Trains force Ipswich shopping centre to shut down 111 times
THE RAILWAY Workshops is not the same hive of employment it was during its prime, however a recent increase in activity has not gone unnoticed.
Management of Riverlink Shopping Centre has been seeking come clarity regarding future plans for the Workshops after counting a significant increase in costs and lost business as a result of trains passing along the railway line that bisects the shopping centre.
The positioning of the old railway line that runs from the Workshops to Ipswich CBD via Riverlink means that every time a train needs to use the line, special safety measures are put in place to ensure public safety.
Riverlink spokesman Peter Chapman said that since January this year, use of the railway line has resulted in the shopping centre closing 111 times.
That's compared to 80 times in the previous Jan-Sept period in 2016.
Mr Chapman said the shopping centre incurred a cost of about $1500 each time the track was used and the centre had to shut down.
While not complaining about the fact that The Workshops seemed to be more productive this year, Mr Chapman said the shopping centre was seeking some confirmation of Queensland Rail's future plans.
"We are in favour of employment wherever it is," Mr Chapman said.
"But we are in the dark as to what is happening and we are seeking some clarity from QR.
"We were told some years ago that it was a case of a very small workforce carrying on at the Workshops until such time as they all reached retirement."
Queensland Rail CEO Nick Easy said 31 full-time workers were employed in the maintenance, repair and upgrade of the heritage fleet at the Workshops.
The workforce includes blacksmiths, boilermakers and carriage builders.
Mr Easy said Riverlink's access was built over the existing train line and that it was the shopping centre's decision to proceed with the guard system that was in place. He said in addition to work being carried out on trains, there had been an increase in public interest in the heritage charter service, which he said had significantly contributed to the increased traffic on the line.
"We will engage with Riverlink on the impacts of train movements through the centre as a result of their inquiries," Mr Easy said.
Some current major projects at the Workshops include overhauls of the DD17 Boiler, Blue Baby, and the RM64 for the Australian Railway Historical Society charter services; a bogie upgrade program for QR's heritage wooden coaches; and a minor overhaul of crowd favourite BB18¼ steam locomotive 1079.