RAIL CHAOS: Expect crowding on Coast service to Brisbane
OVERCROWDING on the inner-city service from Caboolture to Brisbane will be the main fallout from the timetable chaos for Sunshine Coast commuters.
Rail Back on Track Sunshine Coast advocate Jeff Addison said the interim timetable, released this morning, which accommodated a cut to 30 services, a day would barely affect the Sunshine Coast line.
But the cuts to the inner-city services would create crowding on the run into Brisbane.
The rail cuts, which saw 100 Citytrain services cancelled on Friday, were caused by a driver shortage following the opening of the Moreton Bay Rail Link.
Queensland Rail has put on extra customer service staff to reduce the cuts to 30 per day, mostly affecting inner-city services.
"Cuts have been made in off-peak time and in counter-peak direction,” Mr Addison said.
"Its against the main flow of the bulk of commuters and the change affects the inner-city high frequency services.
"Sunshine Coast people travelling off-peak may be impacted by services from Caboolture to the city and vice versa.
"But overall it is a good outcome for the Sunshine Coast. It clearly recognises our services are significantly less than anywhere else in the network.”
The Moreton Bay Rail Lank opened with double the rail offerings the Sunshine Coast has been fighting for for years.
"We have 325 services per week. Of that, 80 are rail buses,” Mr Addison said.
"When you compare that to the Redcliffe Peninsula which opened with 650 per week ...
"They have double the services on a duplicated track. They opened with services every six minutes in peak, whereas Sunshine Coast commuters have around a 30 minute wait for three or four services during peak, and then a 90 minute wait.”
Mr Addison commended Queensland Rail for coming up with a "pretty good” interim timetable to address the shortage created by the need to train staff for the railway service to Redcliffe.
He understood Queensland Rail needed to train drivers on the new track, but suggested a better solution to the timetable crisis would have been to open the Moreton line with less services.
"They could have come up with something more modest (for Moreton) in an interim timetable and then slowly moved to increase capacity,” he said.
Mr Addison has been actively advocating for improved rail services for the Sunshine Coast since 2010 as it has the most antiquated, single rail line in the country.
Former premier Anna Bligh promised to finish the duplication between Caboolture and Landsborough by 2012 and then extend it to Nambour. It stopped at Beerburrum in April 2009.
Former Premier Campbell Newman made an election commitment in 2015 to finish the line, but it was dependent on the LNP's controversial asset sales.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has made no commitment to the duplication of the crucial service which affects freight north to Cairns as well as the daily commute to Brisbane.
Mr Addison said the new government had recently announced yet another business case into the merits of the rail duplication.
"This is the third business case in as many governments, it is rhetoric and time wasting,” he said.
"They know the case, they know the need.
"The government keeps saying the cross-river rail is priority, not the Sunshine Coast, but this doesn't consider the needs of freight to Cairns.”
The draft South East Queensland Regional Plan, released on Thursday, October 20, showed how the Sunshine Coast population was expected to nearly double to 498,000 people by 2031.
There is no indication of an improved rail service to address this need.