Australia's first wire-free light rail put to the test in Newcastle

- Newcastle, Australia
Australia's first wire-free light rail put to the test in Newcastle

Australia’s first wire-free light rail system in Newcastle passed its initial test last night with a light rail vehicle driven along Hunter Street under its own power.

The Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the first powered test  was a significant milestone as the team moves closer to daytime testing.

Testing started the moment Newcastle’s first light rail vehicle arrived in the depot last month, and after completing a series of safety checks we can now power up and start driving.

"Powered testing allows us to check things like the brakes, onboard energy storage and charging systems, while at the same time provides valuable training for crews in the new light rail system.

Last night’s test involved running the vehicle along Hunter Street and checking the brakes and charging points at each stop.

Newcastle’s light rail vehicles have energy storages which will be charged at each stop in the time it takes for passengers to get on and off.

Newcastle’s wire-free technology is part of a $35 million NSW Government improvement to the Light Rail project, making for a more attractive city centre.

Testing will continue at night over the coming weeks and include a range of simulations like filling the tram with weights to mimic it being completely full of passengers, plus checking the traffic signal interactions at pedestrian crossings and intersections,” he said.

Initial tests are conducted at night to ensure the system is operating safely and efficiently under controlled conditions. Daytime testing will involve simulating timetables and driver training, and is expected to commence by in the coming weeks with services on schedule to operate in early 2019.

About Transport for NSW

TfNSW LogoTransport for NSW leads the development of safe, integrated and efficient transport systems for the people of NSW. Their customers are at the centre of everything that they do, including transport planning, strategy, policy, procurement and other non-service delivery functions across all modes of transport - roads, rail, ferries, light rail and point to point.

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