Passenger Rail

Barr spruiks future lines as Canberra light rail opens

Almost 25,000 passengers took a ride on Canberra’s new light rail line during its formal opening day on April 20.

An overcast Saturday morning did little to discourage locals from flocking to the opening of the new line, which brings light rail to Canberra more than a century after Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin proposed trams as a core component of their designs for Australia’s capital.

Ten of the new network’s fourteen vehicles were deployed for opening day, running 130 trips and covering 1,560 kilometres.

The new line connects the northern town centre of Gungahlin with Civic, the central district of the city.

“Thank you to everyone who came out today for a great celebration of our city,” ACT chief minister Andrew Barr said.

“The Gungahlin to City route is the first stage of a broader program to connect Canberra’s town centres. The launch turnout shows how invested the community is in the future of Canberra. While light rail is a new concept for many people, the positive feedback we’ve received tells us that we are on the right track in improving the connectivity and liveability of our city.”

Barr said work was continuing on the chosen second stage of light rail, which will connect Civic to the southern town centre of Woden.

Once the Gungahlin-Civic-Woden north-south spine is complete, the next priority would likely be an east-west connection between Belconnen and the city’s airport, via Civic. Further extensions – south to Tuggeranong, east to Fyshwick, west to the Molonglo Valley – would also be on the cards after the Woden link is complete.

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