Wednesday, 26 February 2014


i finally got to collect my first station on the gold coast line when i visited nerang to watch a game of footy at metricon stadium. i have been further than dutton park before, the first time was when i visited corinda (which was the same day i visited cannon hill), and i also got to visit coopers plains before it was demoted from a stopping station for the gold coast line. i had also even dared to venture as far as beenleigh on the beenleigh line one day (not using a gold coast to get there quicker, since i wanted to see each station, and also it was a super hot day, so the free air conditioning of the train was particularly nice on that outing!) just wait for the blog about beenleigh!! (i need to make a few more journeys to get some more photos though, so it may be a while!)

this particular outing had had a lot of planning go into it. once we realised that the nab challenge would be starting soon, we checked to see what games were going to be on at metricon. sure enough, as luck would have it, the bombers were coming up to play the gold coast suns. brilliant! my team coming to queensland, all i had to do was hope like hell i wasnt working that day. as it turned out, the rosters fell in my favor (no i didnt ask for the day off. i could have, but i didnt, and my boss would vouch for that if you asked her. hi di!!)

the day was to be a day of multiple stations, but seriously, which of my journeys are not multiple station journeys? today i was going to catch a gold coast train to a station farther than beenleigh. this was uncharted territory for me, and naturally i was super excited (not just for the train ride either, there was the small case of the footy, and i love my footy!)

we had organised the following which in theory, should have run almost like clock work (note the phrase in theory! a great phrase!) i was to drive to norman park and leave emmy there for karen to catch a cleveland train to norman park so that she could drive to altandi to pick me up after the game, where all i had to do was catch an inbound airport train which would run express from loganlea to aldani, then from altandi to park road (but that part of the journey was for the purposes of this blog, irrelevant.) all i had to do was get to norman park then change trains at park road for a gold coast train to nerang. 

the journey didnt start well. when i got to norman park, naturally there were no spaces in the car park. this is not altogether an uncommon event at norman park. i figured it was no big deal, i would park in the street where we normally get a park in this situation. however, for some ungodly reason, the street was full too. this was starting to look bad. i seriously considered parking at maries place and walking back to the train, which i would have been happy to do if i was taking the train back from the footy to park road then changing to a cleveland to norman park myself. but poor karen would hardly have felt up to walking from the station to maries after a long hot day at work in a store sans air conditioning. besides, she would be carrying a few bags with her, it hardly seemed fair. i rolled the imaginary dice in my mind, and decided on parking at the very end of the street. there was after all no yellow line painted there (i actually checked!). karen tells me yellow lines means you cannot park in that area. i had never known that before and had often parked on yellow lines before. i am still yet to be finned but i have erased this habit from my driving and parking now you will be pleased to know. i parked emmy and left her in grave fears for her back end being clipped by some maniac taking the corner too fast, and walked to the norman park station where i didnt have long to wait before a shorncliffe was due to arrive on the platform (hallelujah the new timetables!). i caught the shorncliffe as far as park road, where i detrained on platform 2 and walked up the stairs and over the bridge to platform 1 for my soon to be arriving gold coast train.

i didnt have long to wait, the gold coast arrived within minutes. luckily the train was equipped with wifi, so i could whip out my ipad and keep the translink website running during the journey in case of a delay along the line (yes i really am that tragic!). the drawback of the wifi is that i cant play spider solitaire while i am connected to it because it is somehow in breech of the wifi agreement. i dont really understand how, it is a card game after all, so i had the entire journey from park road to nerang sans solitaire, but yes, i survived, and it was actually very enjoyable since this was a journey i had never been on before. i was quite impressed with ormeau station when the gold coast train stopped there, and cannot wait to get back on a gold coast so i can visit this station. however, this journey was all about nerang

the nerang station is towards the end of the gold coast line, located between helensvale and robina stations. nerang is preceded by helensvale to the north when heading inbound on an airport train, and robina is the next station outbound when heading south on a gold coast train. the footy was being played at metricon stadium, which is a very short bus ride from the nerang station as i found out. after disembarking the train and getting my customary photos of the station, doing my best to avoid capturing humans in them, i found my way to the bus interchange which joins the station. it wasnt too long to wait before the correct bus arrived and i was on my way to metricon. bear in mind if you will, i was there pretty early, which meant i had a descent wait before the stadium even opened. it is always better to be early than late, and besides, i am always hearing of delays on the beenleigh and gold coast lines, so i didnt want to have to blog about sitting in a train which was stuck between two stations unable to move and making me late for the footy; hence, an early arrival. so far i have been pretty lucky with the amount of trains i have caught that i havent really been involved in too many delays; however if you have read my corinda blog, you will know that i have not been immune to the occasional delay!

