The Gold Coast light rail system was recently opened to the public. Covering a distance of 13km, linking key activity areas along the Gold Coast from Parklands to Broadbeach, Stage one of the $1bn project delivered a world-class public transport system for the city centre.

Working for the GoldLinQ consortium, Arup Australasia was the lead design consultant for Stage one of the Gold Coast light rail system, providing detailed design and construction phase services. The high capacity modern integrated public transit infrastructure consists of 15 at-grade stations and one underground station.

The world class project enabled Arup to showcase their global rail skills on a local platform. Murray Kretschmer, Queensland Transport and Resources Leader, Arup commented that it was rewarding to see their innovative design and whole of life solutions making a difference for the community on the Gold Coast.

The Arup team that worked on the transformational light rail system took a multidisciplinary approach to meet the demands of the design, drawing upon their in-house strengths in rail alignment, civil alignment, Trackform, traction bonding, permanent way, OHL, drainage, signs and lines, signals, bridge structures, retaining walls, pedestrian modelling, CCTV, conduit, flooding, lighting, pavements, noise and vibration, and geotechnics.

According to Sarah McIntosh, Project Manager, Arup, their design solution, which was based on innovation and a low impact approach to delivery and excellence in operations, provided a platform for the city’s continued growth, prosperity, sustainability and improved connectivity.

Commenting on the technical difficulties of the project owing to its unique site location in a highly constrained area and the challenging ground conditions, she said that they designed an innovative embedded trackform solution in a first for Queensland, integrating the road and light rail environments while ensuring safety was at the forefront of design.

Arup was earlier involved in the planning of the light rail system for the Sunshine Coast and for the Sydney Light Rail project. Arup is also the technical advisor for Stage one of the Canberra Light Rail project and has been recently appointed to lead a team to undertake the Canberra Light Rail Master Plan project.