Get involved Know the rules
Know the rules
Newcastle light rail services start in early 2019, providing a frequent, comfortable and reliable travel option through the city centre. Before services start, trams will undergo a rigorous testing process to ensure the system is fully functional and safe to carry passengers.
By the end of this year, trams will be a regular sight throughout the city centre as we gear up for opening. This means now is the time to make yourself aware of the changes to road rules and how to be safe around trams.
New signs and road markings
New signs, traffic lights, and road markings will be in place along Hunter and Scott streets once light rail construction is complete and trams start testing.
When driving, walking and riding around trams, it is important to obey all traffic and pedestrian signals and signage, and to always be aware of your surroundings.
In Newcastle, a 40 kilometre an hour speed limit will be in place for all vehicles, including trams, on Hunter and Scott streets. Sticking to the rules and being aware of your surroundings will help you stay safe.
Some key signs and road markings to look out for are:
- The speed limit for vehicles on Hunter and Scott streets will be 40km/h. Trams will also be limited to 40km/h
- A tramway is marked by tram only signs and two continuous yellow lines or a structure on the left hand side of the tracks
- In Newcastle, the section between Stewart Avenue (east) and Newcomen Street is a dedicated tramway
- Tramways may only be used by trams, tram recovery vehicles, emergency services and public buses
- Other vehicles must not use a tramway, unless avoiding an obstacle
- In Newcastle, the section between Newcomen and Pacific streets is designated for mixed running, which means the road is not designated as a tramway. In this mixed running section, drivers are generally required to treat a tram as any other vehicle under the road rules. However, there are some specific rules to follow when driving around trams in this section
- A driver must not overtake to the right of a tram unless permitted to do so by a traffic sign or road marking
- A driver must not overtake to the left of the tram unless the driver is turning left, and there is no danger of a collision with the tram
Tram Only road marking
- 'Tram Only' road markings will be in place at intersections along the Newcastle Light Rail route. These road markings support tramway signage and serve as a reminder to drivers to stay off light rail tracks
Warning sign (road users)
- These signs will be a common sight around the light rail route, generally at cross streets, to alert road users that light rail is running in the area
Warning sign (pedestrians)
- These signs will be a common sight at signalised pedestrian crossings, to alert pedestrians that light rail is running in the area
Rules that apply for tramways and mixed running
- Drivers must not stop at a tram stop or on the road within 20 metres of a tram stop unless a parking sign permits stopping
- Drivers must not stop in a tramway or on tram tracks
For more detailed information on what you can and can’t do around light rail visit the RMS website.
Safety for pedestrians
- Only cross at designated crossings
- Always look both ways before crossing at intersections and crossings. Trams can approach from either direction and at any time
- Pay attention and stay alert at all times. Trams are large and move quietly
- Distractions such as using your phone and wearing earphones can put you at risk
- Take care when pushing a pram or a wheelchair, and cross the track at right angles to make sure wheels don’t get stuck in the track
Safety for drivers
- Obey all traffic lights and road signs
- Look both ways when crossing the tracks at intersections, and do not drive across the tracks unless the path ahead is clear
- Never queue across the tracks at intersections – if in doubt, don’t go out
- In the mixed running section, treat trams like any other vehicle under the road rules. Don’t overtake, and only turn left when there is no danger of a collision with the tram
- Remember that trams take longer to come to a stop than cars and cannot swerve to avoid contact
- Do not stop in a tramway or on tram tracks
- Do not drive on the tracks between Worth Place and Newcomen Street, unless avoiding an obstruction. If you find yourself in the path of an approaching tram, move out of the way as soon as you can do so safely
- Never drive on the tracks between Stewart Avenue and Worth Place
Safety for cyclists
- When riding alongside trams, always keep a safe distance
- Look out for the tracks on the road and avoid riding immediately adjacent to the rail track. Your wheels may get caught in the rail groove
- Always cross the tracks at designated crossings and intersections
- When crossing, ride across the tracks at a right angle to avoid your wheels getting stuck