once the stadium opened and i was inside, i settled in and was able to enjoy the game. well, i enjoyed the first half, the 3rd quarter wasnt our best footy, and when the suns kicked a super goal it actually broke the score board. needless to say, the game ended up going down to the wire. it was scheduled to finish at 8:30pm. karen had requested if it were at all possible, for me to leave at 8pm since she was picking me up from altandi and then driving back to emerald hill, so really didnt want to have to have an unnecessarily late night. me leaving the footy early is unheard of, i love my footy, so needless to say, it was never going to happen (sorry karen!) the luck of the non functional scoreboard was on my side, since the suns were making a run at my bombers, and the game was tightening up, i text her saying that if it was close in the final term, i would stay til the end. well, scores were level in the last minute, so it doesnt get any closer than that. of course, the best player in the league, who happens to play for the suns, gathered the ball in front of where i was sitting very late in the final term, and snapped for a goal. i could see it wasnt going through for a goal from my angle, but was worried it would be rushed for a point. as it turned out, the suns downed up by this single point, and in despair i had to leave to catch one of the "high frequency buses" which were running from the stadium to nerang station. 

karen had text asking me to aim for the train that departed nerang at 9.19pm. i figured this wouldnt be too difficult, that was until i saw the queue of people attempting to do the same thing. it was as if the entire stadium wanted to go to nerang station. then there were the buses! i was expecting a bus like the buses i catch from central to carindale during the week. you know, door at front, door at side, seats a descent amount of people, and heaps of standing room. alas, no. these were tiny buses, and the "high frequency" was not exactly high by my standards, with a bus taking as many humas as it could fill to capacity, dropping them to nerang, then returning for more, in a continuous process until they were all dumped at the train station. my idea of high frequency was multiple buses doing this, so that the queue would move a touch faster. as it turned out, we were crammed onto the bus in a manner which was not in keeping with my rules of personal space, but i was at least on the bus. however, i did have bigger problems to face than the proximity of the humans on the bus: the time! it was getting unbelievably close to 9:19 by now. as our bus came close enough to nerang station for me to be able to see it, what should i see, but the airport train lit up beautifully, pulling away from nerang on its way to helensvale. damn. i dont know if i was more annoyed to have missed catching the train or missing the opportunity to get a photo of the train as it was leaving, it looked really beautiful. 

a text to karen to say i had literally just missed the train was never going to be fun to send, however the worst was still to come: the next train was half an hour away and would be running late. double damn. i tried to make the best of a bad situation, and got a few more photos of nerang, which are visible below. i even got a photo from in the toilets just to kill time.  

eventually the airport train arrived at nerang, and i boarded, bound for altandi. the journey to altandi seemed to me to take no time at all, though for karen who had been stranded at altandi waiting for me since 8:30, it seemed to take forever. albert einstein was right: time really is relative. i got to altandi sometime around 10:45, meaning we didnt get back to emerald hill until a touch before midnight (i drove, so we made descent time). one amusing thing happened at altandi: when i had detrained and was looking for karen, since i  had no idea where she was (i was expecting her to be on the platform...) while i was searching for her, some teenagers came up to me asking for directions. this was my first time to altandi station, it was pitch black, and i really had no idea where i was going, but as a team we found our way, and i eventually found karen who was less than pleased with me, but alas, i was less than pleased with the footy score. i had been hoping to blog about an amazing train ride and a fabulous preseason game of footy where we had wiped the park with the suns, then caught the train back to altandi and had a swift journey home. the best made plans always come unstuck. in theory it was a great plan; though i should have known better. the writing was on the wall when i got to norman park and couldnt get a car park: that was not a good omen! oh well, looking on the bright side, at least i had collected another two stations in one day!!

my first photo at nerang! check out that platform, it is actually paved! the only other station i have seen like this so far is roma street, and i havent blogged about roma street yet. so this is a first for my blog, since all of the other stations i have written about have not been quite this fancy. dinmore has a little bit of paving on platform 1, but not much. it looks as though nerang, like springfield central, was built from the ground up as it only opened in 1997, so it is a fairly new station in comparison to all of the others i have visited so far (obviously springfield central is exempt from that statement!) this shot is looking north in the direction of helensvale, and i managed to capture the gold coast train still on platform 1 before it made its way to robina. this was the train i caught from park road to nerang

this is the view from platform 1 down to the carpark on the eastern side of the nerang station. the bus interchange is to the right of this shot, out of picture.

