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Canberra tramway opens

The second new tramline to open in Australia this year started carrying passengers in the federal capital of Canberra at 08.00 on 20 April with an opening ceremony by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Minister for Transport Canberra and City Services, Meegan Fitzharris at the outer terminus in Gungahlin. There was an Easter weekend of free travel for local residents. 10 trams were in service on the first day, running 130 trips and carrying about 25 000 people. The 12km standard-gauge line links Northbourne Ave/Aliga St. in the city centre (Civic) with the northern suburb of Gungahlin (Gungahlin Place).

Canberra Metro Consortium (Pacific Partnerships, Mitsubishi, John Holland, CAF, Deutsche Bahn (DB), Aberdeen Asset Management and Leighton Contractors) was awarded a PPP contract to design, finance, build, operate and maintain the line until 2039. The ACT government is contributing AUD 76M towards the AUD 707M project. CAF have supplied 14 33m five-section double-ended Urbos 3 trams, each with 66 seats, with the first arriving at Mitchell Depot and Control Centre from Spain in December 2017.

Construction started in late 2016, and the first test runs were made a Gungahlin in June 2018. The consortium has been asked to develop plans for a 3.2km extension south to Russell that would use wire-free technology through State Square in the city's federal complex. This would be the first stage of an 11km extension to Woden, and construction could start later this year.

23 April 2019

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