Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Northshore Hamilton - Transport Fail

CityCat - slow, low capacity
The Courier Mail have today reported that "The Queensland Government today announced it will work exclusively with Leighton Properties to finalise a detailed proposal to design and build more than 700 apartments as well as commercial buildings on a 2ha riverfront site in Northshore Hamilton". Watching the embedded video, it appears that 2.5km long Northshore Hamilton development will ultimately create 15,000 jobs, have 4000 apartments, and a conference centre. With the potential for around 40,000 transport trips to or from Northshore Hamilton daily, you would expect good public transport?

In the typical transport failure that once can only expect in Queensland, the public transport options will be:
1) CityCat - frequent enough (every 15 minutes), but very low capacity (max 162 passengers), takes a painfully slow 45 minutes to get to the CBD, and has poor onward transport links. Capacity would be a pathetic 648 passengers/hour/direction.
2) Shuttle bus service from the Doomben Line - assuming the Doomben Line is not being upgraded, then read into this a pathetic half-hourly feeder bus. Additional time to change from bus to rail will make this somewhat unattractive. Capacity, using a normal size bus would be 120 passengers/hour/direction.

What should be done:
1) At the minimum - a high frequency (CityGlider like) express bus route from Northshore Hamilton to the CBD. This would only handle around 1,200 passengers/hour/direction at 5 minute frequency and large multi-section buses. This may be insufficient in the future.
2) More preferable - extend and partially duplicate the Doomben Line into Northshore Hamilton. This is possible as the railway land already exists. A 15 minute frequency should be sufficient, and would allow journey times to the CBD in less than 25 minutes, with good onward bus and rail connections. This could handle 4,000 passengers/hour/direction. A local high frequency bus route could feed parts of Northshore Hamilton that are beyond walking distance of the train station.

The latter would require urgent re-design of the Northshore Hamilton development, and a road bridge over the railway on Kingsford Smith Drive. Backwards car centric planning means that it may be too late for this. In any European city, a development such as this would be served by heavy rail. Sadly, in Australia, it seem that planners cannot see beyond their car dashboards.

Northshore hamilton website: http://www.northshorehamilton.com.au/Home


  1. A road bridge over rail is not feasible (the proximity of intersections means that there isn't space for a ramp long enough to get the road up over the existing rail level, and the fact that the Doomben line is already 2 - 3 metres above KSD means that rail would need to sink by about 12-13m in 400m (at a 1:30 grade) just to accomodate the minimum loading gauge (about 9m IIRC),and bridge structure.

    A rail bridge over the road, on the other hand could potentially work, as the track is already 2 - 3m above the road level at Doomben, the "loading gauge" on general roadways is 4.9m (based on vehicles over 4.6m height requiring a permit, route clearance and escort) so including the rail bridge structure, the line would only need to rise about 4m in 400, or 1:100, which is quite doable.

    Presumably any railway station immediately south of Kingsford Smith Drive would need to be up around the third floor of nearby buildings, (by comparison, a bit over twice the height of Air Train stations) but that's not so bad.

  2. I think you're being a bit negative here Briz. 648/pax/hr is perfectly fine to serve 700 apartments. It might not be enough in the future, but the future can see upgrades to the transport infrastructure.

  3. Simon - in the short term public transport may be sufficient, but in the long term public transport needs significant improvements to cope with demand. Failure to provision an extension of the Doomben Line in the planning stages now will result in its potential corridor being built upon, leaving a legacy of transport failure.


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