Fraser Short throws ‘off the rails’ party after losing bet

23 January, 2020 by Brydie Allen

Last year, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said trams would open to passengers along George Street in December.

But The Sydney Collective’s managing director Fraser Short, who owns The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room, thought there was no way the infamously late and over budget light rail would be running before Christmas.

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Short was so sure he was right that he bet on it – if the light rail did run before Christmas, he would shout the city a beer. At the time, he said: “The light rail has been a train wreck – to use an appropriate phrase – all the way along.”

“Sadly, nothing in the dismaying history of this project suggests it’ll finish on time. I’m so confident of the government’s incompetence that I’m more than happy to stump up and shout Sydney this party if the tram makes it from Randwick to the stop outside The Morrison with a cargo of paying passengers before Christmas.”

The Morrison is located on George Street towards the end of the newly constructed line. It’s one of many businesses that was severely affected by the light rail project, which was originally scheduled for completion in April 2018.

The light rail made it’s maiden passenger voyage on December 14 last year as scheduled, making Short lose his best. True to his word, The Morrison this week threw an ‘off the rails’ event called the Sydney Tram Party, with 4,500 attendees.

The Tram Party was free for everyone who RSVP’d before 6 January, and was an evening of free drinks, canapes and oysters. The good times were helped along with entertainment by local drag artist Etcetera Etc, live music and a marching band along the street.

There was also the added irony that on the night, the light rail broke down out the front of the Morrison.

Since the light rail opened in December, The Sydney Collective’s venue marketing manager Viki O’Hagan said there has already been positive impacts brought on by having the street reopened with no construction or roadwork.

“Although it’s very early days to judge how the opening has impact us it’s great to have George Street back open for business, without the chaos and noise of the rail construction works . It’s immediately bought a better vibe to The Morrison,” O’Hagan said.

Dozens of businesses along the route of the new light rail line have joined a class action against Transport for NSW claimingdamages for economic loss as well as for psychiatric suffering of business proprietors, landlords, and residents due to private and public nuisance” caused by the allegedly mismanaged project. The case is scheduled to be heard in the Supreme Court on 1 June 2020.