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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3236 ..

I will endeavour to assist members with questions in the Deputy Chief Minister’s portfolios.

Questions without notice

Light rail—vehicle fleet

MRS JONES: My question is directed to the Minster for Transport and City Services. Minister, last week it was reported 12 CAF Urbos 3 light rail vehicles that operate on Sydney’s L1 Inner West light rail line were going to be taken out of service for 18 months because of serious cracking issues near the wheel arches of these vehicles. Buses have replaced trams on this line. These are the same vehicles that we operate here in the ACT. Minister, what have you done to satisfy yourself that our light rail vehicles are indeed safe?

MR STEEL: I thank Mrs Jones for her question. Following the reports of problems with the light rail fleet servicing Sydney’s Inner West line the operator and maintainer of our light rail line, Canberra Metro, is undertaking inspections of the full vehicle fleet. This has not detected any cracking in the LRV frames to date.

The Canberra fleet operates on a different track type and it has differences in the operating profile in terms of the track geometry compared to the Inner West line in Sydney. There are differences in vibration, braking and speeds compared to the Sydney system, as well. The Canberra fleet is also significantly younger than both the Sydney and the West Midlands fleets, with the LRVs only having travelled up to 190,000 kilometres. The Inner West fleet has travelled up to 350,000 to 500,000 kilometres.

Canberra Metro has advised that CAF has undertaken inspections of LRVs in the ACT and have not detected any cracking in the frame structure around the wheel arches. Senior representatives from Canberra Metro, CMET, CAF and TCCS also attended an in-person inspection on Tuesday, 9 November this year. Regular inspections will continue to check for this issue, in addition to the ongoing maintenance and inspection program already in place.

Of course, the maintenance and operations of our flight—particular in relation to safety—is a focus of our National Rail Safety Regulator, who is actively investigated the situation in New South Wales and has not raised any concerns regarding the Canberra fleet. Our light rail system is subject to ongoing safety compliance monitoring by the ONRSR. Equivalent checks have also been undertaken in Newcastle, New South Wales, which also operates these light rail vehicles. I understand that no issues have been identified there, either.

MRS JONES: I have a supplementary question. Minister, when did you first become aware of the New South Wales cracking issue?

MR STEEL: When it was reported in the media.

MR PARTON: Minister, given these problems with the Urbos 3 LRVs, will the government continue to procure these vehicles for future stages of light rail?

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