Canberra's light rail network will be wireless through the Parliamentary Triangle as construction continues into the city's south, following a joint investment from the federal and ACT governments.
It was announced today that a contract had been awarded for early works on stage 2 of the network, with five new wire-free light rail vehicles to be introduced from 2024, while the existing vehicles would be retrofitted with onboard batteries.
The ACT government said this would allow the vehicles to operate wirelessly along the route's extension throughout the parliamentary zone, stage 2 A to Commonwealth Park and stage 2 B towards Woden.
The government said it would be expanding its light rail depot at Mitchell to facilitate the ongoing maintenance of the fleet, with construction expected to be completed in mid- 2024.
The government said that work to raise London Circuit as part of the construction of light rail stage 2A was expected to commence soon, which will be followed by the submission of an environmental assessment and works approval application for Stage 2 A project, so the construction of the light rail line can begin soon after raising London Circuit is complete, the statement said.
Canberrans will be able to have their say on the final light rail design early next year when it goes on public display as part of the works approval application. ACT Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said that the joint contract with the federal government was a critical milestone for the delivery of the light rail extension.
Moving to retrofit all existing LRVs with onboard energy systems for wire-free running shows our commitment to deliver light rail not only to Commonwealth Park, but right through the Parliamentary Triangle to Woden.
The five new vehicles will be built for Canberra's future light rail system and will support the same high frequency services on the next stage that have been embraced by Canberrans on the first stage. Alicia Payne, a federal member for Canberra, said the project would boost local employment.
She said that the LRV modifications and depot expansion will increase the capacity to connect people needing to travel for work or to access services and events in the southern part of the city.
The project and associated works is expected to support up to 1,000 jobs over its life, which is a significant amount of local employment.