|Founded||31 July 1865|
|Kat Stapleton (CEO)|
|Revenue||$1,881 million (2016/17)|
|$325 million (2016/17)|
|$101 million (2016/17)|
Number of employees
|6,520 (June 2017)|
Queensland Rail (QR) is a railway operator in Queensland, Australia. Owned by the Queensland Government, it operates local and long-distance passenger services, as well as owning and maintaining approximately 6,600 kilometres of track and related infrastructure.
QR was also responsible for all Queensland freight services, and from 2002 operated interstate services under the Australian Railroad Group, Interail and QR National brands. These were all spun out into a separate entity in July 2010, and later privatised as Aurizon.
Main article: Construction of Queensland railways
Queensland Railways was the first operator in the world to adopt narrow gauge (in this case 1,067 mm or 3 ft 6 in) for a main line, and this remains the systemwide gauge within Queensland today.
The colony of Queensland separated from New South Wales in 1859, and the new government was keen to facilitate development and immigration. Improved transport to the fertile Darling Downs region situated west of Toowoomba was seen as a priority. As adequate river transport was already established between the capital Brisbane and the then separate settlement of Ipswich, the railway commenced from the latter locality and the initial section, built over relatively flat, easy country opened to Bigge's Camp, at the eastern base of the Little Liverpool Range, on 31 July 1865. Called the Main Line, the only significant engineering work on that section was the bridge over the Bremer River to North Ipswich.
Tunneling excavation through the Little Liverpool Range delayed the opening of the next section to Gatton by 10 months, but the line was opened to Toowoomba in 1867, the ascent of the Main Range being the reason for the adoption of narrow gauge.
Built by the Queensland Government to the unusual (for the time) gauge of 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in), the line largely followed the alignment surveyed by a private company, the Moreton Bay Tramway Company, which had proposed to build a 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge horse-drawn tramway but had been unable to raise funds to do so beyond an initial start on earthworks.
The adoption of narrow gauge was controversial at the time, and was largely predicated by the government's desire for the fastest possible construction timeframe at least cost. This resulted in adoption of sharper curves and a lower axle load than was considered possible using standard gauge, and an assessment at the time put the cost of a narrow gauge line from Ipswich to Toowoomba at 25% of the cost of a standard gauge line. In a colony with a non-indigenous population of 30,000 when the decision was made, it is understandable.
The network evolved as a series of isolated networks. It wasn't until the completion of the North Coast line in December 1924 that all were joined. The exception was the Normanton to Croydon line which always remained isolated. At its peak in 1932, the network totaled 10,500 kilometres.
Changing transport patterns resulted in the closure of many development branch lines from 1948 onwards, but at the same time the main lines were upgraded to provide contemporary services, and from the 1970s an extensive network of new lines was developed, particularly to service export coal mines.
Main article: Rail electrification in Queensland
Commencing in November 1979, the Brisbane suburban network was electrified.
In 1978, discussions were commenced on possible electrification of the Blackwater and Goonyella coal networks. This was due to an expected increase in coal traffic across the networks, ageing diesel-electric locomotive fleet and the increase in diesel fuel costs. By early 1983, a decision had been made to electrify the networks and by early 1984, contracts were already starting to be let for the new locomotives and other works for the project. The decision was made to electrify with the 25 kV AC railway electrification system as used on the Brisbane suburban network. This would allow future connection of the Brisbane network with the coal networks via the North Coast line.
The project was to be carried out in four stages:
In September 1999, Queensland Rail was rebranded as QR. In March 2002, Queensland Rail purchased Northern Rivers Railroad and rebranded it Interail, fulfilling a long-held ambition of expanding beyond its state borders.
In March 2003, Queensland Rail entered the Hunter Valley coal market when Interail commenced a contract from Duralie Colliery to Stratford Mine. Another coal contract was won in late 2003 for the haulage of coal from Newstan Colliery, Fassifern to Vales Point Power Station. In 2004, Interail began running Brisbane to Melbourne and Sydney to Melbourne intermodal services. In June 2005, Queensland Rail acquired the CRT Group.
In June 2006, the Western Australian business of the Australian Railroad Group was purchased.
Main article: Public float of QR National
In June 2009, the Queensland Government announced the privatisation of Queensland Rail's freight business. This resulted in Queensland Rail's freight assets being transferred to QR National (now Aurizon) from 1 July 2010.
