Tweed light rail to connect to Gold Coast
A LIGHT rail line which connects Tweed Heads to Coolangatta Airport and eventually the Gold Coast G-Link is being planned by the NSW Government.
NSW Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance told the Tweed Daily News this morning that a strategic business case was looking at two options for light rail in the Tweed which would cost "in the hundreds of millions”.
The two options being looked at include a light rail link from Coolangatta Airport to Tweed Heads, with a second option expanding to Tweed Heads South.
The route would utilise the former Nerang-Tweed railway and continue through Coolangatta to Bay St, Wharf St and then Minjungbal Drive.
Mr Constance said $1 million had been allocated for the strategic business plan which would assist with finalising the project's investment amount.
"We're expediting a strategic business case for Tweed light rail, we will build it in NSW, we're not prepared to sit around until 2041 while the Queensland Government works out what to do, we know light rail works in incredible regions such as this,” he said.
"We've seen this in Newcastle, only last weekend we opened up light rail to the community there and it has gone nuts, and it will go nuts up here, and we want to build it in a way that it will connect to Gold Coast light rail.”
The existing Gold Coast light rail only runs from Helensvale to Broadbeach south, however a business case is considering an expansion of the rail to Burleigh Heads and potentially Coolangatta.
The announcement came alongside a further pledge by the State Government to provide more than 300 new bus services across the Tweed which deliver services "to local TAFEs, hospitals and better cross-border connections”.
New bus routes include direct links between the Murwillumbah and Kingscliff TAFEs and new bus routes for the Tweed Valley Hospital.
The changes include more than 160 additional weekly services before 7am and after 6pm, while there will be more than 50 new weekly services before 5am and 9pm.
Buses between Kingscliff and Tweed Heads West on route 601 will be doubled, while a new route will be introduced to link Banora Point to the Tweed Mall and Coolangatta.
Another new route will directly link Murwillumbah and Kingscliff on weekdays.
Mr Constance said the bus announcement was a "once-in-a generation uplift”.
"It's the largest uplift in bus services for the Tweed in well over 10 years,” he said.
"With the new regional hospital, we are going to have to redesign our transport to work around that, and Geoff Provest has been behind the scenes pushing me very hard over that, so that's why we're going to invest into 300 additional services and make it more convenient for people to travel in and about the region,” he said.
"We're a government that's not just building a hospital, we've got to have an integrated transport network.
"This integrated with the bus network gives us an enormous capacity to reduce the congestion on the road in terms of motor vehicles, and that's why we want people using public transport, and it does add to the tourism experience for the region as well.
"That's what Newcastle is now enjoying, the businesses there last weekend have had the best weekend in a decade because of light rail, so I'm very confident with the strategic business case.”
Tweed MP Geoff Provest said the Tweed light rail would be "a game changer”.
We've seen it on the Gold Coast we've seen it in Newcastle, it's a game changer and really it's going to stimulate the Tweed and bring it into the 21st century” he said.
"With buses going to the new hospital, it has been a concern to some of how they'll get around, I think that need has been picked up and I see a very bright future ahead for the Tweed.”