Tuesday 25th Feb, 2020

Sydney tram testing reaches Circular Quay

Photo: NSW Government

Trams have now travelled all the way along George Street, from Central station to Circular Quay, during testing for the new Sydney Light Rail CBD & South East project.

The first light rail vehicle pulled up at Circular Quay overnight on July 29/30.

It had set off from the Randwick Stabling Yard, passed Central station and travelled the length of George Street beyond Town Hall for the first time, before parking at the new Circular Quay stop.

Visiting the stop, which will be the northern terminus of the new light rail line, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said she hoped hundreds of thousands of ferry, train and bus commuters would get a good look at the tram while it sat at Circular Quay for the day.

“It was an historic moment last night with light rail travelling along the wire-free section on George Street for the first time,” the premier said.

“By the end of the year this exciting project will be open and those customers will be able to jump on the light rail as part of their daily commute.”

Trams travelled down George Street powered by the ‘third rail’ strip embedded into the ground by construction crews in recent years of work.

The technology, developed by Alstom, is called APS.

APS originally stood for Alimentation Par le Sol – ‘feeding via the ground’ – but has been termed Aesthetic Power Supply for the Sydney project.

APS is designed so power is only supplied to segments of the ‘third rail’ while the light rail vehicle is completely covering them, meaning the technology is safe for pedestrians and motorists.

While the power system is safe for pedestrians, NSW Police assistant commissioner Michael Corby used the Circular Quay milestone to remind people to keep their heads up and be aware around the new light rail corridor.

“We have had a few near misses during the tram testing as people get used to having trams around,” Corby said.

“Mobile phone distraction and people crossing in front of trams are particular dangers. The message for all road users is the same: ditch the distraction, follow the road rules and pay attention.”

The state government is progressively rolling out its safety campaign as testing continues to take place along the route.

Motorists are being instructed never to turn in front of a tram, or queue across intersections along the route. Cyclists are being told not to ride along the tracks.

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