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.

Useful links

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:

40km/h sign

  • The speed limit for vehicles on Hunter and Scott streets will be 40km/h. Trams will also be limited to 40km/h

Tram Lane

  • A tram lane is marked by a tram lane sign and a broken or continuous yellow line on the left hand side of the tracks
  • In Newcastle, the section between Worth Place and Newcomen Street, and between Pacific and Telford streets, are dedicated tram lanes
  • Tram lanes may be used at any time by trams, public buses, special purpose vehicles and bicycle riders
  • Other vehicles may use a tram lane under certain conditions, these include:

- trucks, where it is necessary to use the lane to reach a place to drop off, or pick up, passengers or goods

- any vehicle, where it is necessary to use the lane to avoid an obstruction

  • Furthermore, any vehicle may drive up to 100m in a tram lane if it is necessary:

- to enter or leave the road

- to enter a part of the road of one kind from a part of the road of another kind

- to overtake a vehicle that is turning right, or making a U-turn from the centre of the road

- to enter a marked lane, or part of the road where there is room for a line of traffic (other than motor bikes, bicycles, motorised wheelchairs or animals), from the side of the road

  • A driver must not move into the path of an approaching tram travelling in a tram lane. If a driver is in the path of an approaching tram travelling in a tram lane, the driver must move out of the path of the tram as soon as it is safe to do so


  • A tramway is marked by tramway 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 Worth Place is a dedicated tramway
  • Tramways may only be used by trams, tram recovery vehicles and public buses
  • Other vehicles must not use a tramway, unless avoiding an obstacle

Mixed running

  • In Newcastle, the section between Newcomen and Pacific streets is designated for mixed running, which means the road is not designated as a tram lane or 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 tram lane and tramway signage and serve as a reminder to drivers to stay off light rail tracks

Rules that apply for tram lanes, 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 tram lane, a tramway or on tram tracks
Safety for pedestrians

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 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 tram lane, 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

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



Remember, in the event of an emergency dial 000