Light rail in Sydney
|Light rail in Sydney|
|Transit type||Light rail|
|Number of lines||1|
|Number of stations||14|
|Annual ridership||4.68 million|
|Began operation||31 August 1997|
|System length||7.2 km (4.5 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||750V (DC) overhead line|
Light rail is one of the four major public transport modes serving the city of Sydney, Australia. The network presently consists of a single 7.2 km (4.5 mi) line that is being extended, and a second line that is in the planning stages.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Sydney developed an extensive tram network, which grew to be one of the largest in the world. The increasing rate of private car ownership and the perception that trams contributed to traffic congestion led to the progressive replacement of tram services with buses, with the final section of the tram network closing in February 1961.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the inner city areas of Darling Harbour and Pyrmont were the subject of an urban renewal program. In 1988 the Sydney Monorail opened, connecting Darling Harbour to the Central Business District. With poor integration between the monorail and other transport modes, and the increasing redevelopment of the Pyrmont peninsula - including the establishment of Sydney's first legal casino - it was decided to convert a disused section of the Metropolitan Goods railway line into a light rail line. A section of track between Pyrmont and Haymarket was upgraded and a new on-street section constructed to link the line to Central railway station.
The line was set up as a public-private partnership, with the Sydney Light Rail Company awarded a concession to operate the line for 30.5 years until February 2028 when ownership would pass to the State Government. The contract gave the company significant control over the commercial arrangements relating to future extensions or interconnecting lines. In August 1998 the company became part of Metro Transport Sydney, which also owned the Sydney Monorail.
The Government of New South Wales purchased Metro Transport Sydney on 23 March 2012 for $19.8 million placing it under the control of Transport for NSW. This will allow the government to redevelop the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre by closing the monorail and remove the contractual restrictions on expanding the light rail network. The monorail closed on 30 June 2013 and Metro Transport Sydney was shut down shortly thereafter.
Operation of the service has been contracted to Transdev Sydney since 1998.
In February 2014, three consortium were short listed to build and operate the CBD and South East Light Rail line. The successful bidder will also take over operation of the Inner West Light Rail line from Transdev Sydney:
- Connecting Sydney - Alstom, Capella Capital & Transdev
- iLinQ - Balfour Beatty, Bombardier Transportation, Downer EDI, Keolis, Macquarie Capital & McConnell Dowell
- SydneyConnect - John Holland, Plenary Group & Serco
Inner West line
The Inner West line is the network's original line. It connects the Inner Western suburbs with Darling Harbour and the southern end of the Central Business District. The line operates along a former freight railway, with a short on-street section at the city end. The route opened between Central and Wentworth Park in August 1997 as the Sydney Light Rail. It was renamed Metro Light Rail and extended west to Lilyfield in August 2000. A south-western extension to Dulwich Hill is undergoing testing and is due to open in March 2014.
CBD and South East line
The CBD and South East line is a future line that will operate from Circular Quay at the northern end of the Central Business District to Central station at the southern end, then continuing to the south-eastern suburbs. The line was announced in 2012, with construction expected to start in 2014. The line is being built to reduce bus congestion in the CBD and provide higher capacity public transport to the Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney Cricket Ground, Randwick Racecourse and the University of New South Wales, which are currently served only by buses. In contrast to the Inner West line, the route is mostly on-street and follows a similar path to routes used by the former tramway network.
Several transport corridors have significant potential to allow for the growth of the network beyond its current route structure.
The priority corridors for further investigation by Transport for NSW are:
- Parramatta Road
- Victoria Road
- Anzac Parade between Kingsford and Maroubra or Malabar
- Western Sydney light rail network
The City of Sydney Council has also recommended that a Light Rail link be built from the city to Green Square, to service the commercial and residential developments currently being constructed in the area.
The Waverley Municipal Council advocates the extension of the light rail network to link the current infrastructure to Bondi Junction and Bondi Beach. The council has commissioned AECOM to undertake a feasibility assessment of the reintroduction of light rail on the corridor between Bondi Beach and Bondi Junction (Stage 1) and onto the CBD (Stage 2) to achieve mass transit of passengers and has formally requested Transport for NSW consider the CBD to Bondi Beach corridor as a priority route in the Sydney Light Rail Plan.
Western Sydney Light Rail Network
In 2013, Parramatta City Council published a feasibility study into a proposed Western Sydney Light Rail Network, designed to improve transport links throughout Western Sydney and meet the challenges posed by the projected rise in population in the region in the coming decades. The $1 million study found that a light rail system was a viable solution to address the growing transport needs of Parramatta and Western Sydney. The report proposes that an estimated $20 million in state and federal support is required to undertake a detailed investigation and to prepare a business case. It proposed construction of the network in several stages, the first of which comprises two lines: the Macquarie Park line and the Castle Hill line.
The line is proposed to run from Macquarie Centre via Eastwood and Dundas to Parramatta with separate branches to Westmead and Castle Hill via Baulkham Hills. Further extensions would operate to Bankstown and Rhodes.
By mid-2014 the fleet will consist of sixteen trams divided into three classes. All trams are articulated, low floor and bi-directional. The system is electrified and the trams run on 750 volt direct current.
