Newcastle's first light rail vehicle arrived via cargo ship on Saturday and was rolled onto a Carrington dock

Newcastle’s first light rail vehicle has arrived in the city after being rolled off a ship at Carrington on Saturday.

The tram had been transported by the cargo carrier from Spain’s Port of Santander, where the ship left for its voyage to Australia in July. 

Revitalising Newcastle’s program director Michael Cassel said the arrival milestone coincided with the launch of a light rail safety campaign titled: ‘Be aware, there’s a tram there’. 

“The arrival of our first tram is a big moment, and with testing starting from next month it’s time to raise awareness of how to be safe around light rail,” he said.

“While testing will start gradually, with trams travelling slowly along the track at night, later this year trams will be travelling frequently through the city simulating timetabled running.” 

The first light rail vehicle remained in place next to the West Basin 4 berth at Carrington on Sunday. 

It is expected to be placed on a flatbed truck and delivered to the light rail stabling yard at Wickham in coming days. 

Mr Cassel said it was important for the public to adhere to signage in the city centre as testing begins. 

“Light rail is by design quiet and less obtrusive than other forms of public transport, and with our trams weighing 45 tonnes and moving at 40 kilometres an hour, it’s especially important to be aware in the city centre,” he said. 

“The community will see more information from Revitalising Newcastle about living safely with trams, and work has already started on a schools program to ensure local students are conscious of the changes in the city.

“The most important thing we’ll be encouraging is that people follow signs and signals in the city centre.

“We’ve added six new pedestrian crossings along the light rail route which will operate in tandem with trams to ensure people can cross the road safely.”

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While light rail vehicles could begin moving along the line next month, a “rigorous” testing period will take place towards the end of the year.

Operation of Newcastle’s light rail isn’t expected until early 2019. 

“Each tram needs to undergo rigorous testing to ensure they function exactly as they should, and provide the safe, efficient and comfortable ride they’re built for,” Mr Cassel said. 

“The community will see our first tram out on the tracks from next month, and from then they’ll be a permanent fixture of Newcastle.” 

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