NEWCASTLE’S light rail system will come with no strings attached, after the NSW government announced the Hunter Street system will be the only one in Australia with a majority wire-free line.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance announced on Tuesday that Newcastle’s 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.
While sections of Sydney’s CBD light rail will run with wireless trams that are powered on an energised third track, Mr Constance said that technology couldn’t be used in Newcastle “because of the corrosive effects of the sea water”.
Instead, the Newcastle system will use “on-board energy storage to propel the vehicle”, and then use charge points will be at stations.
“There’s some 3 million kilometres of this system tried and tested in places such as France,” he said.
He said the decision to use wireless technology was the result of community feedback.
“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,” he said.
“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.”