The Newcastle light-rail service in the Australian state of New South Wales has started commercial operations.
The service is being operated by Keolis’ Australian subsidiary Keolis Downer on behalf of Transport for New South Wales.
Comprising six stations, the 2.7km-long tram network runs between Wickham and Pacific Park.
The service, which commenced a month ahead of schedule, will offer connectivity with the existing bus and ferry services.
Additionally, the line is catenary-free, involving no overhead wire installations across the route.
Before launching the light-rail service, Keolis Downer trained 14 drivers over four months in the testing phase to ensure smooth operations.
Six CAF-built trams exhibiting a fully accessible low floor design will run on the light-rail network. Each vehicle is designed to accommodate up to 270 passengers.
In December 2016, Keolis Downer received a multimodal transport contract in Newcastle. The scope of the contract included operations and maintenance of the entire transport network comprising light-rail, buses and ferries for ten years.
Keolis Downer started operating the bus and ferry services from July 2017.
Keolis Group International CEO Bernard Tabary said: “We redesigned the bus and ferry network with efficient interchange hubs for light rail to encourage more people to use public transport.
“Thanks to light-rail, Newcastle’s transport network is truly multimodal and will make residents’ and visitors’ lives easier and the city even more enjoyable.”
Located north of Sydney, Newcastle has more than 360,000 residents.
Keolis is responsible for 25 tram networks across the world, including three networks that are to be launched soon.