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Putting Light Rail back on the Public Agenda (Meeting Notification)

By Jonathon Reynolds - 9 September 2007 67

ACT Light Rail, a collective of individuals interested in stimulating renewed debate for exploring Light Rail options for the Capital Region will be hosting a public meeting this coming Wednesday 12th September.

With the recent announcement of the release of new land for the Molonglo town centre and recent coverage of parking issues in the City /Parliamentary area, the group is encouraging public involvement and hoping to reenergize the public transport debate before the upcoming Federal and 2008 Territory Election.

Meeting Details:

Date: Wednesday 12 September
Time: 19:30
Venue: New Griffin Centre, Genge Street, Civic.

ACT Light Rail has a web-site on which information will become available at the following URL:

Concept diagram for a Light Rail network for the Canberra Region. The proposed network could leverage the exisiting rail infrastructure for the initial segments of the network. The network then expands in a staged approach, eventually linking all town centres. Park & Ride facilities are provided strategically around the network allieviating the need for mass parking in the employment centres. 

A concept map for a possible Light Rail network

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67 Responses to
Putting Light Rail back on the Public Agenda (Meeting Notification)
futto 7:27 pm 09 Sep 07

A Zeppelin! By george, if it’s good enough for the Krouts, then there is a chance it might work here.

garthmorrison 7:24 pm 09 Sep 07

How about using a Zeppelin. They are cheap and the view is just wonderful. All you need is some hot air (Plenty of that in this town) and an acre of flat grasslands

futto 7:18 pm 09 Sep 07

The rail bit seems to be a bit of a problem…guage sizes and all that. Perhaps we could invent some kind of machine that could carry people, say around 30 to 60, but use some those rubberized wheels that those horse carriages are using.


kenk 7:14 pm 09 Sep 07

This is dead technology. What is needed is something in the nature of a horizontal, but multi-dimensional lift. You press a button for where you want to go and, soon afterwards, a box arrives to take you there. Just like going to the 37th level in a modern building.

OK – there are a few details to be worked out but that is what you finish up with – what is needed to do the job.

In the meantime, Melbourne has a quite incredible light rail network. And even Sydney has a modest system (Sydney must have the most diverse public transport anywhere – even monorail!)

In Canberra, if you see a bus it is almost always empty.

JC 6:49 pm 09 Sep 07

There are a few interesting misconceptions there. First with the guage, all the tram/light rail systems in use in Australia use standard guage, the same as the train system in NSW. What is different is the wheel profile, bit it is quite possible to use the same profile.

The width of a LR track is the same as one of our car lanes if you run it on the road. If you run it on dedicated track you could run two tracks in a smaller area than two car lanes. Northborne was always designed for trams running down the middle, but yes agree it would be hard to get that through. That being said some modern systems use track that is surrounded by grass, even between the tracks.

As for bridges, there is no reason Commonwealth Ave bridge couldn’t take a LR track with appropriate strengthening. Remember we are not talking about a heavy rail train system here. The other option is a third bridge in the middle. Neither would be cheap but again not impossible.

The whole problem with something like this is cost and the basic design of Canberra. Unlike European cities and older Aus cities, we generally have a distributed population and distributed work places. If everyone worked in the city it might be feasible, but running a track from everywhere to everwhere is not possible. In fact this is also the biggest problem with ACTION buses. People don’t like changing, but with Canberra there isn’t much option.

cranky 6:05 pm 09 Sep 07

Looks like a good blueprint for dedicated ACTION services to prove the numbers are viable.

Traitorsgate 1:48 pm 09 Sep 07

Without Federal Government funding, Light Rail will sadly remain a pipe dream. Can anybody seriously see the Howard Government bankrolling this? It would be the biggest “pork barrel” the country has ever seen. As much as I see Light Rail as both an innovative as well as necessary concept for Canberra, the Federal Government’s apathy towards the Nation’s capital, combined with the Local Government’s incompetence will virtually guarantee Light Rail a spot in the “To Hard basket”, alongside the High speed Rail link between Canberra and Sydney.

sepi 12:55 pm 09 Sep 07

It doesn’t have to be faster than car travel – it will be much easier, and more pleasant. You can sit and read a book etc.

Snoopy 12:17 pm 09 Sep 07

Light rail is a wonderful idea. But what are the guarantees that it will be reliable and prompt, any faster than car travel and that anyone will use it.? Public transport, especially to the outer suburbs does not have a great history. What incentives will there be for commuters apart from a warm fuzzy feeling? It needs to be a viable, reliable alternative.

asp 10:39 am 09 Sep 07

“I just can’t see how to get it through Civic, Across the bridge etc.”

If they use a system that uses the normal gauge railway tracks, they can’t. Those systems take up a lot of space and become very expesive if they are to be mounted off the ground.
The use of PRT systems like ULTra however would see the system cross the bridge and go through Civic as easily as the Darling Harbour monorail traverses the streets and plazas of Sydney.

asp 10:35 am 09 Sep 07

“Both heavy and Light Rail can operate on the same track.”

Though in the plans and concepts the government was displaying from 96 right through to a couple of years ago, they all depicted a system that was lighter than light rail. What was depicted was PRT or Personal Rapid Transport ( The renderings and designs (some of which predated any existing version of this technology) bared a striking resemblence to the new ULTra at Heathrow Airport which will open next year (
Something tells me if they attempt to use the existing rail system as part of a new light rail netwprk, it’s going to be a disaster. Rathe than a light, versitile system like ULTra, we’ll be lumped with an inflexible, rail version of the unprofitable ACTION.

sepi 10:21 am 09 Sep 07

Looks great to me.

I think the problem is that noone is ever going to authorise it to go down the centre of Northbourne.
It would be fine once it got to Yamba drive though.
I just can’t see how to get it through Civic, Across the bridge etc.

jr 9:48 am 09 Sep 07
jr 9:45 am 09 Sep 07

Both heavy and Light Rail can operate on the same track.

See 1:50 into this YouTube video for a “Tram”

areaman 8:56 am 09 Sep 07

isn’t the existing rail infrastructure the wrong gauge for light rail?

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