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Offline ozbob

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Cross River Rail Media Updates
« on: December 05, 2020, 04:18:48 AM »
RAIL Back On Track forum discussion thread for Cross River Rail here!

===

Problems with Cross River Rail hidden

8th November 2020

Good Morning,

RAIL Back On Track has previously raised concerns with the lack of transparency regarding Cross River Rail ( https://www.facebook.com/RAILBackOnTrack/posts/3899100510104107 ).

A particular issue for us is the lack of transparency regarding the lack of a publicly accessible current rail operational service plan (how the project will mesh with the rest of the network).

RAIL Back On Track has made Right To Information (RTI) requests seeking this information (August 2020).  Both of these requests were recently refused.  We are currently following review processes for one of the RTI requests.

There has been a recent history of significant problems with rail related projects in Queensland.  We have little confidence that the outcomes of Cross River Rail will be satisfactory unless we can see the proof that indicate otherwise. Hiding behind an anti-RTI firewall causes us grave concerns.  We believe there are significant deficiencies with the operational plan for the rail network when Cross River Rail is commissioned.

We note that Minerva Transport Planning Company Limited has released their document:

'The Minerva Plan - a rail strategy for Southeast Queensland'
Copy available here > https://backontrack.org/docs/crr/db/MinervaPlan1.0.pdf PDF 7.1MB

Foreword:

"The history of rail in Australia is dotted with pivotal moments which have had far-reaching implications. From Bradfield’s vision and predominant realisation of his railway scheme for Sydney which has served our biggest city for nearly a century, to the pre-Federation break of gauge debacle which took almost one hundred years to resolve, the long term implications – both good and bad – of railway planning decisions are clear to see. In 2020, Queensland is facing its own pivotal moment with the design of the Cross River Rail project. Cross River Rail has been approved, had contracts signed, and early works have commenced to deliver the second river crossing in Brisbane’s CBD by 2024.

However, rather than relieve the current capacity bottleneck and form the backbone of a transformation of the rail network as it was long intended and currently promoted as delivering, Cross River Rail in its current iteration will itself become the bottleneck and prevent almost all future expansion of the Southeast Queensland rail network.

Southeast Queensland has been without a detailed rail strategy since the Connecting SEQ 2031 regional transport plan was dis-endorsed. It is in this absence of a rail strategy that Cross River Rail has been allowed to come to its current form, with no guiding framework with which to measure its suitability in the long term.

Major inner-city rail infrastructure has a lifespan extending beyond a century, with the potential to increase the efficiency and liveability of a city, and it is important that the project is designed to deliver on these objectives. Unfortunately, Cross River Rail is not fit for purpose.

Fortunately, through minor changes to the project, it will be possible to increase capacity in both the short and longterm, allowing Cross River Rail to play the role in enhancing the network for which it was always intended.

This document will present the case of change, demonstrating in detail how the current design for Cross River Rail is flawed, and how it can be modified to meet its target criteria more effectively while improving cost efficiency. Further, the lack of a rail strategy in Southeast Queensland will be addressed, describing the envisioned development of the network over the coming decades – with a modified Cross River Rail at its core.

This document is the Minerva Plan, a rail strategy for Southeast Queensland. The Minerva Plan will revisit previous works, including Connecting SEQ 2031, to present a rail strategy that is ‘familiar, yet different’, and for which considerable investigation has already been undertaken.

This plan will set out the logical sequencing of projects to enhance the capacity and functionality of the rail network into four distinct phases, without being prescriptive about specific years. In this way, the development of the rail network will be able to correspond to patronage growth and economic conditions.

The Minerva Plan is not sanctioned by government; however, we welcome and encourage government to adopt the recommendations listed here."

Minerva Transport Planning
Company Limited, June 2020


We call on the Premier to direct that Cross River Rail Development Authority detail how the SEQ rail network will operate when Cross River Rail is commissioned.

The type of information we believe should be released can be viewed at https://metrotunnel.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/40481/MM-Business-Case-Feb-2016-APPENDIX-04.PDF for the Metro Tunnel project presently underway in Melbourne.  This public  document outlines the proposed service plans and demonstrates how the project will be integrated with and improve the Melbourne railway network. Why is there no equivalent information for Cross River Rail?

The lack of such information for Cross River Rail is why we made the RTI applications in the first place.

Best wishes,
Robert

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« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 04:30:27 AM by ozbob »
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Offline ozbob

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Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2020, 04:20:20 AM »
On going concerns with CRR

17th November 2020

Good Morning,

For your information:

BrizCommuter: Cross River Rail - Score Card Q4 2020

https://brizcommuter.blogspot.com/2020/11/cross-river-rail-score-card-q4-2020.html

"This is the third of BrizCommuter's scorecards looking at the progress of Brisbane's Cross River Rail (CRR).  This score card looks at whether the proposed am peak service frequencies will be achievable when CRR opens to train services in 2025. These proposed am peak service frequencies are based on the information provided in the "Check Mate" section of CRR's website in 2019. Strangely,  everything related to proposed rail operations went missing from CRR's website in early 2020. Possible scores are No Improvement, Achievable, Concerning, and Critical."

Full article > https://brizcommuter.blogspot.com/2020/11/cross-river-rail-score-card-q4-2020.html

RAIL Back On Track has previously raised concerns with Cross River Rail.  See > https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=2034.msg241072#msg241072

Best wishes,

Robert

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« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 04:56:31 AM by ozbob »
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Offline ozbob

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Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2020, 04:21:02 AM »
"Queenslanders can have a high level of confidence that Cross River Rail’s design and planning is robust"
Really?  We do not!


