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Light Rail – Back to the Future!

By Brodie Blades.

Some readers of this article may be able to remember the advent of modernism in Australia, with the promise of its ‘modern comforts’ and the rise of affordable car ownership ushering in a new era in which a number of Australian cities happily tore up their existing tram systems. As an urban designer and a born-and-bred Queenslander, it physically brings a tear to my eye when I see just how extensive Brisbane's 1961 tram network actually was! Historically, however, light rail has always played a legitimate role in metropolitan transit systems, and the Victorian State Government's recent budget commitment of $3 million for planning and design works on a new Caulfield-Rowville tram service cements that legitimacy. As Victoria has not made a significant investment in new light rail infrastructure for some time, other Australian cities have and the question therefore arises regarding ‘lessons to be learnt’ from the contemporary experience of modern light rail inv…

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