Light rail Stage 2A to be wire-free as approvals process moves to next phase

Ian Bushnell 18 February 2020 183
Stage 2A light rail

A render shows the wire-free Stage 2A light rail leg at the intersection of the raised London Circuit and Commonwealth Avenue. Images: Supplied.

The 1.7 kilometre extension of light rail from Alinga Street to Commonwealth Park via London Circuit will be wire-free, in part to preserve the heritage vistas to the Parliamentary Zone.

The ACT Government has revealed more details about the project as it moves to the next approvals phase, with the Commonwealth deciding that both Stage 2A and Stage 2B across Lake Burley Griffin and on to Woden are controlled actions, as expected.

The confirmation that Stage2A will be wire-free means that new and existing light rail vehicles will need to be fitted with onboard energy storage with regenerative braking capability.

According to the EPBC documents lodged with the Commonwealth last July, a traction power substation, connected to the system at Commonwealth Avenue, will also need to be built in Commonwealth Park.

The ACT Government says grassed tracks are also proposed on the Commonwealth Avenue median.

London Circuit near Edinburgh Avenue

This image shows the tracks in the middle of London Circuit near Edinburgh Avenue.

While there will be extra costs in going wire-free, Transport Minister Chris Steel says an advantage will be that Stage 2A will take up less space as the tracks will be narrower and built in the middle of the road.

“As Light Rail Stage 2A turns on to Commonwealth Avenue, wire-free running will also ensure that the heritage vistas along Commonwealth Avenue are maintained,” he said.

As previously announced, London Circuit will be raised to be level with Commonwealth Avenue.

Mr Steel said the project was progressing as expected to the next stage of the Commonwealth environmental approval process.

To gain approval, the ACT Government will need to provide further information to the Commonwealth, which has determined that Stage 2A can be assessed by “Preliminary Documentation”, an assessment pathway usually reserved for projects where the impacts are localised and easily predicted.

The more complex Stage 2B through the Parliamentary Zone near areas of national and heritage significance will require a full EIS, as expected. It will need to be wire-free through the Parliamentary Zone, which means there will be wire-free running from the city across the lake to Parkes.

“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,” Mr Steel said.

“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,” Mr Steel said.

The City South Station

The City South Station, and the beginning of the grassed tracks on Commonwealth Avenue.

He said the Government was investing in infrastructure now to ensure Canberra did not end up congested like Sydney.

“We are getting on with the job of taking light rail to Woden,” he said.

“We want to build on the success of the first stage of light rail, and this is the next step in the process to take those benefits to Woden.”

Last September, Cabinet approved the business case for Stage 2A and started one-on-one negotiations with the operator of Stage 1, Canberra Metro, for it to design and build the project.

The cost of Stage 2A is subject to those negotiations but the overall cost of Stage 2 has been put at $1.6 billion.

Last week, $31.4 million was allocated in the Mid Year Budget Review for Stage 2A design work, and Chief Minister Andrew Barr said contracts would be signed this year, with construction expected to start in 2021 and the first passengers boarding in 2024.

Stage 2A is seen as a springboard for the more challenging Stage 2B across the lake to Woden, and will include three new stations and add an estimated 2500 to 3000 passengers to the system.

City West, on the corner of Edinburgh Avenue and London Circuit near the ANU, is expected to be the most popular station, with City South servicing the new residential areas of West Basin, and the southern terminus important for major events in Commonwealth Park and by the lake.

It will require extra rolling stock and the Government is in talks to acquire four more light rail vehicles.

The Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR) has welcomed progress on the approvals processes, as well as Federal Government support for the development of advanced battery technologies for light rail vehicles.

PTCBR Chair Ryan Hemsley said the Federal Department of the Environment has mapped a clear path forward for Light Rail Stage 2 by identifying the assessment processes.

“Following the success of Stage 1, we call on the ACT Opposition to outline their plans for bringing light rail to Woden ahead of the Territory Election later this year,” he said

Mr Hemsley also said a recent Commonwealth grant had been awarded to a consortium developing fast charging batteries for light rail vehicles.”

The Federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science recently announced a grant of $1.6 million to a consortium proposing to develop an ‘Advanced Nano-engineered Battery for Fast Charging Catenary-free Trams’. Total project expenditure is expected to be $5 million and consortium members include the CSIRO.

“This project has the potential to benefit light rail systems across Australia as well as in the ACT by reducing charging times at stops and lowering the lifetime costs of wire-free running,” he said.

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183 Responses to Light rail Stage 2A to be wire-free as approvals process moves to next phase
Keith Prinn Keith Prinn 2:15 pm 21 Feb 20

Queanbeyan needs this more than anything

John Steggall John Steggall 8:40 am 20 Feb 20

More money down the drain. Will there be an auditor general's report on the waste of money to date? What will be the predicted residential rate increases?

Capital Retro Capital Retro 2:11 pm 19 Feb 20

The light rail was only about “urban renewal”; specifically redevelopment to create only medium/high density residential developments along the main thoroughfares it uses. It had nothing to do with improving public transport and in fact all it has done replaced what was already being used (buses) and these could have increased running frequency to cater for the commuters that are now living in these new redevelopments.

The other outcome will be greatly increased revenue through rates and land taxes which does not necessarily give a commensurate increase in living standards for the unfortunate people who have to live in these boxes but hey, they have the vibe of a sexy red tram too.

