A Flexity 2 leaving Broadwater Parklands
|Locale||Gold Coast, Australia (Map)|
|Transit type||Light rail|
|Number of lines||1|
|Number of stations||19|
|Chief executive||Phil Mumford|
|Began operation||20 July 2014|
|Number of vehicles||18 Flexity 2 trams|
|Train length||43.5 m (143 ft)|
|System length||20 km (12 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Average speed||27 km/h (17 mph)|
|Top speed||70 km/h (43 mph)|
G:link, also known as the Gold Coast Light Rail, is a light rail system serving the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. The system forms part of the TransLink's South East Queensland public transport network and consists of a single 20-kilometre (12 mi) line of nineteen stations. Helensvale railway station is the northern terminus of the system, while Broadbeach South is the southern terminus. The line opened on 20 July 2014 and was extended northwest from Gold Coast University Hospital to Helensvale on 17 December 2017.
The Gold Coast is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia, with an annual population growth of 2 - 3%. The project was first proposed in the Gold Coast City Council Transport Plan 1996 after some years of consideration and review. In 2002 the Queensland and Federal Governments each contributed $650,000 to fund the Gold Coast Light Rail Feasibility Study. In 2004 the draft summary report was released.
In 2009 the Queensland Government committed $464 million to the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project, supplementing $365 million committed by the Federal Government and $120 million provided by Gold Coast City Council.
In June 2011 the GoldLinq consortium comprising Bombardier Transportation, Downer EDI, Keolis, McConnell Dowell and Plenary Group was awarded the contract to build and operate the Gold Coast light rail line for 18 years under a Public Private Partnership.
In August 2012 the cost of the initial 13-kilometre (8.1 mi) section was estimated at $1.6 billion.
By November 2013 much of the work was complete with the southern section at Broadbeach being the only section of trackwork to be completed. Testing commenced on the northern section of the line in October 2013. The line opened on 20 July 2014, with a free travel day, before normal operations began on 21 July.
The system had significant impact on property both directly and indirectly in the corridor. A total of $170 million was allocated for property resumptions. The Queens Park Tennis Club and Southport Croquet Club were both relocated.
|Map of the Helensvale extension|
A 7.3-kilometre extension from the original northern terminus at Gold Coast University Hospital to Helensvale railway station opened on 17 December 2017. The extension introduces the first interchange between G:link and the Queensland Rail network, allowing a one-transfer journey to and from Brisbane. Intermediate stops were constructed at Parkwood East and Parkwood. Additional car parking was provided at Helensvale and a new car park was included at Parkwood. Four new trams were introduced to service the extension. The end-to-end journey time on the extension is around 11 minutes.
In March 2015, the Queensland Government indicated its support for a northern extension to meet the Gold Coast railway line, subject to the Federal Government and Gold Coast City Council agreeing to help fund the extension. The Gold Coast City Council was supportive and proposed a route from Griffith University to Parkwood and Helensvale. Despite no funding from the Federal Government being forthcoming, Expressions of Interest to construct a northern extension were called in August 2015. Six submissions were received. The potential for the Federal Government to make a contribution towards funding the project increased following a leadership spill in September that saw Malcolm Turnbull replace Tony Abbott as Australian Prime Minister. Resulting discussions between the state and federal governments led the Queensland Government to believe they were "very close" to securing a federal contribution. In October, the Queensland Government requested GoldLinQ proceed to the Request for Tender stage of the procurement process. The three parties invited to tender were John Holland, Leighton Contractors and GamesLinQ - a joint venture between Downer EDI Works and BMD Constructions.
Later in October it was announced that funding agreements had been reached with the Federal Government and Gold Coast City Council. The federal contribution was $95 million and the council contribution $55 million. The total cost of the project was budgeted at $420 million. Bids to construct the extension closed in late December 2015, with the contract awarded to CPB Contractors (formerly Leighton Contractors) in March 2016. Major construction began in July 2016. A major catalyst for the extension was improving public transport for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, to be held in April 2018. Though originally scheduled for early 2018, the extension opened on 17 December 2017.
The Queensland Government also funded a separate project to duplicate the Gold Coast railway line between Helensvale and Coomera - the last single track section of the line. The second track was finished in October 2017 and allows more frequent train services between Helensvale and Brisbane.
The single 20-kilometre (12 mi) line runs from Helensvale to Broadbeach. Beginning at Helensvale railway station, the line runs parallel to the Gold Coast railway line until it meets the Smith Street Motorway, which it then follows, stopping at Parkwood and Parkwood East. The next two stops serve the Gold Coast University Hospital and the Gold Coast campus of Griffith University. The line runs south, passing over the Smith Street Motorway and the depot before reaching Queen Street station and the Nerang Street medical precinct. The next two stops serve the Australia Fair Shopping Centre, and the following stop serves the Broadwater Parklands. The line passes over the Nerang River before reaching the only stop in Main Beach, which serves the Sea World theme park. The next stops are Surfers Paradise North and Cypress Avenue, the later serving the Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre and the Funtime amusement park. The next stop serves the Cavill Avenue pedestrian mall and Paradise Centre. The next stop in Surfers Paradise also serves the Paradise Centre as well as the SkyPoint observation deck. The next stops are Northcliffe, Florida Gardens and Broadbeach North, the later serving the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, The Star Gold Coast, the Oasis Shopping Centre and the Oracle Shopping Centre. The line terminates at Broadbeach South which serves Pacific Fair Shopping Centre. It takes around 44 minutes to travel from one end of the line to the other.
