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Hundreds of passengers were trapped on a tram for more than an hour after Sydney’s new $2.9 billion light rail service broke down, prompting an evacuation by police.
A mechanical failure on a tram at Town Hall at 4pm on Tuesday triggered the closure of about one-third of the problem-plagued network.
NSW Police board a tram stalled on Sydney's George Street. CREDIT:CHLOE GROOM
While nine trams were caught up in the system failure, one was left locked for about 70 minutes, with passengers given no explanation and forced to call the police for assistance.
Chloe Groom and her five-year-old daughter were among the passengers who were trapped.
Ms Groom said commuters felt "abandoned", were given no information during the ordeal, and called police after the emergency button elicited no response.
"We pressed it over and over and there was no answer ... I don’t think they knew there was a tram full of people," she said.
Chloe Groom and her daughter were among the passengers stuck on the tram.CREDIT:JANIE BARRETT
"People stayed pretty calm for a while but ... especially when you’re receiving no information, you start to feel a bit panicked."
Ms Groom said police were called and helped to open the doors. Passengers were able to get out just before 5.30pm.
Tuesday's incident is the latest in a string of mishaps for the controversial project, which has faced scrutiny since it was opened in mid-December.
The 8.5-kilometre service between Randwick and Circular Quay has been criticised for its slow speeds, with journey times hovering between 40 and 50 minutes since it started running.
Construction delays and cost blowouts dogged the project in the years before it opened, having originally been budgeted at $1.6 billion.
Chief Light Rail officer Brian Brennan apologised to the passengers caught up in the delays, and conceded it took too long to evacuate those trapped in the tram.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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