The fact that numerous developers have prospered and Canberra’s street-scape has been destroyed are only coincidental.

    astro2 astro2 8:31 pm 19 Feb 20

    Looks like it’s been successful at both urban renewal and improved pubic transport as both the increase in medium density development providing more homes for Canberrans and a frequent transit system between Gungahlin and the City shows. The boardings show people like it. Like all other capital cities (except for Hobart and Darwin) Canberra needs more than just buses to satisfy our public transport needs.

    chewy14 chewy14 6:55 am 20 Feb 20

    Looks like it’s been successful?

    On what metrics?

    And no, usage is not meaningful here. Of course people use it, there’s no other choice. But that doesn make it viable from a cost benefit perspective, the government’s own figures showed that the cost benefit ratio for the public transport component was 0.3. Which is why it didn’t receive federal funding because it was assessed by the independent body and found it wasnt worthy because the benefits didnt stack up.

    And why is urban renewal by itself a “good” thing?

    Particularly when the majority of the benefit goes to private land holders along the route who have taken a massive private windfall paid for by public finds?

    Why do you believe this is a desirable outcome?

    You know you could just admit the truth? That your support is not based on any sound logic or evidence but just blind faith.

    astro2 astro2 7:26 am 20 Feb 20

    Ahh I think the number of people using the light rail service is a strong measure of success in the real world. I haven’t seen bands of federal police rounding up the poor citizens of Gungahlin at gunpoint and forcing them on to the light rail. “Usage is not meaningful here”…..that’s pretty funny as it seems to be pretty meaningful everywhere else. However the rump of boomer naysayers won’t countenance their opposition to light rail could have been misplaced. So pre-light rail commencement it was : “white elephant – no one will use it” post the rollout and high levels of usage: “Oh bbbbbbut they’re forced to use it.”
    The urban renewal accompanying the successful roll out is a “good” thing if it provides you with a home. Public funds pay for roads and streetscapes in Canberra however why that appears to cause so much angst in the corridors of medium density buildings but not in other suburbs isn’t rational. So, on all counts, it appears logic has flown out the window with the anti-light rail folk and it won’t be returning any time soon. Perhaps an examination of the cost-benefit ratio of roads as well as rail could give them a project to think about.

    chewy14 chewy14 6:15 pm 20 Feb 20

    Its been obvious for a while that you have no idea how infrastructure projects are assessed and ranked.

    “Usage is not meaningful here”…..that’s pretty funny as it seems to be pretty meaningful everywhere else.”

    Actually, no, it’s not meaningful by itself in assessing a project’s viability anywhere, it just provides a likely assessment of demand. It’s not even half the equation.

    “So pre-light rail commencement it was : “white elephant – no one will use it” post the rollout and high levels of usage: “Oh bbbbbbut they’re forced to use it.””

    This seems to be the new argument being presented by supporters. But in reality there was almost no one pre light rail saying that it wouldn’t be used, almost all criticism was of the cost that didn’t stack up to the supposed benefits.

    Particularly the public transport benefits as a titular public transport project. Remember that 0.3 cost benefit ratio, which once again you haven’t even attempted to address?

    “The urban renewal accompanying the successful roll out is a “good” thing if it provides you with a home.”

    This is a strawman. You don’t need urban renewal to provide people with a “home”.

    “Public funds pay for roads and streetscapes in Canberra”

    Almost always funded by land sales or the rates of the people who use those things.

    This project is wildly different in that it is using a massive amount of public funds to benefit a tiny proportion of the population, almost all objectively wealthy land holders.

    “Perhaps an examination of the cost-benefit ratio of roads”

    What, like the last major road project in the ACT, the Majura Parkway, which had a cost benefit ratio of more than 2.5 and thus received federal funding as a priority infrastructure project?

    Honestly, you make this too easy.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:04 am 20 Feb 20

    I don’t think you read what I wrote and I can’t see why you mention Hobart and Darwin.

    astro2 astro2 6:16 pm 20 Feb 20

    Yes, I read what you wrote. The mention of Hobart and Darwin is because, as far as I know, these two capital cities are the only ones in Australia that rely solely on buses for their public transport and their populations are much smaller than Canberra. You were trying to make the point that Canberra could just increase the number of buses in line with the growing population but it doesn’t work like that.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:05 am 21 Feb 20

    It worked like that until some political idealist decided to replace them with a totally not-needed incredibly expensive tram line.

    bj_ACT bj_ACT 12:42 pm 20 Feb 20

    Based on the fact that inner city land sales not on the Tram line are selling for more per square meter than those on the Line, I think it’s more a case about natural growth in inner city property development than due to light rail.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:30 pm 20 Feb 20

    Could that be because the majority of the units selling on the Tram Line are cheaper because they have none or at best only one car park and because of lack of planning it will be impossible to even get the car onto to the congested streets? Have you tried to get a car park in Braddon, Turner of Dickson lately, after you get through the traffic that is.

    chewy14 chewy14 8:46 am 21 Feb 20

    Where have you pulled that stat from?

    Land around the light rail route saw gains of over 50% (some areas far more) in only a couple of years after the light rail was formally announed.

    These gains gave been far in excess of other areas of Canberra and the majority of those gains can only be attributed to the light rail project.

    Anyone that thinks we haven’t gifted those land holders hundreds of thousands of dollars each isn’t paying attention.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 7:14 pm 22 Feb 20

    You have just confirmed what I said.

    bj_ACT bj_ACT 5:08 pm 23 Feb 20

    Data is Publicly available land sales data. Inner city land sales of former government housing and other properties of land not reasonably near light rail, has sold for more per square meter than Northbourne ave sites on the rail line (and obviously more than property on the rail line from Mitchell to Gungahlin).

    There was a property report from a real estate spruiker highlighting this and encouraging investors and developers to buy right in the city (or the old Stuart flats Griffith was another highlighted).

    I was just demonstrating that property growth percentages can’t all be attributed to the Light Rail.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:17 pm 23 Feb 20

    Recent sales of home units on Northbourne Avenue have come substantial discounting. I get my information from someone I know who was buying one and was offered a discount when he walked in the door for an inspection and another one when he walked out.

    At the same time a home unit sold at auction in O’Connor (well away from the tram catchment area) for well over the reserve price and there were plenty of registered bidders.

    There were no sales at all by auction reported along the tram route in today’s Allhomes Saturday auction results in the Sunday Canberra Times.

    chewy14 chewy14 10:47 pm 23 Feb 20

    Sorry I’m going to need more than just a claim, links please.

    And a couple of individual sites won’t do either, it would need to be a wider trend to back up what your claiming.

    Also, simple land sale value per square metre is a bit meaningless, its the growth in recent years that’s far more relevant to the effect of light rail on property prices.

    bj_ACT bj_ACT 10:54 am 24 Feb 20

    Chewy. I’ve provided heaps of data to you in the past with house sale price details about Stamp Duty and then you just ignore it. You can’t keep coming back with the same response wanting more information when you don’t agree with my claims and then ignore the data when I provide it. The Data is publicly available and you can google some of the land sales stories and values from the Canberra Times.

    But to once again dig out information for you to highlight what I’m saying, here’s the first few relevant sales I could find.

    -On light rail corridor.
    Lyneham on Northbourne $45 million 25,000sqm. Dickson on Northbourne $40 million. Gungahlin next to Light Rail two 3,000sqm sales sold for $3.8 million.

    -Not on Light Rail corridor.
    Stuart flats Griffith $40 million 12,080sqm
    Bega flats in Reid $38.5 million 11,712 sqm. Allawah and Currong $47 million

    As for property information from the spruiker on this exact issue that’s not publicly available, but it is reflected in the data above.

    Inner city Canberra price Land growth is happening whether it’s on Light Rail line or not.

    As an aside, Look at some of the Crazy Molonglo development land sales and you can see it’s not just inner city. Those sales blow me away.

    To be fair to you (I think everyone including you will like this one), I didn’t include the ACT Government’s free land swap deal for the Tradies club near the Dickson Light Rail;-)

    chewy14 chewy14 4:37 pm 24 Feb 20

    No you haven’t provided heaps of data, you’ve attempted to use single anecdotes as evidence of trends and I’ve repeatedly shown why what you’re attempting to do is not logical and can’t be used in the way you’re claiming.

    Anecdotes are not data, i specifically said individual sites are meaningless because then you would need to look at exactly where they are, what is the land use they sit on and other local factors, etc. etc.

    I also said that to assess the impact of light rail, the important thing is clearly growth in prices in recent years, overall values are almost irrelevant to assessing its effects.

    You cannot honestly think that trying to compare a site in Dickson or Gungahlin with one in Civic is a like for like comparison?

    To point out how silly this is, the Allawah and Currong site is 25,000sqm, which is similar size and price to the Dickson site, yet the Bega flats site is only half the size right next to the Allawah site and sold to Geocon for 3/4 of the price. Surely you think they got ripped off right? Or is it simply that the Bega flats site and what is being proposed made it worth that amount to the developer.

    To sustain your argument, anecdotes aren’t enough, I was expecting you would provide a report showing suburb and city wide trends around and away from the light rail route. That is the kind of evidence you would need to back up your claim.

    bj_ACT bj_ACT 3:22 pm 25 Feb 20

    Again you are trying to twist out of the way. You can’t have Suburb and city level data when only parts of Suburbs are near the train line or not. There also haven’t been a huge amount of development land sales in the area in the last few years, I have just given you quite a large proportion of the sales which support my dollars per square meter claim. As for trying to compare blocks and areas and how difficult that is. Thanks Sherlock, no one involved in the property industry would have known that. I know neither of us are fools.

    I simply said in the comment that you originally jumped on was “inner city land not on rail line has sold for more per square meter than land on the rail line” I have given you quite a number of examples of that being true.

    If you can’t admit that inner city land prices have risen in Canberra whether they are on the Light Rail or not, then there is no hope convincing you further.

    chewy14 chewy14 6:33 pm 26 Feb 20

    You’ve made a claim that clearly isn’t sustained by the data and you’ve tried to use anecdotes to try and make your point.

    “You can’t have Suburb and city level data when only parts of Suburbs are near the train line or not”

    When I say Suburb level, I’m talking about aggregated totals of sales and their distance from the light rail and stops at a Suburb level minimum.

    In other words, that individual sites are meaningless and you need to consider all sales.

    “There also haven’t been a huge amount of development land sales in the area in the last few years”

    Light rail was announced 8 years ago and fully began implementation 4 years ago. There have been hundreds of sales along the route and the capital gains in properties close to the route far exceed other areas of Canberra. Massive redevelopment blocks aren’t the only game in town you know.

    “Ihave just given you quite a large proportion of the sales which support my dollars per square meter claim.”

    Except you haven’t, you’re trying to claim that a Civic site is somehow equal to a Dickson or Gungahlin one and even then, one of the examples you used of the Allawah and Currong site didn’t support your argument.

