It’s a bit of political one-upsmanship to warm the hearts of tram advocates.
As reported in the Feb. 24 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald, the transport spokeswoman for the New South Wales opposition “will today release plans for a light rail line from Circular Quay to the University of NSW. The plan would restore trams to Anzac Parade, which was designed specifically for light rail.”
The newspaper points out that the state’s ruling Labor government “supports extending existing light rail from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill and a tram line between Central and Circular Quay,” while the opposition (Liberal/National) Coalition “would go further by restoring the service to the south-eastern suburbs.”
Said transport spokeswoman Gladys Berejiklian: “We have been looking at the expansion of light rail in North America and believe it is part of Sydney’s future, and not just in the central business district.”
The newspaper didn’t miss the historic significance of the announcement’s timing, as it heralds a possible return of trams to Sydney’s suburbs almost 50 years to the day after the original system’s last tram made its final journey on Feb. 25, 1961. Light rail returned to the city in 1997.
Preparations to mark the 50th anniversary of the old trams’ abandonment were described in this Jan. 31 Sydney Morning Herald article, as well as in this Feb. 8 Hills News article and in this Feb. 12 Daily Telegraph article (check out each for photos). Said celebration will be a two-day festival slated for Feb. 26 and 27 at the Sydney Tramway Museum.
In other preservation news, recent reports suggest that the long-neglected former Rozelle Tram Depot and its hideously vandalized trams (including Sydney’s last car, R1 class 1995) may have a brighter future ahead.