Passenger Rail, Rail Supply, Rolling stock & Rail Vehicle Design

Gold Coast and Airport lines first to receive NGR trains this year

The Gold Coast line and the Airport line are to be the first lines on which passengers will be able to use the New Generation Rollingstock trains, Queensland Rail has just announced.

According to Nick Easy, Queensland Rail’s CEO, the trains will be allocated to the two lines to provide better customer service and meet higher patronage demand during the 2018 Commonwealth games.

“Visitors from every corner of the globe will be coming to the Gold Coast for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and we plan to have our newest, most advanced train fleet operational to serve them,” Mr Easy said.

Controversy over the new fleet came to a peak in March this year when the Labor government put their order on hold after receiving the first 15 trains, reportedly due to operational and design issues which had been apparent since on-track testing last year.

Several months ago, Qtectic, the Bombardier-led consortium that has been building the new fleet, said that the braking issues identified on the first trains had been resolved, and that other issues that had arisen through testing were well on their way to being dealt with.

One the design features of the NGR trains that has reportedly caused some delay is the placement of the guard compartment, which, like Sydney’s trains, is located in the last carriage, unlike current Queensland trains that feature the compartment in the middle carriage.

Mr Easy said that the design change meant that boarding assistance on the new trains would therefore be different, and had been developed after consultation with stakeholders and the disability sector to make sure the proper support would be provided.

“The assisted boarding point will remain in the middle of the platform, so the key change as part of the operating model is that station staff, rather than the guard, will provide assistance to customers when boarding the NGR train,” Mr Easy said.

“To support this change, stations on the Gold Coast and Airport lines will be staffed by customer service employees from first service to last service, which also supports our commitment to becoming a customer-first organisation.”

Twenty-one additional station roles will be added the existing station staff of 650, allowing amenities such as ticket windows and toilets to be open for significantly longer periods.

“Our customers’ safety and satisfaction are our highest priorities and I am confident that this change will deliver improvements in both of those areas,” Easy said.

The government has remained vague in its pronouncements for the rollout date for the first NGR trains, having previously only emphasised that it expected the trains to be running by the time of the Commonwealth Games in April next year.

Easy said that while work continued in preparing both the new trains and the network, he expected the NGR would be serving passengers at some point later this year.