CBD and South East Light Rail

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CBD and South East Light Rail
George Street November 2016.jpg
View up George Street from opposite St Andrew's Cathedral in November 2016
Overview
Status Under construction
Termini Circular Quay
Nine Ways, Randwick
Stations 19
Operation
Planned opening 2019
Owner Transport for New South Wales
Operator(s) Transdev Sydney
Depot(s) Lilyfield
Randwick
Rolling stock 60 Alstom Citadis X05s
Technical
Track length 12 km (7.5 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Route map
Circular Quay
Metropolitan
Wynyard
QVB
Chinatown
Dulwich Hill Line
Haymarket
Central
Surry Hills
Moore Park Tunnel
Moore Park
Anzac Parade Junction
ES Marks
Randwick Stabling Facility
Centennial Park
Kensington
Wansey Cottage
UNSW Anzac Parade
UNSW High Street
Kingsford
Randwick
Nine Ways

The CBD and South East Light Rail is a future Australian light rail line in Sydney, New South Wales, running from Circular Quay at the northern end of the central business district to the south-eastern suburbs of Randwick and Kingsford. The line will be part of Sydney's light rail network. Major construction commenced in October 2015. The project is being managed by Transport for NSW. Construction, operation and maintenance of the line is contracted to the ALTRAC Light Rail consortium.

Background and initial announcement[edit]

Since the light rail network's original line opened in 1997, a line through the Sydney central business district had been suggested numerous times but failed to achieve State Government support. This changed in February 2010 when the Keneally Government announced a new line from Haymarket to Circular Quay via Barangaroo.[1] The final route was not decided, with the three options being to send the line north via George Street, Sussex Street or a loop using both.[2]

When the O'Farrell Government took office in March 2011, it committed to building a line through the CBD to Barangaroo, with a preferred route along George Street.[3][4][5] It also committed to conducting feasibility studies into the construction of lines from the City to Sydney University and the City to the University of New South Wales.[4][6] On 8 December 2011, the government announced shortlisted potential routes for these extensions.[5] In 2012, Transport for NSW decided the routes to Sydney University and Barangaroo via The Rocks provided fewer customer benefits and were considered a lower priority. A route from Circular Quay to the University of New South Wales via Central station was seen as the best option.[7]

On 13 December 2012, the government announced a commitment to build a $1.6 billion line from Circular Quay down George Street to Central station, then across to Moore Park and down Anzac Parade with branches to Kingsford and Randwick.[8] Construction was expected to begin in 2014 and to take five to six years.[8][9]

Design[edit]

The line services areas that were previously served by Sydney's former tram network. Some of the new route follows tram lines of the former network.

The route is mostly on-street but includes an off-street section through Moore Park. The only major engineering works on the line are a new bridge over the Eastern Distributor and a tunnel under Moore Park and Anzac Parade. There will be between 8 and 10 new traffic light controlled intersections created along the route.

Several changes to the design were announced in December 2014. The major changes involve revising platform lengths at all stops to support an increase in the length of the trams from 45m to 67m, redesigning several stops, switching technologies for the delivery of the wire-free section and the removal of a proposed stop at World Square. It was also announced that the projected cost had increased from $1.6 billion to $2.2 billion. The government claimed the increase was due to the design modifications, but a 2016 report produced by the Audit Office of New South Wales found that the increase was largely due to Transport for NSW underestimating the cost of the project.[10][11][12]

A pedestrian zone will be established along approximately 40% of George Street, between Bathurst and Hunter Streets.[8][13][14]

The section between Bathurst Street and Circular Quay will be wire-free.[15] This was originally to have been achieved by equipping the trams with batteries and providing recharging facilities at stops. This was changed to the proprietary ground-level power supply technology of the tram supplier, Alstom.

The line is designed to handle special events in the Moore Park precinct and at Royal Randwick Racecourse. Events at Moore Park were initially planned to be served using two coupled trams 90 metres (300 ft) long, with double length platforms at the Central Station and Moore Park stops.[13][16] Following the decision to increase the length of the trams to 67 metres (220 ft), the plans to operate coupled trams were abandoned.

