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TOOT TOOT! Labor promises light rail and names it “Capital Metro”

By johnboy 21 September 2012 76

light rail

Angels and Ministers of Grace preserve us Katy Gallagher is committing Labor to light rail:

If re-elected in 2012, ACT Labor will establish the ACT’s first large-scale private sector partnership to plan, finance and develop the first stage of a Light Rail Network for Canberra – the Capital Metro.

[Photo by Justin Ruckman CC BY 2.0]


UPDATE 21/09/12 10:50 Chic Henry has shared his thoughts and we’ll all be rooned:

So far, Labour hasn’t shown that it is very good at the business basics and if they aren’t careful, they and the dreamtime (Greentime) aspirations of their Green associates will send the City broke.


UPDATE 21/09/12 12:34: Two more reactions:

1. The Greens are chalking this up to their leadership.

2. Carbon emissions advocates Canberra Loves 40% also love Canberra Metro but want to hear from the Liberals.


What’s Your opinion?


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76 Responses to
TOOT TOOT! Labor promises light rail and names it “Capital Metro”
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PA1 7:34 pm 23 Sep 12

SnapperJack said :

banco said :

I’ve yet to heard advocates of light rail explain how light rail can work in a city with Canberra’s population density without massive public subsidies ad infinitum.

Perhaps the “advocates of light rail” are too busy stuffing their fat faces with junk food to provide the answers.

The overall density of Canberra according to the ACT government is 443.6 people/km2. This stuck me as odd because I thought it would be much higher than that. Then I actually went through the numbers and found out how it was counted.
According to the document the population density of North Canberra is 232.2 people/km2. I then noticed the count included such areas like Majura which is mostly paddocks, Kowen which is the pine forest north of Queanbeyan, Acton which although does have a growing population does also count Black Mountain and the ANU as part of the suburb and the Russell area which only consists of the defence headquarters (No population counted). When I actually removed these areas, the population density went to 1443.7 people/km2.
The point of the above research is to illustrate that the green space of Canberra is also include in the statistics, so when the non-urban areas are removed, the population density is closer to other major cities. Now you might say that it still isn’t enough to facilitate a mass transit system, but my next point also shows a unique characteristic of Canberra.
One thing that Canberra has is highly concentrated employment areas. Take for example the Canberra City and Parliamentary Triangle area; this area as of 2006 employs 95260. The other town centres also employ a further 38075 people. Just think of all those daily trips to work alone and the demand it place on our transport system.
My point is that Canberra does have some congestion hot spots now and as Canberra expands and increases in density these will only get worse, so we need a long term solution to solve these problems. Whether light rail is the best option is another issue, but we do need to come up with a long term solution.

Population density document: http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/__data/assets/rtf_file/0020/24329/Population_Density_20114.rtf
Employment information: http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/14269/Employment_distribution.pdf

SnapperJack 3:37 pm 23 Sep 12

banco said :

I’ve yet to heard advocates of light rail explain how light rail can work in a city with Canberra’s population density without massive public subsidies ad infinitum.

Perhaps the “advocates of light rail” are too busy stuffing their fat faces with junk food to provide the answers.

banco 1:26 pm 23 Sep 12

I’ve yet to heard advocates of light rail explain how light rail can work in a city with Canberra’s population density without massive public subsidies ad infinitum.

rosscoact 11:46 am 23 Sep 12

johnboy said :

I’m just guessing, but it seems to me the private finance will come if the company gets out of town residential centres to develop at the ends of these lines.

Yes, that is how the bus centres have been developed in Brisbane. Commercial with residential over. However, I wonder where the capacity is for this is in say, Gunners? Probably the bulky goods site next to Magnetmart which Vinta group haven’t been able to find a buyer for?

Just needs a deal with the lessees, a Territory Plan Variation and ACTPLA planners to think outside the box. Piece of cake really.

rosscoact 10:00 am 23 Sep 12

miz said :

Hey Ross I think they should still be part of the consideration for any rail proposal. Plenty of rural towns in NSW are either on the rail system or at least have a bus linking them to it.

But surely the prime consideration is to move a lot of people efficiently without the need for cars on the major routes? The small villages would fail the lot of people test (but admittedly pass the keep cars off the road test).

Incidentally, PPP are generally only considered viable when the development industry can get money cheaper than government which isn’t the case at the moment.

    johnboy 10:03 am 23 Sep 12

    I’m just guessing, but it seems to me the private finance will come if the company gets out of town residential centres to develop at the ends of these lines.

miz 9:26 am 23 Sep 12

Hey Ross I think they should still be part of the consideration for any rail proposal. Plenty of rural towns in NSW are either on the rail system or at least have a bus linking them to it.

rosscoact 5:29 am 23 Sep 12

miz said :

Good point joingler – I hope Tharwa, Oaks and Hall are on the radar for the light rail proposal.

why? Tiny populations of people who, in the case of Tharwa and Hall choose to live in rural environment

Why on earth would anyone ever even contemplate it?

basketofcat 12:37 am 23 Sep 12

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_Metro

“The metro has 22 stations, of which 9 are underground. In 2011, the metro carried 54.3 million passengers.”

