AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Pacific National shoves foot in Queensland rail door

<p>Rail competition in Queensland finally moved from theory to practice with the news that Toll Holdings’ QRX business will abandon QR in favour of Pacific National.</p> <p>QRX (Queensland Railfast Express) represents about 50% of QR’s container business on its main Brisbane-Townsville-Cairns line and it means the loss of about $32m in revenue.</p> <p>QR will shed some 700 jobs in the wake of QRX’s decision.</p> <p>Toll’s decision to "keep the business in the family" did not come as a great surprise to QR or the rest of the industry, and the state-owned operator is attempting to put on a bright face.</p> <p>QR said it will consider regauging some of the rollingstock freed up by the loss of the business to compete for more container services on interstate lines.</p> <p>QR is at present engaged in consultations with staff about the job cuts, which it insists will be achieved through voluntary redundancy.</p> <p>The organisation’s chief executive, Bob Scheuber, is also pushing the line that competition cuts both ways.</p> <p>"Remember that until now, QR has had 100% of the market in Queensland," Mr Scheuber said.</p> <p>"We already know that there is only one way that the figure can go."</p> <p>The service is a coup for Pacific National’s narrow gauge ambitions in Queensland.</p> <p>It has 13 locomotives under construction at Maryborough to be ready to start the service early next year.</p> <p>However, an industry source has questioned whether Pacific National will be able to make any money from an already efficient service that barely breaks even.</p> <br />