Arup’s GIS Clash Detection System automated the interaction of proposed infrastructure and existing underground utilities.; Arup’s GIS Clash Detection System automated the interaction of proposed infrastructure and existing underground utilities.;

Sydney CBD and South East Light Rail, Sydney, NSW

Light rail is a key feature of the Transport for NSW vision for the transport future of Sydney.

Arup has worked with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) since 2011 to help them achieve their strategic vision for the Sydney Light Rail network.  A high-frequency and high-capacity 12km CBD and South East Light Rail (CSELR) connection will provide fast, reliable transport that supports a vibrant and connected inner city.

Arup has led a team including HASSELL as engineering, light rail systems and urban design technical advisor through the planning and reference design stages of CSELR. Arup will continue to serve as technical advisor to TfNSW through the procurement of the PPP proponent and construction.

Project Summary


2011 Arup has worked with TfNSW since 2011

12kmline connecting CBD with the eastern suburbs

A connected inner city

Running through the city’s heart from Circular Quay to Central Station, the new line will continue towards the Moore Park sporting and entertainment precinct, including the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney Football Stadium. The line will continue south-east, providing connection to the Randwick Racecourse, the University of NSW (one of Australia’s largest universities) and Prince of Wales Hospital.

International expertise

Drawing on international expertise, our team of technical specialists worked with TfNSW to develop the preferred alignment and prepare for the procurement and construction stages. Our engineering and operational input incorporates global best practice into the project’s design and delivery. George Street will feature Australasia’s first ‘wire free’ operations. This will ‘de-clutter’ the aesthetic of the route in the CBD by removing overhead power wires and poles.

Collaborative design to identify the best route

Arup held collaborative workshops with local stakeholders using innovative geographic information systems (GIS) to map potential routes and constraints. A shortlist of options was developed with input on engineering and urban design outcomes. This feasibility design informed the NSW Government’s strategic plan, and the identification of a preferred route.

Geographic information systems clash detection

The Arup devised GIS Clash Detection System greatly simplified the devising of a route by automating the interaction of proposed infrastructure and existing underground utilities. This was particularly true on the George St section which serves as a major utility artery. The system took inputs of over 100,000 individual underground utilities, combining source material from a wide variety of languages and formats, and translating them into a single utilisable reference.  

Intermodal connectivity

CSELR will provide a rapid and reliable light rail to Sydney and greater connectivity between new and existing transport modes across the city. The new routes will feature light rail to bus interchanges, built into the routes at Randwick, Kingsford and Rawson Place. It will also integrate with existing modes and stations including; trains at Wynyard, Town Hall, Central and Circular Quay. The Circular Quay terminus will also provide linkage with the Ferry wharves.