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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3283 ..


Light rail—vehicle fleet

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (4.55): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) the NSW Inner West Light Rail line has been decommissioned for 18 months because of structural issues with the CAF Urbos 3 light rail vehicles;

(b) that the same vehicles are used on the ACT light rail line;

(c) that the NSW CAF Urbos 3 vehicles were purchased seven years ago; and

(d) that the ACT fleet was purchased two to three years ago; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) report back to the Assembly on the risks for our light rail vehicle fleet by the second sitting week of 2022; and

(b) advise the Assembly on the contingency planning it will undertake in the event the fault experienced in NSW and other countries emerges in the ACT light rail vehicle fleet.

For a number of weeks my office has been examining the issue of cracking in the wheel arches of the CAF Urbos 3 light rail vehicles. It is something that became apparent to us earlier in the year, after issues arose in some other jurisdictions, particularly when services in some other cities were closed down for periods of time. Even if the Sydney issue had not come to the fore, after arriving at the conclusion that we were talking about the same vehicles that are in service here in the ACT, we were certainly planning to ask a series of questions of the minister on this issue this week.

It was no surprise to me last Friday that the New South Wales minister for transport was advised that an inner west light rail service would have to be decommissioned for up to 18 months while serious flaws are rectified. Apparently, hundreds of these vehicles around the world could be affected by cracks in their wheel arches. According to the Transport for New South Wales Chief Operations Officer, if cracks are evident, their rectification requires quite complex engineering, with no quick fix or easy solution. It is one of the things that has been made clear to us by the office of the transport minister in New South Wales.

In my time as transport shadow minister, I have become a bit of a light rail nerd. I have done a hell of a lot of reading and research, and we have reached out and spoken to people in the space in other jurisdictions. When this issue arose in Birmingham, for instance, I know that they went down the path of what could be described now as a quick-fix solution, a bandaid solution, only to find that the problem reappeared within eight weeks; so they were most frustrated by that. But you live and learn from what goes on in other places.

One of the things that I find a bit curious about this discovery is that apparently this government were not aware—but surely were aware—of the problem, and they made


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