They're quick, quiet and coming out from the cover of darkness
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They're quick, quiet and coming out from the cover of darkness

Every time Lyndal Nixon drives past the light rail construction in Gungahlin, her four-year-old son Jesse asks when he can ride it.

Her grandfather was a tram driver in Sydney, so it's perhaps unsurprising that Jesse also wants to get behind the wheel when he grows up.

Jesse Nixon, 4, and Lyndal Nixon take a selfie in front of the new tram.

Jesse Nixon, 4, and Lyndal Nixon take a selfie in front of the new tram. Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

Hundreds of Canberra families attended the Light Rail Ready open day at Gungahlin Village on Sunday.

The event marked the start of Rail Safety Week, the first time the ACT has ever taken part.

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The week aims to improve education and awareness around railway level crossing and track safety.

The event also marked the start of daytime testing of the light rail vehicles.

Angelique Corbitt, 10, and James Corbitt, 7, having their photo taken in front of the new tram.

Angelique Corbitt, 10, and James Corbitt, 7, having their photo taken in front of the new tram.Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

Until now, the trams have been tested in the dead of night, due to the level of construction along the route during the day.

Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the start of daytime testing meant people needed to be vigilant near the tracks.

The electric vehicles can move up to 70 kilometres per hour, meaning they can quickly and quietly sneak up on drivers and pedestrians who aren't on the lookout for them.

"Our light rail vehicles started overnight testing in June and day time testing will start this week. This means it’s more important than ever for our residents to be aware of the importance of staying safe around the tracks," Ms Fitzharris said.

"The number one thing you can do to avoid harm is obey all signs and road rules. Be sure to pay attention around the tracks, because light rail vehicles can move quickly and quietly."

Steven Mirtschin with his daughters Amelia, 5, and Georgia, 1. Steven's business has  suffered because of light rail construction.

Steven Mirtschin with his daughters Amelia, 5, and Georgia, 1. Steven's business has suffered because of light rail construction. Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

Ms Fitzharris said joining National Rail Safety week activities for the first time was a "tremendous milestone" for Canberra.

"It shows how far we’ve come towards delivering an integrated public transport system with light rail working alongside buses to meet commuters’ needs in our growing city," Ms Fitzharris said.

Canberra Metro chief executive Glenn Stockton said the event gave people the chance to get a sense of the size and scale of the light rail vehicles, which would reinforce the need to stay safe around them.

Ms Fitzharris also said the "patience" of Gungahlin business owners would be rewarded when light rail construction finished in a few months time.

However Steven Mirtschin, who owns a local coffee shop, said it would take a couple of years to recover from the losses his business had suffered over the last 12 months.

"We've definitely been affected by construction. Our customer base is down 20 per cent. We've got a loyal customer base and they're great, so we're better off than some. We get a wage every week and I can afford to pay off the business loan but some business owners around here are existing instead of living, which is not good," Mr Mirtschin.

Ed Corbitt, who drove up from Farrer with his kids Angelique and James to check out the trams, left disappointed after they were unable to see the vehicles up close.

The two trams were fenced off as the rail line is still technically a construction zone.

"It was marketed as a Light Rail Ready event but I don't think they were quite ready to have the event," Mr Corbitt said.