Newcastle Rail Line: Announcements

 
  TomBTR Chief Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
The new Labor candidate for Strathfield & now spokesperson for the Hunter former NCLE member Jody Makay has made it known that her personal opinion is that she agrees with the current governments position, & was also a hearty supporter of the closure when she was the elected member does not bode well for the line even if Labor should unexpectedly win in March. Unless she is pulled into line by the policy already adopted of opposition.
"a6et"

From what I have heard, she made those remarks some time ago. Also, at that time she seemed to be keen on the light rail idea. After all, light rail (on grass as was suggested at one stage) could have provided a more frequent service with shorter crossing delays and allow public access to and across all the grass except when a tram was coming, like the earlier "boulevard" lines in Melbourne and elsewhere. Further there was the hint that the trams could be extended to other suburbs one day.

Needless to say, all of this was just a trick to ease the public consultation process. We now have no trams, and now know that most of the rail land is intended for building. So really she should come out and say that although she believed there was a better way for Newcastle transport, she does not support the government's current action.

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  a6et Minister for Railways

From what I have heard, she made those remarks some time ago. Also, at that time she seemed to be keen on the light rail idea. After all, light rail (on grass as was suggested at one stage) could have provided a more frequent service with shorter crossing delays and allow public access to and across all the grass except when a tram was coming, like the earlier "boulevard" lines in Melbourne and elsewhere. Further there was the hint that the trams could be extended to other suburbs one day.

Needless to say, all of this was just a trick to ease the public consultation process. We now have no trams, and now know that most of the rail land is intended for building. So really she should come out and say that although she believed there was a better way for Newcastle transport, she does not support the government's current action.
"TomBTR"


From my perspective she should have stuck to news reading, that way she had to follow the projected lines rather than follow what she believes, she will end up being trouble for Labor in power or in opposition.

Todays read
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-state-election-2015/labor-hopeful-jodi-mckay-backs-government-on-rail-plan-20150106-12iqwc.html
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
The aspect that has me wondering about the whole situation is the actual location of the interchange that is to be built, & where its to be located, do they use the existing Wickham station, or close the line on the Hamilton side of Stewart Avenue & build a complete new station there that is incorporated into the new set up.    I admit to not seeing the plans for the site for a while now.
"a6et"


The all-new-build interchange is to be to the west of Stewart Avenue.  

The plans for the interchange were discussed earlier in this thread.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Let's try this again - For some reason I got logged out while typing the post.[/size]
And sorry if this post gets posted twice, but I've found out if I delete it, it also deletes the original

We DO have to praise the bus staff for helping passengers.

]The following is in OFF-peak hour.• Unlike previously, these gates are now worse than the Adamstown level crossing.
• Gates are down longer. Trains crawl through the crossing, though not as slow as yesterday.

• Creatng a traffic jam, and quite often a "bus queue"
The traffic jam in off-peaks today for example, it looks like the traffic queuing when the gates go down, extends to either near the Tudor St, and if what I saw, possibly beyond Tudor St. The traffic queue extended to such a distance that it was hard to see where the end of the queue was.
BUT, I did note that a Route 201 bus, and the traffic around it had to wait for about 3 rounds of the gates closing before the traffic could continue at the traffic lights.
> We also have because of impatient drivers queuing in the middle of a main intersection of Beaumont & Donald St. And that was due to the gates now closing more often, and for longer.

• Route 110 buses that have picked up passengers for Newcastle, like today, can also be stuck a the crossing.

• Route 110 busES regularly get stuck in the traffic jam
• When the gates are down, the traffic queue extends to the surrounding streets, including Maitland Road, and Donald St on the other side of the crossing.

]• If a second bus is waiting at the bus stop to pick up passengers, it can overhang the Fern St corner at Beaumont St. And quite often these Route 110 buses get stuck waiting for the gates to open.

• Today, I saw a line up of buses - NOT including the bus waiting in the side street.
• About 10 car spaces have been lost due to the bus stop, and the bus waiting area in both Fern & Beaumont Sts.

If a bus does a return run to Newcastle Station:
The set down only stop is on the southern side of Hamilton Station. If a bus needs to return to Newcastle Station, it has after off-loading the passengers, it has to do an Special, (oh sorry PCB, I mean not in service!) run along Beaumont, L Donald, L Selma Sts, L Maitland Rd, to the pick up stop on the northern side of Hamilton Station - That's just under 1.6 kilometres. Takes around 6, maybe 7 minutes, so the same bus would likely need about 10 minutes.

That's the only the buses can get back to the pick up only stop.

• Also the bus signs state Queens Wharf, but that since sometime last week, been moved to Perkins St.

That means any passenger to/from Stockton has to go over the bridge, walk past the Market St bus stop, to the next stop west at Hunter & Perkins St. The Queens Wharf stop was meant to be at Market St for then ferry passengers. It was for one or two days, but was moved.
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
The line is being truncated. The rest of the line will still be open. NSW Train Link are referring to it as truncation. The legislation is not clear on what a line is. If it specifically stated that sections of a route could not be closed then that would prevent any part being closed. However, that would place an unacceptable fetter on the rail authority to operate the line according to changing requirements.

It would not surprise me if the Full Court of the Supreme Court declared that the legislation is null and void due to lack of clarity as to its intent or struck down the uncertain sections. It has the power to do this.  Bad legislation should not be allowed to stand.
"nswtrains"

It does not impose an unacceptable fetter on the operating authority, which can simply decline to operate any trains over, and cease to maintain, that section of the line. Apart from making sure it doesn't fall down and damage something/someone (he said optomistically). This is what usually happens in such cases, e.g. Casino to Murwillumbah to Condong Mill.

