Multimillion-dollar light rail extension in Christchurch to open next week

Construction of the extended tram began last July and the extended loop will open next Thursday.  (File photo)

Alden Williams / Stuff

Construction of the extended tram began last July and the extended loop will open next Thursday. (File photo)

An extension to the Christchurch Light Rail, part of a $9 million project to upgrade High St, has been completed and will be open to the public from next Thursday.

The redesign of High St, announced two years ago, has led to the extension of the tram line, adding another 500 meters to its original 4.5 kilometer route.

From June 2, trams will depart from the corner of Manchester St and High St along Lichfield St before turning into Poplar Lane.

A new tram stop and shelter will be located on Tuam St before the track continues north along High St to rejoin the existing circuit, creating a loop.

* High St upgrade and $9 million light rail extension to begin mid-July
* Work to extend the Christchurch light rail line will begin this year
* Traffic lights at Christchurch’s controversial 20-pole intersection will be reduced

The extension of the tram now to 18 stops will allow heritage trailers, unused since the earthquakes, to find the tracks.

Sue Sullivan, managing director of Christchurch Attractions, which owns the tram, said she was “delighted” with its upcoming opening and looking forward to “bringing guests into the business of the SALT district”.


Christchurch City Council has released plans for an overhaul of High St which will extend the tram line. (Video first posted May 19, 2019)

High St has been upgraded between Cashel and Tuam streets to become more attractive and user-friendly.

The modernization and extension of the tramway was approved in September 2019 following a public consultation.

Construction of the extension began last July.

Sullivan said: “We would like to acknowledge the work of Christchurch City Council in completing the extension with its contractors as it will be a tremendous asset to the city.”

An official opening by the Mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel, will take place next Thursday morning. The trams will then be open to the public from 9:50 a.m.


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