    “If you can’t admit that inner city land prices have risen in Canberra whether they are on the Light Rail or not, then there is no hope convincing you “

    This wasn’t your claim. Your original claim was that inner city blocks near the tram line were selling for more per sqm of land than blocks on the light rail.

    To back this up, you’ve attempted to use less than a handful of site in vastly different areas, including ones that clearly are not “inner city”.

    chewy14 chewy14 6:42 pm 26 Feb 20

    Here’s a link to an article showing the effect on property values in the Gold Coast due to light rail and there’s numerous studies looking at the same issue in cities around the world.

    Almost universally, these types of projects deliver higher property price growth to owners close to them.

    bj_ACT bj_ACT 2:30 pm 27 Feb 20

    Chewy. There hasn’t been hundreds of land sales in the area, here’s a list of all Government Land Sales (and as I always stated the average price of inner Canberra land not on Light Rail sales per square meter ‘is above’ those on the Light Rail) raw data available at:

    Average SQm
    Off Rail
    On Rail

    $ Per Sqm
    Light Rail
    Mixed UseDickson1, 5 &
    Art Projects Nominees Pty Ltd
    On Rail
    Multi Unit Auction Griffith
    BMJ Canberra Investment Corporation Pty Ltd
    Off Rail
    Mixed Use Auction Gungahlin Town Centre
    Camilleri (ACT) Pty Ltd
    On Rail
    Mixed Use Auction Gungahlin Town Centre
    R & R Medical Australia PtyLtd
    On Rail
    Multi Unit Auction Narrabundah
    Braddon D Pty Ltd & Braddon G Pty Ltd
    Off Rail
    Multi Unit Auction Griffith
    BMJ Canberra Investment Corporation Pty Ltd
    Off Rail
    Mixed Use Tender Dickson
    Doma Dickson (Residential) Pty Ltd
    On Rail
    Mixed Use Braddon
    Off Rail
    Multi Unit Auction Griffith
    Bisa Inner South Projects Pty Ltd
    Off Rail
    Mixed Use Tender Dickson
    Doma Dickson (Residential) Pty Ltd
    On Rail
    Mixed Use Auction Reid
    NG Landholdings No15 Pty Ltd
    Off Rail
    Multi Unit Auction Griffith
    Yeend Pty Limited
    Off Rail

    chewy14 chewy14 7:35 pm 27 Feb 20

    What on earth does “government sites” have to do with it?

    The vast majority of land is not owned by the government and there have been hundreds of sales within close proximity to the light rail. Every private sale counts also. And

    And are you claiming that Dickson is ” inner city” and is directly comparable to Civic?

    Also, what exactly do you think is “on the light rail” route?

    I would at least include a couple of hundred metres either side of the track and from other research, around 400m still feels the effects of the increase.

    bj_ACT bj_ACT 4:05 pm 28 Feb 20

    Of course I was talking about Government Land because that’s the data used for the benefits measurement for Light Rail. And that data I provide DID use a 400m straight line calculation from a light rail stop.

    I give you the data which supports my claim and you still won’t accept it and you still try and twist things. You’re a hard man to please. Where’s the point where you will admit I was correct AND the real estate investment specialists and the Canberra property sales experts I work with are also correct.

    I might try and do inner city property sales compared to sales within 400m of a Light Rail stop to satisfy you. Big task. However UAV near light rail is rising similar to UAV away from Light Rail in inner Canberra.

    Campbell well outside the light rail corridor, UAV is about to jump much higher. Watch this space.

    JC JC 12:02 pm 21 Feb 20

    Correct it was about urban renewal for the most part. And measured against that criteria it Is a success as indicated by your prediction of what will happen.

    And this may come as a shock lots of people are more than happy to live in what you describe as dog boxes. Not everyone wants a McMansion on a small block or a small cold in winter, boiling hot in summer older house on a massive block where they would spend every waking hour clearing weeds, or creating eyesores by not doing anything at all (which many older blocks do).

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 7:16 pm 22 Feb 20

    So, why did you move to a house in Ngunnawal?

alisond alisond 12:25 pm 19 Feb 20

Can we agree that buses can do everything that trams can, and more?
“Wire-less tram with internal power storage” sounds like a bus to me, without digging grooves in roads, felling trees or destroying landscape.
However, I am getting annoyed that “Transport Canberra” is not revealing the cost for Stage 1+, nor any business case for replacing buses.

    JC JC 7:02 am 22 Feb 20

    Stage 1 cost is very much in public record.

    And buses may well be able to do more except one thing. Carry a shed load of people at once. To carry the same number of people as one tram can carry you need 4 standard size buses or 2.75 articulated buses. In all cases I am assuming crush load, which I wouldn’t want to be on, bus or tram.

    So to put that into perspective currently there are 10 reasonably full trams an hour going into the city in the peak that would require 40 buses.

    And therein lie the problem that is far too much traffic even on a dedicated bus way as many suggest.

    Oh and guided buses don’t need groves on the road but after a while they do drive on groves on the road as they make them themselves by driving over the same bit of road constantly. The solution is to make a dedicated roadway with a heavy base of concrete, as cost many of the guided bus supporters always ignore in their arguments by saying they simply run on existing roads. Likewise they don’t factor in existing congestion on those existing roads either.

    chewy14 chewy14 10:56 pm 22 Feb 20

    Stated capacity for the light rail is 238.
    The new articulated buses carry 109. So for them, it’s only around 2 to 1, so not really an issue from a traffic management perspective.

    And dedicated busways were costed at a fraction of the cost of light rail for the same benefit.

