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Light Rail Stage 1 Construction

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Offline triumph

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Light Rail Stage 1 Construction
« on: November 14, 2017, 06:35:34 PM »
It is rather difficult to observe construction of Light Rail stage 1, due to its location in the middle of busy roads with activity mostly remote from easy pedestrian access. The most convenient viewpoint I have found is from the high rear seats of a route 200 bus, but this certainly doesn't allow for much photography or watching of activity.

One opportunity I happened on, was viewing the concrete track extrusion machine in action adjacent to an accessible car park next to Hibberson St on City side of Hinder St. Fascinating to see how quickly it advanced leaving behind fully formed concrete track complete with slots for installation of rails. Presumably there was laser guidance to keep the work accurate. Never-the-less there were some half dozen workers with trowels, etc touching up the surfaces and ensuring the slots were clear. Counting both directions, the mind boggles at the thought of some 24km of touching up by hand.

So far most above ground activity and effort seems to be in Flemington Rd with noticeably less obvious day to day action in Northbourne Ave.. The range of machinery in use and the sheer volume of work entailed is amazing. And not just machinery, when viewed from the bus, there are often many workers on foot, kneeling, etc doing detailed stuff. No wonder the cost is high.

Noticed today is that some 'overhead' support poles have been installed, and part of the depot entrance track including points and crossing work is in place.

The appearance of 'overhead' supports seems to confirm that, despite being on the cusp of self contained power supply and the apparent adequate daily battery life of bus710, that abandonment of 'overhead' power supply in favour of batteries is not yet a reliable viable option in the eyes of Capital Light Rail/Transport Canberra. 

Offline Barry Drive

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Re: Light Rail Stage 1 Construction
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2017, 10:32:01 AM »
Don't forget all the lanes inside the depot - that would add to length of manual touch up work.

From what I can tell, not all of the track will be laid using the track machine. At points (such as outside the depot), the tracks will be laid onto a concrete bed and then back-filled with concrete.


Offline triumph

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Re: Light Rail Stage 1 Construction
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2017, 08:32:18 PM »
Another perspective is on offer for the Light Rail works. Go to
http://www.canberra-metro.com.au/news/join-us-light-rail-construction-tour
for details about tours at noon on Wednesdays until Christmas. Canberra Metro say 'To make a booking call 1300 208 824 or email [email protected]'.

I, along with three others, did this tour last Wed, finding, for me, the main advantage being the presence of the construction superintendent who was very knowledgeable. The minibus basically followed the route from Gungahlin to Dickson and back with no getting off and no depot access, both due to works congestion and the complexities of OH&S for visitors outside of the minibus.

As far as simply viewing generally, the rear of an ACTION bus, as previously reported, is a good option.

Adding to my previous post, we were told the concrete extrusion machine forms the slotted concrete track at a rate of 1.2m a minute. Another snippet: the compound used to fix the rail within the slot costs more than the rail! Not surprising really as it is expected to durably provide vibration and noise damping, electrical insulation, fixing of the rail to resist it moving from expansion/contraction and traction forces, and tolerate Canberra's ambient temperature range which is the greatest for any current Australian Tram/Light Rail system.

I enjoyed the tour and found it very worthwhile.

Offline triumph

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Re: Light Rail Stage 1 Construction
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 11:06:34 PM »
The Depot entrance track layout is now apparent. There is a full double track junction with entrance from/exit to both Gungahlin and City and double track continuing into the site.

Can't make up my mind about this. It takes 10 vehicles to run the peak hour schedule, thus there should never be a demand for more than two vehicles each service operating interval (minimum 6min) to enter/leave the site. (Surely there is no intention to run to/from the Depot for crew changes?) So a simple turnout into the depot and an adjacent crossover between the main lines should suffice. This requires 3 points and no track intersections. The set up installed has 6 points and 3 track intersections (not to mention more complex overhead and control). Given the proximity of the double tracks, it is probably not a protection against the fleet being bottled in by a derailment in the junction zone. Gilding the lily or a wise eye to the future when more stages are implemented?

Offline triumph

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Re: Light Rail Stage 1 Construction
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2017, 11:48:22 PM »
Progress noted today

The 'spreader' arms to support the contact wire have been attached to many of the masts, ready to be swung into position.
The first section of concrete track slab between Flemington Rd and the City has been placed just N of Barry Dr.
The point where the track approaching Sandford St veers to the center of Flemington Rd is now visible.
Whilst track slab work in Flemington Rd is very advanced, there are still many small gaps and missing sections.
Work has begun on concrete platform construction at several stops.

The works have resulted in a rough bit of the S bound side of the Federal Highway. The back section of a bendy bus I was in bucked like a rodeo bronco when the bus, travelling at a gentle speed, crossed it. . The sudden, unexpected motion caused my head to whip to and fro and body to move forward of the seat back and then slam painfully hard back into it. The violence was far beyond what I would consider acceptable for passengers in a public transport vehicle.

Offline triumph

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Re: Light Rail Stage 1 Construction
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2018, 12:03:49 PM »
Had another look on Monday from a rte 200 travelling Gungahlin to City.