A depot for the trams will be built at the north-western corner of Royal Randwick Racecourse, providing stabling facilities and allowing light maintenance. Heavy maintenance will be conducted at the former Rozelle railway yard at Lilyfield, with access to the facility provided via the Inner West Light Rail.[13]

Construction[edit]

Construction views. George Street in front of the Dymocks Building in April 2016 (left) and Alison Road, Randwick in December 2016 (right).

The line is being built as a public-private partnership, with the contract covering detailed design, major construction, operation and maintenance of the line as well as the provision of rolling stock. A contract for early construction works was awarded to Laing O'Rourke in July 2014.[17]

In February 2014, three consortia were short listed for the main contract - covering the construction and operation of the line:[18][19]

The iLinQ consortium withdrew after Balfour Beatty pulled out of the group. Balfour Beatty was reportedly concerned about cost overruns for the project and falling profitability of the company as a whole.[20]

On 23 October 2014, Connecting Sydney was announced as the preferred bidder. The contract was finalised in December 2014, when it was also announced that the consortium had been renamed ALTRAC Light Rail, and that the opening date had been brought forward to early 2019.[21] The contract also included the operation and maintenance of the Inner West Light Rail from mid-2015.[22][23][24]

Major construction commenced on 23 October 2015, beginning in the section of George Street between King and Market Streets. To minimise disruption along the length of the corridor, works are being staggered across 31 construction zones. Delays at two zones in the CBD were announced in August 2016. Construction work at these zones will continue for several months longer than originally anticipated.[25] Further delays to the project have arisen since then. A report from December 2016 claimed a dispute had arisen between Acciona Infrastructure - the construction company delivering the line - and the New South Wales Government over costs incurred from modifications to the line's design.[26] The first section of track in the CBD was laid later in the month, by which time a total of 410 metres of track that had been already been laid across the project.[27] This increased to around 5 kilometres of track by May 2017.[28]

Major construction of the project is due to conclude in April 2018, though finishing works will continue for some time after.[29][30]

Associated works[edit]

Separate to the light rail budget, Randwick City Council has earmarked $68 million to partially mitigate the impacts of the light rail. Projects include replacing some of the car parking spaces that will be lost, especially in Kingsford, works to improve traffic flow in the district and public domain works.[31]

The City of Sydney will provide $220 million towards the light rail project. This will include money for public domain works on George Street and surrounding laneways.[32] The centrepiece of these works is a large arch structure located outside the Sydney Town Hall. Cloud Arch will act as a gateway to the pedestrian section of George Street, with trams passing underneath it.[33]

Criticism[edit]

There have been criticism of the project from some parties:

  • Action for Public Transport, that it will not have sufficient capacity to replace the bus routes eliminated[34]
  • Save Our Suburbs, that it will disrupt vehicular traffic[35]
  • Save Randwick's Trees objecting to the loss of nearly 1,000 trees including from Centennial, Moore and High Cross parks[36]
  • Save our Park campaigning against the loss of Centennial, Moore and adjacent park lands[37]

Bus network changes[edit]

Southbound peak hour traffic congestion on George Street in 2013

The CBD and South East Light Rail requires significant changes to the bus networks of the Sydney Central Business District and the Eastern Suburbs. Prior to construction of the light rail, bus routes using George Street were permanently removed from the street. The network will be further redesigned when the light rail opens in 2019. Some bus routes from the Eastern Suburbs will be removed from the CBD, with many of the routes integrated with the light rail interchanges at Randwick and Kingsford. Some passengers will be required to change from bus to light rail to complete their journey.

During construction[edit]

To accommodate construction of the light rail on George Street, new bus timetables were introduced on 4 October 2015. Buses were diverted from George Street on to other streets in the CBD, including Elizabeth, Castlereagh, Park, Druitt, Clarence and York Streets.[29] Some routes had their terminus changed to such places as Railway Square, Queen Victoria Building and King Street Wharf. A small number of routes were either combined so that they run through the CBD without terminating, removed from the CBD entirely or completely discontinued.[38][39][40][41][42]

After completion[edit]

Some bus routes which were diverted from George Street to other streets during the construction, will terminate at Railway Square with their passengers to join the Light Rail while others will be rerouted permanently to the streets to which they were diverted.[43]

