Brisbane’s Central Stations
Updated: Apr 14
As I covered in my previous article on Brisbane’s Airtrain, the service calls at each of the city centre stations before heading south out of the city; as I was going to be in Brisbane for a few days I had the opportunity to have a look at these stations. From the outside they all appear to be operated by the Queensland’s transport authority, TransLink. What is also noteworthy about Brisbane is segregated busways through the city centre, these BRT lines act in part as a high frequency metro service with interchange to the rail network and underground stations in the central area. These, along with the ferries makes up Brisbane’s local transport network.
This is the southernmost station in the central area serving the South Bank Parklands. The station had two entrances, one simply led out to the street, where at the time of my visit, a new commercial building with integrated station entrance was being constructed. What was more interesting to me was the separate entrance which providing interchange to the busway station. Walking from the Parklands, it’s just about possible to spot the station identifier through the bridge supports on Tribune Street. When you arrive at this modern station entrance you see signs to Platform 1 and Platform 2; however, if you go upstairs to these platforms you will see that they are in fact bus stops. Across the road from this large station entrance is an inconspicuous bus shelter which is actually the entrance to the rail station. Where you’ll also see a Platform 1 and Platform 2. In one of the pictures below you can see Platform 2 being signed on both sides of the street.
The online station map doesn’t clear things up much either. I took the Streetview image below from the busway station, you can see the railway bus shelter across the road.
After a stroll with the Ibis, I left the Parklands and walked to South Brisbane station. This old station looks quite pretty but, again, it has quite an odd interchange with the busway station. The interchange was signed from platform yet anyone interchanging here could be forgiven for getting lost along the way. Rather than explain it, there’s a video below that I’ve accelerated to 4x speed.
A visitor could be forgiven it they couldn’t find Roma Street station as the railway station is wrapped in the concrete wonder of the Brisbane Transit Centre. Only upon entering this complex will Roma Street station become obvious. There’s even an old station building that the authorities have done their best to hide.
Roma Street is the terminus for some long distance services from Sydney and the Spirit of Queensland service up to Cairns so it’s a little disappointing that the intercity gateway to the city is less than welcoming.
When I came to write up this article I Googled the platform diagram: for some reason the map available online shows only 5 platforms (including 2 busway platforms), whereas there are clearly 10 platforms shown on the TransLink departure board.
Central Station, which is the most central of the stations, located in the business district, is almost the opposite to Roma Street station. This station has a fairly nice facade onto the street; however, passengers are directed to enter the station through pedestrian subways from the gardens across the road. Even if you wanted to enter through the main entrance under the clock tower, this just leads to a dim staircase.
I had a while to wait for my trip back to the airport so I had time to look around: one of the positive things I saw was that the support columns on the platform were used to show the line maps for each service that called at that platform.
I’m not sure what the moral of this story is but these interchanges would probably not be held up as best practice examples. Brisbane didn’t seem to have very many tourists but if visitor numbers grow helping them get around without getting lost and confused will be a necessary workstream for transport authorities there.
Author: Liam Henderson
More reviews from Australia: