Tests begin as new light rail prepares for passengers

A new light rail line in Sydney's west is preparing to open to passengers, with hopes it could support more housing development near jobs and essential services.

The Parramatta light rail - officially named the L4 - will begin running trial services on Monday.

Trams will run in both directions between Westmead and Carlingford, via the Parramatta city centre, from 5am to 1am, allowing operator Transdev to ensure it can deliver the planned timetable, and identify any issues before it starts taking passengers.

Drills simulating system malfunctions or emergencies will also be conducted.

Premier Chris Minns and Transport Minister Jo Haylen will take a ride on the line on Thursday.

"The people of Western Sydney deserve this kind of public transport – and these final tests mean it's looking like all systems go for the L4 in the coming months," Mr Minns said.

Ms Haylen said the light rail will connect to heavy rail services at Westmead via the existing T1 line, and eventually the Metro West project, after the testing is completed.

"Trial running will allow us to fine-tune the systems with scenario-based exercises to make sure we've covered all bases when it comes to safety," she said.

The 12-kilometre light rail line includes 16 stops, with trams set to run about every eight minutes during peak periods.

A new station on the Parramatta light rail line.
The new Parramatta light rail is expected to serve around 28 thousand passengers a day by 2026. (HANDOUT/NSW GOVERNMENT)

It connects to the Westmead Hospital precinct, CommBank Stadium, Parramatta city centre, Rosehill Gardens racecourse and three Western Sydney University campuses among other sites.

The government estimates 130,000 people will live within walking distance of the line by 2026, with trams expected to carry around 28,000 daily.

Up to 1800 homes could be built alongside the light rail in the Parramatta city centre after rezoning earlier this month.

The line also included construction of a shared pedestrian and bike path between Parramatta and Carlingford, which opened in May 2023.

Ms Haylen has also announced a shared path in Sydney's inner west will be widened to provide better access to the rejuvenated White Bay Power Station, along with other upgrades to footpaths and intersections.

The heritage-listed site at Rozelle has taken on a new life as a cultural and community hub, with plans to  connect it to existing light rail via nearby parklands.

It was originally constructed in the early 20th century to power Sydney's trams and trains, before being decommissioned in 1984.

Sydney's light rail network already includes the L1 line from Central to Dulwich Hill in the inner west, and L2 and L3 lines from Circular Quay to Randwick and Kingsford in the east.