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Light rail will benefit all Canberrans: project director

Emma Thomas, the new project director for the Capital Metro light rail.

Emma Thomas, the new project director for the Capital Metro light rail. Photo: Melissa Adams

Light rail will benefit all of Canberra, according to the woman entrusted with making the first stage of the Capital Metro network a reality.

Emma Thomas began work as Capital Metro project director last month, having previously held senior transport roles in South Australia and Queensland.

Ms Thomas said that when she first read about the Capital Metro she immediately decided  she wanted to be involved in some capacity.

Artist?s impression of the proposed Canberra light rail.

Artist?s impression of the proposed Canberra light rail.

‘‘I just thought it was just a really progressive solution for Canberra,’’ she  said.

‘‘Cities that you visit around the world that have light rail just seem so forward-thinking and progressive. So to do something like this in the nation’s capital is just so exciting.’’

Stage one of the Capital Metro will run between Civic and Gungahlin, but Ms Thomas said it would benefit the entire city as it created jobs and  economic energy in the CBD.

‘‘Part of the benefits of [light rail systems]  is that they really create economic energy around parts of the city,’’ she said.

 ‘‘I think everyone in Canberra would like to see the economic energy particularly lifted in Civic and what benefits that will bring to the city as a whole.’’ Construction work on stage one is due to begin in 2016.

Ms Thomas said there would be opportunities for the  public to get  involved in discussions on where the next stage of the network should be built.

She  was due to attend a meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council on Wednesday night as part of consultations on how the system will operate.

‘‘We’ve started the integration study, which is an early study to look at how people might interact with their light rail and what the community’s preferences are within particular locations,’’ she said.

Ms Thomas said the project was still in an early planning phase. ‘‘We need to do some detailed economic analysis, we need to do some early design analysis, we need to look at our major risks for the project.’’

Ms Thomas had previously served as rail commissioner and deputy chief executive of public transport in South Australia.

15 comments so far

  • Just get on with it. In the time Canberra has been talking about it, Dijon in France (with a population of just 150,000) has opened 19km of light rail and 35 stations.

    Commenter
    Mike
    Date and time
    November 13, 2013, 2:43PM
    • You forgot to mention Dijon with a population density of 3800 per square kilometre versus Canberra with a population density of 428 per square kilometre. Their population density is nearly nine times as high.

      Commenter
      David
      Date and time
      November 13, 2013, 8:12PM
    • Dijon area 40.41 Km2 population in 2006 was 15000 is now 162550.
      Canberra area 814.2 Km2 more than 20 times as large with only about twice the population.
      From experience, most people in Europe prepared to walk one or two Km to nearest train or tram station. Most Canberrans prepared to walk 100 or 200M, that is why the busses meander all over our suburbs, because no one is prepared to walk to the stop. Light rail will not meander all over the suburbs and if there is a tram stop every 100M travel time will be no faster than a bus.

      Commenter
      Frednurk
      Date and time
      November 13, 2013, 9:02PM
    • Our dispersed population density with town center hubs seems like the sort of model that really suits rail. Frequent suburban busses with no time table servicing the rail point should work well.

      Commenter
      ekib
      Date and time
      November 14, 2013, 9:29AM
  • Stage 2 should be to Woden.

    Commenter
    MR
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    November 13, 2013, 3:03PM
    • I don't really know what to say aobut this that has not been said before. I suppose the key gripe is the advertising picture suggests Canberra has a population density of 1 million and is car free.

      Good luck to Ms Thomas; save your salary and use this job to look for the next big thing as Operation WHITE ELEPHANT is going to be a hard sell in this town. (Just ask those Ogenville guys).

      Commenter
      Outraged of Palmerston
      Date and time
      November 13, 2013, 3:45PM
      • I wouldn't read too much into the issues faced by Ogdenville OOP. Ogdenville is a Milk free city and they make Lemonade out of Barley not Lemons. I think you need to focus your benchmarking on cities with a good track record.

        Commenter
        ekib
        Date and time
        November 14, 2013, 9:16AM
    • Well, it will benefit at least one recent Canberran to the tune of $382,000 per annum.
      Strange that they couldn't find anyone who could do the job for "only" $250,000.
      Your tax dollars at work...

      Commenter
      Blimp
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      November 13, 2013, 6:24PM
      • What about $100k, for gods sake like politicians its all the underlings doing the work.

        Commenter
        ANGRY AARDVARK
        Date and time
        November 14, 2013, 8:43AM
    • Looking forward to northbourne's street appeal being trashed. Canberra's welcome will now be ugly power lines and support infrastructure. Why not improve the systems we already have through installing a dedicated northbound bus lane instead of this incredible waste of money which will only benefit a small part of the city?

      Commenter
      sceptical
      Date and time
      November 13, 2013, 7:39PM

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