The project will see twenty bus routes withdrawn or curtailed between Kingsford/Randwick and Railway Square/Circular Quay. A number of bus routes using Anzac Parade will unload city bound passengers at the Nine Ways interchange to board the Light Rail, then continue along Anzac Parade to the University of New South Wales to unload passengers before terminating in Todman Avenue, Kensington. Some bus routes currently operating to the city via Randwick will become feeder services that drop off city bound passengers at the light rail terminus. The project's Environmental Impact Statement (released in 2013) proposed the following changes for the Eastern Suburbs bus routes:[43]

Route buses
Number 2013 route Proposed 2019 route Proposed changes
343 Kingsford - Gresham Street Maroubra - City Route extended from Kingsford to Maroubra along route of 395 & 396
373 Coogee - Circular Quay Route abolished
374 Coogee - Circular Quay Coogee - Edgecliff station Route diverted from CBD to Edgecliff
375 Maroubra - Sydney University New route
376 Maroubra - Circular Quay Route abolished
377 Maroubra - Circular Quay Maroubra - Alison Rd Randwick Randwick - Circular Quay section abolished
391 Port Botany - Gresham Street Port Botany - Kensington Kensington - Gresham Street section abolished
392 Little Bay - Circular Quay Little Bay - Kensington Kensington - Circular Quay section abolished
393 La Perouse - Railway Square La Perouse - Kensington Kensington - Railway Square section abolished
394 La Perouse - Circular Quay La Perouse - Kensington Kensington - Circular Quay section abolished
395 Maroubra - Railway Square Route abolished
396 Maroubra - Circular Quay Route abolished
397 South Maroubra - Circular Quay South Maroubra - Sydenham Kensington - Circular Quay section abolished and route diverted to Sydenham
399 Little Bay - Circular Quay Little Bay - Kensington Kensington - Circular Quay section abolished
L94 La Perouse - Circular Quay La Perouse - Edgecliff Route diverted from CBD to Edgecliff
M10 Maroubra Junction - Leichhardt Not stated Eastern Suburbs section abolished
M50 Coogee - Drummoyne Not stated Eastern Suburbs section abolished
Student buses
Number(s) 2013 route Proposed 2019 route Proposed changes
610 Sydney Boys & Girls High Schools - Central Route abolished
890 & 892 University of New South Wales - Circular Quay Routes abolished
891 & 895 University of New South Wales - Central Routes abolished

Operation[edit]

As a member of the ALTRAC Light Rail consortium, Transdev will operate the line until 2034.[44] Services on the Randwick branch are proposed to be numbered L2 and services on the Kingsford branch are proposed to be numbered L3.[45]

Rolling stock[edit]

The service will be operated by 60 five-section Alstom Citadis X05 trams operating in coupled pairs.[46][47] The first was completed at Alstom's La Rochelle plant in May 2017.[48][49]

Route[edit]

The line will commence outside Circular Quay station heading west on Alfred Street, before proceeding south down George Street, then east via Rawson Place and Eddy Avenue, and south via Chalmers Street to Central station. It will then continue east via Devonshire Street over the Eastern Distributor and under Moore Park and Anzac Parade via a tunnel before heading south via the former bus right of way. At the intersection of Anzac Parade and Alison Road the line will split into two branches, one continuing down Anzac Parade to terminate outside the South Sydney Junior Rugby League Club at Kingsford, and the second to Randwick via Alison Road, Wansey Road and High Street.[8]

Stations[edit]

The following stations have been proposed:

Circular Quay[edit]

Transfer
Circular Quay railway station
Circular Quay ferry wharf
Circular Quay bus routes
Location
33°51′41.74″S 151°12′35.52″E / 33.8615944°S 151.2098667°E / -33.8615944; 151.2098667

The light rail stop proposed to be named Circular Quay[50] will serve the locality of Circular Quay at the northern end of the Central Business District. The stop will be on Alfred St between Pitt and Loftus Streets. The area has an established role as a transport interchange and is already served by buses, trains and ferries. The stop will comprise one island platform and one side platform.[51]
The transport facilities in the Circular Quay precinct

