Commonwealth Games transport changes – winners and losers

The Queensland Government has announced major changes to transport in South East Queensland during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, which will be held 4-15 April.

The biggest change will be a tripling of services on the Brisbane to Gold Cost train line, with trains operating 24 hours a day. There will be 176 extra services a day, meaning a train every ten minutes for most of the day.

The extra services on the Gold Coast line will mean a reduction of services across the rest of the rail network. Hardest hit will be the Beenleigh line, which will effectively be merged with the Gold Coast line, with free buses replacing trains for all-stops commuters. Extra buses will also run throughout the Gold Coast and to games venues.

Gold Coast G:link light rail services will also be expanded, with services running around the clock and with trams every six minutes during peak periods. There will be a total of 4,760 extra services over the two weeks of the games. The network was expanded north to meet the heavy rail network at Helensvale in December 2017, and now runs 20 km north to south.

The busy M1 motorway link from Brisbane to the Gold Coast will have its speeds reduced, with 110 km/h zones coming down to 100 km/h and 100 km/h zones dropping to 90 km/h. Ramp metering will also be introduced at busy exits, and extra police and towing units in place for accidents and other incidents.

Many roads around the Gold Coast will be closed. A dedicated Transport Coordination Centre will be used to monitor and respond to real time activity around the clock.

“In making the decision to temporarily reduce the speed limit on the M1 and introduce ramp management, Transport and Main Roads looked at national and international research,” said the Government’s announcement.

“Research shows that speed reduction and ramp metering helps to increase motorway capacity, improve travel speeds during peak times and reduce the number of crashes.”

The games are being called “the biggest event in Queensland’s history’” by the promoters. The main venue will be the revamped Carrara Stadium, which now holds 35,000 people.

The transport plan was announced by Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey and Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones. “The significant capacity increase on local routes was made possible by extensive and detailed planning and substantial investment in infrastructure – almost $1 billion – across the network,” Mr Bailey said.

“We need to ensure that more than one million spectators, around 6,600 athletes and team officials, 50,000 workers and volunteers, and 3,500 media arrive safely and on time. We’re expecting 6 million extra journeys on our transport network for the games.”

Gold Coast City has produced a series of interactive maps which can be used to gain visibility of the transport system in use during the games. The maps will model the selected date and time based on a large data set including historical traffic monitoring, ticketing sales information and combining that with the event schedules. It can be found at

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) Chairman Peter Beattie, a former Queensland Premier, said a robust public transport network was integral to a successful Commonwealth Games. He said he is confident that the large investment in infrastructure coupled with enhanced timetables would achieve this.

“The transport task on the Gold Coast is undoubtedly challenging, but we’re up to it and I’ve been impressed by what has been achieved,” he said. “Demand on transport infrastructure is not an issue unique to the Gold Coast, it happens at every Commonwealth Games.

“It’s vital that locals support the games and that means travelling smart. The long term benefits that this once in a lifetime event will bring are huge and that includes the transport legacy we will enjoy long after the Games end.”


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