Sydney Light Rail breakdown causes lunchtime chaos in CBD

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The Sydney Light Rail system has encountered another delay, with a tram blocking an intersection in the CBD for 40 minutes this afternoon.

Key points:A power failure caused all trams on the system to stop on Wednesday lunchtime, including one across the intersection of Market and George streetsTransport for NSW said it is investigating the cause of the power failureThe Sydney Light Rail will open next month after extensive delays and a $3 billion bill

A power failure during testing of the project caused all trams on the yet-to-be opened light rail network to stop.

One of the trams came to a halt at the busy intersection of Market Street and George Street at approximately 12:50pm.

Police were on-site to redirect traffic within minutes, according to Transport for NSW.

Forty minutes later, just after 1:30pm, the tram was able to move away from the Market Street intersection under its own power.

Transport for NSW said the cause of the power failure was being investigated.

Sydneysiders on Twitter joked about the stalled tram, writing there was “chaos in Sydney” and “another transport mess”.

“I saw the Sydney light rail in action,” one user wrote. “*fangirling!!! It stops in the middle of the road, no vehicle can cross. #Wednesday”

“Seriously how one tram breakdown can do this is insane,” another user wrote.

Project plagued by cost blowouts

Sydney’s Light Rail project was announced by the government in December 2012 and major construction began in October 2015.

Delays in construction began the next year, followed by two lawsuits — one launched by the construction company Acciona over misleading conduct before the contract was signed, and the second a class action lawsuit brought by businesses and property owners affected by the construction and delays.

The original budget for the light rail was $1.6 billion. That figure was revised to $2.1 billion in December 2014, before being exceeded by further cost blowouts.

The lawsuit with Acciona was settled in June this year for $576 million, taking the total cost of the light rail to more than $3 billion.

Sections of Sydney’s Light Rail are expected to open for passengers next month, the first time in more than 60 years