Capital Metro facts - what we know

Capital Metro facts - what we know

See How much will Capital Metro Stage One cost? May 2016

updated October 2015

Light Rail Network Fast Facts - October 2015

$1.25b - operational cost of ACTION buses over the last 10 years
$703 million– The cost of road congestion per annum at 2031 if we do nothing to invest in our transport system.
20 000+The number of passengers light rail can carry on just one corridor during peak hour
2000 - The number of vehicles per hour a freeway traffic lane can carry during peak hour.
675 000 -Projected population in 2061* (medium growth forecast)
  • 850 000 – 2061 high growth
  • 550 000 – 2041 medium growth
  • 640 000 – 2041 high growth 
90.7km - The total distance of Transport Canberra - Light Rail Network
150 km2 – the approximate total catchment area of the light rail network
27% - total percent of the current ACT urban area within 1km of Light Rail Network
5 minutes – the likely frequency of light rail vehicles on light rail corridors in peak times.
12  - The proposed number of Park and Rides servicing the Light Rail Network
76cents – the per kilometre vehicle operating cost of a conventional (ATO 2015)
60% - of total ACT jobs located in central Canberra 
850 000 – project population of the ACT at 2061 under the high growth scenario
550 000 – project population of the ACT at 2041 under the medium growth scenario
640 000 – project population of the ACT at 2041 under the high growth scenario
$1.3b - Government investment in road infrastructure since 2000-2001

Data from ACT Government October 2015 - from this page.

Some frames from an animated video about Capital Metro

In July 2014, Emma Thomas, Capital Metro Project Director, announced some keenly awaited confirmation of the route configuration and expected travel times for the light rail between Civic and Gungahlin. She also announced the number of light rail vehicles to be procured, and that yes, some trees along Northbourne may have to go - but they will be replaced. 

In October 2014, Simon Corbell, Capital Metro Agency Minister, released the final business case, and the EOI documents for prospective bidders. These key documents provide more factual information on the economic, societal and environmental reasons underpinning the decision to proceed with light rail in Canberra. 
Video overview of the Capital Metro project 

A video of the entire route and how it will look can be found here.

An article in the Canberra Times discusses the July announcement at length.

The October 31 2014 release of the Capital Metro Business Case has also received wide media coverage (on this page) and all those documents are also available here.

ACT Light Rail are providing a summary of the key points below, with some already known information mixed in (this will be updated when new information is available):
  • A double-track line will be built down the middle of the median strip on Northbourne Avenue
  • Trees removed will be replaced with a new single line of trees each side of the track
  • Trees removed along Northbourne Avenue as part of the construction process will be replaced with a more suitable eucalypt species, commonly known as the Scribbly Gum.
  • Light rail vehicles would run off a single overhead power line 
  • Seven new substations will be built in the rail corridor 
  • A fleet of 14 light rail vehicles will be procured 
  • Light rail vehicles will carry 220 passengers per vehicle
  • 12 light rail vehicles at a time will perform revenue service 
  • 13 stops will be built along the route
  • A single MyWay card or ticket will be used on Capital Metro and ACTION
  • Service frequency will be 
    • every five minutes at peak, 
    • every 10 minutes during the day, 
    • every 15 minutes at night until 11pm 
    • every 15 minutes on Saturdays
    • every 20 minutes on Sunday 
  • Total trip time of 25 minutes or less to Civic from Gungahlin
  • Any route extension across the lake would use existing bridges, and not require a new bridge to be built 
  • Construction would start in the middle of 2016, and take three to four years
  • Light rail vehicles will use traffic light priority
  • New traffic lights would be placed at intersections where cars crossed the rail tracks 
  • No new roads to carry traffic across Northbourne are required 
  • Parts of the Federal Highway and Flemington Road would be realigned or widened  
  • More than 13,000 boardings a day by 2021 and more than 20,000 by 2031 are forecast
  • There are just 3340 trips between Civic and Gungahlin on ACTION buses at present
  • Capital Metro will be delivered as an Availability Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Under this model, the design, construction, operations and maintenance of the light rail system is bundled with private sector finance for a proposed operating term. Under a PPP, the ACT Government only starts making regular ‘availability payments’ when the system is fully operational. Payments continue over the agreed operating term and take into account capital delivery, operating and financing costs. The size of these annual payments will be known at the conclusion of the procurement process.
  • No money will be paid to the operator/constructor until construction has been completed
  • Total cost will be $783 million
  • The estimated cost of constructing the first stage of light rail in Canberra is $610 million plus a $173 million contingency, for a total of $783 million. This estimate includes design, construction, light rail vehicles, and a risk contingency.
  • Operational costs of light rail are expected to be $22 million a year (in 2014 dollars)
  • Bids for an extension  from Civic to Russell of Capital Metro Stage One (Gungahlin to Civic) will be sought from consortiums selected to construct Stage One.
  • The Light Rail Master Plan will look at a territory wide light rail system
  • Two consortiums have been selected to submit  bids to build, own and operate Capital Metro: Canberra Metro and Activate.

Benefit Cost Analysis (from Capital Metro Business Case)

The cost of building Capital Metro - $783 million  (from Capital Metro Business Case)

The annual operating costs of light rail - $22 million (from Capital Metro Business Case)

Independent analysis of the Capital Metro Business Case

Independent analysis of the Capital Metro business case was performed by Professor Derek Scrafton. A report of his analysis is here

Professor Scrafton was formerly the head of the South Australian Transport Authority, and is now a Professor at the University of South Australia. 
He is quoted as saying "We didn't have to have a view about the tram one way or another, we just had to comment on the business case itself,"  "My view was it was fit for purpose. That it would do exactly what [the ACT Government] wanted it to do." "Some data that might have been useful in interpreting the aspirations for the project is absent or is not readily discernible"."It's always the same, it doesn't matter where you are in the world, there's a load of people who think (light rail) is wonderful and a load of people who think it's a waste of money. "Is there enough material there? I would say for most people there is. But I can understand why somebody with a very specific interest would say 'I want more detail on this'."
Highlights of the report are:
  • Professor Scrafton describes the Capital Metro business case as highly professional.
  • The expected cost and benefit of Canberra's $800 million dollar light rail project is "as good as it gets"
  • How accurate the Government's projected cost-benefit return of $1.20 for every $1 invested was wouldn't be known until the two selected consortia chosen to bid for the project return their proposals.
  • If proposals come back at say 30 per cent over the ($783 million) estimate, the ACT Government reserves the right to say 'that's the end of the project!'. 

If there are any facts that you believe are missing or incorrect - please contact us.

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

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