    A rail option might have been justified in 20 years, but there’s nothing it could do that couldn’t have been replicated by buses in the short to medium term.

    JC JC 5:31 pm 23 Feb 20

    Stated capacity of the Canberra light rail vehicles according to CAF who make them is 276. I’ve rounded up to the nearest 10 to get 280.


    Likewise the capacity of a standard size bus is 68. Again I have rounded up to get 70 which is 1/4 the capacity of the light tail vehicle. Source TC’s website, look for the VST model as that is what is currently being delivered.

    But if you want to use an articulated bus to suit your argument Then yes capacity is 105 and that goes into 280 2.6 times not twice. So that still means if you want the same capacity as 12 trams an hour you would need 32 articulated buses.

    Hence I stand firmly by my comment that is far too many and would still cause traffic issues unless every intersection was fully grade separated. That of course I am sure you would agree would significantly add to the cost of a dedicated busway.

    Likewise with a frequency on light rail greater than one every 4 minutes I would also say the exiting line would cause traffic issues and would require grade separating. But luckily the lightrail stops were designed to be extended to 45m easily and the trams can by extended to 7 modules to match the platform. That would increase capacity of each vehicle by at least another 110 people, probably slightly more. So going to frequencies greater than 15 an hour (1 every 4 minutes) would not be required in a hurry.

    And ironic your words about light rail being justified in 20 years is what Kate Carnell said when Bob Winnel was talking light rail in the 90’s!

    chewy14 chewy14 6:59 pm 23 Feb 20

    Our light rail vehicles are not fitted out that way, although I was actually wrong, under our configuration, their capacity is only 207. To get 280, you’d have to remove some of the accessibility options that have been allowed for. Not to mention it would be truly packing people in, something that is possible but definitely would reduce the amenity of those stuck on them during peaks.

    “But if you want to use an articulated bus to suit your argument”

    Um no, I want to make a like for like comparison with the types of buses that would be used on this route if a bus option was chosen. There are BRT systems using buses that can carry 200, but I don’t think they’d be realistic here. We have 109 capacity buses already used regularly.

    “Hence I stand firmly by my comment that is far too many”

    Except your figures are wrong as ive shown and anyone who sees the light rail vehicles in off peak periods or going against the peak direction knows how empty they are at those times.

    Another advantage of buses being that they are easily reallocated to different routes in off peak times.

    “And ironic your words about light rail being justified in 20 years is what Kate Carnell said when Bob Winnel was talking light rail in the 90’s!”

    Not really ironic that they were both wrong and the timing was much longer.

    If you were correct, the business case wouldn’t have had a 0.3 cost benefit ratio for the public transport component.

    JC JC 6:03 pm 24 Feb 20

    CAF made them and the page was specifically for the Canberra vehicles. I am sure they know how many people they can carry.

    As per your TC link do note the words “ carry at least”. At least includes all wheelchair and bike bays full, maximum capacity is just that. And sure capacity will be lower with those amenities used, just like buses have reduced capacity if wheelchair bays are used too. So my point still remains light rail carries 2.6 the number of passengers that an articulated bus carries.

    As for the return journeys and off peak yeah not as full that is for sure, but the same applies to buses too or they dead run which of course is a major bug bear of the ACT opposition.

    As for how many stand, the answer is a high proportion of course. But so what? It is about carrying the maximum number of people as efficiently as possible. Light rail beats buses hands down in that regard.

    chewy14 chewy14 12:06 pm 25 Feb 20

    No, your point doesn’t remain, it’s clearly contradicted by the government’s figures and the way that our light rail vehicles have been configured. Manufacturers regularly overstate capacity for these vehicles (and buses) because it’s advertising for them, it sells more systems.

    The standing passenger density standard in Australia is 4 people/sqm , the figure you’re quoting uses 6 people/sqm and it’s obvious why they would use the inflated figure but it isn’t realistic for our use. This isn’t the Tokyo subway.

    The same thing actually applies to buses too (ie. I don’t think we are actually getting 107 or 109 on our articulated buses but is far less of an impact considering they have the exact same number of seated passengers as light rail.

    And as above, I could simply choose a higher capacity bus system if I wanted to, but a ratio of 2:1 is a far more realistic assessment of easily achievable capacity.

    So for the stage 1 route, you might need 25-30 articulated buses per hour (being generous) for peak periods that you could then reassign some of the spare capacity to other routes outside peak periods. You could easily run multiple buses together at 5 minute schedules.

    Light rail obviously has increased capacity abilities but we don’t currently need it and that’s the reason why the cost benefit ratio for the public transport component of the project was so woeful.

    JC JC 4:45 pm 25 Feb 20

    My figures don’t contradict the government figures. I explained it clearly enough that the figures on the TC website say a minimum of. It’s not maximum capacity. CAF is maximum capacity.

    As for standards care to provide a link to the Australian standard that says 4 people/m2?

    chewy14 chewy14 10:06 pm 26 Feb 20

    What you’re not understanding is that there is a difference between the maximum amount of people you could theoretically fit on a public transport vehicle versus the actual usability of that space from both a functional system and passenger amenity perspective.

    The more people you fit onto a vehicle, the longer the dwell times that are required at stations for people loading and unloading as well increasing the difficulty of people to move around on the vehicle itself, positioning themselves for stops.

    Not only that, passenger experience of those crowding and crush loads affects the perception of the system itself, significantly reducing amenity as you increase those loads.

