AUSTRALIA: The first phase of the CBD & South East light rail route in Sydney was inaugurated on December 14, with a weekend of free travel.

The 7·3 km north-south Randwick Line, also known as L2, serves 14 stops between Circular Quay and Randwick. A second southern branch from Moore Park to Kingsford is still to open. This would add five stops and 4·7 km.

The route is being built under a A$2·1bn PPP contract awarded to the ALTRAC Light Rail consortium of Alstom, Transdev Sydney, Acciona Infrastructure Australia and Capella Capital, in addition to three equity investors: John Laing, First State Super and Acciona Concesiones.

Alstom has supplied a fleet of 60 Citadis X05 five-section light rail vehicles, which are intended to operate in 67 m long coupled pairs. The manufacturer is also supplying signalling, power supply equipment, its HESOP energy recovery system and equipment for the Randwick Stabling Yard.

The 2 km section from Circular Quay to Town Hall is equipped with Alstom’s APS ground-level power supply to enable catenary-free operation. APS uses an embedded third rail to supply power to trams, with the conductive segments live only while a tram is passing over them.

The PPP contract also includes 19 years of operations and maintenance. The consortium has also taken over the operations and maintenance of the existing Inner West Light Rail route, including that route’s fleet of 12 CAF LRVs.