There are nineteen stations on the line. One station is located in Helensvale, two are in Parkwood, seven are in Southport, one is in Main Beach, six are in Surfers Paradise, and two are in Broadbeach. All but one of the stations are street-level open-air structures with passenger canopies on the platforms. The Gold Coast University Hospital station is underground. Eleven stations have side platforms and eight have an island platform. Eight of the stations have kiosks on the platforms. Seven stations offer transfers to bus services and Helensvale also offers transfers to train services. Two of the stations have free park and ride lots with a total of 1,400 new parking spaces. The most heavily trafficked station is Cavill Avenue, with an average 4,729 daily passengers in February 2016.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (July 2016)
The Gold Coast Rapid Transit fleet consists of 18 Flexity 2 trams built by Bombardier Transportation in Germany. The trams feature low floors and have dedicated spaces for wheelchairs, prams and surfboards. They have a top speed of 70 km/h and room for 309 passengers with seating for 80. Fourteen trams were ordered to serve the original section of the line. Four additional trams were ordered in November 2015 to service the Helensvale extension. These were delivered in September and October 2017.
Services are operated by Keolis Downer, a joint venture between Keolis and Downer Rail. Keolis Downer has operated Yarra Trams in Melbourne since November 2009. It is claimed that the system can move up to 10,000 people an hour. Fares are set by TransLink with all stations fitted with go card readers. TransLink charges fares that increase as passengers travel through eight concentric zones radiating outward from the Brisbane central business district; All G:link stations are located within zone 5.
Service frequencies (in minutes) from 17 December 2017:
|00:00 to 05:00||Closed||30†|
|05:00 to 07:00||15||15|
|07:00 to 19:00||7.5||10|
|19:00 to 23:30||15||15|
† No service between Helensvale station and Gold Coast University Hospital
On Monday to Friday mornings (midnight to 5am), light rail services are replaced on most of the route by Surfside Buslines route 700. These buses do not service the section between Helensvale station and Gold Coast University Hospital.
Over 1.74 million passengers used the Gold Coast Light Rail in its first 100 days after opening. More than five million paid trips were made in the first nine months of operation. 6.6 million passengers were carried on the line in its first year, and total public transport usage on the Gold Coast - across buses and trams - increased by 25 percent. In February 2016 the Queensland Government announced the ten million passenger milestone had been reached and noted that Cavill Avenue was the busiest station with 4,729 boardings a day.
The following table lists patronage figures for the network during the corresponding financial year. Australia's financial years start on 1 July and end on 30 June. Major events that affected the number of journeys made or how patronage is measured are included as notes.
- System opened in July 2014
Gold Coast City Council is planning for a third stage of the line. The council released a list of potential routes for stage three in November 2015 and invited public comment. Ideas included a southern extension from Broadbeach South to Burleigh Heads, two options from Nobby Beach to Robina station, from Varsity Lakes station to Burleigh Heads, from Varsity Lakes station to Gold Coast Airport and two options from Burleigh Heads to Gold Coast Airport. 3606 people responded to the survey. Nearly 80 percent supported an extension to Burleigh Heads and 70 percent also supported a further extension to the airport. Citing the “overwhelming” support for an airport connection, in March 2016 Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate announced a $600,000 feasibility study into a southern extension from Broadbeach to the Gold Coast Airport as part of his successful campaign to retain the mayoralty at that month's local government election. The extension is estimated to cost $1.54 billion. The council would contribute around $160 million but the remainder of the cost would require funding from the higher tiers of government. Tate suggested the link would open by March 2020, although some other councillors felt this date was unrealistic. In February 2017, the New South Wales Government announced it would investigate potential routes for a southern extension from the Queensland border to Tweed Heads. The Queensland Government expressed some support for a cross-border route. Media reports in March suggested Stage 3 would be divided into two sections. Stage 3A would terminate at Burleigh Heads and Stage 3B would continue further south. This was confirmed in June, when the council announced the Stage 3A route and commenced community consultation. The extension is around 7km long and will include about seven new stops. Four new trams are estimated to be required to service the extension. Construction could begin in 2020 or 2021, though the project still requires a funding commitment from the higher tiers of government. The Queensland Government announced in July that it would contribute half the $10 million cost to develop a detailed business case for Stage 3A. Stage 3A is expected to cost around $600 million.
A southern coastal extension had previously attracted some support from the council and state government. Both levels of government released maps that show plans for the trams to eventually connect with the airport. However, a coastal route from Burleigh to the New South Wales border is understood to be fraught with engineering challenges, including how to get around Burleigh headland and across both Tallebudgera and Currumbin Creeks. The time required to develop solutions for dealing with these obstacles reportedly contributed to the decision to split Stage 3 into two sections.
Branch to The Spit
A branch line from Main Beach to The Spit was proposed in the Gold Coast City Council's 2031 transport plan, City Transport Strategy 2031. The council announced a number of potential route options in April 2017 and invited public comment. The line is expected to cost around $200 million and would be paid for by developers. It would be around 2.6-kilometres long. The time frame for construction remains undecided.
Further extension plans involve numerous proposed branch lines. Proposals from Griffith University to Harbour Town, from Surfers Paradise to Bundall, from Nobby Beach to Robina, from Broadbeach to Nerang railway station, and from Burleigh Heads to Varsity Lakes railway station have been made.
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