The network's original rolling stock is the Variotram which was introduced with the opening of the system in 1997. Seven German-designed vehicles were manufactured in Dandenong, Victoria by Adtranz. The Variotram design is modular and has been extended for the Sydney system. The capacity of the vehicles is 217 passengers, of which 74 are seated. On tests up to three trams have been coupled together allowing a maximum capacity of 600 passengers if required. They are numbered 2101-2107, continuing the Sydney trams sequence that finished at 2087 with the last Sydney R1-Class Tram.
The vehicles have a floor to rail height of 30 centimetres and the bogies have no axles between the wheels and are powered with gearless hub motors. The design weight was reduced to compensate for the addition of climate-control air-conditioning equipment. Each tram is fitted with three doors each side which have enhanced safety systems with obstacle detection interlocked with the traction system.
To service the Dulwich Hill extension and increase service frequencies, ten additional trams will join the fleet. The six new and four leased trams will be provided by Spanish company Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) which was awarded the tender on 16 August 2012.
The four leased trams are second-hand Urbos 2 units from Spain. Three units (2108-2110) are from Vélez-Málaga, where they operated between 2006 and 2012. The other tram (2111) is from Seville. The first tram arrived in Sydney on 4 September 2013. Delivery was completed in November. They will enter service in 2014.
On 11 October 2013, the Government announced an order for six additional trams to replace the Variotrams. The first tram from the additional order is expected to enter service in 2015.
Approximately twenty-five additional trams will be procured to serve the CBD and South East line. These will be approximately 45 metres long and will provide increased capacity compared to the trams serving the Inner West. The trams are expected to offer catenary free operation in a pedestrianised section of George Street between Bathurst and Hunter Streets.
The light rail network uses its own ticketing system based on two zones. Day and weekly tickets which also allowed travel on the monorail were available prior to the latter system's closure.
Several tickets are recognised on the light rail but are not sold on trams. A "TramLink" ticket which allows travel on Sydney Trains and the light rail is available from Sydney Trains stations. From 27 June 2011, all MyMultis, the Pensioner Excursion Ticket and Family Funday Sunday have also been recognised. This improved integration with the broader Sydney ticketing system led to a 30% to 40% increase in patronage on the line in the first months after introduction.
- Saulwick, Jacob (15 October 2013). "New track blamed for derailing trams". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
- "Sydney Light Rail Extension – Stage 1 Inner West Extension Product Definition Report" (PDF). Transport NSW. July 2010.
- Mills, Gordon (1997). "Light Rail in Sydney: Some Privatisation Lessons" (PDF). Agenda 4 (4): 435, 438.
- Cosgriff, Stuart; Griffiths, Emily (5 July 2012). "Light rail strategy for Sydney". Clayton Utz Insights. Clayton Utz. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- Campion, Vikki (23 March 2012). "Last stop for Sydney Monorail". The Daily Telegraph.
- Tan, Gillian (23 March 2012). "Australian Infrastructure Fund sells Metro Transport stake". The Australian (from The Wall Street Journal).
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- "Notice of Proposed Deregistration - Voluntary". ASIC. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
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- Three international consortia in the running to build and operate Light Rail Transport New South Wales 14 February 2014
- Three shortlisted for Sydney light rail PPP International Railway Journal 20 February 2014
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- "Inner West Light Rail Extension". Transport for NSW.
- Dulwich Hill light rail extension to open in March, says Gladys Berejiklian Sydney Morning Herald 26 February 2014
- "Sydney's Light Rail Future". Transport for NSW. 13 December 2012. p. 20. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
- "Light Rail". City of Sydney. Archived from the original on 6 October 2012.
- "Waverley Transport Plan". Waverley Municipal Council. December 2011. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Call for Light Rail Welcomed by Waverley – But Bring it to Bondi!". Waverley Municipal Council. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Paperny, Daniel (11 October 2012). "Light rail on track for Bondi". Alternative Media Group. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Urgent Business for Consideration". Waverley Municipal Council. 21 May 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Western Sydney Light Rail Network". Parramatta City Council. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
- "Sydney Light Rail Construction and Extension". Railway Technology.
- "Technical Details and All That Stuff..." (PDF). Metro Transport Sydney. Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- "Sydney's Light Rail Future". Transport for NSW. 13 December 2012. p. 12. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
- "Contract awarded for delivery of new light rail vehicles". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- "Sydney to lease Velez-Malaga LRVs". International Railway Journal. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- Walker, Ian (4 September 2013). "Early morning tram delivery brings George St to a halt". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Sydney Tram". CAF. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- O'Rourke, Jim (20 December 2013). "Sneak peek at Sydney's new trams". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "Six more new light rail vehicles for Sydney". Transport for NSW. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
- Dean, Emma; Moore, Adam; Bunting, Kathleen (Parsons Brinckerhoff Australia) (21 June 2013). "CBD and South East Light Rail - State Significant Infrastructure Application Supporting Document" (PDF). Transport for NSW. pp. 4, 23. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- "CBD and South East Light Rail - Industry Briefing Session" (PDF). Transport for NSW. 9 April 2013. p. 11. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "Light rail". Transport Info. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- Berejiklian, Gladys (14 June 2011). "Pensioners, families big winners in light rail ticket changes" (Press release). Minister for Transport.
- Saulwick, Jacob (23 March 2012). "'Once-in-a-generation' opportunity to fix transport". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Transport card ready to be rolled out in Sydney". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 25 November 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
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