Gold Coast railway line
|Gold Coast line|
Railway south of Ormeau station, 2014
|System||Queensland Rail City network|
|Number of tracks||Triple to Kuraby, double to Varsity Lakes.|
|Track gauge||1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)|
The Beenleigh railway line opened in 1885 before being extended as the South Coast Line to Southport in 1889.   A branch line to Tweed Heads, New South Wales was opened in 1903 with excursion trains traveling the line on 10 August 1903  and the first passenger train making the journey from Brisbane on 14 September 1903.  Due to the increasing popularity of the motor car, and political interests in road transport, the Tweed Heads branch closed in 1961 and the line from Beenleigh to Southport closed in 1964.
The new Gold Coast railway opened on a different alignment from Beenleigh to Helensvale in 1996, Nerang in 1997, and Robina in 1998. In 2009, the line was extended to Varsity Lakes. There are plans to eventually extend the line to Elanora, before reaching all the way to Coolangatta.
Originally built as a single-track railway, the rail tracks on Gold Coast line were progressively duplicated in stages. The final section of the line to be duplicated was between Coomera and Helensvale stations, with work completed in late 2017.
The Gold Coast (Varsity Lakes) railway line is an extension of the Beenleigh line. Trains travel express between Park Road and Beenleigh stations, with limited stops (currently at Altandi and Loganlea) on the Beenleigh railway line. Most trains from the Gold Coast run through to Brisbane Airport, allowing tourists and locals access to more international destinations than from the Gold Coast's own airport.
The South East Queensland Infrastructure Plan and Program of the Bligh Labor government included a proposal to extend the line to the Coolangatta Airport terminal over the next decade or so. This was also included in the Labor government's "Connecting SEQ2031" infrastructure plan.
The proposed alignment parallels the Pacific Motorway before passing under the threshold of runway 32 at the Gold Coast Airport and looping around to the terminus, near the airport carpark. Under the South East Queensland Infrastructure Plan and Program, land reservations were proposed for possible new infill stations between Beenleigh and Ormeau (Yatala is a prime candidate) and at Pimpama, Coomera North, Helensvale North, Parkwood and Merrimac on the existing line. Further triplication north of Beenleigh has also been proposed. The cost of extending the line to the airport has been costed at around $2.8 billion.
An extension to the G:link light rail system was announced in October 2015. Beginning at Helensvale station, it would operate to the current terminus at Gold Coast University Hospital and then via the existing line to Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. The extension is expected to open before the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Line guide, frequency and services
Typical service frequency on the Gold Coast railway line are two trains per hour, increasing to six trains per hour in peak periods. Gold Coast services generally run express between Beenleigh railway station and Park Road railway station, with stops at Loganlea Station and Altandi Station. The typical travel time between Varsity Lakes and Brisbane City is approximately 79 minutes (to Central).
Passengers for/from the Beenleigh line change at either Beenleigh, Loganlea or Altandi, Cleveland line at Park Road, Ipswich/Rosewood/Springfield lines at Roma Street, Ferny Grove at Bowen Hills and all other Northbound lines at Eagle Junction.
Shortcomings were exposed by unexpectedly high passenger take-up during the construction of the Pacific Motorway, exacerbated by the extension of the service to Brisbane Airport while failing to provide for the additional passengers' baggage. Further seating and baggage capacity was lost due to refitting of carriages under disabled access requirements. Before a 2010 upgrade in peak-services, previously many peak-hour commuters had to stand for much of the 70 minute journey.
In 2010, services on the line was found to be the most delayed in the state. Delays were caused by a number of factors including signal failure and severe weather conditions.
- "Brisbane Suburb: Mount Gravatt - History of Mount Gravatt". ourbrisbane.com. 2000. Archived from the original on 21 January 2008. Retrieved 3 March 2008.
- "The Southport Railway". The Brisbane Courier. 25 January 1889. p. 6. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
- "TWO DECADES". The Brisbane Courier. LXV, (15,923). Queensland, Australia. 23 January 1909. p. 5. Retrieved 9 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
- "VISITORS FROM NEW SOUTH WALES". The Brisbane Courier. LX, (14,220). Queensland, Australia. 11 August 1903. p. 5. Retrieved 9 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Tweed Railway". The Telegraph (9615). Queensland, Australia. 14 September 1903. p. 7 (SECOND EDITION). Retrieved 9 May 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
- Stolz, Greg (14 December 2009). "Robina-Varsity Lakes rail extension state's most expensive". The Courier-Mail (1 ed.). p. 12. Archived from the original on 18 December 2010. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
- Hon. Jackie Trad (3 October 2017). "$163M Gold Coast rail upgrade complete well ahead of Commonwealth Games" (Press release). Queensland Government. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
- Andrew Potts (19 October 2011). "Heavy cost for rail line to Coast airport". Gold Coast Sun. News Limited. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- "Stage two of Gold Coast light rail on track for Commonwealth Games". Queensland Government. 11 October 2015.
- Gold Coast Line timetable - Monday 24 July 2017
- Potts, Andrew (3 December 2007). "All aboard the Bombay express". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- Matthew Killoran (5 March 2010). "Gold Coast tops state for train delays". goldcoast.com.au. News Limited. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
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