19th November 2020

“Queenslanders can have a high level of confidence that the project’s design and planning is robust”. This is the simple line Queenslanders are given if they have any concerns about Cross River Rail (CRR) planning.

In other words: “Just trust us”.

However, RAIL Back on Track Members have very real concerns about the project, with an abnormal level of non-engagement not seen before and the apparent deliberate actions by the Minister and the CRR Delivery Authority to avoid openly sharing meaningful information, things are not right.

Simply put, we feel like we have been here before.

When voices inside Queensland Rail raised concerns about the ability to have enough staff to drive every train with the opening of the Redcliffe line, they were ignored and told everything was okay. What followed was 20 months of timetable cuts in order to try and stretch staff across the network, and finally the Queensland Rail Train Crewing Practices Commission of Inquiry to work out where it all went wrong.

When disability advocates were able to demonstrate on multiple occasions that the NGR trains were not compliant with accessibility regulations, they were ignored, and told everything was okay. What followed was a $335m repair bill and  the Commission of inquiry into New Generation Rollingstock Trains led by Judge Michael Forde to work out where it all went wrong.

This is happening again for a third time.

Despite the governments claims of robustness, both casual observers and industry experts are seeing a growing list of red flags which include:

The redesign of the Dutton Park tunnel portal to fix a design that trains would not be able to negotiate. Despite Minister Bailey’s claims that changes like this are “normal” in a project of this scale, they are absolutely not. Anybody involved in construction would tell you that a radical change to the construction methodology after the contract has been let and work is underway constitutes a major blunder. Why wasn’t this picked up in the dawdling design stage the government claimed they needed to “get it right”?

Lack of a service plan, with claims by the CRR Delivery Authority that they will take a wait and see approach before deciding on train routings and service levels. This is also refutable. Infrastructure is designed to support the transport needs of the next 30+ years, so why use a short period over the next year or two to model this, instead of robust long term data? Simply put, the infrastructure you build must support the operations, so if they have not determined the operations, they cannot have decided what they are building. This will lead to cost blowouts to try and adapt it through contract variations, or “cost lens” solutions that don’t work well.

Track designs that create bottlenecks. Independent Rail experts and observers alike have pointed out that the current designs published are not fit for purpose, and will lead to wasted track capacity through both the city and tunnel. Simply put, “conflicting movements” will result, where trains will block each other from day one due to flat junctions, meaning we are not getting all the extra capacity we were promised.

Immunity from Right To Information (Freedom Of Information) is a major concern. As we have seen in recent times on infrastructure projects interstate, lack of Freedom of Information has led to massive wastes of money. Interested parties have honest questions about the project they want answers for, which is fully reasonable on Queensland’s biggest infrastructure project. But we just do not have a means to ask these questions, which creates a hostile environment. There is no justification for the government to behave like this.

A 3rd Minister on the project and a sacking of the board. Four Project Directors in the past decade, with seemingly no accountability for decisions made under their watch. A revolving door of people in charge and a board with only existing public servants is a recipe for failure. Recall that the CRR Delivery Authority was established to “take the politics out of it”, which has not happened.

A lack of rail strategy, with no view for the long-term evolution of the network. Major rail infrastructure should set up a reconfiguration of the network, yet there is no rail strategy for SEQ. This vacuum of direction is one of the reasons CRR has been able to be designed so poorly, as it is not being viewed as the basis of a transformation of the network, rather just a project to be “gotten up”.

We want the Government, the CRR Delivery Authority to ’walk the walk’ and start listening and engaging with people outside their bubble so we can make this project work, not be fixing it up for years after.

Contact:

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Offline ozbob

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Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2020, 04:22:54 AM »
Sent to all outlets:

Cross River Rail - Anything But "Robust"

24th November 2020

Good Morning,

A failure to publish the updated rail service plans for Cross River Rail is now causing great concern in the community.

RAIL Back On Track has attempted to obtain the updated rail service plans by direct request to CRRDA, by direct request to the Ministers who had carriage of Cross River Rail in their Ministerial Portfolio, and more recently a direct request to the Minister for Transport and Main Roads who has taken over the responsibility for Cross River Rail.

Because we are being denied the basic information that is available for projects such as Cross River Rail in other jurisdictions we attempted to obtain the information via Right To Information (RTI) applications.  Cross River Rail Development Authority (CRRDA) has exemption from the RTI procedures (except for matters relating to Community Service Obligations) so RTI had to be made to external agencies that we expected to have the information, contained within a document known as the Concept of Operations.  Advice from the Office of the Information Commissioner confirmed that CRRDA documents held by an external agency don't have the RTI exemption.  CRRDA still has to be consulted as an interested third party of course.  We made RTI applications to Queensland Rail and TMR seeking access to the Concept of Operations document which we believed they would hold a copy, expressly to obtain the rail service plans. Yes, it was confirmed that both Queensland Rail and TMR do have a copy of the CRR Concept of Operations document.  These RTI applications were refused both by Queensland Rail and TMR, and an an internal review application to TMR on the RTI decision was also refused. The grounds for refusal were essentially on safety, security and commercial in confidence objections.  This is quite odd as in the redacted CRR 2017 Business case there are several outdated rail service plans published ( Cross River Rail from the 2017 CRR Business Case
https://cabinet.qld.gov.au/documents/2017/Aug/CRRBusCase/Attachments/BusinessCase.pdf ).