this shot shows that nerang is an island platform, withe platform 1 to the right of the shot and platform 2 on the left. this shot is taken at the helensvale end of the station, looking north just after the gold coast train had departed nerang bound for robina. how wicked is that paving!?

the nerang station sign, by now these shots are to be expected in my blogs, and i actually really enjoy shooting them. this station sign is also at the helensvale end of the station, this time i have tried to capture the western car park and station sign in the one shot. tricky hey. platform 2 is visible behind the sign.

i simply shot the same sign from the other side, so that this time platform 1 is just visible and the eastern car park is in shot. as you can see, the sky was relatively clear, making it good weather for the footy. it was pretty hot at the time i got these shots, but it cooled down pretty well by the time the game started.

the western car park at nerang station. platform 2 is visible in the foreground. this is the platform for waiting for inbound services. the next stop is helensvale. check out that paving work. i was very impressed that a train station platform could be this decorative. it makes the bitumen of platform 2 and the small amount of paving on platform 1 at dinmore look so inadequate in comparison!

taken from the helensvale end of the nerang platform looking northbound towards helensvale. the track on the left heads north towards helensvale. this is used by the city and airport train. the track on the left is the southbound track which heads to robina and varsity lakes where the gold coast line currently terminates. one thing that stands out in this shot, is how dry the surrounding area is, i had expected nerang to be a lot more green than it was since it is in relative proximity to the hinze dam.

taken from the same position as the previous shot, just 180 degrees rotated, looking back at the nerang station island platform from the helensvale end of the station. platform 1 for the gold coast train is on the left, and platform 2 for the airport train is on the right. nerang is a really modern looking station; maybe not quite as space age as springfield central, but it runs a descent second out of the stations i have photographed in terms of its modernity. im totally loving the paving. this shot reminds me of roma street station, do you agree?

this is a shot of the gold coast line track as it approaches nerang from helensvale. i dont really know why i took this, but i suppose because the gold coast line had been so allusive for me for so long, to finally be on a gold coast station platform, i wanted to make the most of my photo opportunities. the eastern car park is visible on the right. 

i walked from the helensvale end of the platform to the robina end, and tried to get a shot of these two signs on my way. there were people around so i had the complexity of having to avoid getting them in the shot as well as not taking too long to get such a photo as to make people begin to stare! this was taken on the platform 1 side looking across to platform 2.

again, not my best photography, but this is meant to be a shot from platform 1 looking down towards the bus interchange where i would be heading momentarily for my bus to metricon stadium, which is actually pretty close to the nerang station. possibly 2km, so technically walking distance, but since i had never been there by train before, i kinda had no idea how to get there. next time (i am sure there should be a next time!) i will try walking it since walking is good for us all! people dont walk enough in this country. 

i walked to the robina end of the nerang platform to get a shot of the tracks leading away from the station, and got this one on the way just so i could include another station sign. its funny, when i was attempting to get this and the next few shots, there was an elderley chap who was in my shot and i didnt know how to politely ask him to move out of my picture. then the worst happened: he casually lit up a cigarette on the platform! horrified, and knowing i should do something, i did what any person with aspergers would do: i quickly got my shot and left the situation since i hate confrontations and speaking to people i dont know is not a skill i have ever had (if you have ever encountered me on the train and tried to sit beside me, only to have me say "if you must" then perhaps this may explain that a bit!). thankfully i managed to get the shots without including the smoking old man. i dont know who thought who was the strangest: him thinking i was strange getting photos of the station, or me thinking he was strange for looking at me like i was an alien when he was the one smoking on the platform, and all i was doing was taking photos! perhaps i should have got a shot of him to send in to queensland rail, but i didnt want to have him yell at me and threaten to take my camera with my train photos on it!  

i got the shot i wanted, despite having the smoking old man standing beside me, just to my right as i got this photo. thats why it is slightly off center, sorry about that, but it was out of my control. this is taken from the extreme robina end of the nerang station looking along the gold coast (outbound) line on the left and the airport (inbound) line on the right. by now awkward eye contact had been made, and the smoking old man must have thought i was insane for taking such a photo, while i was still horrified he was smoking on a station platform! yes, i should have said something.

as the airport train approaches nerang, i get a shot of it coming in to platform 2. i had really tried to get a shot of it from a bit further out, but the smoking old man was walking along the platform in my shot which made that impossible, so i did the best i could to preserve my humanless photo record (broken only once at springfield central). still, all things considered, this isnt a bad effort. 

