It has been a strong start for the ACT Government’s recently completed light rail project connecting the fast-growing northern area of Gungahlin with Alinga in Canberra’s city centre, via a 12-kilometer corridor.
With construction commencing in July 2016, the project was officially launched on April 20, 2019.
“From day one we exceeded passenger and ridership expectations,” said General Manager of Canberra Metro Operations (CMET), Tilo Franz, ahead of the ARA Light Rail Conference.
“We are currently moving up to 15,000 passengers per day. We’ve already surpassed our forecast ridership capability for 2021.”
“We’re excited to see where we can take this light rail service, given its success so far.”
Canberra Metro is the consortium that is contracted by the ACT Government for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of Canberra’s Light Rail.
The consortium consists of Pacific Partnerships, John Holland, CPB Contractors, UGL, Mitsubishi Corporation, Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, DB Engineering & Consulting, CAF and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Ltd.
The strength of this consortium has given the project resilience throughout the construction, delivery and operational phases.
“We are proud to operate a world-class light rail system for the nation’s capital. Light rail integrates with other public transport options and is transforming how Canberrans move around the city.”
“Within the first 10 months of operation, we’ve constantly achieved greater than 99.9% availability and we’ve already completed a month without a single missed journey”.
Integration with Transport Canberra buses has also been a cornerstone of the project’s success. The corridor is well-linked to neighbouring infrastructure hubs allowing seamless transition with other modalities.
“The light rail link is designed for daily and occasional usage. The outcome is that residents and visitors alike enjoy seamless connectivity via well-serviced infrastructure,” said Franz.
The project has set a precedent for the rest of Australia, a nation in which light rail is hoped to play a key role in an integrated future transport network.
Former Acting Chief Executive of Infrastructure Australia said she believes light rail may be one of the best ways to deter the use of single occupancy vehicles.
“Light rail counteracts many of the limitations implicit in bus and heavy rail transit. Bus routes have the breadth of coverage, but not the speed or ridership capacity for longer commutes. Conversely, heavy rail has the capacity and speed, but lacks finesse in terms of its route coverage. Light rail acts as a nice intermediary between the two – both literally and in terms of its benefits,” said Ms. Chau.
CMET and the Canberra Metro consortium have demonstrated that light rail projects can be successfully delivered within budget – and with flawless delivery during its operational phase – thereby serving as a useful addition to the government’s infrastructure toolkit.
Detailing an account of the project’s unique construction, delivery and operational milestones, Tilo Franz will present at the forthcoming ARA Light Rail Conference, due to take place 4-5 March 2020 in Canberra.