Project history


The concept for a light rail network in Canberra has a long history that is now being realised in the first stage between Gungahlin and the City. The Griffin's original planning for Canberra established the wide boulevards, intended to accommodate a light railway connecting activity centres.

The early 2000's observed a shift in planning toward a more compact city, supported by the 2004 Sustainable Transport Plan identifying corridors with an increased density of development around high capacity public transport. A Submission to Infrastructure Australia in 2009 identified a concept for a city-wide light rail network along developing activity corridors.

Planning for a rapid transport network continued and in 2012 the ACT Labor Government committed to ‘plan, finance and develop the first stage of a light rail network for Canberra’. Working to deliver light rail between Gungahlin and the City, the Capital Metro Agency was established to progress the ongoing planning, design and delivery of the first stage of a Canberra-wide network.

With a target to commence construction by 2016, a range of Reports and Studies (link) were prepared to advance the design and procurement. A comprehensive Environment Impact Statement (link) 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.

The former Capital Metro Agency

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.

The preferred consortium

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.

About light rail

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.