Newcastle Light Rail goes wire free
Newcastle is set to be the only city in Australia with a majority wire free light rail system.
On 18 April Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance announced the removal of overhead wires from the Newcastle light rail plan as part of a suite of upgrades that will include more public open space.
“This is a game changer for the urban amenity and sustainability of Newcastle light rail, which has been the impetus for the complete revitalisation of the city,” Mr Constance said.
Mr Constance revealed Newcastle light rail vehicles will be fitted with on board energy storage as part of the changes, to remove the “spider-web” of overhead wires and preserve the city’s heritage.
“Implementing world class light rail technology aligns with our plans for Newcastle to become a major university town and a city known for cutting-edge research and innovation.
“Removing the overhead wires will preserve the aesthetics of Newcastle’s heritage architecture and its unique character as light rail breathes new life into the city centre.”
Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts said the suite of urban amenity upgrades will allow more open space for outdoor dining, street trees and will connect light rail customers with new activity precincts including Darby Plaza and Civic Link.
“We’re improving the experience of being in and moving around this great city,” Mr Roberts said.
Mr Constance and Mr Roberts thanked the Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald, who has advocated for the changes on behalf of the people of Newcastle.
The upgrades will be delivered at the same time as the light rail to minimise disruption, with construction expected to start around mid-2017.