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Newcastle Light Rail

manchester light rail, newcastle light rail

Newcastle Interchange
Crown Street
Market Street
Pacific Park
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The Newcastle Light Rail is a proposed Australian light rail line in Newcastle, New South Wales, running from Newcastle Interchange through the central business district to Pacific Park in Newcastle East Construction is scheduled to commence in 2017 with the line to open in 2019 It will be operated by Newcastle Transport under contract to Transport for New South Wales


  • 1 Development
  • 2 Operation
  • 3 Potential extensions
  • 4 Rolling stock
  • 5 Depot
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References


For decades the Newcastle railway line had been seen by the State Government as a great piece of land to sell off in Newcastle's central business district Proposed to close, it did so and sat vacant, unused and fenced off to the community, making it extremely hard for disabled users to get into the city12

In December 2012, the Government of New South Wales announced its intention to close the line east of Wickham with the closure of Wickham, Civic and Newcastle stations3 The line closed between Hamilton and Newcastle stations on 25 December 2014, with a new Newcastle Interchange to open in late-201745

Two options were put forward for the light rail route - reusing the heavy rail corridor or using an on-street route In May 2014, it was announced a light rail line would be built using a predominately on-street route About 500 m 1,640 ft of the existing rail corridor east of Wickham station will be reused, before the light rail proceeds along Scott and Hunter Streets to terminate at Pacific Park in Newcastle East678

The decision to use a predominately on-street route drew mixed reactions and led to speculation that the railway corridor could be sold to property developers91011 It also went against the advice of Transport for NSW, which supported reusing the heavy rail corridor and advised the government that an on-street route could cost almost $100 million extra and deliver a slower service12 In December 2014, the Government announced that Newcastle City Council would have the final say in determining any future development in the former rail corridor13

The replacement of the heavy rail line with light rail has also been controversial Several newspapers in the Hunter region led a campaign to retain the heavy rail link14 Newcastle City Council was initially supportive of the light rail project, but following a mayoral by-election in November 2014 the council advocated retaining the heavy rail line instead15

In August 2015 Transport for NSW put out a tender for a technical advisor to assist in the development of this project16 Registrations of interest for companies to design and construct the Newcastle Light Rail were called in January 201617

In December 2014 it was estimated that construction would commence in late 2015 but by January 2016 the date has slipped to the second half of 20161718 In April 2016 it was stated that major construction would start in 2017 and be complete in 201919 Establishment of a site office commenced in February 2017 Major construction is expected to start around the middle of the year20

A list of stops along the route was released in April 2016 Stops proposed are: Newcastle Interchange, Honeysuckle, Civic, Crown Street, Market Street and Pacific Park Each light rail vehicle will carry at least 100 passengers2122

In April 2016 CPB Contractors, Downer Group, John Holland, Laing O'Rourke and McConnell Dowell were shortlisted to bid for the contract to build the infrastructure23 Downer was awarded the contract in August24

The government announced in April 2017 that the trams would use on board energy storage technology to allow the majority of the line to operate without overhead wires25 This differs from the approach used in the wire-free section of Sydney's CBD and South East Light Rail, which powers the trams via a proprietary ground-level power supply technology


The line will be operated by Newcastle Transport with frequencies of 75 minutes212627

Potential extensionsedit

Several options to extend the network were released in April 2016 The options were:28

  • Newcastle Interchange to Broadmeadow station
    • Broadmeadow station to Hunter Stadium
    • Broadmeadow station to Adamstown
  • Newcastle Interchange to Mayfield

Other proposals made by the community include extensions to John Hunter Hospital, University of Newcastle at Callaghan, Newcastle Airport, Glendale, Merewether and a CBD loop Transport for NSW stated that these routes suffered from high costs and engineering challenges28

Rolling stockedit

A fleet of six Urbos 3 trams will operate the service The trams will consist of five modules and will be 33 metres long29303132


