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Online 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

Robert Dow
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« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 04:30:27 AM by ozbob »
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Online 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

Robert Dow
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« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 04:56:31 AM by ozbob »
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Online 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:

Robert Dow
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Online 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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Online 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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