The type of information we believe should be available can be viewed at https://metrotunnel.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/40481/MM-Business-Case-Feb-2016-APPENDIX-04.PDF for the Metro Tunnel project presently underway in Melbourne.  This public  document outlines the proposed rail service plans and demonstrates how the project will be integrated with and improve the Melbourne railway network. The lack of such information for Cross River Rail is why we were forced to make the RTI applications.

This wall of resistance in detailing how the SEQ Citytrain network will actually work when CRR is commissioned is very disturbing.  It suggests that there are very serious problems with the current concept of Cross River Rail in terms of rail operations because it is being hidden.

So, it is no surprise that concerned community members are now detailing why Cross River Rail is anything but ' robust '.

Consider this recent article by BrizCommuter:

Quote
Cross River Rail - Anything But "Robust"

https://brizcommuter.blogspot.com/2020/11/cross-river-rail-anything-but-robust.html

Whilst Queensland's politicians have recently had a hard hat photo shoot in front of Cross River Rail's (CRR) Tunnel Boring Machines, CRR is headed to be yet another Queensland public transport disaster. The media releases are currently stuck on repeat saying "Queenslanders can have a high level of confidence that the project’s design and planning is robust" Unfortunately, BrizCommuter and many other rail experts are concerned that the project's current design is far from robust, and is not fit for purpose.

Southern Constraints

CRR was primarily designed to increase capacity from the Gold Coast and Beenleigh Line corridor. Currently, the Gold Coast, Beenleigh, and Cleveland Lines operate 20tph (Trains Per Hour Per Direction) into Brisbane (via South Bank) in the am peak, though 24tph could be possible with European Train Control Signalling (ETCS) and associated infrastructure improvements. The original CRR designed has the tunnel surfacing at Yeerongpilly, which allowed for 4 tracks into Brisbane's CBD (plus a freight track). If this design has continued, it would have allowed for up to 48tph from the Gold Coast, Beenleigh, Cleveland, and future Salisbury-Beaudesert Lines into Brisbane, of which 36tph would have been able to operate between Salisbury and Dutton Park instead of the current 12-16tph.

Unfortunately, Cambell Newman's BaT Tunnel design curtailed the Southern Portal to Dutton Park, utilising the existing 3 track constraint between Dutton Park and Salisbury. When the BaT tunnel turned into CRR Mk2, this 3 track constraint stayed in the design. Only having 3 tracks means that express and empty services cannot overtake the all stations trains in the contra-peak direction. As the design changes at Mayne now mean that up to 24tph from Caboolture and Redcliffe will be heading South out of CRR in the am peak, then there is no capacity for via South Bank services in the contra-peak direction. Thus unless there is a peak direction "tidal flow" of services via South Bank (which would be operationally challenging and confusing to the public), the lack of 4th track limits the Salisbury to Dutton Park section to 24tph - that is 50% less capacity than the original design of CRR. This design flaw also means that only the Ferny Grove to Cleveland Line will be operating via South Bank, with a significant reduction in services along this busy section that serves businesses, apartments, hospitals, hotels, universities, and leisure destinations. It also means that contra-peak Gold Coast Line services may have to slowed down as they will be stuck behind stopping services.

Northern Constraints

Whilst Northside train services were not the primary driver behind the original CRR design, the subsequent construction of the Redcliffe Line and future proposals for serving Caloundra and Maroochydore mean that increased capacity is also required. The problem is that whilst Cross River Rail will add a 3rd track pair through Brisbane's CBD, north of Mayne (Bowen Hills) there are only 2 track pairs, plus the Ferny Grove Line. Due to recent track layout changes in CRR's design (Project Change 7), it now looks like all train services from Caboolture, Sunshine Coast, and Redcliffe will run via CRR. Combined with ETCS, this will allow an increase from 18-20tph to 24tph. CRR was not required to achieve this! This is only a 20% increase in maximum capacity, which may not even last a decade.

The services from Doomben, Airport, and Shorncliffe Lines will be shifted to the Main Tracks (the tracks that hee Caboolture/Redcliffe to Ipswich/Springfield Lines currently run on). Whilst this track will allow for 24tph from Bowen Hills to Ipswich/Springfield with ETCS, the turnback constraints of the Doomben, Airport, and Shorncliffe Lines will not allow any more than the existing 14tph peak services on these lines. Thus the extra 10tph of Ipswich/Springfield services will start/terminate from sidings at Mayne.

This leaves the Ferny Grove Line to be connected to the Cleveland Line. Without any level crossing replacements on both lines, and duplication of the Cleveland Line, there will be just 8tph running on the Suburban Tracks through Brisbane's CBD and South Bank. This track pair will be operated at just 33% of its maximum capacity, a massive reduction from the existing 22tph.

Cross River Rail is going to deliver zero extra train services to/from the North that couldn't be achieved by just installing ETCS. Cross River Rail should have been designed with tunnel stubs at Roma Street to allow for future extensions via a quad track line along the North West Transportation Corridor (NWTC/Trouts Road Line). This would have allowed for an additional 24tph from the Caboolture, Sunshine Coast, and Redcliffe Lines. This would have enabled Fast Regional Rail and also allowed for local services to many northern suburbs which are currently public transport black holes. So what now? "Fast Regional Rail" via the Ferny Grove Line?

It is quite obvious why Cross River Rail's Rail Operations Plan is being hidden from the public. It would expose serious shortcomings of Cross River Rail's design, which the politicians don't want you to know. Cross River Rail's design is anything but "robust"!

Hiding behind an anti-RTI firewall is shredding public confidence in Cross River Rail outcomes.

