• The inauguration took place on 14 December.

  • The CBD South East Light Rail network will run from Circular Quay to Randwick, carrying up to 13,500 passengers every hour in both directions.

On 14 December, ACCIONA and its partners in the ALTRAC Light Rail consortium, together with the New South Wales government, celebrated a historical milestone for Australia, namely the inauguration of the CBE and South East Light Rail’s L2 Randwick to Circular Quay service, connecting the financial district with the South Eastern suburbs.

Regular services commenced Monday 16 December and the trams will be operating every day from 5:00 am until 1:00 am the following morning.The CBD South East Light Rail network will carry up to 13,500 passengers every hour in both directions once the L3 Kingsford line opens in March 2020.

The Sydney Light Rail is a new sustainable and safe transport alternative that addresses the needs of Sydney’s growing population.This tram network, which was one of the central initiatives of the city’s long-term transport plan, is a vital element in helping to relieve traffic congestion, as well as connecting major educational, sporting, entertainment and healthcare centres with the Central Business District and Circular Quay.

ACCIONA began working on this project in 2014, together with its partners in the ALTRAC consortium as part of a public-private partnership with the government of New South Wales.The project involved the design, construction and financing of the light rail network, and its operation and maintenance until 2036, which will cover the 12 km dual-track CSELR route (CBD and South East Light Rail), and the subsequent operation of 25 km of infrastructure, connecting the new infrastructure to that of the Inner West Light Rail, an existing 13 km line.

The partnership covered some 750 employees and a workforce at peak of 2,000 who worked more than 10 million man hours on the Project. Strong leadership and a firm commitment to continuously improve, backed by action, were the foundations of a strong safety culture and with a productive healthy and safe workplace with strong common values, worker health and safety was a core value culminating in an exemplary safety record.

Engaging with stakeholders was crucial to the success of the Project. The Stakeholder and Community team worked with a diverse range of stakeholders. Key stakeholder opinions and insights were incredibly valuable in the early stages of the planning and development processes. Robust consultation added insight into the operating environment and the community / customer needs to ensure effective engagement translating into stakeholder satisfaction.

The new Light Rail network consists of 19 stops, a tunnel section and a bridge that crosses over Eastern Distributor Corridor highway, with  system facilities to manage the Light Rail operations consisting of an Operational Control Centre, a Stabling Yard in Randwick, a Maintenance Facility in Lilyfield and associated HV & LV Power Supply  Substations and other buildings along the line.The project has involved substantial critical service relocations and extensive urban regeneration.


A project with the Infrastructure Sustainability Design rating awarded by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA)

In June, the Sydney Light Rail obtained the Infrastructure Sustainability Design rating awarded by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA). “IS” is the integral rating system in Australia and New Zealand that assesses the sustainability of the infrastructure design, construction and operation phases. The project has been rated as “Excellent” and obtained the maximum score in the Innovation category.

The most outstanding aspects of the project in relation to sustainability and innovation include its HESOP regenerative braking system, which generates significant energy savings during the operation phase of the infrastructure.

This system allows more than 99% of the energy produced during braking to be recovered and reused for auxiliary equipment, lighting and ventilation, or to be resold to electricity producers.The implementation of this braking system also means a reduction in the number of substations and eliminates the need to incorporate braking resistance, which results in an overall saving of materials on the project.

Another outstanding feature of the project is the High Cross Park substation, with an underground design and construction to minimise the potential impact on trees, as well as on cultural and heritage features in the area.It also has a geothermal air-conditioning system that will save 15 MWH of energy every year during operation, equivalent to saving 12.6 tonnes of carbon annually compared to a conventional system.