Trains diverted to Gold Coast for Games

Posted on 04/25/2020

The Beenleigh line will be affected by changes to train timetables during the Commonwealth Games.Southeast Queensland rail commuters will have to make do with a reduced “summer-like timetable” during the Commonwealth Games, as services are diverted to the Gold Coast.

The state government released its transport plan for the April 4 to 15 sporting event on Sunday.

Rail services on the glitter strip will triple and run 24-hours a day, as will light rail and Games shuttle buses.

But it will be a different story on the rest of the southeast train network.

There will be a six per cent reduction in services from March 30 to April 20, to enable Queensland Rail to accommodate the 600,000 visitors and predicted six million extra trips.

Queensland Rail chief executive Nick Easy said trains would run every 15 minutes during peak times, every half-hour during off-peak times and hourly on weekends on most lines.

Transport and Main Roads minister Mark Bailey said the Games had been scheduled around Easter and the school holidays when there were 21 per cent fewer people using the rail network.

“It will be a summer-like holiday timetable,” he said.

The Beenleigh line will be significantly affected, but Mr Bailey denied the government had broken its commitment not to close any rail lines.

“Every station on the Beenleigh line will have a continuous service provided by us throughout the whole Commonwealth Games timetable,” he said.

Only a few stations will be serviced by trains, with high-frequency buses to be used at the rest.

Mr Bailey reassured passengers there would “absolutely” enough drivers to service the round-the-clock Gold Coast timetable and the rest of the network.

But he admitted just eight of the trouble-plagued New Generation Rollingstock trains would be available by April, when it had said up to 15 would be ready.

Mr Bailey said the government had been left to “clean up the mess” made by the previous LNP government, which signed the contract for the imported trains.

Shadow transport minister Steve Minnikin said Labor had three years to fix the locomotives and it was another example of its failure to plan ahead.

Mr Minnikin said the transport plan would mean “chaos” for rail commuters in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast and questioned why it had taken so long to release.

“It doesn’t give people a great deal of time to get their head around it,” he said.

But Mr Minnikin failed to say what the LNP would have done differently, except “start planning it earlier”.

Despite extra public transport services, Gold Coast residents will have to contend with road closures and reduced speed limits on the Pacific Motorway from March 1.

They are also being encouraged to stay off the roads, travel at different times and consider using different modes of transport.