The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government has opened the first line of Light Rail project in Canberra for public use. The Canberra light rail line is the city´s first rail network and the biggest infrastructure project to this day.
The project was built as a Public-Private partnership by a consortium which includes CPB Contractors, John Holland, UGL, Mitsubishi Corp, Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, DB Engineering & Consulting, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Spanish train manufacturer CAF.
The cost of project design and construction is AUD 707 million (USD 508 million), revised-down budget from originally proposed AUD 783 million (USD 542 million).
The line was open on April 20, 2019.
The light rail route is 12-km long and serves 13 stops with an end-to-end journey time of about 24 mins. It connects the Alinga Street in the city center with Gungahlin Place to the north. The project runs at peak intervals of 6 min and every 10 to 15 min off-peak.
CAF, as part of the Canberra Metro consortium, will operate the project for 20 years.
CAF has also supplied 4 five-section bidirectional low-floor trams. The 33 m long vehicles have the capacity for 276 passengers including 66 seated. CAF will maintain the trams, which are stabled at the Mitchell Depot between Well Station Drive and EPIC & Racecourse stops, also for 20 years.
Construction of the project began in summer 2016. ACT will take ownership of the light rail and assets at the end of the concession period.
Transport Canberra general director Emma Thomas said the rail line would increase "the economic energy" of Canberra by encouraging the development of new housing and businesses, including hotels and restaurants, along its route. "It's as much a project about urban renewal as it is around transport," she said.