Monday, 2 April 2018

1997: Carr Government explores Eastern Suburbs Light Rail expansion

Source: Bissett, K. 1997. "Light rail goes east". The Daily Telegraph, May 29: 17.

In 1997, the Carr Government announced a feasibility study into a light rail line to serve the Anzac Parade Corridor through to Kingsford.

The objective of the line was to end the dependence on Sydneysiders driving to Moore Park for major events.

One difference to the plans that we see today would involve tracks going down Albion and Foveaux Streets with trams moving in the direction of the vehicular traffic. In effect, it would do a loop through Surry Hills.

Compared with the current line (under construction), this would have seen light rail travel through the northern part of Surry Hills and would not serve the retail strip along Crown Street. Sending it through Devonshire Street will see the line go through the middle of the retail strip.

The downside is that tracks have had to be constructed through Moore Park to allow the line to connect to Anzac Parade, though it will be a tunnel.

At least though, the article shows that the concept of light rail lines in the Eastern Suburbs was actually considered for a number of years, and that Labor was (at the time) open to the idea.

What if the Carr Government had proceeded with the concept?

  • The Carr Labor Government would have credit, not the Liberal Governments of Barry O'Farrell, Mike Baird and Gladys Berjillikian.
  • Congestion in Fouvaux and Albion Streets.
  • Increased congestion at the intersection of Flinders Street, South Dowling Street, and ANZAC Parade. 
  • Perhaps, further expansion along Anzac Parade and the line to Randwick may have been a reality regardless.