Below Rail Infrastructure, Environment and Sustainability, Passenger Rail

Wire-free, grassed track in Stage 2A of Canberra light rail

The extension of Canberra’s light rail will be wire free, under preliminary environmental approval from the Commonwealth government, and onboard energy storage will be fitted to existing light rail vehicles.

The ACT government announced today that the Commonwealth government has decided that Stage 2A of the Canberra light rail project could be assessed using preliminary documentation. This covers the route from the city to Commonwealth Park.

Features of the 1.7km route include wire-free track from Alinga Street station, progressive on the western side of London Circuit and then Commonwealth Avenue, before terminating at Commonwealth Park.

The ACT government is also proposing grassed tracks as the route travels along the Commonwealth Avenue median, said ACT Minister for Transport Chris Steel.

“Running wire-free through London Circuit will mean a narrower track built in the middle of the road, taking up less space as Light Rail will be running in the road median.”

The use of wire-free track preserves heritage vistas along Commonwealth avenue.

“This decision from the Federal Government reinforces our choice to deliver light rail to Woden in two stages. The process of assessment for Stage 2A means we can get on with the job of extending light rail to Woden sooner,” said Steel.

With approvals gained for the section to Commonwealth Park, the next stage of the light rail project will progress the line to Woden, in Canberra’s south. This section will require more extensive approvals from the Commonwealth government as it passes through the capital.

“We always expected that an extensive EIS process would be required for the more complex stage 2B extension through the Parliamentary Triangle under the Commonwealth environmental approval process,” said Steel.

Wire-free tram track is currently operational in the Sydney CBD’s light rail and in Newcastle on Hunter Street. In Parramatta, grassed track will also be installed, for up to one kilometre.