It is time that CRRDA under direction of the Minister publish the rail service plans detailing how the SEQ Citytrain network will operate when CRR is commissioned.

Why hide it?

Other jurisdictions don't, they are keen to show the positive benefit of major infrastructure.  What is wrong with the state of Queensland?

Best wishes,

Robert

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Offline ozbob

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Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2020, 04:25:01 AM »
Call to halt Cross River Rail - independent review needed!

30th November 2020

The latest Request for Project Change for Cross River Rail (1), the ninth overall in the history of the project, is primarily focussed on changes to the portals in the Dutton Park vicinity. Released without any fanfare on the project's social media channels, despite the timeline for community feedback lasting only four weeks, this change supposedly focuses on "change (to) the construction methodology ... from a partly mined, partly cut and cover construction, to cut and cover construction only" for the southern portal area.

Although this change will result in longer closures for the rail network - which the report notes will take 40 days - it has a significant impact on the way the network will operate. Despite the report saying the changes will "optimise rail operational outcomes", the complete opposite is true it seems. The change to the portal locations and the way they connect to the surface tracks means that now all Gold Coast trains will run at all-stations speed between Park Road and Yeerongpilly, significantly slowing services compared to today. This also appears to leave the new Dual Gauge platform faces completely unused (2).

Enough is enough. The secrecy around the service plans, the lack of clarity over the construction and configuration of the project, and the lack of outside analysis and a referral to the Queensland Auditor-General are symptomatic of a project and organisation in crisis. Cross River Rail should be immediately halted while a rapid independent expert analysis is undertaken to properly define the project and its requirements. The money wasted up to this point is a sunk cost - going forward we need a robust, independently reviewed and specified project to ensure we do not end up wasting any more.

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References.

1. Request for project change application 9 – Southern Portal Area 2020
http://statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/coordinator-general/assessments-and-approvals/coordinated-projects/completed-projects/cross-river-rail-project/project-changes.html

2. CRR discussion RAIL Back On Track forum
https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=2034.msg241824#msg241824
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Re: Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2021, 04:16:27 AM »
The Roma St Priority Development Area - Roma Street for Bus and Rail first!

22nd March 2021

Presently, the State Government is consulting with the community about future development around Roma St station. The site has been designated a Priority Development Area (PDA) (1).

On the whole, RAIL Back On Track supports development around stations. It makes sense to cluster things like housing, workplaces, retail and public facilities such as stadiums/entertainment close to stations. Living close to a station reduces the need for large Park n' Ride sites, and concentrating other uses close to stations increases their accessibility for the whole region.

However, any development around stations and rail corridors needs to leave enough space for future expansion. Over the past few years, the SEQ  rail network has needed things like duplications, quadruplications, new platforms and so on to cater to increasing passenger numbers. As Australia's 3rd largest city, these needs will always be there.

Not thinking ahead brings additional costs to the community. The construction of Cross River Rail at Roma St required the demolition of the 30 year old Brisbane Transit Centre, and whilst that building was a bit of an eyesore, it does demonstrate how shortsightedness can make future transport expansion more disruptive than it needs to be.

RAIL Back On Track wants to ensure that any future development at the Roma St PDA has a clear strategy for allowing new lines in the future. It is inevitable in the future as demand grows that Brisbane will have another cross river rail style project, or new metro lines, or even high speed rail needing to feed into Roma St.

Indeed, the Government has been increasingly promoting Roma St as Brisbane’s new “Grand Central” station, so clearly the vision is for a transport hub bringing together all modes of transport, much like Southern Cross Station in Melbourne

It would be a huge mistake for SEQ as a whole if these projects were made unviable because all the spare land around Roma St was crowded out, or if new developments built as part of the PDA had to be unsustainably demolished. Cross River Rail is presently being built with little regard to future possible tunnel connections, for example, for an extension further out past Yeerongpilly. Let's not repeat this failure.

Whatever is developed at Roma St must be designed carefully to ensure that it can grow as a bus and rail hub decades into the future.

Robert Dow
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Reference:

1. Roma Street CRR PDA https://crossriverrail.qld.gov.au/planning-environment/priority-development-areas/roma-street-cross-river-rail-pda/
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Re: Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2021, 04:32:17 AM »
Time to Publicly Release the Cross River Rail Service Plans!

5th April 2021

RAIL Back On Track (https://backontrack.org) calls on Transport Minister Mark Bailey to table Cross River Rail's rail service plans to Parliament and release this information to the Queensland public.

The Queensland public is entrusting the Queensland Government $5 billion to deliver Cross River Rail. We strongly support the project.
However, when Queensland Rail Citytrain services began on the then new Kippa-Ring rail line in 2016, mass service cancellations across the entire
Queensland Rail Citytrain network was the result. We want to be confident a similar situation doesn't occur with Cross River Rail, so we really need to know how train services will operate across the Queensland Rail Citytrain network on day one of its opening. We have noted that the ' more trains more often ' message has now changed to ' transform the way we will travel '. We have highlighted the wider network constraints that will limit any significant train service frequency increases in the past. This change in messaging is no doubt due to the realisation that what was initially projected for train service levels is not deliverable as we have pointed out many times.  Time to come clean.

Concerningly, RAIL Back On Track has encountered significant difficulty obtaining basic information about the Cross River Rail's updated rail service plans (1). Minister Bailey, what are the intended service levels, sectorisation, routing and stopping patterns of Queensland Rail Citytrain services after Cross River Rail opens?