Metropolitan[edit]

Transfer
None
Location
33°51′50.67″S 151°12′26.79″E / 33.8640750°S 151.2074417°E / -33.8640750; 151.2074417

The light rail stop proposed to be named Metropolitan, formerly known during development as Grosvenor Street,[50] will be located on George Street, near the intersection with Grosvenor Street. The design includes an island platform. The design originally included two side platforms but was switched to an island platform to retain the existing dedicated left-hand turning lane from George Street into Grosvenor Street.[52]

Wynyard[edit]

Transfer
Wynyard railway station
Wynyard Park bus routes
Location
33°51′58.37″S 151°12′26.15″E / 33.8662139°S 151.2072639°E / -33.8662139; 151.2072639

The light rail stop proposed to be named Wynyard[50] serves the locality of Wynyard. The stop will be located at the northern end of the George Street pedestrian zone, adjacent to the entrance to Wynyard railway station. The design includes two side platforms.[53]

Queen Victoria Building[edit]

Transfer
Bus
Location
33°52′16.68″S 151°12′25.11″E / 33.8713000°S 151.2069750°E / -33.8713000; 151.2069750

The stop proposed to be designated QVB, known during development by its longer, non-acronym name of Queen Victoria Building[50] will be located on George Street south of Market Street and adjacent to the shopping centre from which the stop takes its name, which is one of George Street's most notable buildings. The design includes two side platforms.[54]

Town Hall[edit]

Transfer
Town Hall railway station, Bus
Location
33°52′26.28″S 151°12′24.74″E / 33.8739667°S 151.2068722°E / -33.8739667; 151.2068722

The stop proposed to be named Town Hall[50] will be located at the southern end of the George Street pedestrian zone, adjacent to St Andrew's Cathedral. It is named after the Sydney Town Hall. The stop will provide an interchange with Town Hall railway station and will consist of two side platforms.[55]

Chinatown[edit]

Transfer
Capitol Square tram stop
Location
33°52′43.49″S 151°12′20.01″E / 33.8787472°S 151.2055583°E / -33.8787472; 151.2055583

Proposed to be named Chinatown,[50] the stop located on George Street, north of Campbell Street, is named after Sydney's Chinatown precinct. The Capitol Square stop on the Dulwich Hill Line is nearby. The design was to include two side platforms, but was changed to an island platform in the project's Submissions Report. The location was also moved 15 metres north.[56]

Haymarket[edit]

Transfer
Bus
Location
33°52′53.51″S 151°12′20.18″E / 33.8815306°S 151.2056056°E / -33.8815306; 151.2056056

The stop proposed to be designated Haymarket, formerly known as Rawson Place during development,[50] stop will serve as an interchange for buses entering the city via Broadway. The design includes two side platforms for trams and an adjacent platform for buses, which would allow some bus - tram cross-platform transfers. A large canopy is proposed to cover the platforms and tracks.[57]

Central[edit]

Transfer
Central railway station, Bus
Location
33°53′5.31″S 151°12′25.94″E / 33.8848083°S 151.2072056°E / -33.8848083; 151.2072056

The stop proposed to be named Central[50] will be located on Chalmers Street, serving the eastern side of the station precinct. The station is served by an existing stop on the Dulwich Hill Line, but this is located some distance away. The new stop will consist of one side platform and one island platform.[58]

The stop was originally proposed to consist of three double length (90 metre) platforms, with one of the platforms to only be used during special events - the roadway being open to general traffic at other times.[59] This third platform was removed in the project's Submissions Report, with a crossover to the north of the stop provided instead. The Report also proposed diverting most general traffic via Randle Street and converting the section of Chalmers Street opposite the station into a pedestrian/traffic shared zone.[60] As a result of the December 2014 decision to increase the length of the trams, plans to run double length trams during special events at Moore Park were abandoned. Consequently, the Modifications Report reduced the platform length from 90 metres to 75 metres.[10][61] The third platform was reinstated in an urban design plan released in 2017. This report also proposed closing Chalmers Street to through traffic.[58]
Map of Central station

Surry Hills[edit]

Ward Park Jan 2017.jpg
Transfer
Bus
Location
33°53′17.32″S 151°12′43.09″E / 33.8881444°S 151.2119694°E / -33.8881444; 151.2119694

The Surry Hills stop[50] will be located on Devonshire Street, adjacent to Ward Park in Surry Hills. The design originally featured an island platform but was changed to side platforms in the project's Submissions Report.[56] Groundwork for a second Surry Hills stop at Wimbo Park for a potential future station if required will be completed in the initial construction phase.

