Is it impolite to say “thanks but no thanks” to an order of 75 new trains placed three years ago? Because it looks like Queensland doesn’t really want them anymore.
The trains started arriving from India in 2015, and Queensland already has 13 of them. But Deputy Premier and Transport Minister Jackie Trad told the ABC that the state government will not accept any more trains after finding design flaws and operational issues. Tests uncovered problems with brakes, air-conditioning, ventilation and driver visibility.
"There will be no further deliveries until issues identified by Queensland Rail engineers have been addressed,” Trad said of the $4.4 billion deal. This will involve negotiations with the manufacturers about the cost and feasibility of fixing the issues.
What will it mean for Brisbane commuters? Services are already down because of driver shortages and back-to-back Adele concerts. The driver debacle of the past few months saw a number of Queensland Rail (QR) staff resign, including boss Helen Gluer last year. Former transport minister Stirling Hinchliffe resigned last month. Another concern is there won’t be enough trains for the extra services necessary on the Gold Coast line for the Commonwealth Games next year.
A spokesperson from QR told the ABC “there is no anticipated impact to training schedules or the timetable at this stage”.
The whole fleet of new trains is supposed to be running from late 2018, but don’t hold your breath.