Monday, 21 August 2017

MILESTONE: 20 Years of Light Rail in Sydney (1997)

Sydney trams August 10 1997 daily telegraph 5

Source: Stuart, S. 1997. "All aboard the city streetcars tomorrow: Trams right on track". The Sunday Telegraph, August 10, 9.

This month is 20 years since the return of trams to Sydney. In August 1997, the first services commenced operation from Central Station through Pyrmont to Wentworth Park at Glebe.
The first services began on August 11 but were limited in frequency until the end of the month.

  Trams resume service august 11 1997 daily telegraph 3 

Source: Rogers, J. 1997. "Back on Track: After 36 years, the trams return to Sydney". The Daily Telegraph, August 11, 3. 

However the grand opening was not until August 31 1997 with festivities at all stations along the line.

  Sydney tram opening ad august 28 1997 daily telegraph

Source: Sydney Light Rail. 1997. "Don't miss our 4 kilometre party!" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, August 28, 26 & 27. 

The following day (September 1) saw the commencement of full services.

Sydney light rail opens september 1 1997 daily telegraph 17

Source:  Birch, S & Robinson, M. 1997. "One passenger, 8 minutes late". The Daily Telegraph, September 1, 17. 

The return of trams to Sydney was not without its problems. One concern was the speed of the trams as they made their way through Haymarket. They were merely too slow.

Sydney Light Rail september 22 1997 daily telegraph 17

Source: Skelsey, K. 1997. "Slow tram coming: Delays force review of 20km/h speed limit". The Daily Telegraph, September 22, 17.

Motorists faced fines blocking trams.

  Sydney Trams June 16 1997 daily telegraph 6

Source: Bissett, K. 1997. "Trams bring new road fine hazards". The Daily Telegraph, June 16, 6.

The changes were too much for some...

Tram Accident September 23 1997 daily telegraph 17  

Source: Porter, B. 1997. Sydney's most confusing corner claims another victim ... and another ... and another. The Daily Telegraph, September 23, 17. 

The line was extended from Wentworth Park to Lilyfield in 2000 with a further extension to Dulwich Hill opening in 2014. Initally, the light rail was privately owned and managed by TNT Transit Link (also operators of the monorail) , before changing ownership to CGEA Australia. In 2012, the State Government purchased the company for $20 million before integrating fares and services into the broader public transport network.