“The entire metro system and the trains are run by a fully automated computer system […]. At any time, there are four people working at the control center […]”.

“The price was estimated at 11.5 to 18.3 billion Danish krone (DKK), of which DKK 5.4 billion will be financed though ticket sales, and the remaining from the state and municipalities.”

“The light rail model would have used the same approach as the tram in Ørestad, but would instead have run through a tunnel in the city center. The tunnel sections would be shorter, but the diameter larger because it would have to accommodate overhead wires. The system would have the same frequency as the tram, but use double trams and would therefore require larger stations. The metro solution was chosen because it combined the highest average speeds, the highest passenger capacity, the lowest visual and noise impact, and the lowest number of accidents. Despite requiring the highest investment, it had the highest net present value.”

But who cares about the future generations and budgets…

kakosi 9:24 pm 22 Sep 12

Masquara said :

JC said :

Masquara said :

Look out for the totally dishonest “artists impression footage” in the TV ad. It shows ONE track of light rail occupying all the space available between the trees up the Northbourne Avenue median strip. As if you could operate light rail with a single track. This light rail means Northbourne will LOSE at least one, probably both of its rows of trees. Thumbs down from me.

You believe an artists impression? Hmmm. As for Northborne for the most part the gap between the trees is plenty wide for dual track.

You are saying that the Northbourne Avenue median strip can accommodate two rail lines? Absolute nonsense. Go and measure it.

If you check out the original plans the city centre had tram or “Street car” space (the median strips along Northbourne) and other rail lines were further out of the city centre to connect to other parts of the city. It’s a lot different to what we ended up with. Especially the fact that a “manufacturing centre “never came to be. http://www.library.cornell.edu/Reps/DOCS/griffin.htm

DrKoresh 8:42 pm 22 Sep 12

Masquara said :

Look out for the totally dishonest “artists impression footage” in the TV ad. It shows ONE track of light rail occupying all the space available between the trees up the Northbourne Avenue median strip. As if you could operate light rail with a single track. This light rail means Northbourne will LOSE at least one, probably both of its rows of trees. Thumbs down from me.

You really are a single issue wonk, aren’t you? That in and of itself isn’t so surprising, it’s the fact that your single issue is preserving the life of al trees.

bigred 4:20 pm 22 Sep 12

Ding ding, election polling must tell them they need a BIG promise to change the game. Turn clock forward and if they are returned watch the excuses for doing nought appear. Especially if Greens lose influence. TWU and CFMEU will never let it happen anyway. Ding ding.

Masquara 11:44 am 22 Sep 12

JC said :

Masquara said :

Look out for the totally dishonest “artists impression footage” in the TV ad. It shows ONE track of light rail occupying all the space available between the trees up the Northbourne Avenue median strip. As if you could operate light rail with a single track. This light rail means Northbourne will LOSE at least one, probably both of its rows of trees. Thumbs down from me.

You believe an artists impression? Hmmm. As for Northborne for the most part the gap between the trees is plenty wide for dual track.

You are saying that the Northbourne Avenue median strip can accommodate two rail lines? Absolute nonsense. Go and measure it.

kakosi 11:07 am 22 Sep 12

brad82 said :

Can’t wait for it. Quick, quiet and efficient public transport. If they are anything like Melbourne’s trams this will be brilliant.

It’ll give certainty to the private sector to build around the system (unlike bus routes which can be axed at a whim), it’ll give the construction industry a boost, and it’ll make Canberra feel like a capital city.

They did leave all those middle “nature” strips expressly for the purpose of a tram system when they built the city.

brad82 9:18 am 22 Sep 12

Can’t wait for it. Quick, quiet and efficient public transport. If they are anything like Melbourne’s trams this will be brilliant.

It’ll give certainty to the private sector to build around the system (unlike bus routes which can be axed at a whim), it’ll give the construction industry a boost, and it’ll make Canberra feel like a capital city.

miz 8:42 am 22 Sep 12

Good point joingler – I hope Tharwa, Oaks and Hall are on the radar for the light rail proposal.

Innovation 8:21 am 22 Sep 12

thatsnotme said :

If this goes ahead, I really hope that the Government takes some lessons from Sydney’s private sector partnerships, and doesn’t repeat history.

Schemes like the Cross Sydney Tunnel, where roads that would allow commuters to bypass the toll road were – to be blunt, screwed – as part of the effort to drive people to pay the toll. Efforts which failed, with the private sector company becoming insolvent due to low patronage.

