CBD Tram Betrayal


Long-term romancing of a discredited street transit technology in the context of underground electric railways and intensive bus operations.  Town Hall LM Clover Moore added a spatial distortion being George St, the lowest drainage point and least suitable street architecture but symbolic of the ermine and chains.

Turnbull misrepresented history.  Pushed through by Labor’s Keneally and iNSW’s Max Moore-Wilton against Greiner’s objections.  Berejiklian has lied and lied and lied.

On 1 July 2011 Max Moore-Wilton was reported as saying

the government was dragging its feet on what could be the iconic project of Mr O’Farrell’s first term”.  The government has been accused of dithering on big issues, avoiding decisions and instead setting up a Kevin Rudd-like number of reviews since the March 26 election.  The latest study will look into a light rail servicing the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney Football Stadium and Randwick Racecourse. 

“It’s a project where people would see an improvement quickly and see the O’Farrell government was focused. I don’t think we should do massive studies and all the rest.  Mr Moore-Wilton said the city’s existing state of “gridlock” was untenable – and light rail was cheaper than heavy rail projects and could be built relatively quickly.  “If we’re going to extend it through to Randwick – and I think we need that to be a great sporting city  – it makes sense to take it into the city as well,” he said

Every sub-statement was wrong in outcome, it is the opposite spirit to Sir Rod Eddington’s and has been repeated by the CEO of WSROC.

Turnbull added his enthusiasm in June 2012:

There is a blindingly obvious opportunity in the eastern suburbs in my electorate … We do not need new rail lines to every new suburb. What we need in Sydney are some rail lines built to the old suburbs that used to have very workable, very effective light rail lines.  Gladys Berejiklian is offering real hope for the first time in decades for public transport in Sydney and, in particular, light rail in my electorate.

That affection continued through various projects including when they turned sour.  The PM extended his interpretation in Parliament in March 2012, this is from his website:

Last year was 50 years from the day that the trams that ran out along Anzac Parade to the eastern suburbs—out to La Perouse, out past the showground, out past the cricket ground and the racecourse, and of course out where the University of New South Wales is now—were closed by a Labor government.


Sir Thomas Hughes was not Labor and in the early 1910s Bradfield suggested cutting back the tram network.  It was Government policy from 1913 to underground city trams because of the dreadful congestion they caused.  Two major expert reviews from the late 1920s produced parallel conclusions to 1909’s – remove the trams once electric railways were in place.  The first major conversion (Manly) was in 1939 under a Coalition Government (Stevens then Mair).   Labor’s Lang tried to keep the trams going.

Grattan made an exception and did a review of the process, finding governance to be “negligent”, which is the most favourable adjective Berejiklian could expect.  Trams are a darling of the ABC Breakfast Show and SMH, all resistant to information and expertise.  That it became the symbol of Sydney’s engineering decrepitude was foreseen.  Leaves the cause of congestion, 7 east-west cross-streets, unfixed – indeed worsened, ignoring the innovative CBD Traffic Oasis and Goanna Transit integrated option (the solution is the CBD Oasis ©).