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Spanish-made trams to run on Canberra's city to Gungahlin light rail line

Spanish-designed trams will run on Canberra's light rail line from early 2019.

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Capital Metro Light rail tram route from Gungahlin

The Government has revealed the route its planned Gungahlin tram will take down Northbourne Avenue to the City. Vision supplied by the ACT Government. NO SOUND

The ACT government's announcement of the Canberra Metro consortium as the winning bidder for the city to Gungahlin tram line confirms new rolling stock will be built and maintained by Spanish firm Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, also known as CAF.

The government plans to spend about $65 million on a fleet of 14 trams, each 33 metres long and with 66 seats and capacity to carry 207 people.

Trams will run every six minutes during peak times and every 10-15 minutes in off peak periods. The journey from the Gungahlin town centre to the planned city terminus at Alinga Street will take 24 minutes.

Each tram will include two dedicated wheelchair spaces, storage room for four bikes, 12 priority seats for passengers with special needs, handrails and grab rails for safety. Passengers will have access to free wireless internet on board.


Promotional materials describe the trams as "cheerful and suitable for this important city, making a positive impact on the city pride of all Canberrans". Designs could feature events such as Floriade, Summernats, and the Canberra Balloon Spectacular.

The trams are described and built for bi-directional operation, with climate control and a "full length open plan passenger saloon" for safety and visibility. Energy efficient electrical systems will be in place on board, including LED lighting.

Safety cameras will operate inside the trams and passengers will have access to emergency help points to speak to the driver or an operations control centre.

Secure free storage units will be available at the line's 13 passenger stops and same level boarding will allow for easy access. The stops are being designed to shield passengers from the capital's changing weather, including rain, sun and wind.

CAF's trams promise "avant-garde design and flexibility" to give city networks their own unique identity. Canberra's trams will include a design unique to the city.

The trams will include hybrid, regenerative technology that allows for kinetically developed energy from breaking to be stored in roof-mounted super-capacitors for wire-free services, as required by the National Capital Authority if the line is extended to the Russell precinct.

On-board energy storage captures braking energy, allowing trams to run without wires between stops and helping energy efficiency.

In 2013, the NSW government announced it would buy six more CAF trams for Sydney's light rail line.

Tram services will operate from as early as 6am and up to 1am and one ticket and fare structure will be in place across Canberra's buses and the light rail.

Cutting down of mature trees on Northbourne Avenue and the Federal Highway will be staged to minimise the visual impact during construction. Areas will be without trees for a maximum of three to four months.

Canberra Metro bid chairman Mark Lynch said the new trams would combine modern aesthetics, with accessibility, comfort and safety.

"Our design and finishes have been specifically chosen to match with Canberra's unique feel and to reflect Walter Burley Griffin's intent," he said.

"The consortium will build a light rail system that will improve the lives of the people of Canberra as it grows. It will be designed and delivered to offer a new way to move, in comfort, with world class safety, accessibility and reliability."

"The light system will create and inspire new spaces that people want to use, with more trees along the city's boulevard, Northbourne Avenue, and a revitalised civic centre."