Newcastle Light Rail is part of the $650m State Government Revitalising Newcastle program, which aims to create job opportunities, build new public spaces and deliver better transport services.
The Newcastle Light Rail will be a high capacity, frequent service through the city centre. At 2.7 kilometres in length, the project includes six stops and depot. The light rail runs from Newcastle Interchange at Wickham to Pacific Park in Newcastle East, just 200 metres from Newcastle Beach. Approximately one third of the route will follow the old rail corridor before moving onto Hunter and Scott streets.
WSP was initially engaged in 2014 as lead designer on the project as part of a design joint venture that undertook project scoping, definition and concept design. In 2016, we moved into detailed design. We managed a wide variety of complex design issues and a large volume of changes to prepared approved-for-construction documents.
Our work included detailing all infrastructure and requirement specifications for all rail systems components, including alignment and civil works, six stops and depot, power supply, TCS and communication systems.
The design team introduced several innovations, which resulted in:
- Maximising on-street parking
- Minimising lane-sharing between general traffic and light rail vehicles
- Removing many overhead wire structures, made possible because of new battery technology. This will enhance the new infrastructure’s look and feel while preserving aesthetics and heritage architecture
Our visualisation team worked alongside the design team to continually optimise different parts of the project. They confirmed data accuracy and accessibility for use in 3D software packages and provided a common design to work from. The team achieved increased levels of detail by combining various digital datasets to create one comprehensive model. The model had increased realism and accuracy, providing an engaging visualisation that reflected the project environment.
The team created several different animations using this same model, helping different parts of the project team to meet tight deadlines and deliverables . The animations also helped to maintain the excitement around the project as the community and stakeholders could see the positive impact it would have on their city.
Since March 2017, our onsite construction phase support team has been co-located in the project management site office. Their work includes procurement support, site inspections and requests for information related to the design. We are also working on the asset management model for the project.
Once complete, the Newcastle Light Rail will provide frequent, reliable, comfortable and sustainable transport. It will form the centrepiece of a full integrated, vastly improved public transport network, which will cater for the transport demand of the community for years to come.
Overall, the project will revitalise Newcastle’s main streets, connect the city’s activity precincts and stimulate urban renewal opportunities. In addition, it will contribute to the economic growth of the city, delivering customers directly to the doors or businesses, and linking great new public spaces and city precincts.