Passenger Rail, Workforce, Certification & Training

Rostering issues to blame for QR Christmas Day cancellations

An overambitious schedule and an over-reliance on overtime combined to lead to the cancellation of 235 services on Queensland Rail on Christmas Day, a newly-released report has shown.

Queensland transport minister Stirling Hinchliffe made the report public on January 5, after it was sent to him by QR on January 3.

Hinchliffe said he made the choice to make the report public because he said the public deserved to know why services were cancelled.

“I know the cancellation of 235 services by Queensland Rail on Christmas Day of all days inconvenienced many passengers and frankly they have a right to know why,” Hinchliffe said.

“That’s why I’m making the report public, in full, warts-and-all, for Queenslanders to see and make their own assessment,” he said.

The report found “constrained driver availability, higher than anticipated unavailability of drivers on RDOs, limited rostering flexibility [and] higher frequency of services than usually offered on Christmas Day” led to the cancellations.

“This report, in my opinion, also provides an insight into some of the wider issues at play at Queensland Rail that have festered for a number of years and are within the scope of the Strachan Commission of Inquiry investigation,” Hinchliffe said.

The Strachan inquiry has been underway since late last year, after the operator was unable to cope with the additional services expected to be delivered by the new Redcliffe Peninsula line.

The staffing crisis in October last year led to the resignation of QR chief executive Helen Gluer and chairman Michael Klug.