In April 2013, the Queensland Parliament passed the Queensland Rail Transit Authority Bill 2013 that restructured Queensland Rail. The explanatory notes published for the bill outlined that the existing Queensland Rail Limited entity would remain although no longer be a government-owned corporation and that entity would become a subsidiary of a new Queensland Rail Transit Authority (QRTA), in effect creating a Queensland Rail group. Under the revised arrangements Queensland Rail Limited retained assets and liabilities and staff were transferred to the QRTA. As a result of transferring the staff to the QRTA, the government moved those employees from the federal industrial relations system to the state based industrial relations system, giving the state more control over industrial arrangements. In November 2013, five labor unions commenced legal proceedings in the High Court of Australia alleging that the QRTA was subject to the federal industrial jurisdiction rather than the state system. In April 2015, the court ruled the QRTA was subject to the Fair Work Act 2009 and the federal industrial relations jurisdiction.
The Commissioners of the Queensland Railways were:
Note: from 29 April 1869 to 15 July 1870, the Secretary for Public Works was appointed Commissioner for Railways.
Note: from 29 July 1889 a Board of three Commissioners was appointed to reduce political influence. This was reduced back to a single Commissioner in September 1895.
Note: from 1 July 1991 the position of Commissioner for Railways ceased to exist, replaced by a Chief Executive Officer, reporting to a board of Directors.
|Vincent John O'Rourke||July 1991 – December 2000|
|Bob Scheuber||December 2000 – April 2007|
|Stephen Cantwell||April 2007 – November 2007|
|Lance Hockridge||November 2007 – 30 June 2010|
|Paul Scurrah||1 July 2010 – 2 December 2011||From formation of revised Queensland Rail entity following Public float of QR National. Previously Executive General Manager of QR Passenger subsidiary.|
|James Benstead||December 2011 – August 2013|
|Glen Dawe||August 2013– January 2014|
|Helen Gluer||3 April 2014 – 27 October 2016|
|Neil Scales||October 2016 – March 2017|
|Nick Easy||March 2017 – December 2021|
|Kat Stapleton||April 2022 – present |
Main article: Queensland Rail City network
QR operates urban and interurban rail and bus services throughout South East Queensland as part of the TransLink network. Rail services operate on twelve lines; Beenleigh, Caboolture, Cleveland, Doomben, Exhibition, Ferny Grove, Gold Coast, Ipswich-Rosewood, Redcliffe Peninsula, Shorncliffe, Springfield and Sunshine Coast. QR operate these with the Electric Multiple Units (EMU), Suburban Multiple Units (SMU), Interurban Multiple Units (IMU), InterCity Express (ICE) and New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) class electric multiple units.
Due to low patronage, the Corinda to Yeerongpilly and Doomben to Pinkenba lines have had their services replaced by buses, while due to track capacity constraints, services on the Sunshine Coast between Caboolture and Nambour are supplemented by a bus service. However, track duplication is currently underway, to improve the efficiency of the Sunshine Coast Line.
See also: Railways in South East Queensland
Queensland Rail operate these long-range passenger rail services
Connecting road coach services are operated.
Annual patronage for these services in 2011/12 was 795,000. In 2007/08, the subsidy for the Brisbane-Cairns route was $130 million, or $900 per passenger. In 2001/02 it was $270 million.
Queensland Rail also operate these tourist trains:
Queensland Rail operated many named trains including:
QR sourced steam locomotives from many manufacturers including Armstrong Whitworth, Avonside Engine Company, Beyer, Peacock & Company, Dübs & Co, Kitson & Co, Nasmyth, Wilson & Co, Neilson and Company, North British Locomotive Company, Vulcan Foundry and Yorkshire Engine Company all of the United Kingdom, Baldwin Locomotive Works of the United States, as well as Australian manufacturers Clyde Engineering, Evans, Anderson, Phelan & Co, Islington Railway Workshops, Newport Workshops, Phoenix Engine Company, Toowoomba Foundry and Walkers Limited. It also built some in-house at North Ipswich Railway Workshops.
Dieselisation commenced in 1952 with early purchases being imported from GE Transportation and English Electric, before standardising on locally made products from A Goninan & Co, Clyde Engineering, English Electric and Walkers Limited. Electric locomotives were purchased from Clyde Engineering, Walkers Limited and Siemens. Electric multiple units have been purchased from Walkers Limited, Downer Rail and Bombardier Transportation, the latter of two which are still present in Queensland to this day.
With the closure of many rural branch lines in the 1990s there was excess motive power on the QR and it was chosen to standardise by using Clyde based diesel locomotives. Most, if not all of the English Electric locomotives were withdrawn by 2000.
