Below Rail Infrastructure, Engineering, Passenger Rail

No solid date for Canberra opening

A leading Transport Canberra official is hesitant to commit to an opening date for the city’s new light rail line, with some sections of track initially found to not be up to standards.

Transport Canberra deputy director Duncan Edgehill told ABC Radio Canberra on Tuesday the opening date for Canberra Metro remained subject to a number of factors not within the authority’s control.

“There were some occasions on Flemington Road where the tracks didn’t quite meet our tolerances and our exacting standards,” Edgehill told the radio program.

“Where the tracks enter into the depot out at Mitchell, for example, is one area that was subject to some adjustment from Canberra Metro.”

While Edgehill insisted track issues represented a “very small percentage” of completing the project, he said he wouldn’t “put the house on a particular date” at this stage.

“There have been some areas where Canberra Metro have had to go back in and look at what they have done and, in some occasions, make some adjustments,” he continued.

“It places pressure on the program, so it is one of the items we hoped didn’t occur. But … it is an inevitable part of these big projects.”

Despite the issues cited by Edgehill testing remains on track for the project, with light rail vehicles being tested along Northbourne Avenue and the Federal Highway from Tuesday.

“This is another huge milestone in the light rail project, and I’m sure many people will be excited to see LRVs starting to be tested closer to the city,” ACT transport minister Meegan Fitzharris said.

Testing along Northbourne and the Federal Highway will mostly occur between 5am and 9pm, with some limited testing between 9pm and 5am. Multiple LRVs will be operating in both directions at times.

Canberra also recently got its first public transport ticket vending machines, where commuters can now purchase tickets or top up their MyWay card.

Vending machines have been placed in major bus interchanges at Tuggeranong, Woden, Gungahlin and the City, with machines at Belconnen coming soon.

“As we get ready for a new bus network to begin and light rail to start operating in coming months, our new ticket vending machines will make it easier for people to use public transport and leave the car at home,” Fitzharris said.