By Lucy Emlyn-Jones, edited for online by Nicholas Chin.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale has labelled Queensland Rail as “hopeless” after it announced plans to shut down the city’s main rail line on the weekend of the city’s biggest annual event.
Thousands of travellers will face a difficult commute to the Ipswich Show this weekend with services between Corinda and Rosewood closed from Friday night until Monday morning.
The rail services are closed to allow for electrical works, track reconditioning and regular maintenance.
The Ipswich Show, which in previous years has drawn crowds of up to 25,000, expect to see numbers plummet.
Translink has advised passengers to allow an hour extra travel time as buses replace rail services in both directions.
Cr Pisasale says he was left in the dark about the train closures and this is just another example of Queensland Rail’s discrimination against the city.
“Queensland Rail will once again just snubb their nose at Ipswich,” Cr Pisasale said.
“It’s not on. I’ve spoken to the new (Transport Minister) and he has assured me it won’t happen again.”
Cr Pisasale says Queensland Rail consistently fails to meet the needs of the community.
“This goes to show QR only think about railway lines,” Cr Pisasale.
“What they have to realise is this is about customers and looking after the community.
“They really need to understand what it is all about. If they want people and they want to encourage people to use public transport, they’ve got to link in on the theme of the city.”
Ipswich Show Society president Marcia Cruickshank says she is outraged the lack of effort Queensland Rail made to contact event organisers.
“I just can’t believe that this could actually happen because our public holiday is set well in advance, nearly a year ago,” she said.
Ms Cruickshank says she is disappointed as a lot of patrons travel to the event by rail, but she says the society will do what it can to make the journey smoother.
“The Show Society provides a free shuttle bus from the railway station to the showground which we do every year,” she said.
“I am disappointed for the patrons that wanted to come to the show now having to find themselves travelling extra time.”
Despite the unexpected disruptions, the show must go on for Ipswich and Ms Cruickshank says those who make the effort to come will not be disappointed.
“We really tried to put on a show for all ages,” she said.
A smash-up derby, motocross display, camel races and fireworks are all exciting things patrons can expect at the show.
Queensland Rail says up to 32 buses will be running continously during the Ipswich Show timetable.