New light-rail line in Newcastle, Australia opens ahead of schedule
The launch of Newcastle’s new tram service is the latest stage in Keolis Downer’s efforts to provide the city with an integrated, multimodal transport service.
Keolis Downer has begun the operation of a new light-rail system in Newcastle on behalf of Transport for New South Wales.
The tram service is the next part of Keolis’ deal to operate a multimodal public transport network throughout Newcastle. The contract, awarded in December 2016, the multimodal transport contract was the first of its kind to be entrusted to a private operator in Australia and covers the operations and maintenance of the entire network (light-rail, buses and ferries) for a period of 10 years. In July 2017, Keolis Downer started operating the bus and ferry services, and in January 2018 re-designed the bus service while introducing a real-time, on-demand transport service, powered by Via.
The Keolis Downer team were able to launch services a month ahead of schedule. As part of the testing phase, 14 drivers were trained and a record 10,000km driven in just over four months, equivalent to 1,000 trips per tram across the network.
The 2.7km long network features six stations and runs between Wickham and Pacific Park. The network provides citizens with a new way to travel while also connecting with existing bus and ferry services. It has helped to open the city back up to its waterfront and connected it with an integrated multimodal transport network. Furthermore, the line is catenary free – preserving Newcastle’s urban landscape from overhead wires.
“We redesigned the bus and ferry network with efficient interchange hubs for light rail to encourage more people to use public transport,” said Bernard Tabary, International CEO, Keolis Group. “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.”