Adelaide on track to revive city trams

By Paul Hemsley

Adelaide has become the latest city to become smitten by Australia’s metropolitan love affair with reactivating junked tram lines to help ease rising traffic congestion in the inner city precincts and on freeways.

The resurrection of previously decommissioned tramlines in the City of Churches has become the hallmark Premier Jay Weatherill’s ambitious new plan to overhaul South Australia’s transport system that includes buses, rail, ports and cycling infrastructure.

Mr Weatherill detailed his “new vision” blueprint in the Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan. The document aims to introduce new heavy rail infrastructure for passenger and freight as well as the so-called Ade-LINK tram network in Adelaide.

The SA government’s proposal also includes creating a city tram loop around the city centre that will support the existing Glenelg Tram, which is the only remaining tramway since the closure of Adelaide’s street tramway network in the 1950s.

“Until the 1950s, Adelaide had a great tram network to rival any system in the world,” Mr Weatherill said.

These new AdeLINK components will include the CDB tram loop CityLINK, as well as ProspectLINK, PortLINK, WestLINK, EastLINK and UnleyLINK.

Adelaide’s proposed inner city tram revival has followed Sydney’s conversion of the Metropolitan Goods railway line in to a light rail line followed by the reactivation of a retired tram corridor to the city’s east. In Western Australia the City of Perth’s is locked in negotiations over ongoing plans by the Colin Barnett government to create its own light rail line in the CBD.

In Canberra, a light rail system that had been planned into the original design of the city but never made it off could also become a reality under the present government.

Melbourne remains is the only Australian city where services have operated continuously for over a century since 1884.

The importance of a light rail system in an inner city area has also been recently highlighted by its absence as Sydney’s own light rail services came to a complete stop in early October 2013 due to two derailments.

This incident forced the light rail operator Transdev to replace its services with buses along the regular light rail route.

Transdev has reopened its light rail services between The Star casino and Lilyfield, but bus services will remain between Central Station and The Star until further notice.

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