the smoking man is just out of picture on the far left of the shot as he finished his cigarette before he boarded this airport train. i must say i did extremely well to avoid including him in these photos, particularly as he was walking along the platform directly in my line of shot. i quite like this photo of nerang, it may not quite be wikipaedia material, but is not far below that standard. how cool do the wifi trains look as they arrive on platform 2?!  

with the smoking man finally on board the airport train, which was by now heading towards helensvale, while he was heading towards lung cancer; i got another shot of the nerang station sign at the robina end of the platform before heading back towards the middle to get a few more shots before catching the bus. look at that sky, perfect for footy!

nerang station, like mitchelton, has the overhead notification screens which display the trains due to arrive at the station. i like these and the screens like a telly which are prominent at major stations like roma street and central among many many others. itd be nice if more stations at least had these, since they he incredibly helpful, though i imagine they are somewhat expensive. as you can see, this shot is taken looking along platform 2, where the airport train has just recently departed.  

naturally for completeness, i got a shot of the display screen over on platform 1 also! it shows that the gold coast train which travels to robina and varsity lakes, is due to depart at 2:42pm. yes, i am at nerang station a touch early!

looking along the nerang platform at the staircase which leads down to the exits from the station. platform 1 is on the left and platform 2 is on the right. this shot reminds me a lot of roma street station.  

i took this shot while walking down the steps at nerang station. again, i see so many similarities with roma street station in this shot. perhaps once i have written about roma street you can compare for yourself. as with most of the stations i have visited, nerang also has an elevator facility, but as anyone who knows me knows, i am not a fan of elevators!

so the lighting wasnt on my side in this image or the next, but i am not going to alter my photos in any way, even though i technically could have used photoshop to lighten this image. this is the view towards the western exit of the nerang station. platform 2 is above this exit. the gates are there to ensure people are not fare evading, though having said that, there was no one monitoring the gates while i was there. there was no risk of my not touching the sensors: i wanted to officially collect nerang station! 

this was the shot from the exit to the east at nerang, which was the way i exited since i was going to catch the bus to the footy stadium, and the bus interchange is on this side of the station. platform 1 is above this exit.

it may be a touch blurry, but this shot was taken in a hurry because i was super excited to see that the old translink map was still on display at a station. check out the cleveland line, it is still purple in this map. i miss this combination before they changed the cleveland line to blue (and i had to change my entire blog around!) and before they altered the shape of the lines to simplify it a bit more (the shorncliffe for example...). i much prefer this map, and i wonder if queensland rail still have any large ones like this they they would be wiling to donate to me? this is the new map here. which one do you prefer?

i dont know what it is about this shot, but it reminds me of a resort foyer. you know when you arrive and check in at some resorts? they have the tiled areas, the token indoor plants, sometimes a fountain to occupy the small children while their parents are checking in. this shot reminds me of that. this is on the lower level of nerang station. the platforms are actually above this. the bus interchange is just outside of here, i was heading towards the buses when for some reason i got this photo. i dont even remember taking it, but it has given me some cool memories of when i was little and we used to check into resorts (not something we did often, so it was a rare enough event to be imprinted on my mind).

this is the view from the bus interchange looking up at nerang station. this is the robina end of the platform. it is partially visible, but the interchange is paved as well.  

this is a slightly better view of the bus interchange, including the paving, but this is not a blog about buses. i am not really a fan of buses to be honest! i used to get terribly bus sick, and car sick for that matter, the topology of the road is usually no match for the suspension of a bus and so not only do they lurch forward and back with sudden cessations of momentum and the sudden acceleration, but they also bounce up and down along the road. to me, riding in a bus is like riding in a tumble dryer, constantly tossed around. in fact i actually feel nauseous writing about it! (nothing to do with the caramello koala i just ate, i assure you!) trains on the other hand stop and start so much more smoothly, they always follow the tracks and dont tend to be rough to ride in. (i can actually stand on a train sans holding onto any publicly touched surface of questionable hygiene, since they are so smooth. perhaps it is because i am short with big feet, i dont know, but give me a train over a bus any day!) 

how fortunate! while waiting for the bus, i managed to get a few shots of the gold coast train as it arrived on platform 1 at nerang. i suppose this says that i had wasted a good half hour getting photos of the station! 

the gold coast train as it sits on platform 1 of nerang station. only two more stations to go: robina and varsity lakes, before the train terminates. i had heard a rumor that some day the gold coast line will be extended past varsity lakes down as far as tweed heads. i hope that happens some day, it will allow more people to use the train, and also give me a few more stations to explore!

