MP lashes government over Cleveland rail line service cuts

CLEVELAND STATION: Cleveland railway line has lost more services than any other.
CLEVELAND STATION: Cleveland railway line has lost more services than any other.

THE Cleveland railway line has been the second hardest hit by the cancellation of train services brought on by a lack of drivers.

Cleveland MP Mark Robinson asked Transport Minister Jackie Trad in Parliament how many services had been cancelled on the line between October and the end of February.

Ms Trad released figures, showing only the Caboolture line was worse hit.

"The Palaszczuk Government's own data shows that Redland City commuters on the Cleveland line have been hit hard by savage cuts to services," Dr Robinson said.

"...The Cleveland line scored second last out of 12 rail lines, meaning Labor has shamefully deserted the public transport users of Cleveland. 

"The cuts to the number of services on the Cleveland line because the Government forgot to plan for train drivers has been followed up by cuts to express services at peak times and even more cuts and poor connections with buses over Easter.’’

Dr Robinson said it was unacceptable that families risked being left at stations by a lack of services.

Ms Trad said the Government had set up the Citytrain Response Unit to work with Queensland Rail and the department.

It would oversee the implementation of all 36 recommendations contained in the Queensland Rail train crewing practices commission of inquiry.

Ms Trad said a significant transformation program had been mobilised.

It would restore Citytrain services to a sustainable level and regain customer confidence.

It would drive cultural change in Queensland Rail and deliver a more integrated public transport structure.

A lack of train drivers to fill shifts jolted the rail network and led to the resignation of former transport minister Stirling Hinchliffe in February.

He resigned after the damning inquiry report found complacency, an unwieldy management structure and a reluctance to share bad news led to the crisis.

Problems have been magnified since, with $4.4 billion worth of trains ordered by the previous LNP government from India running into a raft of problems which has slowed them being put into service.

Ms Trad has blamed the LNP, saying the trains were bought at half price and Queensland had got what it paid for.

Dr Robinson said loss of services was the government’s fault.

“Jackie Trad needs to be open and accountable with commuters about the extent of Labor’s rail fail,’’ he said.

“...Each month 1800 services have been cut from the timetable because of an inexperienced government controlled by unions.’’

He said Ms Trad should restore all Cleveland line services, starting with the well-patronised afternoon peak express service from the city.