    Here’s a good short paper explaining it and discussing the typical standing passenger density standards used. There’s also plenty of other global and local research in the area if you really want to read it, it isn’t hard to find.;jsessionid=C8F3CA041192442113E5F21E04D8CB43?sequence=2

    So, whilst you “could” fit many more people onto the Light rail, you wouldn’t design the system that way because it negatively affects the functioning of that system as well as passenger perceptions of it. It’s poor design.

    And as above, I could just as easily fiddle with the figures for the buses by reconfiguring them to suit my argument. I can readily find bus options with over 40sqm of useable floor space, How about I just remove some more seats and pack passengers in standing at 6people/sqm.

    But that wouldn’t be realistic because it would be a very poorly designed system that breached multiple standards and benchmarks as well as negatively affecting the overall system performance.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:47 am 24 Feb 20

    I don’t dispute your data on the carrying capacity of the trams JC but could yo please remind us all again how many sit and how many stand?

Alan Sargeant Alan Sargeant 11:18 am 19 Feb 20

I understand that the return on Stage two is fourty cents in the dollar and that it may be more if and when light rail is extended to Woden. The Government should not be investing in this stage until it has agreement on the whole route. So much money will be wasted!

With decisions like this it does not deserve to be re-elected but the problem is that the alternatives does seem to be awe inspiring either.

    Ross MacPherson Ross MacPherson 1:33 pm 19 Feb 20

    It's not all about dollars and cents or returns, it's about providing a service/facility for residents. Have you ever researched what the return is on other government services? What is the return on garbage collection? Recycling? Roads? Parks/sporting grounds?

    Alan Sargeant Alan Sargeant 11:19 pm 19 Feb 20

    Ross MacPherson There are some government services that have tobe provided - health, schools, garbage collection and so on. If one does an analysis of the different solutions then you can proceed with what is the best solution.

    When it comes to public transport you would expect that there are different solutions to the problem and you should be seeking the outcome that gives the best return on the dollar, accepting that it may be negative - hence the public transport element.

    I understand that the decision for stage 1 (the existing light rail) was only just positive in terms of economic outcomes and that there were better solutions which were not adopted.

    I have not seen the details of other solutions to the perceived problem that the next stage is supposed to solve. So I cannot comment on which is the best solution. Even where the government is recovering only 40% of the cost of the project there must be a better solution.

    By the way I am a retired project economist, specialising in transport projects, both in Australi and overseas.

Peter Palmer Peter Palmer 5:44 am 19 Feb 20

Love the light rail so far, use it often.

Only the federal government stopping 2B.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:17 pm 18 Feb 20

“How much will it cost cost for 1.7 klms? “

Unlike Bill Shorten’s claim that the cost of not actioning climate change would be greater than actioning it, the cost of any future tram extensions will cost heaps more than doing nothing.

Tony Tony Tony Tony 6:15 pm 18 Feb 20

Wish we could ,,,, sack the A,C.T polies.. sue them for wasting a billion dollars,,, don't U think the community would have been better off with big new hospital ,,, And better infrastructure within Canberra ,,, that would have created thousands of permanent jobs,,,, the Canberra rate & tax payers will never see any true value nor any true productivity via this Light rail BS,,,,,, light rail in Canberra is apitimy of a true WHITE


AS GREATA would say ,,, HOW DARE YOU 🙉

    Garry Gordon Garry Gordon 8:08 pm 18 Feb 20

    Tony Tony - you are spot on. In NSW they would sack the Council and put in an administrator. I recall a resident saying in one of those areas that finally things are starting to get sorted under an administrator.

Rob Chalmers Rob Chalmers 6:09 pm 18 Feb 20

Still nothing on "The Bridge over the River Molonglo"...unless it very secret.

Daniel Bryan Daniel Bryan 2:40 pm 18 Feb 20

Be good if they could get approvals under way for 2B before 2A is finished thus reducing the down time between builds.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:51 am 19 Feb 20

    Daniel Bryan that is the whole idea behind splitting stage 2 into two parts.

    Richie Suryadi Richie Suryadi 7:17 pm 21 Feb 20

    Be good if they got the first stage right in the first place

    John Tozer John Tozer 8:42 pm 24 Feb 20

    Daniel Bryan - Be REALLY good if they told us how they are going to get across the lake!

Sharvi Tinnlonga Sharvi Tinnlonga 9:39 am 18 Feb 20

I find it pointless to write a comment, they are determined to go across the lake rather than go to the airport and Queanbeyan.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 10:31 am 19 Feb 20

    Sharvi Tinnlonga why would the ACT government even consider QBN?

    Sharvi Tinnlonga Sharvi Tinnlonga 4:47 pm 20 Feb 20

    once it gets to the airport, qbyn people will agitate for it to connect Queanbeyan with the airport and canberra.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 7:19 am 22 Feb 20

    Sharvi Tinnlonga QBN people can agitate all they like, but I am sure the NSW government isn’t going to provide one cent for it and I am even more sure the ACT government won’t either.

    Oh and if you wanted to connect to QBN the better route would be one via Fyshwick and along the existing railway corridor not via the airport.

    And to be honest I’ve always felt stage two should be to Kingston rather than Woden.

    Sharvi Tinnlonga Sharvi Tinnlonga 6:10 pm 24 Feb 20

    I agree that the rail should go to Kingston, and then on to the airport if a suitable route could be found.

    I think the airport would be against a rail line as it would affect their overpriced car parking rates and the taxi industry would be badly affected.