SNC Lavalin serves the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority as an 'Operations Technical advisor' and had - prior to removal - information about the development of the CRR train service plan published on its website, SNC Lavalin had noted with respect to Cross River Rail:
"An example of a strategic issue surrounded stakeholder expectations of a full-service operation, mismatched with project plans for an
incremental transition. This strategic issue was identified by SNCL as significant risk to successful operation, demanding excessive
concurrent technological, operational, procedural, operating business and customer change."
- SNC Lavalin website CRR profile (now removed)(2).

Minister Bailey, why does the Queensland Government intend to open Cross River Rail with minimal services rather than a
"full-service operation" from day one? Is this lack of "full-service operation" related to the exclusion of particular supporting works
or changes to CRR design in previous iterations of the project? Is it perhaps related to a shortage of trains or drivers to operate services?

RAIL Back On Track calls on Minister Mark Bailey to release information about the ' train service levels, sectorisation, routing and stopping patterns ' for Queensland Rail Citytrain once CRR opens and direct that such information be published on the front page of the Cross River Rail website without any further delay. A Concept of Operations (ConOps) for Cross River Rail has been developed so now lets see the rail service plans. Continuing delays and further obfuscation to the publishing of updated rail service plans will lead to a further lack of confidence in the project outcomes.

References:

1. In regards to commercial in confidence concerns: QR is not commercialised, and does not bid to operate services; the contracts for the various elements of construction of tunnels and track and delivery of the systems have been signed. How exactly is the future operation of the network now considered commercial in confidence or prejudicial to safety? Rail service plans (now outdated) were included in the 2017 business case ( https://buildingqueensland.qld.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Building-Queensland-Business-Case-LR.pdf pages 140 & 141).

2. RAIL Back On Track discussion forum - Re: Cross River Rail Project
https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=2034.msg244736#msg244736

3. The Minerva Plan - a rail strategy for Southeast Queensland
https://backontrack.org/docs/crr/db/MinervaPlan1.0.pdf

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Re: Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2021, 04:33:01 AM »
Discussion --> https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=2034.msg245378#msg245378
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Re: Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2021, 07:26:07 AM »
Possible SEQ Citytrain Network 2025 after Cross River Rail is commissioned

27th April 2021

Government and Cross River Rail Development Authority (CRRDA) have ignored our constant requests for updated information on how the rail network will operate when Cross River Rail (CRR) is commissioned.  RTI applications both administrative and under the legislation, Ministerial requests, requests to CRRDA have all been unsuccessful.  Other jurisdictions for similar scale projects this sort of information IS PUBLICLY available.  So we are forced to do our own.

By working through the rail service plans in the ' 2017 Cross River Rail Business Case (1)' and the 'CRR Requests for project changes (2)' it is possible come up with a possible guide as to how the SEQ rail network will operate in 2025 when CRR is opened.

It is not the best operational plan that could have been achieved in our view. If it is not correct we call on the Queensland Government to do the right thing and publish updated rail service plans please. A failure to do that only confirms that our possible network is correct.

Reasons why this is a poor outcome are outlined in detail in the ' The Minerva Plan - a rail strategy for Southeast Queensland (3)'.

In summary the major concerns are:

1. No public release of the updated rail service plans
2. Not future-proofed. No Allowances for extensions north or south of the tunnel.
3. Outer network issues unresolved.
4. In some respects worse outcome for passengers - Gold Coast services slowed.
5. Incoherent development - 9 project changes already, 5 after contracts signed.
6. Rollingstock and staff are not adequate for any real train frequency gains. Hence the change of the CRR messaging from "More trains more often" to "CRR will transform the way we travel".
7. The Airport / Gold Coast nexus will be broken.  Be interesting to know what Airtrain think of that?
8. The numbers of trains through South Bank and South Brisbane will be significantly reduced.
9. Poor outcome for freight.

Robert Dow
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References:

1. https://buildingqueensland.qld.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Building-Queensland-Business-Case-LR.pdf
2. https://crossriverrail.qld.gov.au/planning-environment/environment-approvals/eis-project-changes/
3. https://backontrack.org/docs/crr/db/MinervaPlan1.0.pdf
4. Discussion thread at RAIL Back On Track forum https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=14240.0

Possible sectors for the map:

Sector 1
Rosewood <> BNE Airport
Springfield Central <> Shorncliffe
Roma St <> Doomben

Sector 2
Cleveland <> Ferny Grove

Sector 3
Varsity Lakes <> Gympie North
Beenleigh <> Kippa-Ring

The suggested pairings are fluid in the sense that in peak trains could connect with lines the same sector of course, but the pairs would be the majority of workings. Pairings don't indicate that all services meet those pairs end to end.  They don't now, and wouldn't in 2025.

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Re: Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2021, 07:26:55 AM »
Discussion --> https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=14240.msg245922#msg245922
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Re: Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2021, 01:16:43 AM »
Sent to all outlets:

CRR Inquiry: Example of feedback received

8th June 2021

Good Morning,

The lack of transparency with respect to the how the rail network will operate when Cross River Rail is commissioned is a serious failure of communication and Government.

I will share some feedback received.  Guess the authorities will ignore this too hey?  Never mind, our Inquiry is proceeding well.  To think that SEQ is hopeful for the Olympics, when the rail network is now so many years behind.  Cross River Rail is shaping up very much as a flawed stranded investment.

https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=14281.msg247113#msg247113

 
Quote
27th May 2021

 Message:

 I would like to reflect the sentiments and concerns raised by the RBOT membership with regards to the outcomes CRR will generate in its current form.

