Newcastle Light Rail Project, Australia


Newcastle Light Rail

Newcastle Light Rail is a proposed 2.7km track that will run from Wickham Transport Interchange through the central business district to Pacific Park in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. It will include construction of six stops and a stabling and maintenance facility.

The light rail project is being developed by the NSW government as part of the $510m Newcastle Urban Transformation and Transport Programme. Transport for NSW will manage the project on behalf of the NSW government.

Newcastle Light Rail project background

Consultation on the route options for the Newcastle light rail project began in February 2014. The New South Wales government announced the preferred route in May 2014 and engagement with key stakeholders began in 2015. The Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for the project began in April 2016.

Transport for NSW revealed the community response and stakeholder feedback on the REF in the submissions report in August 2016. A number of improvements to the proposed light rail project plan were made based on REF, including removing the raised tracks in Hunter and Scott streets, revising the track alignment at Worth Place, and addition of a track-slab west of Worth Place instead of ballast.

The proposed improvements to the light rail project in Newcastle also include delivering a new pedestrian crossing over the light rail track at Cottage Creek, relocating the light rail eastern construction compound to open up more of the corridor, reconfiguring the electrical supply, and future-proofing light rail by adding a second track across Stewart Avenue.

Benefits of Newcastle Light Rail project

Newcastle Light Rail will provide a high-capacity transport system and help in reducing the congestion. It will operate vehicles with a capacity to carry approximately 1,200 passengers an hour.

The light rail network will be facilitated with Opal ticketing, which will provide ease and convenience for customers.

The project will help create approximately 6,500 jobs during the construction phase. It will also provide improved street level interaction between transport users, and help connect the main activity precincts and reunite the city centre with the harbour.

Construction

Pre-construction works for the Newcastle Light Rail, including the geotechnical investigations on Hunter Street, Scott Street, King Street, Stewart Avenue, Hannell Street and surrounding streets began in August 2016.

The initial works on site will involve network mapping thorough a survey vehicle along Hunter and Scott streets and the surrounding road network, which will be followed by digging test pits along the road network and drilling bore holes into the road and certain footpath surfaces to undertake investigations.

"The light rail project is being developed by the NSW government as part of the $510m Newcastle Urban Transformation and Transport Programme."

The initial works on the site also will include removing the pedestrian footbridges at Argyle Street, Perkins Street and east of Wolfe Street. The Queens Wharf pedestrian bridge will also be removed.

The concept design for the light rail track was commenced in mid-2016, while the main construction works on the site will begin in 2017. The light rail operations are expected to commence in 2019.

Rolling stock for Newcastle Light Rail line

Spanish manufacturer CAF was contracted to supply six Urbos trams to be operated on the Newcastle line in June 2016. The light rail fleet will have capacity to carry up to 600 customers an hour each way.

The rolling stock will include fully accessible, air-conditioned vehicles featuring facilities that can accommodate luggage, prams and surfboards. The trains will be operated at a frequency of every ten minutes during peak times.

Contractors involved with the Newcastle light rail project

Downer EDI was selected as the managing contractor to deliver light rail in Newcastle in August 2016. The scope of works will include design, construction and commissioning of 2.7km of light rail track, six light rail stops, and a stabling and maintenance facility. It will also include providing road works and associated precinct works.