Light rail in Canberra
|Transit type||Light rail|
|Number of lines||1|
|Number of stations||13|
|Chief executive||Glenn Stockton|
|Operation will start||Early 2019|
|Number of vehicles||14 Urbos|
|Train length||33 metres|
|System length||12 kilometres|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
The Canberra light rail network is a light rail system under construction in Canberra – the main city of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The initial line will link the northern town centre of Gungahlin to the city centre (Civic). The line was known as Capital Metro during the planning process.
In February 1998, the ACT Government announced its support for the Federation Line, a proposed 7 kilometre line from the National Museum of Australia via Civic to the Australian War Memorial. The line was proposed to use heritage trams.
In September 2001, to try and garner support for the project, Melbourne tram W249 and Sydney tram R2001 were placed on display outside the Australian War Museum, the latter operating on a 50 metre section of track and being powered by a diesel generator. In a further display in September 2003, W249 operated on an 80 metre section of track on Parkes Way.
The construction of the light rail line was part of a deal struck between the Labor Party and The Greens following the 2012 Australian Capital Territory Election, at which Labor required Greens support to form government. In the 2013/14 ACT budget, $5 million was allocated for early design work. In September 2014, the business case was approved by the government.
The project was developed by the Capital Metro Agency. Responsibility for the project transferred to a new organisation, Transport Canberra, from 1 July 2016. The new organisation combined the Capital Metro Agency with the city's bus operator, ACTION. The line is being delivered under a public private partnership. Expressions of interest were received from the following consortia:
- ACTivate: Downer Group, Plenary Group, Bombardier and Keolis Downer
- Canberra Metro: Pacific Partnerships, Mitsubishi Corporation, John Holland, CAF, Deutsche Bahn, Aberdeen Asset Management, Leighton Contractors, and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi
- CANGO: Macquarie Capital Group, Obrascon Huarte Lain, SMRT International, UGL Rail and Siemens
- Connecting Canberra: Capella Capital, Transdev, Alstom and Acciona Infrastructure
In March 2015, the government announced that ACTivate and Canberra Metro had been selected to move on to the Request for Proposal stage of the procurement process. The bidders submitted their final proposals for the Gungahlin to the city route on 4 September and had an additional four weeks to submit their proposals for a potential expansion of the project, from the city to Russell. The Canberra Metro consortium was announced as the preferred tenderer in February 2016 and the contract was finalised in May. Under the contract, Canberra Metro will operate and maintain the line for 20 years, after which ownership will pass to the ACT Government.
Design and construction costs are budgeted at $707 million. The Australian Government is contributing $67 million to the project. Construction of the depot commenced in July 2016. Major construction of the route itself began towards the end of the year. The line is due to open in 2019.
The opposition Liberal Party opposes the project. In April 2015, the party announced it would cancel any contracts for the light rail if it won the 2016 ACT election. A year out from the poll, the light rail project was already predicted to be the election's major issue. The election saw the Labor government returned, with the party claiming the result as an endorsement of the project. As predicted, the light rail project was the major issue of the campaign.
The 12 kilometre line will have its northern terminus at Hibberson Street in Gungahlin, and follow Flemington Road, the Federal Highway and Northbourne Avenue to the southern terminus between Alinga and Rudd Streets in the City Centre. It will be double track for its full length. A turnback track will be located to the north of the Dickson Interchange stop. There will be 13 stops. The main bus interchanges will be located at Gungahlin Place, Dickson Interchange and Alinga Street. Proposed official names for the stops were released in April 2017.
|Manning Clark North||Gungahlin||Island|||
|Mapleton Avenue||Franklin / Harrison||Island|||
|Nullarbor Avenue||Franklin / Harrison||Island|||
|Well Station Drive||Franklin / Harrison||Island|||
|EPIC and Racecourse||Lyneham||Island|||
|Phillip Avenue||Lyneham / Watson||Island|||
|Swinden Street||Lyneham / Downer||Side (staggered)|||
|Dickson Interchange||Lyneham / Dickson||Side|||
|Macarthur Avenue||Lyneham / Dickson||Side|||
|Ipima Street||Turner / Braddon||Side|||
|Elouera Street||Turner / Braddon||Side|||
|Day||First service||Last service|
|Monday to Thursday||06:00||23:30|
|Friday and Saturday||06:00||01:00 the following day|
|The last services from Gungahlin depart half an hour earlier.
