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Queensland Rail cancellations have improved significantly since the mass disruptions in October that exposed flaws in the organisation.
From mid-October to mid-February, an average of 118 services were cancelled per week.
Whereas between mid-February and May, the weekly average dropped to 34, which represents about 0.5 per cent of all scheduled services across the network.
Those figures exclude the last week of March, when the network was impacted by flooding in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie, forcing the closure of several lines.
But even with the extreme weather event included, the average for the past three months would be 85 cancelled services per week on average.
The Gold Coast, Beenleigh and Shorncliffe lines were the worst-hit by cancellations during the week starting March 27 – the week Cyclone Debbie struck.
Some of the damage Queensland Rail workers had to contend with following the rain brought to south-east Queensland by ex-Cyclone Debbie. Photo: Queensland RailThis graph of network cancellations shows the network appearing to stabilise, apart from a spike attributed to Cyclone Debbie.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the figures showed a huge 70 per cent decrease in service cancellations.
Ms Trad said she promised the return of sustainable and reliable services when she became transport minister in February.
"I'm very pleased to report that we are well on our way to achieving that," she said.
"While there is more work to be done, these figures show a very encouraging trend that demonstrates that we are getting Queensland Rail back on track."
Queensland Rail has been under fire since October 21, when 167 services were cancelled and numerous issues were uncovered that led to the wide-ranging Strachan inquiry, several top QR employees resigning and the resignation of transport minister Stirling Hinchliffe, despite being cleared of responsibility.
The saga was sparked following the opening of the Redcliffe Peninsula line on October 4, despite two external agencies warning QR months earlier it did not have enough drivers and guards to meet the increased timetable.
There were also 261 services cancelled on Christmas Day.
A "confluence of infrastructure mishaps and misfires" including storm damage and a broken-down train caused lengthy delays on December 8, leading to more than $300,000 in refunds being paid to commuters.
Commuters also faced delays on January 30 after a telemetry failure on the Redcliffe Peninsula Line.
QR chief executive officer Nick Easy said by implementing the Strachan inquiry recommendations, QR had a much stronger focus on forward planning, managing resources and preventing faults.
Mr Easy said the results of that plan were clear in the new cancellation statistics.
"It's very positive to see service cancellations in steady decline, but it's also important to remember that in any mass transit system in the world, cancellations cannot be completely avoided," he said.
"We will continue to work hard at preventing issues on our trains and track, but from time to time incidents beyond our control do occur, and in those instances our focus is on recovering the network as quickly as safely as possible."
Services can be disrupted by medical emergencies, bridge strikes, extreme weather and police incidents.
This article first appeared on www.brisbanetimes.com.au
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