Councils look to light rail to connect south-west Perth

Councils in south-west Perth are pushing for a new rapid transit link between Murdoch and Fremantle.

The South West Group, made up of six councils from the region, have released a new report highlighting the need for a dedicated transport link to stimulate urban growth and improve transport connections. Read more

Contractor announced for Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 3 construction

John Holland has been nominated as the preferred contractor to deliver stage three of the Gold Coast Light Rail.

The $709 million joint local, state, and federally funded project, will extend the light rail line to Burleigh Heads from its current terminus in Broadbeach.

John Holland prevailed as the successful contractor over two competing joint ventures, one of CPB Contractors and Seymour Whyte Constructions and another between Fulton Hogan and UGL.

Stage three is expected to be completed in 2023 and adds eight stations and 6.7km of dual track to the network.

The Gold Coast light rail line has successfully increased public transport usage along the corridor, and was heavily patronised during the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Bailey said extending the line further south would improve on these figures.

“We’ve seen more than 50 million trips taken on light rail since it first opened, which shows just how hungry Gold Coasters and visitors to the city are for better public transport.”

Construction will come at a time when Queensland is looking to get people into job, particularly in areas such as the Gold Coast where tourism-reliant businesses have seen less demand due to COVID-19.

“Because Queenslanders have managed the health response of COVID-19, it means the Palaszczuk Government has been able to get on with the job of creating jobs and continuing the state’s plan for economic recovery,” said Bailey.

“For businesses and people on the Gold Coast that means building that all-important light rail connection between the city’s north and centre towards the south.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the project would support more local jobs.

“Light rail on the Gold Coast is already a key local employer, supporting about 800 operational jobs, and the extension to Burleigh is expected to support more than 760 construction jobs.”

Keolis Downer will continue to operate the extended line.

Torrens Connect

Torrens Connect takes on Adelaide tram operations

Torrens Connect has now assumed control over operations of Adelaide’s tram network and selected bus lines.

Announced as the successful tenderer for the outsourced operation of Adelaide’s tram services and some bus services in March, Torrens Connect took over operations from July 5 under an eight year contract.

The consortium of Torrens Transit, UGL Rail Services, and John Holland partnered with technology provider Trapeze Group to smoothen the transition process, occurring during the height of COVID-19.

Trapeze worked with Torrens Connect through the bid process and roll out of services, said Ben Dvoracek, Trapeze general manager for rail in Australia and New Zealand.

“We are proud to be part of this changeover, with Torrens Connect selecting Trapeze Group for both the bidding process and long-term roll-out of the planning and scheduling software solution. It was a pleasure to work with the team and facilitate implementation in less than four weeks.”

Trapeze, which provides planning and scheduling platforms as well as enterprise asset management and intelligent transport systems solutions for rail operators, was used to test plans ahead of operations. This testing and modelling process ensured that the transition occurred without any disruption or delay to services, schedules, or rosters. Torrens Connect staff received training from Trapeze locally to enable the smooth handover.

“Using the Trapeze software to run simulation models, Torrens Connect provided accurate optimised timetables that were quickly implemented without impacting operations,” said John Holland service delivery manager Rachel Parkin.

The contract covers 24 tram sets, 200 buses, and employment of over 250 staff.

As part of the privatisation of Adelaide’s public transport, operators are expected to undertake service improvements, with public consultation held earlier in 2020.

ACT

ACT Transport Strategy outlines continued investment in rail

The ACT government has released its strategy to move Canberra as the city grows to 580,000 people by 2040.

The ACT Transport Strategy 2020 updated the city’s transport vision and further outlines a shift towards public transport, walking, and cycling as the future of mobility in Canberra.

ACT Transport Minister Chris Steel said that investment would follow this vision.

“To ensure Canberra remains one of the world’s most liveable cities we will continue to heavily invest in transport with light rail, high frequency rapid bus services, and improvements to key active travel links as well as maintaining our quality road network,” he said.

The Strategy also responds to changing transport patterns that have been seen since the arrival of COVID-19. With an uptake of walking and cycling, the strategy proposes using these changes as a way to drive more permanent behaviour changes.

“We want to harness the opportunity of the pandemic to permanently grow the number of people walking and riding in the community beyond COVID-19,” said Steel.

“An ACT Transport Recovery Plan will help facilitate a return to public transport, when the time is right, so that we can efficiently and sustainably move people around our growing city.”

In setting out the vision for Canberra’s transport network in 2045, the strategy proposes a number of key central links, along the city’s north-south and east-west spines. These would be complimented by orbital links. While the strategy does not explicitly state that these will be light rail lines, the central links largely follow the proposed light rail corridors, including future stages.

The Strategy also indicates a potential high-speed rail alignment, coming from the north of the ACT to the city centre or the Canberra airport. The Strategy states that the ACT government has begun corridor preservation for a future high-speed rail service.

“The ACT government continues to work closely with the NSW government to explore these opportunities with initial investigations into possible improvements to the Canberra Sydney service already underway,” the Strategy notes.

Light rail stop built as part of CIT Woden

A new light rail stop will be built as part of the construction of the Canberra Institute of Technology’s (CIT) Woden campus.

The light rail stop will be part of the replacement of the current Woden Interchange. More bus stops and bus layovers will be built as part of the new interchange on Callam Street to provide a safe and connected environment.

Construction on the public transport interchange will begin before the construction of the new campus, with works beginning in mid 2021. The new campus will be completed by 2025.

ACT Minister for Tertiary Education and Minister for Transport Chris Steel said that public transport is an essential part of the project.

“Better public transport is a key part of the project, with the construction of a new, safer interchange on Callam Street for buses and we’ll build Woden Station now ready for light rail to arrive,” Steel said.

“This project will create a new front door to Woden, with a well-lit pedestrian boulevard connecting the interchange, CIT campus, the square and Westfield for a more vibrant and welcoming Town Centre.”

The project now has to receive planning approvals before construction can begin.

The extension the current light rail line in Canberra from the city to Woden is in the approval stage. Both stage 2A from the city to Commonwealth Park and Stage 2B from Commonwealth Park to Woden are awaiting federal environmental approvals.

The announcement of the stop on Callam Street as part of CIT firms up the location of one of the stops on the Stage 2B route, with the rest at the indicative stage.

Services from the City to Woden are expected to commence in 2025.

The construction of the CIT campus and associated infrastructure is expected to cost between $250 million to $300m and support 520 jobs during construction.