January 9: Trams on track
By LAURA ANDERSON
ADELAIDE'S new trams will pick up their first passengers on January 9.
Premier Mike Rann said two of the new trams would start regular commuter services from that date, with plans for another six to be operating by April.
"All 11 will be in service within the year after that," Mr Rann said yesterday.
"In addition, five of the current 'old-rattler' (H-type) trams are being maintained for use on weekends, future Proclamation Days and other important occasions," he said. "This means much more than just new trams for the Glenelg route, but a whole new experience for commuters since we overhauled the entire track, including construction of many new platforms." The Government has bought 11 trams as part of the $21 million extension of the Glenelg line down King William St and North Tce. The 11 trams - ordered from German manufacturer Bombardier - cost $58 million. Mr Rann said the new trams would provide a new experience for commuters that would be "smoother, seamless and near silent".
However, Opposition transport spokesman Iain Evans said the trams had only been purchased "with the election in mind".
He said there were other models of trams with greater seating capacity available "but they didn't suit the Government's political timeline" with the March poll looming.
Mr Rann said the Government was still examining the feasibility of a further extension of the tram line to North Adelaide.
"I'm confident that the extended line will be well patronised, with more than 80 per cent of current tram users heading north of Victoria Square as soon as they arrive in the city," he said.
"I've said before that we are looking at the urban renewal benefits of tram extensions with an eye to further extensions down the track."