Parramatta Light Rail on track at Westmead

The first tracks are laid in Westmead, with Westmead Hospital, the new Central Acute Services Building and the Westmead Institute for Medical Research visible in the background.

The Westmead Health Precinct is a step closer to more modern, convenient transport, with the first tracks laid for the $2.4 billion Parramatta Light Rail.

Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said the start of track work at Hawkesbury Road in Westmead showed significant progress had been made on the project.

“The Parramatta Light Rail is essential for future-proofing this growing precinct, one of the largest medical, education and research hubs in the southern hemisphere,” Mr Constance said.

“We will see ‘turn up and go’ light rail services running through here in the next few years. That will mean a tram arriving every 7.5 minutes in peak periods.

“Along with Sydney Metro West and our train and bus services, it will help to cater for an estimated population of more than 40,000 staff and 30,000 students.”

Major construction for the light rail network began in January along the former ‘T6’ railway line in Carlingford, now under conversion to dual-track light rail. In June, major infrastructure works began on Parramatta’s ‘Eat Street’ dining strip in the CBD, readying the precinct for a shared pedestrian and light rail zone with new footpaths, street lighting and landscaping.

The Parramatta Light Rail will have a number of sections where it will be free from overhead wires to seamlessly integrate with the surrounding environment.

The track installed at Westmead consists of 18-metre lengths of grooved rail weighing almost one tonne each, set in a concrete slab that covers drainage and utility services.

Track will continue to be installed in sections across the alignment as areas become available.

The 12-kilometre, $2.4 billion Parramatta Light Rail will connect Westmead to Carlingford via the Parramatta CBD and Camellia, and is expected to start services in 2023.

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The Westmead Health Precinct is one of the largest health, education, research and training precincts in Australia. More than $3 billion has been committed by government, universities and the private sector to upgrade and expand the precinct over the coming years.