So we’re going to possibly end up in a situation where a private operator needs to charge at a realistic level to make any money out of it, alongside a government subsidised bus services. So what does the government do? Will they have to subsidise the private company, in the same way as ACTION? Will they use light rail as an excuse to reduce services along the rail corridors, thus forcing people onto the more expensive option? How does a private – public partnership work when the private portion is competing against the public portion?

I’m not advocating light rail but I doubt that it would compete directly with ACTION. The blue and red rapid routes is where ACTION gets most of its revenue and loses money on the indirect routes in the suburbs. I imagine that ACTION would be demoted to running people in and out of the suburbs to the nearest light rail stop.

I’m guessing also that the speculated partnership would mean that the Government (ultimately) retained ownership of the infrastructure and the private partner simply had a contract to provide the service and retain a percentage (or all) of the revenue for a period of time. Users probably wouldn’t notice any difference between the two owner/operators and would still use their MyWay card on both services. Under this model, if the Gungahlin to Civic run was successful, it’s likely that different private partners could then simultaneously build and operate different routes elsewhere in Canberra.

I’ve long supported a restructure of the existing bus system that focuses on direct travel along main corridors. Specific buses (or even multi occupant taxis under a special license but still using MyWAY) would zip in and out of the suburbs to take people to and from the nearest bus stop on the main road.

My concerns are, why would labor give up its most profitable routes to the private sector (especially if this revenue is likely to grow significantly), aren’t the existing buses oversize for simply getting people in and out of suburbs and why (rhetorically) is the Government only now telling us about all of these companies that have approached them in the past expressing an interest to operate such a service.

As far as light rail goes it probably could carry more passengers per service (which might solve the current overcrowding on rapid routes), it is probably cheaper to run (less maintenance, fuel, wages, damage to roads etc), could easily be adapted to use the most sustainable fuel and it could have the space to allow (more than two) bikes inside the carriages. There is also probably a psychological attraction to using light rail because the presence of rails and power lines makes it clear that a service exists and where it is going. The cons are the infrastructure costs, the inability to vary future routes and possibly what to do with surplus ACTION infrastructure and employees.

JC 8:07 am 22 Sep 12

Masquara said :

Look out for the totally dishonest “artists impression footage” in the TV ad. It shows ONE track of light rail occupying all the space available between the trees up the Northbourne Avenue median strip. As if you could operate light rail with a single track. This light rail means Northbourne will LOSE at least one, probably both of its rows of trees. Thumbs down from me.

You believe an artists impression? Hmmm. As for Northborne for the most part the gap between the trees is plenty wide for dual track.

JC 8:02 am 22 Sep 12

steveu said :

Simple. Lets vote them out. I too am growing weary of all the money being thrown to the northside to buy votes whilst they ignore the southside. And no, a 30 year plan to sell off the tuggeranong lakeside area isnt gonna cut it.

Did you ever stop to think the reason the Northside is getting the lions share of infrastructure projects is because that is where the new suburbs are? Just like 20-30 years ago Tuggeranong was where the new suburbs where and they were getting the infrastructure projects and soon you will see more in Molonglo? Nothing to do with vote buying, just investing in infrastructure where it is needed.

If you want vote buying a pool fo Laynon is a perfect example. Already two indoor public pools in Tuggeranong. If a new pool is needed southside then I would have thought Weston Creek would have been the better place, serving an existing and growth area with a lack of indoor pools in the northern part of the southside. (read Woden/Weston Creek and South Canberra)

Jindy 7:37 am 22 Sep 12

Options for investigation……..are already being considered.

So they are considering their investigation options. LOL Meaning of course that they can talk about the future (in hope of getting our votes) but make no commitment at all to doing anything.
They think we forget about how they paid that Canadian consultant $1M to come up with a great plan for ACTION and then chopped his plan to shit as soon as he got on a plane for home. What confidence can we have that they will go ahead with this project, and what confidence can we have that they will expand the project in any meaningful way, sadly based on their past performance, very bloody little.

goggles13 7:22 am 22 Sep 12

Chop71 said :

arescarti42 said :

Kiron2222 said :

Not a fan of Southside being left out though, Canberra’s light rail should link our population centres and provide a better and faster service than the 300 Bus route, not just service Northside.

I wouldn’t say the south side is being left out.

If there is no rail to south side, then I would say they are being left out.

+1

the southside also has crappy roads, and they need serious work.

the problem I have with the project and the electoral cycle in general is that all these promises are made and have a political spin put on them. then we vote, and after that, the real cost comes out, and we have no recourse to boot the pollies out because they are being irresponsible with our money.

regardless of any spin, this labour govt has proven it cannot properly manage any infrastructure project and I can’t see light rail being any different.

as an aside, I would be interested to see if all parties have a consolidated list of their policies and their expected cost and what it would mean for me as a taxpayer…………………….no I didn’t think so.

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