Light Rail Now! - The Track to Better Urban Livability
Home Button Features Button News Button Events Button Facts Button Myths Button About Us Button Contact Us button Links Button Search

LRT align=left
Gold Coast LRT (simulation)
[Graphic: Gold Coast Review]

Public Transport Industry Issues (Articles Index)

Rail Systems Directory
Planned/Under Development

camera logo
Photo Gallery

LightRail-Now Discussion Group

Freiburg LRT
Streetcar Systems

Dallas streetcar cameo
Heritage Trolleys

Campaigns logo
Rail Transit Political Campaigns

BRT bus
"Bus Rapid Transit" Analyses

Monorail & "Gadgetbahn" Analyses

Related Links

Light Rail Now Project can be contacted at:

Light Rail Now!

Light Rail Now! NewsLog

Produced by the Light Rail Now! Publication Team

This news feature provides an ongoing Weblog of particularly significant developments in public transportation and rail transit.

15 September 2010

Australian Gold Coast:
Construction work finally begins on light rail transit project

Construction work on the Gold Coast Rapid Transit (light rail) project officially began on 1 August 2010, according to an article in Australian paper The Age (1 August 2010). The city of Gold Coast, with a population of about 600,000, is located along the northeastern edge of the Australian state of Queensland, just south of Brisbane.

LRT The 13-km (8.1-mile) starter line, budgeted for an investment cost of A$949 million, is reportedly the largest public transport infrastructure project ever undertaken on the Gold Coast. It's projected to open in 2014.
[Graphic: Gold Coast Review]

"The first sod was turned on Sunday [August 1st] ..." announced The Age, noting that "all three levels of government [were] represented at the event."

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh noted that "Leighton Contractors were now on site and had started preliminary works on the Gold Coast University Hospital Station – a key part of the project" reported the paper.

According to the article, the station is being built in two stages "to integrate with the construction of the $1.76 billion Gold Coast University Hospital, which will open its doors at the end of 2012." Ridership models estimates that by 2016 there will be approximately 7,000 passenger movements per day at that station alone.

"During the next three and a half years, the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project will generate 6300 jobs" Premier Bligh emphasized.

A number of private consortia are bidding for the franchise to operate, or stage two of the project, with a decision expected to be announced around March 2011.

When trains start using the new light rail line in 2014, the initial line will service the Gold Coast's two hospital locations.

"The 20,000 plus student population of Griffith University, the Southport medical precinct and the fast growing commercial, retail and recreational centres of Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach will also benefit" Premier Bligh noted.

[Map: Gold Coast Rapid Transit]

Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke emphasized that the new light rail system would be an important part of long-term planning for a first-class public transport system in the city.

"The Gold Coast is currently Australia's sixth largest city, with more than half a million residents and 10 million visitors annually, and it continues to attract new residents" he noted, adding that "By 2031, the city is expected to be home to almost 790,000 people."

Light Rail Now! NewsLog
Updated 2010/09/15

More on Australia's Public Transport

More on Rail Transit Development...

28 August 2010

Streetcar project awarded crucial state and local funding

Cincinnati's proposed modern streetcar project recently passed a milestone, received a financial boon in May with the approval of more than $86 million in funding by local and state agencies, according to a 16 May 2010 report in the News Record.

streetcar This prospect of cash was bolstered locally, as the Cincinnati City Council voted by a margin of 6-2 on three separate bond issues, authorizing $64 million in Urban Redevelopment Bonds for the project, plus an additional measure to provide approximately $2.6 million in local funding for the project. The local grant will draw on a surplus in the city's Contributions for Streetcar Purposed fund. [Graphic: Cincy Streetcar]

The streetcar project received another boost from Ohio's Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC), which okayed a state plan to invest over $2.8 billion in various multi-modal transportation systems for the state.

On top of those funding commitments, the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments board (OKI) also allocated $4 million in funding for the rail project.

"The projects approved today are critical to continuing our efforts to provide our citizens with a variety of commuting options that will save them time and money while alleviating stress that comes from traveling on congested roadways" emphasized Mark Policinski, OKI's executive director. "OKI continues to move multi-modal projects forward which benefit our commuting population, environment and economy."

As the News Record article goes on to recount, the Cincinnati streetcar project is just one component of the state of Ohio's current campaign to expand major public transport projects, while simultaneously stimulating the state's economy. Thus, not only did TRAC approve $15 million for Cincinnati's streetcar project, "it also approved the investment of $400 million in federal stimulus funds to be used for Ohio's 3C rail system project" – a passenger rail system intended to interconnect Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati (the article incorrectly identifies this as "light-rail").

"Every major new road, bridge, rail, transit, airport, bikeway, pedestrian or port project that comes to our department is viewed as an economic development and job growth opportunity" noted Jolene Molitoris, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Light Rail Now! NewsLog
Updated 2010/08/28

More on Cincinnati Public Transport

More on Rail Transit Development...

More on Streetcars...

4 August 2010

Feasibility of streetcars to be studied

New York City's large borough of Brooklyn once boasted one of the most important electric rail streetcar systems in the USA, and hosted the first PCC car in revenue service in 1936. Unfortunately, the system was abondened and destroyed during the Transit Devastation era, particularly under the auspices of Robert Moses, the influential political broker and developer who helped orchestrate the restructuring of the urban area to favor private motor vehicle transport.

Could streetcars now make a comeback? According to a June Rail Transit Online report, posted on the APTA Streetcar and Heritage Trolley website, officials may soon select a consultant to determine "whether it might be feasible to return streetcars to downtown Brooklyn."