 In particular, I would like to echo a few specific points, some of which I fear may be too late to remedy:

 Southside:

 (1) No additional track capacity from the tunnel portal. This is a critical issue. A 2 platform, 4 track solution is the best approach, rather than the 3 track/3 platform solution currently being implemented. Intermediate stations that will not be used for pax transfers (e.g. Salisbury for future Flagstone services) do not require 3 platforms and bi-directional running of express services is critical for service frequency improvements into the future. A 4 track solution is required, at least as far as Salisbury but preferrably as far as Loganlea (or an alternative 2-track alignment elsewhere).

 (2) Use of the existing legacy alignment. The Beenleigh Line has many tight curves which severely restrict operating speed. A new alignment should be considered into the future, especially if the idea of 'fast/faster rail' is ever to be realised.

 (3) Lack of Cleveland Line duplication. The Cleveland Line will be doing all the heavy lifting for South Brisbane etc, but the far end of the line will gain nothing with the status quo of single track.

 Central section:

 (1) CRR tunnel alignment. Once again, to save $$ there is a steep gradient and at least one tight curve on the line, which will severely restrict operating speed within the CRR tunnel. It's too late to change this, but I have doubts that 'fast/faster rail' could effectively achieve these speeds in the tunnel. Rail projects should be targeting shallow grades/slopes and curve radii of at least 1,200m (preferably more) to support 160kph operation or future fast rail conversion. Continually settling for dodgy curves and steep grades to save money limits the utility of major infrastructure projects.

 (2) Roma Street Station underground. I believe it would be preferable to have two island platforms at Roma Street underground. This would allow for dwells of local trains or originating/terminating platforms for fast/faster rail into the future using the CRR tunnel.

 (3) Roma Street Station master plan. The Busway/Metro should be undergrounded here. To have no plan right now, or now actively be talking about not undergrounding the Busway/Metro is a joke. The wonderful heritage station should be the defining viewpoint/vista of the redesigned station.

 Northside:

 (1) cr%p connection to existing Mains. RBOT members have gone over this time and time again. A cheap and nasty solution which will create track conflicts destroys any utility gains on the Mains north of Bowen Hills.

 (2) Lack of additional track capacity at least as far as Eagle Junction/Airport turnouts. I understand there are major restrictions in the corridor width north of Albion, but the gains being made on this section are almost entirely driven by ETCS. It begs the question - what's the point of all this then for the Northside? No plan for track capacity, and no plan for NWTC/Trouts Rd Corridor. If NWTC won't happen, more track capacity is needed, probably at least as far as Northgate, and it's probably worthwhile to build the fourth track as far as Lawnton junction. As for the southside, you can remove platforms to fit in a fourth track if needed, as many of these stations only require 2 platforms (not 3, certainly not 4).

 (3) Lack of any plan at all for future NWTC connection. If the State Government doesn't plan now, it'll end up as an arterial road. What a joke. Also thinking it would be ok to use the existing FG Line to connect if ever built. Also a joke.

 Overall, it's unacceptable to be building this piece of infrastructure with public funds whilst being totally ignorant of how it needs to tie into other projects to realise positive outcomes. Furthermore, it's also unacceptable to use such an amount of public funds to achieve a cheap and nasty solution, which is where we'll end up at the current rate. In what world is it ok to forge ahead like this with the blinders on and a 'plan to make a plan' for what happens next?

 The idiocy is staggering.

 ====

RAIL Back On Track calls for an operational review of Cross River Rail by qualified independent rail planners.  There are too many recent rail failures in Queensland to let this project be another.

Robert Dow
Administration
admin@backontrack.org
RAIL Back On Track https://backontrack.org

Sent to all outlets:

Citizens Inquiry into Operational Deficiencies with CRR
Update 5th June 2021

Greetings,

RAIL Back On Track has closely followed and supported Cross River Rail since 2009 ( Long thread on Cross River Rail here > https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=2034.0 ).  The initial concept for the project was sound and had strong support of Infrastructure Australia.  Since 2009 the project has undergone changes due to political interferences and bureaucratic bumbling, such that the current version of the project is seriously flawed and is no longer supported by Infrastructure Australia as a priority project.

*Quote
... Infrastructure Australia has not included the current proposal for Cross River Rail as a Project on the Infrastructure Priority List at this time. Infrastructure Australia considers that the benefits of the proposed project, as set out in the business case, are significantly overstated, and that the costs of the project as currently presented are likely to exceed its benefits. ...
End quote

* https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-06/20170727-Cross-River-Rail-Summary.pdf page 1 Summary

We have been seeking the planned operational details for Cross River Rail now for a number of years. RTI (Right To Information) applications both administrative and under the legislation, Ministerial requests, requests to CRRDA have all been unsuccessful.  In other jurisdictions for similar scale projects this sort of information IS PUBLICLY available.  We are now of the view that the details are being withheld because it will confirm the poor outcomes for the current CRR version.  Operational details exist and are contained within the Concept of Operations Document for the project, copies of which are held by DTMR, CRRDA and Queensland Rail.  There is nothing stopping the operational concepts being released from that document, other than the Government's intent to hide them. Have a look at this discussion thread on Metro Tunnel (Melbourne) at RBoT forum > https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=14290.0. This what operational transparency looks like.

So in an attempt to get some transparency and possibly some changed improved outcomes for the project we are conducting our own Inquiry to document the operational weaknesses and suggest what can done to improve the outcomes. It is most regrettable, and a sad indictment on the Queensland State Government and the State Opposition that we must take these steps.

Feedback from citizens is welcome ( see https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=14278.0 ).

We are presently working on possible solutions to fix the northern side and southern side capacity constraints.

