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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3286 ..


provides a frequent and convenient connection to the city for people on Canberra’s north side, significantly reducing the number of cars on our roads and attracting people to public transport, as well as reducing the harmful emissions that would otherwise be created. Light rail is really important for Canberra’s future, and it means that we take its safety and reliability extremely seriously.

As Mr Parton has noted, our service runs with a fleet of 14 CAF Urbos 3 light rail vehicles. These vehicles came into service when stage 1 of light rail commenced operations 2½ years ago, in April 2019.

Following 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, has undertaken inspections of the full vehicle fleet. These have not detected any cracking in the LRV frames to date. I note that equivalent checks have been undertaken on the Newcastle light rail system, which also uses these light rail vehicles, and no issues have been identified there either. What the Canberra and Newcastle systems have in common is that they are both far newer than Sydney’s inner west line, with Newcastle’s system also having been commissioned in 2019.

The inner west light rail network operates on a variety of different track types, including a mixture of in-slab and ballast, which is not used in Canberra. The inner west light rail vehicles were manufactured by CAF, but the maintenance of the vehicles has recently been changed to Alstom via Transport for New South Wales, as part of the extension of the Sydney light rail network.

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator is actively investigating the situation in New South Wales and has not raised any concerns regarding the Canberra fleet of light rail vehicles. Our light rail system is subject to ongoing monitoring and reporting to ensure that Canberra Metro is fully complying with more than 10 key acts, regulations and standards, as well as ONRSR operating guidelines.

Canberra Metro undertakes an ongoing program of inspections and maintenance of the light rail fleet to ensure that all LRVs are safe to operate and there is no risk to customers, staff or community safety. Transport Canberra and City Services is now working closely with Canberra Metro and the New South Wales government to understand progress on the rectification for the inner west fleet, and any insights that we can gain from the situation there.

We will respond in more detail regarding contingency plans in a future sitting of the Assembly. One point worth noting up-front is that Canberra’s light rail system is delivered under a PPP contract with Canberra Metro. As part of this public-private partnership agreement, Canberra Metro is contractually bound to run services to particular performance benchmarks, and to do so with a safe and well-maintained fleet and equipment, including LRVs. If problems were to emerge with Canberra’s LRVs in the future, this would be a matter for Canberra Metro to resolve in the first instance under the contract for service.

We have also already demonstrated through the construction of the Sandford Street light rail stop what occurs when light rail services cannot operate. Full bus


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