Construction has commenced on the first stop of a light rail project which will help to transform the rapidly growing Sydney suburb of Parramatta into a second CBD that will facilitate the planned transformation of Greater Sydney into a metropolis of three cities.

On Sunday night, two 23-metre long canopies were lifted into place to mark the start of work on the Church Street light rail stop (artist impression above) as part of the Parramatta Light Rail Project.

Artist impression Church Street Light Rail Stop

One of the latest in a string of major public infrastructure projects being delivered throughout New South Wales, the project will improve connections throughout Parramatta and help both locals and visitors move around and explore what the region has to offer.

Stage 1 will connect Westmead to Carlingford via the Parramatta CBD and Camellia with a two-way track spanning 12 kilometres.

The route will link Parramatta’s CBD and train station to the Westmead Health Precinct, Cumberland Hospital Precinct, CommBank Stadium, the Camellia Town Centre, the new science, technology and innovation museum Powerhouse Parramatta, the private and social housing redevelopment at Telopea, Rosehill Gardens Racecourse and three Western Sydney University campuses.

This stage is expected to open and commence passenger services in 2023.

Stage 2 will connect Stage 1 and Parramatta’s CBD to Sydney Olympic Park via Camellia, Ermington, Melrose Park and Wentworth Point.

It will link communities north and south of the Parramatta River directly to the Parramatta CBD, the Camellia Town Centre, as well as the booming sport, entertainment, education and employment hub at Sydney Olympic Park, and to the Carter Street Precinct.

The light rail project represents a key part of plans to transform Parramatta into a Central River City in the middle-western part of Sydney on the Parramatta River.

This in turn forms part of the Greater Sydney Commission’s plan to transform Greater Sydney into a metropolis of three cities by 2040.

According to the Parramatta City Council, the municipalities population is expected to grow by almost two-thirds over the next 20 years from an anticipated 283,339 in 2022 to almost 470,000 by 2041.

The canopies which were lifted into place on Sunday night each weighed six tonnes.

They were supplied by local manufacturing company Icon metal and use 80 percent locally sourced materials.

The prefabricated structures including the canopies were built at the factory, craned into place and assembled on overnight (to reduce construction impacts on site) on Church Street between Phillip Street and George Street.

The final stop design was informed by research, consultation (including with accessibility groups), independent design review and prototyping.

A full-scale light rail stop prototype was built and tested to ensure its design and features delivered the best customer experience.

The stops aim to be fully accessible and to accommodate a significant volume of people of different abilities – particularly during busy periods such as major sporting and community events.

Minister for Transport and Veterans David Elliott welcomed the commencement of construction.

“This city-shaping project will give commuters a choice in the way they travel which is vital in connecting communities, people and businesses,”

Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee agrees.

“The Light Rail will improve access to the CBD and deliver an economic boost to Parramatta’s retail, hospitality and night-time businesses.”