The first stage of the light rail line in Canberra has opened.

AUSTRALIA: Studies are to be commissioned for two more extensions of the Canberra light rail network, according to ACT Transport Minister Chris Steel.

Speaking at the Australasian Railway Association’s light rail conference in the capital on March 4, Steel confirmed that the prefeasibility studies for Stages 3 and 4 would examine land use, route alignments and stop locations on the proposed routes, ‘to inform future government decision making’.

The 12 km first phase of the Canberra light rail line running north from Alinga Street in the city centre to Gungahlin Place was opened in April 2019. Work has already started on construction of Stage 2a, which will extend the line south by 1·7 km to Commonwealth Park; this will include a catenary-free section, and is expected to be completed by 2024. Stage 2b would add a further 9·3 km, taking the route across Lake Burley Griffin and south to Woden.

Proposals for stages 3 and 4 were announced by the ACT government in October 2019. Stage 3 would create an east-west route running from Belconnen in the northwest to the airport east of the city centre, while Stage 4 would see the north-south route extended from Woden to Mawson and Tuggeranong.

Rejecting alternative proposals for guided buses or ‘unproven’ trackless trams, Steel said the provision of funding for the studies demonstrated the ACT government’s ‘continued commitment to progress our mission for a city-wide light rail network’.