Thursday, September 10, 2015

Wire free light rail mandated for Civic to Russell extension of Capital Metro Stage One

A modern French wire free light rail vehicle in Tours, France (Robert Knight)

At a Gungahlin Community Council meeting on 9 September 2015, Capital Metro Director of Procurement and Delivery, Steve Allday, advised that the two consortiums bidding for the Capital Metro project, would be delivering their bids for the Russell extension in a months time, and that the bids would have to be for wire free light rail.

He said that the NCA required wire free operation in the National Capital Area, and that as a result the light rail extension from Civic to Russell would have to be a wire free design.

Mr Allday said that this technology was already in use internationally, and there were several different options that could be utilised. Light rail vehicles would take power from an overhead wire, and then rely on a battery or super-capacitor for limited distances. Although there were technical challenges with current technology that limited the distances that wire free operation could be used. This meant that light rail vehicles for Capital Metro Stage One were likely to be powered by an overhead wire.

The photo above, of a modern light rail vehicle in Tours, France, uses power from a third rail in the road surface.

ACT Light Rail are aware that the NCA had previously indicated that any light rail extension across Lake Burley Griffin would have to use wire free technology, and Capital Metro had factored this into the technical requirements that the two consortiums had based their Stage One bids on. Capital Metro have never proscribed whether the light rail technology chosen by the successful bidder, for Stage One, was wire free or used a catenary wire (in use by all light rail systems in Australia at present).

For more frequent updates on Capital Metro and light rail related news, please visit our Facebook page 'Light Rail for Canberra'.  


1 comment: