For the first time in almost 60 years trams ran through the centre of the city when the Sydney Light Rail finally opened its sliding doors to the public last weekend. It was not without its hiccups, though, with several breakdowns, a posse of protesters, and slower than expected travel time.
The route currently in operation starts at Circular Quay and ends at Randwick providing an arterial path through the city and to Chinatown, Surry Hills, Moore Park, Centennial Park, Randwick Racecourse, NSW University, and Randwick Children’s Hospital. A branch to Kingsford that separates at Moore Park is due to open in March 2020.
A two carriage tram holds a maximum of 450 passengers – the equivalent to nine bus loads. It’s expected the trams will run at around one every 4-6 minutes with a full length journey taking 35 minutes.
Rides were free on the opening weekend but there were still complaints about the 50 minute travel time, delays due to breakdowns and crowding, and inadequate air-conditioning.
The project was plagued from the start taking just over four years to complete – way past deadline – and costing $2.96 billion which is about $1.3 billion over budget.
However, once all the bugs have been fixed and the entire route is completed, it’s anticipated that the Sydney Light Rail will provide a clean, efficient, pleasant transport option for the city.