The Australian government has announced that work on Sydney’s $1.4bn South East Light Rail line is now expected to finish in 2018, with services scheduled to commence in early 2019, almost a year earlier than originally expected.Â
The Altrac Light Rail consortium, formerly named Connecting Sydney, won the contract in October. It consists of the Australian subsidiaries of Acciona Infrastructure of Spain and two French firms: the public transport operator Transdev and train-maker Alstom. Australian firm Capella Capital will manage funding.Â
Gladys Berejiklian, the minister of transport, said: "This project will provide a significant improvement in public transport in Sydney, as well as creating more than 10,000 jobs for our economy.
"Customers will have brand new clean, modern, reliable and efficient services from Circular Quay, through the central business district, to major event venues at Moore Park and on to the south-east’s major residential areas and educational and medical facilities.
"As previously announced, this contract will result in an increased project cost due to customer improvements to the original scope, and customers will enjoy services around one year earlier than previously planned."
Major construction will start after April 2015, and works will be staged along the route, to reduce the impact on residents and businesses during construction.