i didnt know it at the time, but this was going to be my last photo of nerang station in the daylight before i returned to the station after the football game. i had been expecting a big win to my boys, and excitedly riding the train back from nerang to altandi. oh well, not many things go to plan in this world, and it gives me something to blog about! this shot has the gold coast train ready for departure from nerang station. my bus came not long after i got this shot. this made me extremely early for the game; though thankfully i had my ipad and could play spider solitaire for a good few hours. i was actually one of the first people to arrive at the ground (a touch embarrassing i must say!) while i was waiting for the gates to open, i was chatting to another guy who supported the bombers, he rocked up in thongs, board shorts and a bombers jersey, and said proudly that he had driven 5 hours to be at the game. now thats dedication! such a shame we lost by a point.

after the bus had dropped us all off at the nerang station, i got this photo while in a crowd of people as we approached the station. considering the number of people around at the time, and the fact i was walking while i got this photo, i think i did remarkably well to not only capture a clear shot of the entrance to the station, but to also manage to not include any humans in the shot. this is almost wikipaedia worthy. sadly though, the 9:19pm train i was meant to catch had left the station only a few minutes before. i saw it. i was on the bus as it took off along the tracks to the north, bound for helensvale. it looked beautifully lit up and would have made a great photo. alas, i had to wait just over half an hour for the next train since it was running late. eventually i would make it to altandi though where poor karen was waiting for me!

since i had some time to kill, i figured i may as well continue to explore since it was going to be really unlikely that i got back to nerang any time soon. i got this shot from in the toilets since i was fascinated that they had this block glass which allows a significant amount of light in, but doesnt really let the people outside see you inside with any descent amount of clarity.

the view from the platforms of the toilets. see how you cant really see inside? i think that is for the best. i for one am not a fan of public toilets (as the people i work with if you dont believe me!). there is no point indicating which platform is which, since i managed to get the photo to do it for me. im noticing the no smoking sign nice and prominent here in this shot. still feeling guilty about earlier at the robina end of the platform. honestly, i had no idea how to handle that situation. perhaps next time i will just say something, since it is prohibited. 

from platform 1 looking at the nerang station entrance where i photographed just after getting off the bus. it looked a lot more spectacular when entering from the ground than it does looking at it from this angle i must admit, though i wanted to show the sign indicating the fine for trespassing on the tracks. i am not a fan of capital letters (obviously) though i think they do serve a purpose here. one thing that is kind of lost on this message though is the choice of font. i mean, if you are trying to get an important message across (important enough to use capitals and all) then comic sans ms is not generally the font of choice. perhaps the signs are trying to be modern and draw in your attention, though i think a bolder font would be more effective. being on the tracks is pretty dumb, having done high school physics will tell you that. one thing i dont understand is that, unless you are suicidal, why would you even be on the tracks anyway? 

the gold coast train turned up on platform 1, so i photographed it. we had to wait for it to get to varsity lakes and come back again before i could board it bound for altandi and a tired karen who had been waiting for me for more than 2 hours....

looking along platform 1 again at the gold coast train. after it left an announcement came over that the airport train was going to be a few minutes late. naturally i text karen who was less than pleased! i broke out spider solitaire for a while until the train arrived. one thing i must mention, is the stopping pattern of the airport train. i had never heard announcement like it before, despite catching the trains inbound from dinmore each morning, which have a stopping pattern of all stations to darra then express to milton stopping only at indooropilly. this stopping pattern tops that by far: brisbane city and airport train running express from beenleigh to altandi stopping only at loganlea then from altandi to park road. wow. the first time i heard it i almost laughed because it sounded so foreign. i really need to get out more! i eventually got to altandi, which is the station my friend dolly uses, and i found karen waiting for me. i drove us home, we didnt get home til about 11:30pm, making it a very long day indeed for us both. 

i had planned that the next day was going to be earmarked for traveston, and that nothing could stop me. nothing that is except the fact that the trains werent running past nambour! i patiently waited on platform 3 at central, watching the gympie north train roll up the screen, only to be greeted with an announcement that it would be departing platform 6 not platform 3, and that it would terminate at cooroy instead of gympie north. i could collect cooroy i thought for a moment; but it was traveston i really wanted. this was until the termination of the service was then revised to nambour. damn i thought as i boarded the ipswich home to dinmore with my tail between my legs. i thought it would be so cool to have been to nerang one day, traveston the next; you know, opposite ends of the coast lines. alas, it wasnt to be! just like blogging about a fantastic win to the bombers against the suns on my first journey to nerang! in theory, it was a good idea. in theory! such a good phrase!

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