Jorge Garcia Jorge Garcia 8:49 am 18 Feb 20

Oh! will the neigh sayers give it up??? The tram has been a great success so much so that they are having to put extra services at peak times. ACTION could habe done much better with public transport in the South but that is no reason for not pushing ahead with putting a light rail spine right through the middle of Canberra… (and it needs to go ALL the way South and the Airport too)…. with bus loops criss crossing the line all the way along. I think that the solutions being adopted to overcome the impediments being thrown at this project are ingenious… Well done to the engineers and the visionaries!

    chewy14 chewy14 12:37 pm 18 Feb 20

    For the millionth time, usage figures doesn’t make a public transport or infrastructure project a “success”.

    Particularly when a large proportion of those users have been forced into making that choice by removing alternatives.

    If the government offered a cheap limousine service door to door, I’m sure the usage figures would be astronomical.

    There are far cheaper alternatives than light rail that will give the same public transport outcome and even the existing buses are quicker from Woden to Civic. So why would you pay billions of dollars for little to no benefit?

    Particularly when the budget is in such a parlous state.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 1:30 pm 18 Feb 20

    All modes of mass transit have to provide extra services/resources at peak times. Success is based on the aggregate 24 hour cycle which I think you will find with the trams will be about the same as what the previous commute methods were (busses and private cars) and this pet/idealistic project will end up costing us billions for exactly the same outcome.

    Canberra simply doesn’t have the population density for trams. How many times do you need to hear that said?

    JC JC 6:00 am 19 Feb 20

    What drivel. Who says success is measured on a 24 hour cycle?

    Even the beloved roads are all designed around peak demand. For 20 hours a day many of our roads would work fine with single lanes!

    Though I will agree with one thing Canberra, overall doesn’t have the population to have trams, but there are corridors that sure the hell do. The Northborne Ave to Gungahlin corridor being one of them and the far better than expected usage reflects that in spades.

    And don’t give me the nonsense that people are forced into it by removal of the buses. The amount of people using the tram in peak hour would have required 20+ buses an hour. I can assure you there were not that many buses plying Flemmington Road or Northborne Ave every hour. The people have spoken with their feet.

    chewy14 chewy14 8:38 pm 19 Feb 20

    Your claim about people not being forced onto light rail is erroneous because you aren’t comparing apples with apples.

    There used to be suburban buses from these areas that didn’t go along the light rail route but they are now all funneled through the Gungahlin town centre and light rail.

    Of course it’s popular because it’s the only choice.

    Although, as above, that doesn’t make it a success and as the government’s own figures showed, a BRT system could have provided the same public transport benefits for a fraction of the cost.

    JC JC 9:50 am 21 Feb 20

    Not true. The suburban buses that serviced the eastern suburbs of Gungahlin did follow the light rail route. And those that came from the western suburbs also followed the route.

    The key difference now is the change of mode. For those in the eastern suburbs (Harrison and Franklin) they can either walk to a stop or bus and change at a stop along the route, the benifit being even with a change faster travel times in peak and similar off peak.

    And you are still ignoring two facts. One fact more people are using light rail compared to buses along the same trunk route and that people still have choice of using their car, riding a bike but fact remains many are choosing light rail over alternatives.

    I know this doesn’t suit your narrative but thems are the facts.

    chewy14 chewy14 6:20 pm 21 Feb 20

    I’m not saying that more people aren’t travelling on this route, there’s thousands of extra people living there now. It was obvious.

    So your two facts are irrelevant to my point that the bus routes are now designed to funnel people to the light rail whereas previously they had more choice. Particularly as parking rates in the city have been significantly increased compounding this factor.

    And even then, none of this actually means that light rail was the correct choice now for this route. There were far cheaper options available that delivered the same benefit.

    I know this doesn’t suit your narrative but those are the facts.

    JC JC 8:17 pm 23 Feb 20

    Public transport isn’t about choice. But let’s say it was before the choice was a bus from the suburbs to Gungahlin and then in peak hour a 45 minute trip along Flemmington Road and Northborne Ave.

    Or now the same (or similar) bus trip to Gungahlin, a change to light rail with, in peak hour a maximum of 6, soon to be 5 minute wait and then 24 minutes to the city. Even with the change light rail is the winner time wise by a country mile.

    But let’s talk about choice and now in the past I didn’t really have much choice but to drive to the city because a choice I made because my time is more valuable than the cost of parking.

    Now I drive half way, park for free (and luckily I avoided the hail storm) and then get the tram the last stretch to town all with zero time penalty. If I had of done that before with the 200 bus it would have taken at least 20 minutes more in morning peak and about the same afternoon peak.

    My choice reduced road congestion in the more central area, reduced demand for carparking in the city, is cheaper and takes about the same. And where I park and ride there is an increasing number of people doing exactly that.

    Now talk to me about choice again?

    chewy14 chewy14 2:42 pm 24 Feb 20

    “Or now the same (or similar) bus trip to Gungahlin, a change to light rail with, in peak hour a maximum of 6, soon to be 5 minute wait and then 24 minutes to the city. Even with the change light rail is the winner time wise by a country mile.”

    Once again, you aren’t comparing like for like.

    Nowhere have I suggested that nothing should have been done to increase public transport on this route. I specifically said there were other options available that would meet this demand at a fraction of the cost, delivering identical public transport benefits. The government’s own business case said this.

    You could have then planned for transition to a higher capacity system such as light rail, when or if it was necessary. Which is clearly not today.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 6:33 pm 20 Feb 20

    “The people have spoken with their feet.”

    The same feet they stand on in the trams?

