Council needs to fast-track rail before gridlock
First train ride re-enacted for Queensland Rail's 150th birthday
Nambour a better option: Woombye anti-rail stabling group
South west Queensland pushes for more rail services for cattle
Tilt Trains set for a major overhaul
Ipswich celebrates heritage at Rail Museum on Open Day
Two rail lines earmarked for northern Australia
The $55.8 million dual gauge rail line from Acacia Ridge to Bromelton remains unfinished
Police investigate if fallen powerlines on Gold Coast train line work of vandals
Sourcing critical railway upgrade funding needs cool heads and smart solutions
QUEENSLAND Rail will force almost one in five of its drivers to retire over the next decade despite expanding demand for coal and passenger services
The State Government-owned rail company has retained a policy phased out in most other jurisdictions which forces drivers to retire at age 65 regardless of their health.
With more than 18 per cent of Queensland Rail drivers currently aged 55 or older, about 473 of the company's 2615 train crew will have to go over the next 10 years.
Replacing just the retiring drivers will cost the company more than $66 million, with training for each individual priced at $140,000.
The policy is in contrast to the push by governments for aged employees to stay in the workforce because of the nationwide skills crisis affecting numerous industries.
Some states, such as Victoria, pay train drivers a tax-free bonus to stay beyond 65.
Queensland Rail has insisted it could replace its drivers and meet the extra demand, however, it admitted the 65 years age limit might have to be reviewed because of "factors such as the employment market".
The company said it had received more than 3500 applicants for driver jobs in 2007, with 349 passing the selection process so far.
"QR doesn't experience any difficulties attracting new drivers," QR said in a written statement. "This is due to competitive salaries and rewarding job duties on offer amid a dynamic organisation."
However, the company has reduced the time it spends on training new drivers for its Citytrain network from 12 to nine months, which follows a shortage of crew last year.
"Taking into consideration the experience of an individual applicant, this has been possible due to one-on-one tuition and improvements to training," the company said.
One driver being forced to retire this year is Jim Johnson who has worked for Queensland Rail for more than 38 years.
Mr Johnson has been told that he must retire on his 65th birthday on June 27, meaning he will be hit with a massive taxation bill because his year's wages and his retirement benefits will all fall in the same financial year.
Requests to extend his employment by just days have been rejected by Queensland Rail.
Mr Johnson said that despite some extra weight he had no health problems and had passed all his annual medical examinations.
"I reckon I have got another four or five years," Mr Johnson said.
"I haven't had any problem for years and years. There is nothing wrong with me.
"I would like to keep going but you just can't with this railway," he said.
About this website
Railpage version 3.10.0.0037
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is © 2003-2019 Interactive Omnimedia Pty Ltd.
You can syndicate our news using one of the RSS feeds.