Sydney tram flaws, failures identified years before shutdown

“If the government took action in 2019, we might have been able to avoid the closure of the entire western interior light rail service, which caused huge inconvenience to passengers. at significant cost to the public.”

A spokeswoman for Transport for NSW said the report by independent consultants in 2019 was ‘totally unrelated’ to the cracking of trams and was commissioned after the light rail contractor identified issues with other components. “There is a specific program in place for these ongoing repairs,” she said.

Services on the West Inner Tramway between Central Station and Dulwich Hill were suspended late last year due to cracked trams.Credit:Christopher Pearce

While six repaired trams have been returned to service, the transit agency said it was still investigating the cause of the cracks as a number of external reviews were due to run their course.

A reduced level of services resumed on the western inner line in February when trams were taken to the CBD and eastern suburbs light rail line.

An internal business document for Transport for NSW in mid-2020 warned that “component defects” could expose the agency to “business risk” if ALTRAC, the consortium overseeing the inner west line, decides to pursue a claim for losses due to the increasing cost of maintenance.

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And the newspaper said that if funding to purchase additional trams was not approved, the number of interrupted services on the light rail line could increase due to “components expiring before their lifespan”.

Late last year, then Transport Minister Rob Stokes told parliament he expected taxpayers ‘not to pay a penny for the cost’ of repairing the cracks in the trams, arguing that the responsibility lay with the manufacturer.

Transport for NSW reiterated that it expects there will be no cost to ratepayers for repairs to interior westbound trams.

CAF, which has previously disputed claims that it is entirely responsible for the cracks in the trams, has been asked for comment.

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Jose P. Rogers