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THE State Government has not employed enough staff to deal with the transport crisis around new trains and extra services for the Commonwealth Games, according to an internal review.
Leaked documents obtained by the Bulletin show the Government is being urged to employ staff from less urgent Queensland Rail projects.
After the Strachan Inquiry into the rail crisis, QR commissioned a “whole of business” review by German rail operators Deutsche Bahn to determine operational issues of immediate concern.
The consultants found positives in terms of daily operations and QR’s risk management centre, but highlighted the new New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) project and the Games as business areas needing urgent action.
The NGR units being tested. Photo: Supplied“The QR NGR and Commonwealth Games project teams do not appear to be adequately staffed,” the consultants found.
“In contrast, a major project such as the ETCS appears to have sufficient staff at this early procurement tender stage.
“As the NGR and Commonwealth Games are priority projects, there may be an opportunity to temporarily redeploy staff between the project teams.”
The Government committed to a rollout of the $634 million European Train Control System (ETCS) where improved signalling will enable more trains to travel through the Brisbane CBD.
But the major challenge created by a driver and guard staffing crisis has been whether the Government can deliver a Games timetable without closing other rail services.
On the Gold Coast last week for community Cabinet, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was “optimistic” transport services would be ready on time for the Games.
Opposition transport spokesman Andrew Powell at an Estimates hearing in Brisbane last month — he doubts Labor can fix the rail mess. (AAP Image/Samantha Manchee)Opposition transport spokesman Andrew Powell yesterday said the latest internal review cast doubt on Labor being able to fix the rail mess.
In Estimates hearings, the Government admitted a Games timetable had yet to be completed due to uncertainty about the NGR units bought as part of a $4.4 billion upgrade.
“How hard can Labor be working to fix the problem if the QR teams looking after the new trains and the Games are understaffed,” Mr Powell said.
“We’re meant to be showcasing the Gold Coast to the world but at this rate we’ll be lucky if the trains are even running.
“It’s not good enough — when are Annastacia Palaszczuk and Jackie Trad going to be held accountable for their repeated rail stuff-ups?”
Estimates was told 10 of the 15 NGR units which had arrived in Queensland had yet to be tested and the trains would require 500 kilometres fault-free running to be commissioned.
Deputy Premier and Transport Minister Jackie Trad says her focus is on getting the new generation rolling stock on the southeast Queensland network. Pic Annette DewAt least $12 million is being provided for NGR “operational readiness projects” which include new sight lines or markings on the platforms at Coast stations for drivers.
Deputy Premier and Transport Minister Jackie Trad at Estimates said her focus was on getting the NGRs back on track “following the LNP’s botched procurement process”.
The availability of the new trains on the fully duplicated Gold Coast line to Brisbane is critical because the only alternative will be to cut back services on other lines during the Games to meet the demand.
Senior Transport bureaucrats have given a commitment that no rail closures will occur during next April’s event.
This article first appeared on www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au
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