The proposed line would only be about one mile long (1.6 km) and would connect the waterfront neighborhood of Red Hook with Brooklyn Bridge Park at Atlantic Avenue, close to several subway and bus lines. A half-mile (0.8 km) eastern extension would bring the tracks to the transit hub at Borough Hall.

The six-month study will be financed by a $300,000 federal grant that's been available for five years but ignored by the city Department of Transportation. The congresswoman who represents the area, Democrat Nydia Velazquez, said the project is vital to Red Hook, which has no subway service and only limited bus connections. Velazquez has asked for a $10-million federal grant that could be used for construction.

Light Rail Now! NewsLog
Updated 2010/08/04

More on New York City Public Transport

More on Rail Transit Development...

More on Streetcars...

25 July 2010

Minneapolis streetcar plan moves forward

Minneapolis — This northern MidWest US city once hosted one of America's largest and most high-quality electric streetcar systems, a once-extensive system covering Minneapolis and St. Paul and carrying 238 million passengers in 1920. Now Minneapolis is once again envisioning the installation of a new streetcar network.

According to an April 2010 report from Rail Transit Online, posted to the APTA Streetcar and Heritage Trolley Site (hosted by the Seashore Trolley Museum),

Minneapolis City Council has approved a long-range transportation plan calling for the development of six streetcar lines along specific routes, five of which would replace existing bus services. The council's action allows city staff to apply for federal funding to advance planning on the projects....

As the article recounts, proposed alignments include:

• Nicollet Mall/Nicollet Avenue;
• Nicollet Mall/Central Avenue;
• Washington Avenue North and Broadway Avenue;
• 9th/10th Streets South and Chicago Avenue;
• Hennepin Avenue and University Avenue Southeast/4th Street Southeast;
• Midtown Greenway linking the Hiawatha light rail line with the proposed Southwest light rail project.

 map Proposed streetcar lines (red) with interurban-type light rail lines (grey).

[Map: Minneapolis Streetcar Funding Study]

The report goes on to explain that

The plan calls for narrowing the six down to a shortlist of two or three, then selecting one as a starter and applying for capital funding from Washington. City officials decided to move ahead with streetcars after the Obama administration signaled its intention to help pay for new systems, an about-face from the Bush administration which rejected all such proposals.

The signals of support from Washington seem to vindicate the City Council's initiative in advancing the streetcar plan. As Mayor R.T. Rybak suggested to a reporter for Minneapolis City Pages, "When Minneapolis started planning for streetcars a couple years ago, some people said we were moving too fast, because we didn't have a federal partner who was willing to help us."

Re-installing a relatively small portion of the earlier system in selected corridors seems to be a conscious intention of the City Council's plan. According Mayor Rybak, "The council took a big step forward toward making sure we put modern streetcars where they belong – along the commercial corridors in Minneapolis that used to have them."

Light Rail Now! NewsLog
Updated 2010/07/25

More on Minneapolis Public Transport

More on Rail Transit Development...

More on Streetcars...

5 July 2010

Feds help bankroll streetcar propulsion research

According to an April 2010 Rail Transit Online report posted on the APTA Streetcar and Heritage Trolley website, the US Federal Transit Administration has awarded a $2.4-million research grant to Portland-area transit agency TriMet for development of a new streetcar propulsion system to be manufactured domestically. Total cost of the project is $3 million project, with the remaining $600,000 covered from a local match.

To carry out the project, TriMet has contracted with United Streetcar LLC, a subsidiary of Oregon Iron Works Inc. According to the report,

streetcar United is the only U.S. company producing streetcars and last year it rolled out a prototype based on a design from the Czech Republic, which should have been in revenue service on the Portland system by now. Instead, it has languished in a carbarn because the propulsion system has proven unreliable, and Czech supplier Skoda Electric S.A. has been unwilling or unable to make repairs.

United will now install and test a unit made by Rockwell Automation that will also have the capability of moving the car for a short distance if the traction power supply is interrupted. Once the Rockwell equipment is put in, the streetcar will have 90-percent domestic components.

Still to be decided is whether the six cars on order from United for an extension of the Portland Streetcar should wait for the Rockwell system to be ready, or if propulsion equipment from the Austrian firm Elin should be selected. Elin furnished electrical apparatus for the 10 Czech cars already running in Portland.

Light Rail Now! NewsLog
Updated 2010/07/05

More on Portland Public Transport Developments

More on Rail Transit Development...

More on Streetcars...

NewsLog for 2010: Apr.-Jun.

NewsLog for 2010: Jan.-Mar.

NewsLog for 2009: Oct.-Dec.

NewsLog for 2009: Jul.-Sep.

NewsLog for 2009: Apr.-Jun.

NewsLog for 2009: Jan.-Mar.

NewsLog for 2008: Oct.-Dec.

NewsLog for 2008: Jul.-Sep.

NewsLog for 2008: Apr.-Jun.

NewsLog for 2008: Jan.-Mar.

NewsLog for 2007: Oct.-Dec.

NewsLog for 2007: Jul.-Sep.

NewsLog for 2007: Apr.-Jun.

NewsLog for 2007: Jan.-Mar.

NewsLog for 2006: Oct.-Dec.

NewsLog for 2006: Jul.-Sep.

NewsLog for 2006: Apr.-Jun.

NewsLog for 2006: Jan.-Mar.

NewsLog for 2005: Oct.-Dec.

NewsLog for 2005: Jul.-Sep.

NewsLog for 2005: Apr.-Jun.

NewsLog for 2005: Jan.-Mar.

NewsLog Archives

Light Rail Now! website


All website material © 2000-2010 Light Rail Now Project (unless otherwise indicated)