On track for tram first

ONCE the pandemic passes and we return to some kind of normality, could Australia’s first trackless tram be rumbling through Stirling to Scarborough Beach?

The proposed $97 million tram route would connect at the Glendalough Train Station and continue 7.5km along Scarborough Beach Road, ultimately linking Perth CBD to the beach.

Earlier this month, deputy prime minister Michael McCormack asked local governments to help fast-track transport projects on local roads.

At the time, Stirling council identified the trackless tram as its number one priority. 

“Our vision is to implement a cost-effective, rapid transit system from the Stirling City Centre to Scarborough Beach that will ease traffic congestion, unlock major development and create thousands of jobs for the Australian economy,” Stirling mayor Mark Irwin said.

• CRRC Zhuzhou Institute developed the rubber-tyred autonomous rail transit (ART) system, or trackless tram, which has already been trialled in Zhuzhou, China

Model

“If successful, this will be the first trackless tram in Australia and it would be a model for the implementation of this cost-effective technology right across the nation.”

Driverless, trackless trams have rubber wheels, so there is no digging up roads and they can be set up quickly, unlike light rail which takes years to build.

Powered by lithium ion batteries, trackless trams can be recharged for 3 – 5km in 30 seconds and for 25km in 10 minutes at a solar-powered station.

Mayor Irwin said Stirling’s trackless tram would have zero emissions and could link to other methods of transport.

“We’re currently the only local government in Perth that can deliver trackless trams now – we have all of our planning approvals in place, including a 15 per cent design and all transport modelling complete,” Mr Irwin said.

“The Stirling to Scarborough trackless tram delivers the priorities of the Australian government for innovation, supporting growth and increasing jobs and housing.” 

The tram technology has been trialled in China.

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