellers face serious public transport problems this weekend, as Queensland Rail shuts down all lines between Brisbane and Gympie North.

The first weekend of the Easter school holidays will see passengers forced on to buses, which will not get them there or back as quickly.

One would-be rail commuter said she had been forced to change her travel plans because the bus-rail service offered as an alternative would not get her there on time.

To make up for that, she would be forced to drive to Nambour to catch up with an earlier bus link to Brisbane.

But it is all for our own good, Queensland Rail states on its website.

"From the first service on Saturday April 6 until last service on Sunday April 7, tracks will be closed on the Shorncliffe, Redcliffe Peninsula, Caboolture and Sunshine Coast lines,” the website reports.

"Timetabled railbuses will replace trains between Bowen Hills, Kippa Ring, Shorncliffe and Gympie North stations.

"Train services will return to normal on Monday, April 8,”

QR says this is all part of a trial to improve services.

"The benefits of this trial include a published timetable online and at bus stops, the ability to journey plan and higher frequency.

"Why are we trialling this? We are always looking for ways to improve your experience on our network (including) how we keep you moving during a track closure.”

But Gympie MP Tony Perrett said this did not seem to be the way things were working out.

When he began talking about Gympie train services this week, he began by welcoming a briefing from QR which he said recognised "that services to and from Gympie created a number of issues about reliability, frequent delays, number and frequency of services and patronage.”

At the time he did not realise how close to home the issue had come.

His wife, Michele Perrett was travelling on the train from Gympie on Thursday and encountered the reality of what happens too often.

It was said to be vegetation across the track, but it took three hours to clear, she said.

Mrs Perrett's trip to Brisbane took nearly five-and-a-half hours.

She left from Gympie at 1.40pm and reached Brisbane at 7pm.

"Lucky I wasn't going to a specialist medical appointment,” she said.

Her five-and-a-half hour trip ended up involving a long stay at Nambour.

Passengers from Rockhampton and Bundaberg were also caught out.

Then it started raining and one passenger went "off his head, yelling and swearing,” she said. Police had to be called.

Apparently vegetation had fallen over power lines adjacent to the track near the Eudlo-Landsborough area.

"There had not been any cyclonic winds and you have to wonder why it took so long to repair, or how it happened,” she said.