Newcastle’s first light rail vehicle ships out of Spain

STATION TO STATION: The first Urbos 100 bound for Newcastle is en route to Australia, Revitalising Newcastle has confirmed.
STATION TO STATION: The first Urbos 100 bound for Newcastle is en route to Australia, Revitalising Newcastle has confirmed.

THE first Newcastle light rail vehicle will arrive next month after passing its first round of tests and hitting the road. 

Built by CAF, the Urbos 100 vehicle is the first of the six-strong fleet that will run between Wickham and Newcastle East through six stations.

In July it was driven to the Port of Santander and loaded onto a specialised roll-on roll-off ship bound for the Hunter. 

The 33-metre long, 45-tonne Urbos 100 can carry a maximum of 270 people and will be the state’s first tram with surfboard racks. 

Revitalising Newcastle program director Michael Cassel said it was a milestone for the light rail project, which would be “a more attractive transport system than you’ll see anywhere in the country”. 

“Newcastle will soon be home to Australia's first completely wire-free light rail system, with each of the trams carrying an on-board energy source which is charged by an overhead bar at each stop,” Mr Cassel said. 

“Our light rail fleet is being produced by a world leader in transit systems with a presence across Europe, the Americas and Australia, and the Urbos 10 model on the way to Newcastle is a sleek and modern vehicle which will look fantastic running through the city.”

Fares on the city’s light rail system will start at $2.20 for adults, $1.10 for children and $1.10 for concession passengers using Opal cards.

Cash tickets will be slightly more expensive, while passengers changing onto light rail from a bus or train will be charged another 20 cents to use the light rail.

Trams testing is due to begin this year, with operations to start early in 2019.

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