2018 a year of pivotal milestones

19 December 2018

A message from Transport for NSW Coordinator General Marg Prendergast

2018 has been an incredibly eventful year on the CBD and South East Light Rail project.

We’ve reached some important milestones this year, including the last concrete track slab pour, the start of tram testing, and completion of the Randwick Stabling Yard just to name a few.

There’s no doubt this has been a challenging year, but we will continue to forge ahead and bring to life this exciting and historic project.

We kicked off 2018 with major work at some of the city’s busiest and most complex intersections – at George, Bridge and Grosvenor Streets, and also George and Hay Streets, which is where the CBD and South East Light Rail tracks will cross the Inner West Inner Light Rail tracks.

February saw one of the most memorable moments of the projects so far – the first tram test along Alison Road. This pivotal step was an exciting glimpse into the future of light rail. It’s been an enormous thrill to see vehicles running on the tracks in Randwick as they will when services commence. Initial tests have been carried out during the night and at low speeds, and we’ll see testing expand in 2019.

In March, we caught up with light rail driver Sarah Kelly, one of four drivers conducting the first tests of the new Citadis X05 trams in Randwick. She was among the first to experience what it’s like in the driver’s seat of a tram on the new CBD and South East Light Rail.

Construction crews made the most of weekends in the early half of the year to get stuck into the more complex intersection work, and the Easter long weekend was no exception. While many Sydneysiders took a break and left the city for a few days, light rail construction forged ahead at seven major intersections, allowing crews to get through some important work while also minimising the impact on people who would usually be in the city.

Maroubra scored some extra greenery in July when eight large fig trees were transplanted in Heffron Park as part of the light rail revegetation program. The trees had previously been removed from the light rail corridor before taking up temporary residence at a Peats Ridge nursery. The trees are among 120 saved by being transplanted or retained, while overall more than 1,800 new trees will be planted in City of Sydney and Randwick City Council areas with at least 900 of these planted along the light rail route.

We saw Hunter Street in the CBD permanently converted to two-way traffic in July to facilitate the future pedestrian boulevard on George Street. Hunter Street has been one-way between Pitt and George Streets for more than 30 years, so this was a significant change for pedestrians and motorists.

Track installation through the Moore Park tunnel was completed in August, followed soon after by the installation of jet fans.

Civil construction wrapped up at the Randwick Stabling Yard in September with all track installed, allowing finishing works such as kerb and footpaths to get underway. The Yard will be light rail’s main hub and will be used for light maintenance and stabling for all 60 trams at the end of the day’s services. It will also house the Operational Control Centre, wash sheds and inspection sheds.

Wansey Road in Randwick marked a couple of very noteworthy milestones in November, including the new shared path reopening to cyclists and pedestrians early in the month.

The first night intersection tram testing also began along Wansey Road during November, putting the traffic signals phasing at Darley and Alison Road through their paces to make sure there’s a good balance of movements for motorists, buses, pedestrians, cyclists and the light rail vehicle.

George Street was transformed with rows of poppies for Remembrance Day with 11 November this year marking the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. The display was created in memory of those who lost their lives as a result of their service in war or armed conflict .

December marked an important construction milestone with concrete track slab installation wrapped up on the 12 kilometre light rail route. The last section of slab was poured on 8 December at the Circular Quay terminus, completing the entire concrete track slab from Circular Quay through Surry Hills and onto Kensington, Kingsford and Randwick.

As we head towards the end of the year, all 19 light rail stops are now under construction. The Royal Randwick stop was one of the first to be fitted out with the hallmark slim line bronze canopies which will both enhance the character of each light rail stop and provide weather protection for customers.

There are also now 14 CBD and South East Light Rail vehicles in the country and more on the way.

We’ve capped off 2018 with a stunning display of festive cheer on George Street, where eight giant wreaths and thousands of lights have helped transformed the pedestrian boulevard between Park Street and Martin Place. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

There is a lot to get excited about in 2019. We’ll have more big milestones to report and more zones opening up as the year progresses.

You’ll see lots of work over summer to take advantage of the quiet holiday period, starting the year off as we mean to go on.

I would like to thank everyone who has been impacted by the changes in the CBD and South East for their patience and understanding. Our teams will continue to work with the community to minimise disruption while we deliver this historic project.