Light rail vehicle safety risks must be addressed


Shadow Minister for Transport Mark Parton will move a motion in the Legislative Assembly today calling on the ACT Labor-Greens Government to report back on the risks facing the light rail vehicle fleet in the ACT.

This motion comes following last week’s news that the NSW Inner West Light Rail line has been decommissioned for 18 months because of structural issues with the CAF Urbos 3 light rail vehicles, the same that are used in the ACT.

Mr Parton said the Labor-Greens Government also needs to advise on the contingency planning it will undertake in the event the fault experienced in NSW and other countries emerges in the ACT light rail fleet.

“The serious issue of cracking in these light rail vehicles has occurred in many jurisdictions around the world including Belgrade, Serbia, Birmingham, United Kingdom, and Besançon, France,” said Mr Parton.

“With the ACT potentially facing similar problems with these light rail vehicles, the Labor-Greens Government must provide the necessary information including what led the procurement evaluation body to recommend this particular vehicle.

“Given the mounting evidence from around the world, and what’s happened in Sydney, surely it is necessary for the government to take a closer look and report back to the assembly and the Canberra community.

“Retrofitting two eight tonne batteries above the wheel arches on the roof of every vehicle is also surely going to exacerbate the problem.”

Mr Parton said if our light rail vehicles do suffer the same fate as those around the world, the Labor-Greens Government must have strategies to mitigate or eliminate the severe consequences.

“All we are asking is that this government take some common-sense precautionary steps to make sure that these light rail vehicles are not susceptible to cracking which will have a disastrous impact on transport in the ACT.

“We do need a contingency plan in the event that a deeper level of precautionary assessment or modifications are needed – or worse still, we find we have a problem similar to NSW,” Mr Parton concluded.