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New European trams a massive boost to Adelaide network

By Jennifer Perry

Sourced from Madrid through negotiations with local transport authority Mintra, the six Alstom Citadis model 302 trams will commence shipping to Australia from July at a cost of around $6 million each.
Upon their arrival in Melbourne the trams will undergo minor modifications to tailor them to Adelaide’s requirements. The first vehicles will then be transported to Adelaide in November and trialled on the local network before commencing operation over the Christmas/New Year period.
Transport Minister Patrick Conlon said the trams were originally purchased for use on Madrid’s light rail network but became available for purchase by South Australia following a delay in Madrid’s planned network extensions.
“While the Opposition was spreading rumours about Cold War era Eastern European trams we were working hard to secure trams for Adelaide that are close to brand new,” Conlon said.
“These trams will be modified slightly to meet the technical needs of our rail operator TransAdelaide but we are confident they will deliver the capacity improvements we are looking for.
“Madrid’s weather conditions are very similar to those we experience here in Adelaide so with some minor modification these vehicles should be a great fit for our city.”
The Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure’s project director – fleet acquisition Randall Barry told Rail Express that the 32 metre, five module trams are 100 per cent low floor and have the capacity to carry 186 passengers. The trams are fully disability compliant and have four double and two single doors per side.
“The key modifications to be undertaken before they enter service in Adelaide include conversion from 750 to 600V DC, change of wheel profile, the installation of automatic points changer, destination displays and audible announcements, ticket validator machines, Government radio installation (SA GRN) and the development of a transition coupler for emergency towing,” Barry said.
Premier Mike Rann said the new trams will carry more passengers than the current trams used in Adelaide and will provide extra capacity during the busy morning and evening peaks on the Glenelg and City West tramline.
“They will also service the new $100 million extension to the western suburbs next year,” he said.
With a $2 billion commitment to revitalise Adelaide’s public transport system, Rann said the recent State budget announcement of an additional $84 million comes on top of the Federal Government’s $646 commitment to extend the Noarlunga line to Seaford, accelerate the Gawler line upgrade by two years and make O-Bahn services into the City faster.
“[The] State budget underpinned the Rann Government’s unprecedented investment in public transport and this result proves again our determination to provide a system that makes Adelaide one of the best cities in Australia to live, work and do business,” he said.