Moore Park[edit]

Transfer
None
Location
33°53′36.07″S 151°13′18.2″E / 33.8933528°S 151.221722°E / -33.8933528; 151.221722

The Moore Park stop[50] serves the Moore Park precinct. In regular service the stop serves Sydney Boys High School, Sydney Girls High School and The Entertainment Quarter. The stop is also designed to handle major events at the Sydney Football Stadium and Sydney Cricket Ground, with grade separated access to the platform. At-grade access to the stop will be provided for regular use and for disabled passengers during major events.[62] The design features a 75-metre island platform.

The stop's design experienced a number of modifications. Initially, an overhead concourse was proposed for access to the stop during special events with at-grade access at other times. School students would have used the existing footpath and pedestrian crossing of Anzac Parade.[63]

In the project's Submissions Report, the stop was moved 250 metres south and a pedestrian bridge over Anzac Parade and the light rail tracks was included in the design, replacing an existing at-grade crossing of the road and an associated set of traffic lights. The bridge was to be connected to the concourse.[64] In December 2014, the overhead concourse was removed, with underground access for major events provided at both ends of the platform. At-grade access will be used by disabled passengers during major events and by all passengers at other times. The bridge will now be a separate structure. As a result of the decision to increase the length of the trams, plans to run double length trams during major events were abandoned. Consequently, the platform length was reduced from 90 metres to 75 metres.[10][65]

Community submissions responding to the changes in the Modifications Report raised concerns about the safety of a large number of school students crossing the tracks during peak schools hours. In response, Transport for NSW stated that it will consider opening the subways during these hours.[66] A condition of approval for the changes proposed in the Modifications Report requires the preparation of "a safety case demonstrating, to the satisfaction of the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator, that schoolchildren can safely access the Moore Park stop during peak school start and finish times".[67]

Centennial Park[edit]

Branch
Randwick
Transfer
Bus
Location
33°54′21″S 151°13′48″E / 33.905717°S 151.229976°E / -33.905717; 151.229976

The stop proposed to be named Centennial Park, previously known as Royal Randwick Racecourse during development,[50] will be located on existing park land adjacent to Centennial Park on Alison Road, opposite the racecourse. This requires the construction of a new retaining wall approximately 200 metres long and three metres high together with increasing the height of an existing 1,100 metre long levee by up to 300 millimetres and the removal of approximately 50 established trees.[68][69]

The design features an island platform covered by a large canopy. The proposed location was switched from the south side to the north side of Alison Road in December 2014. This is intended to reduce impacts on the racecourse, improve bus access during major events and provide better access to the nearby Centennial Park and Randwick TAFE.[10] This change includes the removal of right turn access from Alison Road into Darley Road.

Wansey Cottage[edit]

Branch
Randwick
Transfer
None
Location
33°54′41.62″S 151°14′8.08″E / 33.9115611°S 151.2355778°E / -33.9115611; 151.2355778

The stop to be designated Wansey Cottage, known during development as Wansey Road,[50] will be located on Alison Road, adjacent to the intersection with Wansey Road. The design features an island platform and was originally to be located on Wansey Road itself, but was moved to Alison Road in the project's Submissions Report.[56]

UNSW High Street[edit]

Branch
Randwick
Transfer
None
Location
33°54′57.32″S 151°14′4.91″E / 33.9159222°S 151.2346972°E / -33.9159222; 151.2346972

The UNSW High Street stop[50] serves the north-eastern part of the University of New South Wales campus. It was to have been located at the southern end of Wansey Road, adjacent to High Street, but was moved onto High Street itself as part of the project's Submissions Report.[56] As part of the changes to the Randwick stop, the design was changed from an island platform to two side platforms.[70]

Randwick[edit]