In June 2021 QR announced that it had shortlisted 3 applicants (Alstom, CAF and Downer Rail) to manufacture 20 (later expanded to 65) new electric multiple units. These will allow for expansion of the fleet and retiring of the remaining EMU and ICE units.
|Class||Image (if applicable)||Type||Top speed (km/h)||Built||Number of units||Routes operated||Notes|
|City network fleet|
|EMU||Electric multiple unit||100||1979–1986||28 (August 2022)||City network (except Interurban services - Sunshine Coast, Airport, Gold Coast)||Currently being progressively retired since July 2018. Most of the fleet (including units 01-29, 30, 31 and 60–88) has been withdrawn.|
|SMU200||Electric multiple unit||100||1994–1995||12||City network (except Interurban services)||Units numbered 201-212|
|IMU100||Electric multiple unit||140||1996–1997||10||City network||Units numbered 101-110|
|SMU220||Electric multiple unit||100||1999–2001||30||City network (except Interurban services)||Units numbered 221-250|
|IMU120||Electric multiple unit||140||2001||4||City network||Units numbered 121-124|
|IMU160||Electric multiple unit||130||2006–2011||28||City network||Units numbered 161-188|
|SMU260||Electric multiple unit||130||2008–2011||36||City network||Units numbered 261-296|
|NGR700||Electric multiple unit||140||2015–2019||75||City network (except Ferny Grove, Beenleigh & Rosewood)||Units numbered 701 - 775|
|Former City Network fleet|
|ICE||Electric multiple unit||120||1988–1989||0 (November 2021)||City network||As of November 2021, all ICE Units have been retired from the City Network Fleet. They previously operated between Roma Street and Gympie North stations. It is not yet known what will happen to these units after retirement.|
|Electric Tilt Train||Tilting electric multiple unit||160||1997||2||North Coast line (as far as Rockhampton)|
|Diesel Tilt Train||Tilting diesel multiple unit||160||2003–2014||3||North Coast line|
|1720 class||Diesel locomotive||100||1966–1970||11 Operational
|Kuranda Scenic Railway, Traveltrain services and infrastructure trains.||The most common use for the 1720 Class is as secondary motive power on the Spirit of the Outback and the Westlander as well as the main motive power on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, the locomotives also see regular use on Infrastructure Trains.
QR owned locomotives include 1724, 1725, 1732, 1734*, 1738, 1744*, 1746, 1751 (stored)*, 1752, 1754 (stored), 1764*, 1771* and 1774*
*Locomotives in Kuranda Scenic Railway livery
|2150 class||Diesel locomotive||100||1978–1979||1 Operational
|Traveltrain services and infrastructure trains.||QR owned locomotives include 2152 (stored), 2158 and 2163 (stored).|
|2170 class||Diesel locomotive||100||1982–1984||1||Traveltrain services and infrastructure trains.||2195A is the only QR owned 2170 class.|
|2400 class||Diesel locomotive||100||1977–1978||4 Operational
|Traveltrain services and infrastructure trains.||QR owned locomotives include 2410, 2411, 2413 (stored), 2414 and 2415.|
|2470 class||Diesel locomotive||100||1980–1983||5 Operational
|Traveltrain services and infrastructure trains.||QR owned locomotives include 2471 (stored), 2472, 2473, 2474, 2485H and 2490H.|
|Tourist train fleet|
|DL class||Diesel locomotive||50||1961||1||Gulflander||DL4 based at Normanton, used as backup for the Gulflander's RM 93. Underwent major maintenance at North Ipswich Railway Workshops in 2019.|
|45 hp rail motor||Railmotor||40||1931||1||Gulflander||RM60 based at Normanton, used for charters.|
|102 hp rail motor||Railmotor||50||1950||1||Gulflander||RM93 based at Normanton, used for weekly Gulflander service. RM93 was converted to the General Manager's Inspection Car for the Central Division in 1972. It was then modified back to full railmotor seating capacity in 1981, and arrived in Normanton in 1982.|
|1800 class||Railmotor (trailers)||50||1952–1954||2||Gulflander||TP1809 is used on the Gulflander tourist railway as a trailer car. TP1811 was originally designated as RM1811, meaning it was a power car. It was formerly used as the commissioner's car and still has its upgraded suspension to this day.|
|A10 class||Steam locomotive||40||1865–1866||2||No. 6 operational, Australia's oldest operational steam locomotive. Usually placed on display at the Workshops Rail Museum when not required for special trains. No. 3 lasted in service until 1914, and has been retained for preservation and displayed at several locations; it is currently being restored to operation at the North Ipswich Railway Workshops.|