We have also identified there will be a rollingstock shortfall that will further restrict any significant service improvements when Cross River Rail is commissioned.
( See > https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=14046.msg247499#msg247499 ).


Best wishes,
Robert

Robert Dow
Administration
RAIL Back On Track

Reference: Citizens Inquiry into Operational Deficiencies with CRR https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?board=103.
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Re: Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2021, 01:17:13 AM »
Discussion --> https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=14294.msg247676#msg247676
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Re: Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2021, 04:24:04 AM »
Call for Queensland Government to resubmit an improved business case for Cross River Rail to Infrastructure Australia

23 June 2021

In 2017 Cross River Rail (CRR) was evaluated by Infrastructure Australia (IA).

The published 2017 CRR business case is available at https://cabinet.qld.gov.au/documents/2017/Aug/CRRBusCase/Attachments/BusinessCase.pdf
It is understood this is not full business case, certain information is redacted.

Infrastructure Australia assessed the business case in 2017 and concluded that "Infrastructure Australia has retained Cross River Rail as a High Priority Initiative on the Infrastructure Priority List. Infrastructure Australia has not included the current proposal for Cross River Rail as a Project on the Infrastructure Priority List at this time."

Infrastructure Australia Statement:

Evaluation of the current business case for Cross River Rail 27 July 2017
https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/listing/media-release/evaluation-current-business-case-cross-river-rail

"Infrastructure Australia has concluded its independent evaluation of the Queensland Government's current business case for Cross River Rail, following a rigorous assessment process.

Chief Executive Philip Davies said: “we have reached the conclusion that the benefits of the proposed project, as set out in the business case, are significantly overstated, and that the costs of the project as currently presented are likely to exceed its benefits.

"Based on a thorough evidence-based analysis of the business case, we have found that the rail patronage growth projections and the estimation of project benefits are unrealistically high.”

"Infrastructure Australia regularly assesses business cases for nationally significant projects as part of our role as an independent advisor to governments. The assumptions that have been used to justify the benefits in the Cross River Rail business case are well in excess of those we have seen for comparable projects.

"For example, the projected rail patronage growth in the business case is 7 times faster than actual growth in Brisbane over the last decade and 2.5 times that of comparable projects in larger Australian cities.

"Infrastructure Australia first raised concerns with the Queensland Government about the business case for Cross River Rail in July 2016. To date, the issues we raised have not been fully addressed”, he said.

Infrastructure Australia has determined that Cross River Rail will remain on the Infrastructure Priority List, however the current proposal cannot be added to the list of projects with an approved business case at this time.

“We would welcome the opportunity to consider a revised business case from the Queensland Government addressing our concerns about the assumptions and projections used in the business case. A revised business case should also quantify potential benefits from land use change and urban renewal expected to result from the proposed project, and potential benefits from better integration of Brisbane's rail and bus networks.

“Infrastructure Australia has long supported the strategic need for improvements to public transport and additional capacity across the Brisbane River into the CBD. However, based on the assumptions and projections underpinning the current business case, the timeframe for this need remains unclear.

“We are committed to working with the Queensland Government to evaluate and prioritise proposals for nationally significant infrastructure.” Mr Davies said.

Evaluation of the business case for Cross River Rail is now available on the Infrastructure Australia website."

====

Project Evaluation Summary
Cross River Rail
Proponent Queensland Government
Evaluation date 19 July 2017


https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-06/20170727-Cross-River-Rail-Summary.pdf

"Summary

Infrastructure Australia has retained Cross River Rail as a High Priority Initiative on the Infrastructure Priority List.
This rating recognises that the emerging problem of rail capacity into and through Brisbane’s CBD is a nationally
significant infrastructure problem which will need to be addressed.

Infrastructure Australia has not included the current proposal for Cross River Rail as a Project on the Infrastructure
Priority List at this time. Infrastructure Australia considers that the benefits of the proposed project, as set out in the
business case, are significantly overstated, and that the costs of the project as currently presented are likely to
exceed its benefits.

Infrastructure Australia would welcome the opportunity to consider a revised business case which addresses our
concerns with benefit estimation, and clarifies the estimated timeframe for the emerging capacity problem. A
revised business case should also quantify potential benefits from land use change and urban renewal expected to
result from the proposed project, and potential benefits from better integration of Brisbane’s rail and bus networks."

====

Comment:

Queensland rules out submitting another Cross River Rail business case 3 July 2019
https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/queensland/queensland-rules-out-submitting-another-cross-river-rail-business-case-20190702-p523fq.html

" ... A Queensland government spokesman said there were no plans to submit a new business case and the government was getting on with the job of building Cross River Rail. ... "

This was a serious mistake.

====

Comment:

In the 2021-22 State Budget Cross River Rail is now costed at $6.888 billion ( was $5.4 billion).
This is an increase of 27.6% ( https://budget.qld.gov.au/files/Budget_2021-22_Capital_Statement.pdf page 6 ).
The failure to resubmit the business case is now proving to be even more costly and is starving funds for other projects.

====

Comment:

The Queensland State Government complains that there is no Federal Funding for Cross River Rail.  Well, the State Government has not put in a revised business case.  On this basis we can assume that Infrastructure Australia's assessment is valid. This is a factor no doubt in the State Governments lack of transparency with respect to the operational details of the rail network when CRR is commissioned.   The project is operationally flawed in our opinion.  If the State Government believes otherwise, show us the evidence!

