Passenger Rail

ACT government to fund studies on light rail extensions

Prefeasibility studies will be carried out on stages three and four of the Canberra Light Rail project, announced ACT Minister for Transport Chris Steel at the Australasian Railway Association’s Light Rail Conference in Canberra.

“We will examine the future light rail corridor including land use, the route alignment, and the stop options, to inform future government decision making,” said Steel.

The routes that the ACT government will be studying will be stage three, from Belconnen to the airport, and stage four from Woden to Tuggeranong. Stage three would provide an east-west link through Canberra, and stage four is an extension of the current line, which will terminate in Woden once stage 2b is complete.

“This funding commitment demonstrates our continued commitment to progress of our mission for a city-wide light rail network connecting Canberra with better public transport,” said Steel.

The announcement of prefeasibility studies follows the process which the ACT government followed for the first two stages of the Canberra Light Rail. Steel noted that alternative proposals for trackless trams or guided buses are an “unproven technology” and that total cost savings of such a system would be minimal or non-existent.

The announcement by Steel follows the wider transport network’s continued success, with the highest number of boardings since the introduction of the MyWay ticketing system recorded in the week commencing February 17.

“It’s been a huge start to the year for public transport with more Canberrans using buses and light rail to get around the city to work, school and to travel to major events,” said Steel in a statement.

The ACT government attributed growth to the introduction of the light rail route, as well as rapid bus services.

At the ARA Light Rail conference, Steel highlighted that it was time for the federal government to increase support for faster rail between Canberra and Sydney.

“We believe it’s time for the federal government to get on board with faster rail,” he said.