Queensland Rail says the system installed on the Moreton Bay Rail Link can’t handle the number of signals required at the intersection between the new and existing lines.
State transport minister Stirling Hinchliffe launched an inquiry on June 3 after he announced earlier last week that the Moreton Bay project would be delayed beyond its mid-2016 targeted opening date.
Hinchliffe said the opening had to be pushed back after Queensland Rail found “significant” issues with the line’s signalling system.
A spokesperson from Queensland Rail told Rail Express this week that the system simply couldn’t handle the task at hand.
“The testing process has determined the signalling system currently installed does not meet the operational and safety standards found across the rest of the network,” a spokesperson said on Tuesday.
“It has a limitation of only being able to manage 15 signals at one time and the current requirement is 26.
“The system is simply not powerful enough to adequately run a signalling system at such a complicated and critical juncture as Petrie.”
The 12.6km Moreton Bay Rail Link begins at Petrie railway station, on Queensland Rail’s North Coast line, extends to the east, via new stations at Kallangur, Murrumba Downs, Mango Hill, Mango Hill East, Rothwell, before reaching its terminus at Kippa-Ring.
The $650 million contract to build the link was won by the Trackstar consortium in August 2013. Trackstar was led by Thiess, and included subcontractors Aurecon, AECOM, HASSELL and Golder Associates.
The full $988 million required for the project came jointly from the Commonwealth, the Queensland Government, and the Moreton Bay Regional Council.
Queensland Rail has ruled out opening the line until the signalling system meets its standards.
“Safety is our top priority,” the spokesperson told Rail Express.
“Queensland Rail has participated in operational readiness exercises since the Moreton Bay Rail line was electrified at the start of the year, undertaking comprehensive testing of all aspects of the system, including signalling.
“Queensland Rail are urgently working to resolve the signalling issues and will take the lead in finalising the commercial and technical arrangements required to get the signalling system up to standard, online and tested.
“This is critical in order to ensure the Moreton Bay Rail line can deliver an efficient, safe and reliable service for its passengers.”