A depot will be built on the site of the former Wickham railway station3334

See alsoedit

  • Light rail in Sydney - the other light rail system in New South Wales
  • Trams in Newcastle, New South Wales - the former tram network


  1. ^ Working group releases Newcastle city rail report ABC News 21 November 2003
  2. ^ Iemma backflips on Newcastle rail decision as Cabinet set to meet ABC News 21 February 2006
  3. ^ The deepest cutNewcastle's rail line to go ABC News 14 December 2012
  4. ^ "Revitalisation of Newcastle CBD underway with truncation to begin on Boxing Day" Transport for NSW 3 July 2014 Retrieved 3 July 2014 
  5. ^ Tender awarded to design and construct new Wickham interchange Transport for NSW 18 December 2014
  6. ^ Newcastle Light Rail Announced Transport for NSW 23 May 2014
  7. ^ Light rail route for city finally unveiled ABC News 23 May 2014
  8. ^ Map Fairfax Regional
  9. ^ Light rail decision draws mixed reactions Newcastle Herald 23 May 2014
  10. ^ Bielby, Nick 22 October 2014 "Premier Mike Baird refused to rule out development of the Newcastle rail corridor after the truncation of the line at Wickham" The Maitland Mercury 
  11. ^ Nicholls, Nick 17 February 2015 "NSW parliamentary inquiry to examine Newcastle rail line cabinet documents found in disgraced MP's office" The Sydney Morning Herald 
  12. ^ Nicholls, Sean 21 February 2015 "Gladys Berejiklian backed preferred Newcastle light rail route in draft consultation document" The Sydney Morning Herald 
  13. ^ Revitalisation of Newcastle: The People's Project Transport for NSW 4 December 2014
  14. ^ "Help preserve the rail line linking the Hunter to Newcastle" Maitland Mercury 7 September 2014 
  15. ^ Council switches track on rail plan Newcastle Herald 11 December 2014
  16. ^ Tender released for light rail technical advisor Transport for NSW 4 August 2015
  17. ^ a b "Transforming Newcastle: Call for industry to design and build light rail" Transport for NSW 21 January 2016 
  18. ^ New era for Newcastle Transport for NSW 26 December 2014
  19. ^ "Newcastle Light Rail report and expansion options released" Transport for NSW 7 April 2016 
  20. ^ "Light rail rakes another step to major construction" Transport for NSW 27 February 2017 
  21. ^ a b Transforming Newcastle: Community to have its say on next steps to revitalise city transport Transport for New South Wales 5 April 2016
  22. ^ Light rail route confirmed as government releases new detail | video The Herald 5 April 2016
  23. ^ Shortlist announced for Managing Contractorof Newcastle Light Rail Transport for NSW 27 April 2016
  24. ^ "Change on track for Newcastle Light Rail" Transport for NSW 9 August 2016 
  25. ^ "Newcastle Light Rail goes wire free" Transport for NSW 18 April 2017 
  26. ^ Keolis Downer awarded contract to run light rail, buses and ferries says Baird government Newcastle Herald 12 December 2016
  27. ^ http://revitalisingnewcastlenswgovau/what-we-are-doing/newcastle-light-rail/
  28. ^ a b "Newcastle’s public transport future - April 2016" Transport for NSW & UrbanGrowth NSW Archived from the original on 18 April 2016 Retrieved 8 April 2016 
  29. ^ Baird government announces progress on Newcastle light rail Newcastle Herald 21 June 2016
  30. ^ "First half year results 2016" PDF Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles 27 July 2016 p 3 Retrieved 14 December 2016 
  31. ^ "Newcastle Light Rail" Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles Retrieved 14 December 2016 
  32. ^ Newcastle Light Rail Vehicle Unveiled Newcastle Herald 29 March 2017
  33. ^ Light rail depot on way as end arrives for Wickham station Newcastle Herald 10 May 2017
  34. ^ Wickham station demolition underway ahead of light rail depot Newcastle Herald 26 May 2017

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