The first service from the city on Sunday departs half an hour later.
|To the city||To Gungahlin|
|Monday to Friday||06:00-07:00||15 minutes||15 minutes|
|Monday to Friday||07:00-07:30||6 minutes||10 minutes|
|Monday to Friday||07:30-09:00||6 minutes||6 minutes|
|Monday to Friday||09:00-16:00||10 minutes||10 minutes|
|Monday to Friday||16:00-17:30||6 minutes||6 minutes|
|Monday to Friday||17:30-1800||10 minutes||6 minutes|
|Monday to Friday||After 18:00||15 minutes||15 minutes|
|Saturday||All day||15 minutes||15 minutes|
CAF will build and provide twenty years of maintenance for the fleet of 14 Urbos trams that will operate the network. The trams will be 33 metres long and consist of five modules. There will be four doors on each side of the vehicle. The first vehicles are scheduled to be delivered in late 2017. A predominantly red livery will be applied. The depot will be located in Mitchell.
The consortia participating in the procurement process for the initial line were asked to develop plans for an expanded route from the City Centre to Russell via London Circuit and Constitution Avenue. This additional 3.2 kilometre section was estimated to boost the patronage of the line as a whole by more than 30%. The proposal highlighted the desire of the Australian Government's National Capital Authority to use wire-free technology to power the trams in areas of the city under the authority's management. The ACT Government decided not to proceed with the expanded route, but committed to releasing a plan for a second stage of the light rail network prior to the October 2016 territory election. It was considering extending the line not only to Russell but to the broader parliamentary triangle, possibly including Canberra Airport and the Australian National University.
In July 2016, the government released a shortlist of four potential routes that could form the second stage of the light rail network. The routes were:
- City to Canberra Airport via Constitution Avenue & Parkes Way
- City to Belconnen Town Centre via Barry Drive past Calvary Hospital & the University of Canberra
- City to the Parliamentary Triangle via either Commonwealth Avenue or Kings Avenue
- City to Mawson via Woden
In September, the government selected a truncated version of the Mawson route that ends at Woden as its preferred second stage project. The route is around 11 kilometres long. Tenders to design various aspects of the project were called in November. At that stage the only firm decisions the government had made about the route were that it would run from Alinga Street to the Woden Town Centre and use the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge to cross Lake Burley Griffin. More concrete plans were released in May 2017. South of Lake Burley Griffin, the route will predominately travel via Adelaide Avenue and Yarra Glen. Design options for several sections of the route that are yet to be locked in were presented to the public for comment. Construction is planned to begin shortly after the completion of the first stage. The Australian Government will be invited to make a contribution to the project as part of the government's City Deals program.
|Indicative routes for the Woden extension. Green = option 1, orange = option 2, purple = alternative route through the city, blue = alternative terminus at The Canberra Hospital.|
Twenty-five year vision
|Gungahlin to City||The first stage of the network|
|Parliamentary Triangle||Connecting City to Russell, City to the Parliamentary Zone and Russell to the Parliamentary Zone. High priority corridor.|
|Woden to City||Running via Adelaide Avenue. High priority corridor.|
|Tuggeranong to Woden (Athllon Corridor)||Running either via the Athllon Drive Corridor or the existing rapid bus alignment along Erindale Drive|
|Eastern connections (Fyshwick and Canberra Airport)||Additions to the Parliamentary Triangle routes, from Russell to Canberra Airport and the Parliamentary Zone to Fyshwick. High priority corridor.|
|Belconnen to City||Running via Southern Cross Drive and Barry Drive|
|Molonglo to City||Woden to City via Hindmarsh Drive, John Gorton Drive and Parkes Way|
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Media related to Capital Metro at Wikimedia Commons