|B13 class||Steam locomotive||50||1883–1895||1||No. 48 located in a storage shed at the North Ipswich Railway Workshops and awaits removal of boiler lagging and repainting before it can be publicly displayed.|
|B15 class||Steam locomotive||65||1889–1899||1||No. 290 located in a storage shed at the North Ipswich Railway Workshops and is awaiting removal of boiler lagging and repainting before it can be publicly displayed.|
|PB15 class||Steam locomotive||65||1899–1926||2||No. 732 stored. No. 444 now displayed at the entrance to the Workshops Rail Museum.|
|B13 1/2 class||Steam locomotive||50||1904–1905||1||No. 398 known as 'Pompey' is stored in bogie shop after being displayed outside at the Workshops Rail Museum.|
|C17 class||Steam locomotive||80||1920–1953||3||No. 974 operational (currently on hire to Mary Valley Rattler). No. 1000 being restored to working order. Unfortunately this effort had apparently stalled due to the need for a new welded boiler (similar to 971/974's). No. 2 located in a storage shed at the North Ipswich Railway Workshops awaiting removal of boiler lagging and repainting before it can be publicly displayed.|
|C19 class||Steam locomotive||80||1922–1935||1||No. 700 located in a storage shed at the North Ipswich Railway Workshops awaiting removal of boiler lagging and repainting before it can be publicly displayed.|
|B18¼ class||Steam locomotive||80||1926–1947||1||No. 771 located in a storage shed at the North Ipswich Railway Workshops awaiting removal of boiler lagging and repainting before it can be publicly displayed.|
|DL class||Diesel locomotive||50||1939||1||On display at the North Ipswich Railway Workshops. Queensland's first diesel locomotive. Currently not operational.|
|AC16 class||Steam locomotive||80||1943||1||No. 221A operational. (USATC S118 Class)|
|DD17 class||Steam locomotive||80||1948–1952||1||No. 1051 is still awaiting reassembly and repainting after undertaking heavy overhaul including brakes, a welded boiler and cabin.|
|Beyer-Garratt||Steam locomotive||80||1950–1951||1||No. 1009 on loan to the adjacent Workshops Rail Museum. As a permanent exhibition in the museum. Previous restoration attempts aborted due to insufficient parts, tools, workers and money.|
|BB18¼ class||Steam locomotive||80||1950–1958||2||No. 1079 operational. No. 1089 undergoing motion overhaul.|
|1150 class||Diesel locomotive||80||1952||1||1159 stored pending restoration.|
|1400 class||Diesel locomotive||80||1955||1||1407 sold to Mackay Steam Railway.|
|1170 class||Diesel locomotive||80||1956||1||1170 stored pending restoration.|
|1900 class||Railmotor||80||1956||1||1901 operational, also used as inspection and hired tourist vehicles.|
|2000 class||Railmotor||80||1956–1971||6||2034 and 2036 operational but out of use, formerly used as inspection and hired tourist vehicles. 2057 stored due to a lack of engine despite some new internal modifications; including Disabled Access and Toilet facilities. 2005, 2024 and 2031 are currently stored.|
|1450 class||Diesel locomotive||80||1957||3||1450, 1455 and 1459 sold to Mackay Steam Railway.|
|1200 class||Diesel locomotive||80||1953-1954||1||1200 stored pending restoration.|
|1250 class||Diesel locomotive||80||1959||2||1262 on display at Workshops Rail Museum.
1263 donated by ARHS(QLD). Stored in Townsville pending transport.
|SX carriages||Passenger car||80||1961–1962||7||City network (Formerly)||Set 45 formed into one 7-car set. Currently stored awaiting underframe work. A second set is also on site.
|1600 class||Diesel locomotive||80||1962||1||1603 relocated to Central Queensland University Centre for Railway Engineering|
|1700 class||Diesel locomotive||80||1963||1||1710's cab used as a driving simulator at the Workshops Rail Museum.|
|1460 class||Diesel locomotive||80||1964||1||1461 awaiting completion of mechanical restoration.|
|1270 class||Diesel locomotive||80||1964||2||1270 stored pending restoration. 1281 is on display, in good mechanical condition, at the Workshops Rail Museum.|
|DH class||Diesel locomotive||50||1966||2||DH2 disassembled from previous restoration attempt. DH71 stored. Michael Gitsham attempted to steal this locomotive in 2013.|
|1620 class||Diesel locomotive||80||1967||3||1620 stored indefinitely after major failure requiring rewiring and engine work.
