|Cavill Avenue artists impression Source: GoldLinQ|
The GCRT will have termini at Gold Coast University Hospital and Broadbeach. Terminus design can be a major constraint for rail operations. Many of Brisbane's long removed tramways only had a low capacity single track at the terminus. Thankfully, the two (hopefully) temporary termini have 2 platforms, and the trams reverse in multiple sidings beyond the station. This allows for a very high frequency to be run if necessary. It also means that at times of service disruption, multiple trams can be temporarily stored at each terminus. It also allows for more operating flexibly and delay recovery.
Usually there are no single track sections. However, for a few weeks of the year during the bogan car racing fest there will be one single track section. The length of this section should not long enough to cause any major operating issues (as long as there no speed limits through the switches such as on Adelaide's tramway).
Instead of building short trams, and then extending at a later date, relatively long trams have been built for opening. The 43.5m Bombardier Flexity 2 vehicles can carry 309 passengers, and of course surfboards. The tram is of the modern 100% low floor design.
Unlike some North American light rail systems where service frequency is rather lame, the GGRT will run half-decent frequencies from day one, utilising 14 trams. Daytime frequency will be every 7.5 minutes, which is a turn up and go service. Early morning and evening (after 7pm) service will be every 15 minutes. There is also an all night service in Friday and Saturday night which will run every 30 minutes. Lets hope that there is security staff on these services!
BrizCommuter would like to see the GCRT extended as soon as possible to Helensvale to allow for connections with the Gold Coast Line. This would make it easier for Brisbanites to access the beaches, conference centre, and casino by public transport. It would also make it easier for Gold Coast citizens to access Brisbane without having to resort to driving.
A thorn in the side of the GCRT is the current anti-light rail publicity - mainly from disrupted business owners, bus rapid transport fans, and rev heads. Recent press reports show that those against the GCRT are in the minority, and with construction well under way only an idiot would stop things now (although there are no lack of idiots in QLD politics). BrizCommuter had little sympathy for the affected business owners. If your business is unique, and can stand out from the crowd (in products or customer service), then your customers should cope with having to walk a little further around some barricades. If your business is not special enough that customers vote with their feet, then maybe you need to try a bit harder? There have not been mass business wipeouts during light rail construction in Europe. Also, have the whinging business owners thought about the benefits of having a light rail system on their doorstep from 2014? BrizCommuter is however concerned how Gold Coast drivers (who don't exactly have the best reputation for road manners) will cope with light rail.
BrizCommuter expects that the opening of the GCRT in 2014 will start to turn the tide towards public transport in the Gold Coast.
Gold Coast Rapid Transit website: