For the first time in more than half a century, trams are set to become a familiar sight on Sydney’s streets.
Sydneysiders are about to take a trip back in time with trams returning to the city’s streets for the first time in more than half a century.
The 67-metre-long tram sets are due to carry their first paying passengers from the ferries at Circular Quay to Randwick in the eastern suburbs on December 14.
In March, a branch line to Kingsford will also open.
George Street – Sydney’s main CBD thoroughfare – will be freed of buses and cars with the sidewalks expanded for pedestrians to encourage more cafes, eateries and shopping.
Tram drivers are currently testing 12 trams day and night to iron out any last-minute kinks.
When the CBD and South East Light Rail is fully operational, trams will run through the heart of Sydney’s CBD every four to six minutes, from 5am to 1am.
During peak hours, they’re expected to move up to 13,500 commuters an hour in both directions.
They’ll cover 19 stops and carry up to 450 people on the 12.8 km trip from Circular Quay to Randwick.
A one-way journey from Circular Quay to Randwick will cost $3.73.
Trams will travel south from the Harbour foreshore along George St towards Haymarket and Chinatown, before veering left onto Eddy Avenue at Central Railway Station.
They’ll continue through Surry Hills to Moore Park – passing close to the Sydney Cricket Ground, the soon-to-be-rebuilt Sydney Football Stadium and the Entertainment Quarter – and then on to Randwick, via Randwick Racecourse and the Sydney Children’s Hospital.
From March, a tram will head to Kensington and Kingsford via Anzac Parade, passing the University of NSW.
Historic Sydney Trams
For those who grew up in Sydney before the 1960s, the return of trams (or light rail as it’s now being called) is certain to be a nostalgic trip back in time.
From the late 1800s up until 1961, the streets of Sydney were filled with the sounds of trams rattling through the city – including the eastern suburbs and Lower North Shore – laden with passengers.
With a network of 1,600 trolley cars, Sydney once had the biggest tram system in the southern hemisphere and the second largest of any Commonwealth country after London.
The decision to rip up Sydney’s 291 kms of tram tracks to make way for cars and buses is widely considered the most expensive mistake the city ever made, with the last tram running from the city to La Perouse on February 25, 1961.
Did You Know? Cost blowouts, repeated delays to construction, legal disputes and major disruption to businesses and residents along the route of the line have dogged Sydney's Light Rail project over the past four years. Worse still, the final bill to taxpayers is expected to be close to $3 billion - almost double the initial budget of $1.6 billion.
© 2019 Bernard O’Riordan (Travel Instinct). All Rights Reserved
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