Infrastructure Australia indicated that  " A revised business case should also quantify potential benefits from land use change and urban renewal expected to result from the proposed project, and potential benefits from better integration of Brisbane’s rail and bus networks. .. "

We think these aspects particularly are a lot clearer now and a much better effort could be made.
The Olympics also offers a further glimmer of hope.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  A couple of billion dollars in Federal funding, will free up funds for shortfalls with Cross River Rail and other projects.  It is not too late.

Robert Dow
Administration
admin@backontrack.org
RAIL Back On Track https://backontrack.org
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Re: Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2021, 04:24:40 AM »
^ discussion --> https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=14294.msg248418#msg248418
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Re: Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2021, 01:53:26 PM »
Cross River Rail Delivery Board - effective?

4th July 2021

The Cross River Rail (CRR) Delivery Board membership is presently six Queensland Government Public Servants.

See Cross River Rail Delivery Board https://governmentbodies.premiers.qld.gov.au/BodyDisplay.aspx?Parameter=858

Until recently the membership details were also available on the CRR website at https://crossriverrail.qld.gov.au/about/our-people/
On the 9th June 2021 we highlighted the fact that details for the CRR Delivery Board as displayed then were out of the date.  The response from CRR was to remove the membership details and then hide the complete details and make available on request only.  Hardly transparent is it?

Appointment of members of the Cross River Rail Delivery Board was announced by Cabinet in March 2017  https://cabinet.qld.gov.au/documents/2017/Mar/ApptCRRD/Appointment%20of%20members%20of%20Cross%20River%20Rail%20Delivery%20Board.docx ).
The role of the Board was described as " ... the Cross River Rail Delivery Board is to ensure the proper, efficient and effective performance of the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority’s functions and decide its objectives, strategies and policies, as well as ensure that it complies with its strategic plan and operational plan under the Financial Accountability Act 2009. The Cross River Rail Delivery Board would also report to the Minister about the performance of the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority’s functions."  Membership then was four public servants and up to a further six independent members. ( https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2016-066#pt.3 ).

On the 26th February 2020 the then Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for Cross River Rail
The Honourable Kate Jones announced by statement ( https://statements.qld.gov.au/statements/89425 ) in part that " ... 1. The Cross River Rail Delivery Authority will report directly to the Minister 2. A Compliance Unit will be established to ensure all commitments made by the contractor are met during the construction of the project 3. The board will be restructured once the current term expires in April this year, in line with the transition from procurement to construction ".

As a result the independent members of the Board were dismissed, and the Board reformed with the six public servants.

Membership of the Board in July 2020 was:

Mr Damien Walker, Director-General, Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation (Chair)
Mr Dave Stewart, Director-General, Department of the Premier and Cabinet
Ms Rachel Hunter, Under Treasurer, Queensland Treasury
Mr Neil Scales OBE, Director-General, Department of Transport and Main Roads
Ms Liza Carroll, Director-General, Department of Housing and Public Works
Dr Sarah Pearson, Deputy Director-General, Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation
Mr Matthew Longland, Deputy Director-General, Department of Transport and Main Roads

We have concerns that the Cross River Rail Board is no longer independent in our opinion, and is limited in its ability to act.

The Department of the Premier and Cabinet Roles and responsibilities state in part ( https://www.premiers.qld.gov.au/publications/categories/policies-and-codes/handbooks/welcome-aboard/public-employee-roles/responsibilities.aspx ) where public service employees are members of Government Boards:

*** " When appointed to a Government Board in an official capacity, the public service employee should be aware of the government's policy imperatives and should not present a personal opinion or position that is contrary to either the Minister's directives or the government's policy agenda. " ***

====

RAIL Back On Track Members are also concerned that the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority (CRRDA) is not subject to the Right To Information Act 2009 except for very limited community service obligations.

From https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2009-013#sch.2

Reprint current from 1 April 21 to date accessed (4 July 2021 4.35am).

Schedule 2

Entities to which this Act does not apply:

"the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority established under the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority Act 2016, section 8, in relation to its functions, except so far as they relate to community service obligations under that Act"

====

We are therefore rightly concerned that activities of the CRRDA are not subject to proper public scrutiny.  We call on all political parties to consider amending legislation to remove CRRDA from Schedule 2 of the RTI legislation and make it subject to proper scrutiny, particularly for rail network operational details and how it impacts on citizens.

Consideration should also be given to replace the board with members, that are in our opinion, seen to be independent of the Government of the day, and have some operational rail and planning experience and qualifications. The changes to the Board to just a handful of token public servants to make up the board, who are effectively muzzled and are not independent in any sense is very concerning.

There has been a recent history of major problems with rail and rail related projects in SEQ, expensive to fix.

The last thing we need is another one which appears to be case with CRR because of the non-transparency with the operational details of the rail network when CRR is commissioned. There are clearly issues with CRR.  There is a vacuum when it comes to operational details, the public relations spin is all based on the construction activities etc.  which is relevant, but is only part of the story. 

There is no real mechanism for effective public scrutiny of CRR or its activities.

Robert Dow
Administration
admin@backontrack.org
RAIL Back On Track https://backontrack.org

References:

Cross River Rail Delivery Authority Act 2016
https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2016-066
Part 3 Cross River Rail Delivery Board https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2016-066#pt.3

====

Cross River Rail Delivery Authority Act 2016 — Explanatory Note
https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/bill.first.exp/bill-2016-098
PDF https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/bill.first.exp/bill-2016-098 Part 3 Board
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Re: Cross River Rail Media Updates
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2021, 01:53:59 PM »
^ discussion > https://railbotforum.org/mbs/index.php?topic=14329.0
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