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Testing continues after light rail collision

Testing of Canberra’s light rail system is continuing along stage one, after an incident with a pedestrian on Saturday 9 March.

On Saturday morning, a Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) and a pedestrian collided at the intersection of Cooyong Street and Northbourne Avenue in Canberra’s City.

ACT Emergency Services and ACT Policing attended the incident, and the pedestrian was taken to The Canberra Hospital in a stable condition, having sustained upper body injuries.

In a statement, Transport Canberra and City Services said that LRV movements would continue along the track despite the collision on Saturday. They reminded the community that testing is underway and urged pedestrians and road users to be safe while crossing intersections.

“It is important for motorists and pedestrians to be aware that LRVs are now running between Gungahlin and the City,” the statement said.

“Light rail vehicles are silent, large and travel quickly.

“It is important that pedestrians and motorists pay attention to their surroundings. If everybody obeys the road rules, particularly around red lights, everyone will be safe.”

As testing continues, the project’s first stage is nearing completion, with the Mitchell depot now fully operational.

Canberra’s light rail depot in Mitchell is now fully operational, ahead of an expected April start date. Photo: Libby Kimber.

ACT Minister for Transport Meegan Fitzharris has given an indication of a mid-April start date, with services expected to begin on a Saturday. Canberra Metro is still required to finalise “minor elements” of construction and to obtain approvals to operate the system.

Both Minister Fitzharris and Canberra Metro CEO Glenn Stockton expressed confidence in the project attaining all the relevant approvals.

“Those three elements are in train at present time … we’re working our way forward through those. At this point, we are confident we can achieve those outcomes,” Mr Stockton said.

Minister Fitzharris said the timetables for the new bus network would be released this week, which is expected to integrate with the light rail network.

Focus has now moved to stage two of the project, with Federal Labor making an election promise to allocate $200 million in their first budget, if elected, to progress stage two to Woden. Questions still remain over the exact route of stage two, with a route via State Circle and no Barton ‘dog leg’ looking increasingly likely. The Federal Government’s response into the Parliamentary Inquiry into stage two was released last week, which agreed or agreed in principle to the recommendations handed down by the Parliamentary Inquiry.

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