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Adelaide extension revives the grand union

Adelaide’s 1km (0.6-mile) AUD55m (EUR40m) City Tram Extension will run on the eastern section of North Terrace as far as East End Precinct (the old Royal Adelaide Hospital).

Adelaide’s 1km (0.6-mile) AUD55m (EUR40m) City Tram Extension, authorised in July 2016 and now under construction, will run on the eastern section of North Terrace as far as East End Precinct (the old Royal Adelaide Hospital). It is the first part of what will become a loop line for the Australian city, and may also provide the basis for a tramline into the eastern suburbs.

The AUD5m (EUR3.6m) recently-agreed spur on King William Rd to the Festival Centre (the first section of a proposed extension to Blair Athol via Prospect Rd) means that the junction of North Terrace with King William St/Rd will see the installation of a full grand union to permit tram movements in any direction.

The alignments will permit 2.65m-wide trams to be used in future (existing stock is 2.4m), and coupled sets up to 66m in length. This junction had a grand union layout from 1909 to 1958; the only other surviving tramway grand union in the Southern Hemisphere is in Melbourne.

Three new trams are going to be required, and because tendering for such a small order would be expensive, it is planned to buy three more unused Alstom Citadis from Madrid, where they have been stored since that city’s tram plans were cut back. Adelaide bought six trams from Madrid in 2009.
It is reported that TransAdelaide will pay AUD5m each for the second-hand trams, which has the advantage that they can be in service before next year’s state election. AUD6m each was paid for the first six from Madrid.

Elsewhere on the system, tracks in Jetty Rd, Glenelg are to be relaid, including the approach to Moseley Square terminus. Also due for re-railing is the Victoria Square to South Terrace section of line.