Monday, November 25, 2013

Sector 2 Train Timetables - Which Gold Coast trains will be congested?

QR overcrowding (on Ferny Grove Line)
As has been mentioned in a previous blog post, from January 20th 2014, the Gold Coast Line will run a 15 minute peak service, with some alternate 15 minute cycles having an additional train service. This will result in a 15, 7, 8, 15, 7, 8, 15 minute service pattern. More passengers will be using Gold Coast Line services due to passenger growth, and extra stops at Loganlea, Altandi, and Park Road. The result of this, is that some services may be much busier than at present, and other services may be much quieter. For example, in the pm peak passengers typically catch the first service home after they arrive at the station. The trains after the 7 to 8 minute gaps are likely to be quieter, and the trains after the 15 minute gaps are likely to be busier. In the am peak, passengers tend to catch the train that will arrive just time for them to get to work (with a margin for delays). Thus services before the 15 minute gap may be busier, and services before the 7 to 8 minute gaps may be quieter.

It is quite clear that there is likely to be a big variation in loading between Gold Coast Line train services. The Beenleigh Line (am and pm peaks), and Ferny Grove Line (in pm peak) may also have uneven loadings due to uneven scheduling. BrizCommuter suggests that once travelling patterns have settled down after the timetable change, that Queensland Rail or TransLink measure the loadings on each service. The results can then be presented on a webpage and/or information poster. This may then give passengers an informed choice to change their travelling patterns, to help even out the loads.

An example would be below (times and loadings are fictional).

Departures from Central to Varsity Lakes
16:30    Spare seats usually available
16:45    Passengers usually standing to Altandi
16:52    Spare seats usually available
17:00    Spare seats usually available
17:15    Passengers usually standing to Beenleigh

Further thoughts and suggestions are welcome.


  1. I do not agree with your conclusion in regards to loadings for the pm peaks for two reasons. I think for most people it really is a case of turn up and go after work finishes, so people are going to just catch the first train that takes them to their station.

    Also, there will be some who are catching a particular train because it is the right train for a bus connection. So waiting for a later train, even by a few minutes, is not an option.

    A factor in the loadings will be which Gold Coast trains will allow passengers who want to get off at stations say Kingston to Holmview, so they get on the GC train, alight at Loganlea or Beenleigh and catch a FG train back a station. With all Beenleigh trains all stations, this could be a factor in loadings, if passengers wise up to this possibility. Which is not always the case. A lot of passengers would rather sit on an all stations train for an extra 10 minutes, than take the express, and come back one station.

  2. If people turn up randomly, then the train after the 15 min break will have more people waiting for it. However, you do need to take into account that many people may finish work at a specific time, like 5pm, so there would be a rush of people around this time, although this is somewhat countered by the fact that not all people are departing from the same place, so they will have different walking travel times.

    For the morning rush, this happens in reverse. Many people would start at a certain time, like 9 am, and sort out the best train to get them to their work (inc walking time) just in time for their scheduled start time. Although due to lack of real-time information, many people would give a bit of a buffer. However, in general, if they turn up at the boarding stations randomly, there would be more people waiting for the train after the 15 min gap, as opposed to the smaller gaps.


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