IT HAD been more than been 68 years since Hunter Street had seen a tram, but history was made on Tuesday night when the first of Newcastle’s new light rail vehicles rolled through the city’s main drag.
While it might have only been towed through the street, it was a significant milestone for both the Revitalising Newcastle program and the city as a whole, after the closure of its electric tram system in 1950.
Arriving from Carrington on a flatbed truck at about 11pm, the tram was carefully positioned onto a custom ramp east of Worth Place and winched onto the Hunter Street line.
Workers and engineers briefly held their breaths when the tram’s wheels first hit the tracks but the Urbos 100 model eventually slithered off without fault.
From there, millions of dollars was placed in the hands of one man who remotely controlled an electric shunter connected to the front of the tram.
A team of overseers and the man with the fingertip controls then walked in front of the tram as it was pulled west along Hunter Street into its detour on the old rail corridor.
It was easy going through the Honeysuckle tram stop as the team made sure there was no issue going under the overhead charge bar.
With what seemed like not a hitch, the tram then rolled into the Wickham stabling yard shortly before 1am.
It will stay there for the next few weeks for testing and safety checks before it returns to the line next month for trials.
Newcastle’s light rail is expected to begin operation in early 2019.
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- Unhappy Newcastle traders pack out light rail class action meeting
- Hunter Street reopening to traffic after light rail construction
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