Just 17.5 per cent of required new QR train drivers ready to roll

In July, that number was 28 drivers behind the console and 77 guards trained.

Driver training has been fast-tracked from an average 18 to 12 months to complete, with the aim to bring that down to nine months.

QR chief executive Nick Easy said the operator was making significant process in recruiting and training more drivers and guards, following recruitment activities internally and with past QR employees.

“We are committed to becoming a modern, world-class railway and boosting our train crew numbers is critical to increasing services for our customers,” he said.

QR opened recruitment to external applicants with no prior experience on Thursday night. QR would not answer questions about the number of new applications it had received since then.

A south-east Queensland trainee driver earns a base salary of $92,315, while a qualified driver makes $98,211, with five weeks’ annual leave and free rail travel to work.

Trainee guards earn $81,237, while qualified guards make $92,315.

Potential train drivers must pass an online application, along with cognitive and psychomotor assessments.

They must attend an information session, group exercises, a panel interview, and have reference checks, a health assessment and national police check before receiving an offer of employment.

The health examination can include hearing, vision and musculoskeletal, heart function, cholesterol and glucose blood levels, psychological health, sleep patterns and substance use tests.

On Thursday, QR and the Rail, Tram and Bus Union went head-to-head in the Fair Work Commission over the hiring of external train drivers.

The RTBU had lodged a formal dispute with QR to stop the operator proceeding with external recruitment.

QR pursued a resolution through the commission, which ruled in the government’s favour on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Easy said QR would continue to work in good faith with the unions through the recruitment process.

Asked if the new train drivers would be ready for the Commonwealth Games in April 2018, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “Of course we’re expecting that to be the case.”

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