The NSW Government has today confirmed that major construction of light rail track will be completed on time by the end of September, allowing traffic to return to Hunter and Scott Streets and for testing to start next month.
The Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance made the announcement today while undertaking an inspection of the first of six light rail vehicles to arrive in Newcastle, stating that the local team has set the example for the State.
“Newcastle has shown what’s possible when the Government, contractors and stakeholders like Council work together to deliver a project.
“It was just 12 months ago when construction started on a 350 metre section of Newcastle’s light rail at Civic, and here we are today with the track all but finished and the first of the fleet here for testing.
“A decade ago the people of Newcastle sent the NSW Government a blunt message. Fix our city. It’s a proud moment today to see Hunter Street looking better than ever, record private investment in the city centre, and the first of a sleek, modern transport fleet soon which will soon be delivering people straight to Newcastle Beach.
“As the fences come down to open the remainder of the light rail route, Novocastrians will see just how much their city has changed, with upgraded roads, widened footpaths, and new public spaces at the restored Newcastle Station and Market Street Lawn.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said today was the first day towards the future of Newcastle.
“We’ve connected Newcastle to its harbour after the heavy rail corridor acted like the Berlin Wall for more than 100 years. Today workers, tourists and families can freely move between the waterfront and the city centre to create more foot traffic and more activity for businesses,” Mr MacDonald said.
“Newcastle’s light rail is Australia’s first and only completely wire-free system, and along with the city scape upgrades and landscaping Newcastle is getting the attractive urban space it needs to thrive.
“Making Newcastle’s light rail wire-free is part of a $35 million package from the NSW Government to improve the city’s urban amenity, and will see on board batteries charged at each stop in a matter of seconds.”
More than 3,000 individuals have worked on Newcastle Light rail, and Novocastrians should be proud of how the local team has delivered this important project.
“The NSW Government is delivering on its promise to improve transport around Newcastle, and from early next year light rail will work in tandem with upgraded CBD intersections, and the our public transport timetables which offer 1,200 additional services and 15 minute frequency on key routes,” Mr Constance said.