Market Sectors, Passenger Rail

Trams to test new Sydney light rail timetable

Sydney light rail. Artist's impression: Transport for NSW

Testing of the new Sydney light rail line’s timetable will start in two weeks and transport officials are warning that the frequency of trams means pedestrians need to be extra vigilant.

Trams will run every four to six minutes through Sydney’s busy CBD from mid-November to simulate the line’s timetable ahead of passenger services starting in December. Driver training is also taking place along the line from Randwick to Circular Quay.

Transport for NSW’s coordinator general Marg Prendergast said testing has meant an increase in cases of poor pedestrian behaviour, as well as vehicles blocking intersections as more 67-metre long trams have been running along the line.

“Because we have had roads closed [for construction], we have had behaviours develop where people just don’t expect anything to be running. We need people to realise that it is real, and you have to look both ways,” Prendergast said..

The most common incidents are pedestrians stepping in front of trams – and in some cases people walking into the side of them – and cars blocking intersections, preventing trams from crossing.

Prendergast has said that the opening of the light rail line is a bigger challenge than the that of the Metro Northwest rail line in May, partly because crowd management plans had to be developed for every tram stop.

“It is the most complex operation I have ever seen – it’s harder than the Olympics. The Olympics were two weeks and you could close anything,” she said. “We have got this brand new bit of infrastructure and a major new operation about to start, running through the centre of a very live city.”