1650 donated by ARHS(QLD). Stored in good condition after partial restoration initiated by the previous custodian.
1651 donated by ARHS(QLD). Stored pending restoration.
|Vice-Regal Car||80||1903||1||Car 445 is a special saloon retained for use by the Governor of Queensland and is still considered a working item of rollingstock in the QR fleet, however it is on permanent loan to Workshops Rail Museum.|
1 This table only includes locomotives owned by Queensland Rail. QR also hires locomotives from Aurizon as required.
From its inception, QR's primary workshops were the North Ipswich Railway Workshops. It was replaced by the Redbank Railway Workshops in the 1960s.
Main article: Railway accidents in Queensland
Notable incidents involving Queensland Rail include:
In December 2014 the Queensland Audit Office published a report about QR's Sunlander 14 project. The Sunlander 14 project had a scope to acquire a total of 25 carriages to replace The Sunlander passenger train with a new Diesel Tilt Train, purchase additional luxury cars, for the two existing Diesel Tilt Trains and refurbish their existing carriages.
The project was initially costed at $195 million and allowed for the operation of five services a week. However, costs had risen by 2012, and the Queensland Auditor-General reported that the eventual cost would be from $358 to $404 million, because QR had failed to take into account the requirement for upgraded maintenance facilities, as well as en route provisioning. The Auditor-General also believed, due to issues with the business case that QR had overestimated how popular the new service would be, and had a mistaken belief that the 'luxury' component of the train would attract more high-paying customers.
In 2013 the project was scaled back, with the train length being reduced to nine cars by removing the luxury sleepers and restaurant cars. That resulted in a revised project cost of $204 million. The Auditor-General's report in particular highlighted that due to the fixed-price construction contract the cost per train car increased and that opportunities were missed to pursue broader long distance train fleet renewal.
The Redcliffe Peninsula railway line opened on 4 October 2016 and created a revised timetable that resulted in a 9% increase in services across the network. Queensland Rail did not have sufficient traincrew to operate the increased services. On 21 October a substantial interruption of service occurred involving the cancellation without notice of 167 services (12% of the scheduled services for the day) due to compulsory rest periods required for the train crew (a break of at least 32 hours required when a crew member has worked 11 consecutive days or 14 consecutive shifts).
Following the service interruptions the head of the train service delivery unit was stood down and an interim timetable implemented that reversed the increase in services and demand for traincrew. Several weeks after the service interruptions Queensland Rail CEO Helen Gluer announced her resignation from the company, along with chairman Michael Klug. It was announced on 27 October 2016, that the Director-General of the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Neil Scales, would replace Helen Gluer and that an inquiry known as the Queensland Rail Train Crewing Practices Investigation would be led by Phillip Strachan into the events.
On 25 December 2016 another substantial service cancellation event occurred due to a lack of available traincrew to operate the services. On that day 261 services, or 36% of scheduled services did not operate. The underlying reason for the cancellations was a lack of available drivers to operate services. Queensland Rail's Chief Operating Officer resigned several days later.
The inquiry into Queensland Rail's train crewing conducted by Phillip Strachan was completed in February 2017. The report made a number of findings and provided 36 recommendations that the Queensland Government accepted. The findings included that Queensland Rail had experienced a 9% increase in demand for traincrew due to the revised timetable while also experiencing a 7% decrease in traincrew productivity as a result of revised industrial arrangements, had intentionally operated for a number of years with an under-supply of traincrew and utilised the shortfall to provide paid overtime opportunities, had reduced traincrew intake during 2014-15 in the lead-up to the opening of the new line, had restrictions on external recruitment and had a longer driver training period than like organisations. The report also highlighted unclear governance arrangements and a short term focus within the operations section that relied on intuition rather than accurate forecasting and a reluctance to share bad news as contributing factors. The recommendations from the report centered around demand management, supply management, people and process management and governance arrangements.
Following the completion of the Strachan inquiry Philip Strachan was appointed as Chair of the Queensland Rail Board replacing Acting Chair Nicole Hollows, who had been appointed following the resignation Michael Klug. A Citytrain Response Unit was established within the Department of Transport and Main Roads to oversee the implementation of the recommendations from the Strachan inquiry. The Citytrain Response Unit subsequently commissioned a whole of business review into the organisation that was conducted by Deutsche Bahn and delivered in July 2017 and published reports tracking the progress of the implementation of the recommendations. Executive bonus payments were also suspended for 2017.
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