NEW YEAR'S Day saw the start of revenue operation on the first addition to Edmonton's light rail line in 14 years, although formal inauguration ceremonies were not held until the following day.

Costing C$100m, the 600m extension from University to the Health Sciences station is the first part of the South LRT Extension project. Construction has begun on the 2·1 km second section from Health Sciences to 76 Avenue and South Campus, which is due to open by the end of 2008.

The final section of the 7·5 km South Extension, serving park-and-ride stations at Southgate and the former Heritage Mall, now known as Century Park, is expected to be completed by the end of 2009. This will bring the overall length of the light rail line to 26·9 km at a total cost of C$595m.

To work the extended route, ETS will start taking delivery of 26 AC-motored SD160 LRVs from Siemens in May 2008.