There are now many more overhead support poles in place North of Mitchell. There seem to be 3 sizes. Spreaders are attached to most of the poles with some deployed into position, it being noted that some poles have brackets to which dual spreaders about a metre apart are attached. A ram like piston is attached to some spreaders, presumably something to do with contact wire tension. As yet no contact wire is in place.

In the same section two stops already have platform roofs in place and the site of a track to track crossover is identifiable.

Work on the Federal Highway/Northbourne Ave section is now in full swing with sections of track in place, including the curve from the Federal Highway median into the S side of Flemington Rd. Never-the-less, there is still much work to be done over the whole length and, if the amount of pipes and pre-fab access pits stored here and there is any guide, still much below ground surface work too.

The slightly raised surface of street crossings mentioned in posts is noticeable - as this is a work in progress, the final finished surface level of the streets may ease the perceived 'hump' effects on traffic. 

The bus I was on travelled from Gozzard St via Efkarpidis St, Kate Crace St, Anthony Rolfe Ave, and Manning Clark Cresc to reach Flemington Rd.   


Offline Barry Drive

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Re: Light Rail Stage 1 Construction
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2018, 01:56:23 PM »
The slightly raised surface of street crossings mentioned in posts is noticeable - as this is a work in progress, the final finished surface level of the streets may ease the perceived 'hump' effects on traffic. 
Some intersections are more raised than others. Along Flemington Road they appear perfectly level with the adjoining roads.

The problem at Macarthur/ Wakefield is the extent of the slope across the intersection. It's certainly more than anywhere else. I don't know if much can be done to remove the hump effect there. They just need to slow down the traffic.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 03:08:06 PM by Barry Drive »

Offline Bus 400

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Re: Light Rail Stage 1 Construction
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2018, 09:28:03 PM »
Just noticed today, a crossover has been installed just north of the Nullarbor Avenue stop. This will allow northbound trams to turnback & head back south.


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Offline triumph

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Re: Light Rail Stage 1 Construction
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2018, 04:44:04 PM »
Another look today from a route 200 bus revealed that the installation of the overhead contact wire has started in Flemington Rd in the vicinity of Manning Clark Cresc and will probably continue along Flemington Rd quite rapidly. Never the less support poles installation in Mitchell is incomplete, including the Depot junction area. Further into the Depot poles are in place but no contact wires are yet visible. The various comments in the media about vehicle testing starting at the end of the month seem a trifle over enthusiastic.

At the Gungahlin terminus (visited on foot), the platform roof is in position and the scissors crossover at the end of the station has the rail with prefabbed point and crossing work laid out in position ready for installation. It appears the crossing work is being done by Nugroup Rail Solutions. Near the terminus, work for the bus interchange and Hibberson St shared area is in full swing but appears to have a long way yet to go.

The work on formation for the track between Dickson and the Barton Highway is now well defined and N of the Barton, most of the track slab has been laid. The section past EPIC to the Depot junction has the last remaining significant gaps in slab construction. North of Mitchell the work is now nearing the final stages with even some landscaping and tree planting evident! S of Dickson is the main area of activity for civil works with plenty of stockpiles pipes, etc still evident. Track slab laying has progressed but there is still considerable length still to do.

Offline Barry Drive

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Re: Light Rail Stage 1 Construction
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2018, 05:39:23 PM »
The various comments in the media about vehicle testing starting at the end of the month seem a trifle over enthusiastic.
Previous reports suggested testing would take place between the depot and Gungahlin. It is my understanding that initial testing will occur within the depot grounds, with on-track testing to commence later. (Once the track is operational to GTC.)

I have also noticed some further progress with traffic light installation. There now appear to be some T light signals, albeit covered up.

Offline Sir Pompously

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Re: Light Rail Stage 1 Construction
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2018, 07:28:23 PM »
Poles were up at the depot junction but were removed a little while ago, with some concrete dug up around where they were. Also, one of the trams looked lit up the other day when heading past the depot (seemed as though the lights were on) so I assume static electrical/systems testing is taking place.

Offline triumph

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Re: Light Rail Stage 1 Construction
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2018, 11:28:22 PM »
Was at a function today involving Light Rail people and learnt the following:

The Mercedes Unimog vehicle has been delivered.

The substation for power supply near Gungahlin is expected to be completed in about a fortnight and that will enable powering up the overhead for a section N of Nullabor Ave which is expected to be completed about the same time.

Testing of light rail vehicle at the depot has started. 'Dynamic' (assumes means vehicle will be in motion) testing is expected to be started in May, initially at night, using the powered up overhead (with transfer from the depot using the Unimog to move the vehicle).

There is apparently a joking feeling in some quarters that it should be called a landscaping project rather than a light rail one. This arises from the need to use some 1,250 trees and circa 1,000,000 plants, together with very strict National Capital Authority requirements for tree spacing and placing in Northbourne Ave, which has resulted in quite some services relocation needs. It seems that trees in some paved areas will have caverns under the paving and filled with appropriate materials to nourish and support the trees.