Engineering, Passenger Rail, Rail Supply

First tracks laid for Stage 1 of Canberra light rail

Canberra light rail. Graphic: ACT Government

The first tracks have been laid on the first stage of Canberra’s light rail network, marking a significant milestone in the construction of the new public transport service in the nation’s capital.

When completed, the light rail network’s first stage will connect Gungahlin to the City via Dickson, with 13 stops along a 12-kilometre route that includes a terminus at each end.

The ACT government hopes to create an integrated public transport system, where the light rail links seamlessly with the city’s bus services, helping to manage the growth of Canberra’s burgeoning suburbs and reduce road congestion.

With the laying of the first tracks, according to ACT transport and city services minister, Meegan Fitzharris, the project was making good progress towards the opening of passenger services in 2018.

“Laying the first tracks is a very significant moment in any rail project,” Fitzharris said.

“Light Rail in Canberra offers an exciting opportunity to transform our city. It will deliver a truly integrated transport network that provides convenient, efficient, affordable and reliable options for Canberrans and visitors to move around the city.”

The first stage is being delivered through a public private partnership (PPP) between the ACT government and the Canberra Metro consortium, which is to last for approximately 23 years and involves the construction and operation of the line.

The design of Stage 2 of the network, linking the City to Woden, was opened up to community feedback earlier in the year, and the government has now received almost 5000 responses on proposed route options, selection of alignment and stop locations.

This feedback will contribute to the development of the business plan for Stage 2 that will be considered by the ACT Government. The business case will consider the precise route, the procurement approach, detailed costs estimates, benefits, economic analysis and other matters.