North by North West travel blog

Looking acroos toward Broadbeach

Here comes da tram

Inside the tram

An indigenous train @ Helensvale station

Surfers Paradise

High rise

No 9 heads off back to Helensvale

Off to Helensvale on the streetcar named Helensvale.

We could have walked 500 metres to the 777 bus stop and taken the bus to the terminus but instead we drove to Pacific Fair and snuck out the entrance and walked over to the terminus for this was to be an End to End then back again experience.

The G link system has been obviously well thought out, shaded bike shelters at each stop and chilled still or aerated water at each stop, your bottle or theirs.

The ticketing machine was easy to get the gist of and we bought return Concessions @ $2.40 ea without much effort. Though I noticed some of the petrol heads experiencing some problems.

So the tram arrives, we jump on and get our seats, its all very modern and air conditioned and off we go. Each tram, Im' assured by notices at the stops, weighs more that 5 rhinoceros, interesting fact for trivia night.

Its fast, clean, efficient and has all the attributes of its famous predecessors, it services several beaches ( Bondi, South Melbourne and Glenelg), passes a cemetery ( Lydiard st North , Quarry Hill) has lots of bends and hills ( not quite Bellevue but kind of reminiscent) has its own reserved track on open ballast with associated high speed running ( La Perouse) and has stops connecting with trains ( Eddy Ave, Flinders st).

What it lacks however is character, there in no grinding, squeal, lurching swaying or, and this is important, single track except at termini... But It does shift crowds and approximately 67% of the Gold Coast populace have ready access. But trams have always been good at moving crowds, have a look at the footage from 1928. It was a good day to see how it worked as the GC600 is on and the crowds are large.

Will Canberra's Light Rail be as good? No... Mr Barr has his own ideas, he believes that rather than run his trams to reach the people the people have to be moved to reach the tram and I'll bet he has not thought of sheltered bike racks and chilled still and aerated water available at stops. He sent me a terse email suggesting that his tramway was designed to move people along the corridor and not to satisfy the desires of a few “fringe enthusiasts”.

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