Lorraine Welling Lorraine Welling 7:46 am 18 Feb 20

Canberra can’t afford this at this time, given the massive budget blowout and mismanagement of our money by Barr and Rattenbury. Here in the ACT, this is their record:

Australia’s most expensive education system, yet a lack of support for teachers.

Australia’s most expensive hospitals, yet nurses are at breaking point.

Australia’s most expensive prison, yet very little rehabilitation.

Australia’s most expensive petrol.

Australia’s highest costs for owning and running a car.

Australia’s highest rates of assaults on prison guards.

Australia’s smallest frontline police force.

Australia’s worst rental stress.

We have Australia’s highest rent.

Australia’s highest rate of repeat homelessness.

Australia’s highest gas prices.

Australia’s least affordable housing market for young people.

Australia’s most expensive childcare costs.

Australia’s longest wait for residential aged care.

And, Australia’s worst hospital waiting times.

    Jorge Garcia Jorge Garcia 8:57 am 18 Feb 20

    I dont have a high opinion on this government, but the list of problems you have outlined can/should be addressed without taking a step back on the light rail project which is also sorely needed.

    Garry Gordon Garry Gordon 8:07 pm 18 Feb 20

    Lorraine Welling / and Australia’s worst politicians.

    Peter Palmer Peter Palmer 5:46 am 19 Feb 20

    Lorraine Welling And yet it is still the place we choose to live.

    Lorraine Welling Lorraine Welling 7:01 am 19 Feb 20

    Peter Palmer yes. I love Canberra and politicians come and go - and it high time Barr and Rattenbury went.

    Alan Dalling Alan Dalling 10:01 am 21 Feb 20

    Jorge Garcia no it's not. Stage 2 will nearly double the commuting time between Woden and Civic. Will remove a couple of hundred trees from Commonwealth Ave and Yarra Glen. It will remove the T2 lanes affecting all current users, but particularly emergency vehicles. It is inflexible, not easily adaptable to increasing capacity and requires specialist training for operators. All this for a minimum of $1.6 billion. Total joke. Seriously anybody who thinks this a good idea, or good value needs their head read.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 7:17 am 22 Feb 20

    Alan Dalling where have you seen plans to say the T2 lanes will disappear? Everything I’ve seen shows it using the median strip which is quite wide with those other lanes untouched.

    That said one stretch of the T2 has disappeared in recent months to be turned into a car lane. But guess that doesn’t count because cars are king.

    As for adapting light rail for increasing capacity, yeah, nope that is the very idea behind it especially on stage 1 where Northborne Ave couldn’t be realistically increased in capacity. Guess another 2 lanes could be Adelaide Ave to increase capacity if required but only as far as Parl house where it becomes a bottle neck of two lanes with little room to expand.

    Tamsin Walkden Tamsin Walkden 2:04 pm 22 Feb 20

    Lorraine Welling Well said.

chewy14 chewy14 7:43 am 18 Feb 20

This is where people need to understand the concept of opportunity cost.

With all the talk of the “success” of stage 1 because people are using it, have a think about what else the enormous amount of money being directed to this project could be used for and what actual public transport benefit it will provide.

Considering that current buses on this route are significantly faster than the future light rail will be, what other services are you prepared to give up because we’ve spent all our money on this.

    JC JC 10:15 pm 24 Feb 20

    Opportunity cost works both ways. Think of the enormous costs that have otherwise been saved by not having to add extra road lanes from Gungahlin to the city, or to the cost of congestion, health of people yadda yadda yadda.

    chewy14 chewy14 12:17 pm 25 Feb 20

    Who has suggested extra roads being built?

    Certainly not me.

    Once again I’m supportive of additional public transport, that doesn’t mean I’m supportive of all public transport options. Light Rail was clearly not the best option as the government’s figures show and it’s also why they haven’t released any business case for stage 2 and beyond.

Emilia Franklin Emilia Franklin 7:34 am 18 Feb 20

We live in Gleneagles and pay good tax for it but we haven't a bus stop

Emilia Franklin Emilia Franklin 7:31 am 18 Feb 20

And negotiate with Sydney about Canberra - Qbeyan

Emilia Franklin Emilia Franklin 7:30 am 18 Feb 20

We need one to the airport

    John Harding John Harding 10:44 am 25 Feb 20

    A billion dollar train line was built from Sydney airport to the city. It is great and I have used it several times flying to Sydney for business meetings in the city. However, it made massive losses (in the hundreds of millions). A light rail line to the airport would be even more uneconomic.

    Emilia Franklin Emilia Franklin 10:51 am 25 Feb 20

    Well it is the beggining..but rail or bus to the Airport of Canberra it's necessary

    Emilia Franklin Emilia Franklin 10:56 am 25 Feb 20

    If not, a fast train...Sydney- Canberra through Golbun..Wollongong Qbeyan Canberra ..Woga Woga, Alburry. Melbourne?

    Emilia Franklin Emilia Franklin 10:56 am 25 Feb 20

    With more stops that I don' t see now

    Bill Arthur Bill Arthur 3:49 pm 25 Feb 20

    Emilia Franklin It is Wagga Wagga and Albury

Emilia Franklin Emilia Franklin 7:30 am 18 Feb 20

We are paying the taxes and none of the benefits in South Point..and Tuggeranong Vale

Emilia Franklin Emilia Franklin 7:29 am 18 Feb 20

Please South Point!!!

Emilia Franklin Emilia Franklin 7:28 am 18 Feb 20

Dunkan..we need urgently a light rail to the airport

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