Gold Coast railway line

Gold Coast railway line

Railway south of Ormeau station, 2014
Type Commuter rail
System Queensland Rail City network
Status Operational
Locale Gold Coast
Termini Bowen Hills
Varsity Lakes
Stations 16
Opened 1996
Owner QR
Operator(s) QR
Track gauge 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)
Route map
Scrubby Creek crossing at Kingston, 2013
Varsity Lakes railway station is the terminus for the line
Altandi railway station is the only non-inner city stop within the City of Brisbane.

The Gold Coast railway line is an interurban railway line operated by Queensland Rail in Queensland, Australia, connecting Brisbane with the Gold Coast. This line carries the biggest inter-city commuter traffic in Australia with 26,000 workers commuting each day to Brisbane.[1]


The Beenleigh railway line opened in 1885[2] before being extended as the South Coast Line to Southport in 1889. [3] [4] A branch line to Tweed Heads, New South Wales was opened in 1903 with excursion trains traveling the line on 10 August 1903 [5] and the first passenger train making the journey from Brisbane on 14 September 1903. [6] 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.[7] There are plans to eventually extend to Elanora, before reaching all the way to Coolangatta.


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.

Prior to 20 January 2014, services on the Gold Coast Line travelled express between South Bank and Beenleigh, stopping only at Park Road, Coopers Plains and Loganlea during off-peak hours.

Line duplication and extension plans

The Queensland Government has let a contract for duplication of the final 8.2 km single track section between Coomera and Helensvale, to be completed by the end of 2017. This will include duplicating the bridge over the Coomera River and floodplain, which at 860m is the longest rail bridge in Australia[8]

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. Track duplication of the Coomera - Helensvale section is expected to be completed in late 2017. This is the last single track section of the line.[9] Further triplication north of Beenleigh has also been proposed.[10] 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.[11]

Line guide, frequency and services

Typical service frequency on the Gold Coast railway line are two trains per hour, increasing to five trains per hour in peak periods, and reduces to one train per hour after 9pm. Gold Coast services generally run express between Beenleigh railway station and Park Road railway station,[12] with stops at Loganlea Station and Altandi Station. The typical travel time between Robina and Brisbane City is approximately 76 minutes (to Central).

Most services generally continue as the Airtrain service to Brisbane Airport, stopping at the International and Domestic terminals.

Passengers for/from the Beenleigh line change at either Beenleigh, Loganlea or Altandi, Cleveland line at Park Road, Ipswich/Rosewood lines at Roma Street and all other lines at Central.

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.[13]

In 2010, services on the line was found to be the most delayed in the state.[14] Delays were caused by a number of factors including signal failure and severe weather conditions.

Gold Coast railway line
showing distance from Central, ticket zone, and connecting or nearby bus services

Airtrain, Caboolture, Doomben, Ferny Grove, Nambour and Gympie North, Shorncliffe lines
2.7 km Bowen Hills(1)
Exhibition line
1.3 km Fortitude Valley(1)
0.0 km CENTRAL(1)
0.8 km Roma Street(1)
Exhibition line
Ipswich, Rosewood lines
Pacific Motorway
Brisbane River
2.6 km South Brisbane(1)
3.5 km South Bank(1)
5.1 km Park Road(1/2)
Follows Beenleigh line
18.6 km Altandi(3/4)
Follows Beenleigh line
32.2km Loganlea(6)
Follows Beenleigh line
40 km Beenleigh(7/8)
Albert River
Pacific Motorway
52.7 km Ormeau(9)
59.5 km Coomera(10)
Coomera River
Saltwater Creek
68.2 km Helensvale(12)
Smith Street Motorway
Nerang River
75.9 km Nerang(13)
85.35 km Robina(15)
89.4 km VARSITY LAKES(16)
Tallebudgera (Proposed)
Elanora (Proposed)
Coolangatta (Proposed)

See also


  1. (13 August 2013). The Gold Coast’s seductive lifestyle underpins rise of extreme commuting. Media release. KPMG. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  2. "Brisbane Suburb: Mount Gravatt - History of Mount Gravatt". 2000. Archived from the original on 21 January 2008. Retrieved 3 March 2008.
  3. "The Southport Railway". The Brisbane Courier. 25 January 1889. p. 6. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  4. "TWO DECADES.". The Brisbane Courier. LXV, (15,923). Queensland, Australia. 23 January 1909. p. 5. Retrieved 9 May 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "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.
  6. "Tweed Railway.". The Telegraph (9615). Queensland, Australia. 14 September 1903. p. 7 (SECOND EDITION). Retrieved 9 May 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  7. 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.
  9. "Gold Coast double-tracking contract awarded". 18 December 2015.
  10. Andrew Potts (19 October 2011). "Heavy cost for rail line to Coast airport". Gold Coast Sun. News Limited. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  11. "Stage two of Gold Coast light rail on track for Commonwealth Games". Queensland Government. 11 October 2015.
  12. Gold Coast Line timetable - Monday 20 January 2014
  13. Potts, Andrew (3 December 2007). "All aboard the Bombay express". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
  14. Matthew Killoran (5 March 2010). "Gold Coast tops state for train delays". News Limited. Retrieved 30 May 2012.

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