We have come a long way since Walter Burley Griffin, nearly 100 years ago, envisaged a city with a north-south mass transit spine.
Canberra began planning for a more compact city in the early 2000s with the Sustainable Transport Plan (2004) identifying corridors for high capacity public transport.
We started a community conversation about Canberra’s future transport network that included light rail in 2007 and we followed this with a submission to Infrastructure Australia identifying for the first time the concept of a city-wide light rail network in our developing activity corridors.
A commitment to plan, finance and develop the first stage of Canberra’s light rail network came in 2012. Feasibility studies and investigations followed to inform the first Light Rail Masterplan in 2013.
Where to start? The rapid growth in Canberra’s north identified the Gungahlin to City corridor as an ideal first stage and in 2014 the Capital Metro Agency was established as a dedicated organisation to plan, design and deliver Canberra’s first light rail route.
Significant consultation activities were undertaken with the Canberra community to develop the urban design elements for stops, seating, artwork and landscaping. While one of the largest Environmental Impact Statements in Canberra history was prepared, publicly displayed and submitted to support the management and mitigations of the Gungahlin to City project.
Design and various approvals were underway in 2015 and a major procurement activity was being overseen by Capital Metro Agency.
Construction delivery would be via a Public Private Partnership model and consortia were invited to bid in 2014 on the biggest infrastructure project for Canberra. Four consortia responded and two were shortlisted and invited to submit detailed proposals in 2015.
2016 – Now
Canberra Metro, a consortium of Pacific Partnerships, CPB contractors, John Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, Aberdeen Infrastructure Investment, Deutsche Bahn International and CAF was appointed mid-2016.
The Canberra Metro Agency then became Transport Canberra and City Services in July 2016 to guide the delivery of light rail as part of an integrated transport network for the city – including future light rail routes.
In October 2016, Transport Canberra and Canberra City Services was given a new mandate to plan, design and deliver the expansion of the light rail through to Woden..
From late 2016, planning for the Light Rail Network Expansion began within Transport Canberra and City Services while Canberra Metro broke ground for construction of the light rail depot and the 12-kilometre alignment from Gungahlin to the City.
Ongoing planning discussions between Transport Canberra and City Services and the National Capital Authority began as well as wide-spread community consultation on the potential routes for the expansion to Woden light rail project in mid-2017.
Passing through national land, the next components of light rail to Woden attracted the interest of a Commonwealth Inquiry in 2018/2019 while planning for Canberra’s first fully integrated transport network was underway.
Canberra Metro completed heavy construction on the Gungahlin to City alignment in January 2018 with operational testing underway till April 2019 and the launch of Canberra’s first light rail route on 20th April 2019.
Transport Canberra and City Services delivered the new integrated transport network on Monday 29th April 2019.
As Canberra’s first light rail route begins operations, planning for the next components through to Woden will continue to complete the north-south spine of Canberra’s light rail network.
Find out more and stay up to date with light rail progress:
- Subscribe now for the latest light rail updates
- Know when the light rail conversations start at yoursay.act.gov.au
- Take the Virtual Light Rail Tour
- Visit the Transport Canberra tent at a major event or engagement
- Call 13 17 10
With a target to commence construction by 2016, a range of reports and studies were prepared to advance the design and procurement. A comprehensive Environment Impact Statement was prepared to support the planning approval process for the project.
The ACT Government sought Expressions of Interest in 2014 for the delivery of light rail with four consortia responding. Two shortlisted bids were invited to submit proposals in 2015, and in January 2016 Canberra Metro was announced as the preferred bidder.
Capital Metro Agency became part of Transport Canberra in 2016 to guide the delivery of light rail as part of an integrated transport network for the city.
Canberra Metro, the preferred consortium, was appointed to build, maintain and operate the first stage of light rail for Canberra.
With more than 220 years of combined experience in systems engineering, light rail operations and maintenance, and providing 2.2 billion passenger journeys each year across 14 countries, Canberra can be confident that the consortium will deliver this transformational project.
The Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Canberra Metro allows the ACT Government to draw upon the expertise and technical infrastructural knowledge of high class consortium, and support Canberra’s trade, investment and local business.
Light rail is a modern version of tram that can operate at low speeds on streets and at high speeds in dedicated corridors. Light rail operates at road level and is electric, receiving power through overhead wires or recharge when braking.
Light rail has a relatively small turning radius, can operate up steep gradients and can integrate into the community.
The maximum continuous service speed is 70km/h. There will be 300+ structures and 24km of wire .
You can also find out more about using light rail.