Branch
Randwick
Transfer
Bus
Location
33°55′02″S 151°14′28″E / 33.917170°S 151.240978°E / -33.917170; 151.240978

The terminus stop proposed to be named Randwick[50] will be located the eastern end of High Street in Randwick. The design features an island platform. The site is proposed to be a major interchange between buses and light rail. Bus stops are proposed for Belmore Road, Avoca Street and Clara Street.[71]

The original design featured two side platforms located in High Cross Park adjacent to Belmore Road.[72] This location attracted criticism from community members due to loss of trees and parkland.[73][74] The stop was redesigned in the project's Submissions Report to reduce the loss of green space in the park, however a campaign to move the stop continued.[56][74] Randwick City Council requested the stop be moved to High Street, outside the Prince of Wales Hospital and Transport for NSW ultimately agreed to do this.[74] A location within High Cross Park was considered to provide the best interchanges between trams and buses.[75]

ES Marks[edit]

Branch
Kingsford
Transfer
None
Location
33°54′21.15″S 151°13′26.09″E / 33.9058750°S 151.2239139°E / -33.9058750; 151.2239139

The stop to be known as ES Marks, known previously as Carlton Street during development,[50] stop will be located on Anzac Parade south of the intersection with Carlton Street. The stop will serve a residential area. The design features an island platform.[76]

Kensington[edit]

Branch
Kingsford
Transfer
None
Location
33°54′34.96″S 151°13′23.97″E / 33.9097111°S 151.2233250°E / -33.9097111; 151.2233250

The stop proposed to be known as Kensington, previously named Todman Avenue during its development,[50] stop will be located on Anzac Parade north of the intersection with Todman Avenue. The stop serves a residential area and a shopping strip on Anzac Parade. The design features an island platform.[77]

UNSW Anzac Parade[edit]

Branch
Kingsford
Transfer
Bus
Location
33°55′0.59″S 151°13′34.19″E / 33.9168306°S 151.2261639°E / -33.9168306; 151.2261639

The UNSW Anzac Parade stop[50] serves the western part of the University of New South Wales campus and the National Institute of Dramatic Art. The design includes an island platform in the centre of Anzac Parade, north of the University Mall.

The stop was to be located on the eastern side of Anzac Parade and include one island platform and one side platform - though only two tracks. In the project's Submissions Report, the side platform was removed and the stop was moved to the centre of Anzac Parade.[56][78]

Kingsford[edit]

Branch
Kingsford
Transfer
None
Location
33°55′17.82″S 151°13′36.62″E / 33.9216167°S 151.2268389°E / -33.9216167; 151.2268389

The light rail stop to be named Kingsford, known during development as Strachan Street,[50] will be located on Anzac Parade to the south of the intersection of Strachan Street and Middle Street. The stop serves a residential area and a shopping strip on Anzac Parade. The design features an island platform.[79]

Nine Ways[edit]

Branch
Kingsford
Transfer
Bus
Location
33°55′30.51″S 151°13′45.27″E / 33.9251417°S 151.2292417°E / -33.9251417; 151.2292417

The terminus stop to be designated Nine Ways, formerly known as Kingsford during development,[50] will be located on the southern side of the nine ways intersection in Kingsford. The design features two island platforms with the light rail using the two outer platforms and buses using the two inner platforms, providing cross-platform transfers. Terminating facilities for trams are located south of the stop.[80]

Potential extension[edit]

Transport for NSW is investigating an extension along the southern Anzac Parade corridor. Three potential options are being examined; a 1.9 kilometre extension to Maroubra Junction, a 5.1 kilometre extension to Malabar and a 8.2 kilometre extension to La Perouse.[81][82] An extension to Maroubra Junction has the support of Randwick City Council.[83]

The southern section of Anzac Parade retains the wide median used by the former tram network.

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Clennell, Andrew (9 July 2011). "Premier Barry O'Farrell promises light rail revolution". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 15 January 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
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  14. ^ Modifications Report December 2014, pg1
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  16. ^ Modification Report December 2014, pg25
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  31. ^ Council Endorses $68 Million Light Rail Support Plan Randwick City Council 30 April 2014
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