SYDNEY’s 12.8km inner-city City - Dulwich Hill light rail line will close for up to 18 months after cracks were found in the wheel arches of CAF-built LRVs operating on the line.

The cracks, which are up to 30cm-long, were detected during routine inspections. The 12 LRVs are now being inspected by officials from Transdev, which operates the line, and the Department of Transport.

NSW Transport Minister, Mr Rob Stokes, said the 18-month closure is the “worst-case scenario” while the issue, which is likely a “design flaw,” is fixed.

Transdev, which also operates the L2 Randwick and L3 Kingsford lines, said the cracking on the inner west trams was “extensive.”

Transdev Sydney managing director, Mr Arsene Durand-Raucher, said the company believed it made the right decision to halt tram services while inspections continue. The Randwick and Kingsford light rail lines are operating as normal.

“The cracking is surely extensive, but at the moment and until we finish the inspection, we don’t know what the final outcome will be,” Durand-Raucher said.

The City - Dulwich Hill line carries nearly 10 million passengers a year. LRVs similar to those used in Sydney are operated by West Midlands Metro between Birmingham and Wolverhampton in Britain which also had cracking issues in June this year.