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SOUTHEAST Queensland is on track for another “rail fail’’ around next year’s Commonwealth Games, public transport advocates are warning.
Rail services between Brisbane and the Gold Coast will be doubled to eight per hour under a transport plan announced by the State Government this week to reduce road congestion for the two-week event in April next year.
But RAIL Back On Track spokesman Robert Dow says that will result in chaos for other parts of the train network unless Queensland Rail fast-tracks improvements.
“If someone doesn’t sound the alarm now, it will be calamitous,’’ he said, adding that trains and crews will have to be taken from other areas to boost the Gold Coast services.
“They will probably need to close some lines down altogether for the period of the Games.”
The Palaszczuk Government’s own plan, in response to the chaos that ensued when the new Redcliffe Peninsula Line opened last year, does not expect a full-service timetable to be in place before the end of 2018, even relying on overtime.
Mr Dow said that QR was “limping along’’ in recruiting the hundreds of extra train drivers needed.
And the $4.4 billion order of new trains is on hold while flaws are addressed.
Only 13 of the 75 New Generation Rolling Stock have been delivered.
“We don’t know how many of the new trains will be here and available by the time of the Commonwealth Games,’’ Mr Dow said, adding that it was “critical’’ that QR speed up recruitment and training of additional drivers so a full timetable was in place by January 2018, ahead of the event.
Asked about the risk of another rail fail debacle from extra stress on the network during the event, Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones yesterday said: “We are very confident that both TransLink and the Director-General of Transport and Main Roads have given their assurance that we can deliver the additional capacity.”
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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