You may well be right to complain that the legislation is imprecise in relation to what constitutes a railway line for the purposes of the act. But the correct interpretation seems far from obvious. Do you claim that only closure of the whole Great Northern Railway from Newcastle to Maitland would be sufficient to require an act of Parliament? Or am I being too niggardly, and should that be Newcastle to Wallangarra? We shall see what the lawyers can make of it.

The commonsense interpretation as I see it (apologies for inserting such a jarring note) is that the act should apply to closure of a section of a line if closure of that section impairs the ability of the rail line to perform its transport functions. Example: suppose that the Greens have a working majority in the lower house only, and want to remove the Hawkesbury River Bridge because it spoils the look of the river. It's only a short section of the line. Should s 99 of the act be an obstacle? I would say yes. Certainly the government has not yet attempted a courtroom defence of its position in terms of any such interpretation, which is interesting in view of some rail cut supporters' rhetoric.

Please don't tell me that Newcastle to Hamilton is a natural candidate to be considered as the shortest section that constitutes a complete line because it is "just a branch line". It carries more traffic than passes through Broadmeadow or Islington Junction. It is the hub of the whole Newcastle suburban network.

And, as has been pointed out previously, the artificial behaviour of the Government, in trying to transfer ownership to some entity that is arguably not a rail operator (HDC), indicates a clear concern that closure of Newcastle to Wickham does qualify as closing a rail line.
  Transtopic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney
The line is being truncated. The rest of the line will still be open. NSW Train Link are referring to it as truncation. The legislation is not clear on what a line is. If it specifically stated that sections of a route could not be closed then that would prevent any part being closed. However, that would place an unacceptable fetter on the rail authority to operate the line according to changing requirements.

It would not surprise me if the Full Court of the Supreme Court declared that the legislation is null and void due to lack of clarity as to its intent or struck down the uncertain sections. It has the power to do this.  Bad legislation should not be allowed to stand.
"nswtrains"

In your dreams!  Whether you want to pussyfoot around with the interpretation of "truncation",  the fact remains that the government wants to CLOSE the line beyond Wickham.  That still requires consent of an Act of Parliament.  Your optimism in support of a successful government appeal is unfounded.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
The outcome is really irrelevant, since the destruction of stations is allowed under legislation since they are specifically referred to as not being rail infrastructure.

And once the stations are gone the line ain't ever coming back.
  Speedbird1 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Wyee
The stations are heritage listed (for now), so they can't demolish them
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
The outcome is really irrelevant, since the destruction of stations is allowed under legislation since they are specifically referred to as not being rail infrastructure.

And once the stations are gone the line ain't ever coming back.
"ZH836301"

"Destruction" would be the correct word choice, and the demotion of former opposition leader Robertson, together with Foley's support for shadowy shadow planning minister McKay despite her outburst also give cause for concern about the ALP's pledge to reinstate the line if elected. The ALP needs to watch its step if it is to be perceived as a genuine alternative.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner


It would not surprise me if the Full Court of the Supreme Court declared that the legislation is null and void due to lack of clarity as to its intent or struck down the uncertain sections. It has the power to do this.  Bad legislation should not be allowed to stand.
"nswtrains"


That's an argument that would make an SC blush: "the Newcastle railway isn't really a railway".
  Mufreight Train Controller

Location: North Ipswich
"Destruction" would be the correct word choice, and the demotion of former opposition leader Robertson, together with Foley's support for shadowy shadow planning minister McKay despite her outburst also give cause for concern about the ALP's pledge to reinstate the line if elected. The ALP needs to watch its step if it is to be perceived as a genuine alternative.
NotebookMan
Logic would indicate that the closure should be put on hold until after the election and allow the public to have its say on the closure.
The undue haste and determination that the line be closed  raises questions that should be asked by a royal commission as to why and as to the governments justification for the closure.
If there is a change of government will the incoming government reinstate the line possibly upgrading and in places lowering it to provide cross line access and to cover the costs sell off air rights over the alignment.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

First, I ask people, only quote the relevant part of the post, if you reply - please.

When build infrastructure, it is CONSTRUCTION
When you take infrastructure away, it is DE-CONSTRUCTION, or better still DESTRUCTION.


SEE CORRECTION IN MY NEXT POST ABOUT THIS
Back to Topic
So called "connecting" special event buses
Now, you are not going to laugh?

Just came on the radio, that if you are going to go to the Asian Cup games, and you come & go by train, that need to get off at Hamilton Station, walk about 780 metres along Beaumont St to Tudor St to catch a wait for it "connecting" Route X31 special event bus.

And the reverse when going from the Asain Cup.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
The stations are heritage listed (for now), so they can't demolish them
Speedbird1

Heritage value is always weighted against significance and the alternatives - you can't just freeze everything because it's old.

Civic station is likely to be completely demolished given it has little heritage value, and the footbridge has been bastardised.

The station buildings at Newcastle along Scott St are likely to be kept and incorporated into new development but everything else will go (platforms have no heritage value).  Ie. The only worthy part is along Scott St to just beyond Bolton St extending back to the rear of the buildings (ie. excluding platform 1).  Unsure on the signal box, depends on plans for that area.

Smashing through some important road connections would also scare away any thought of a return.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

CORRECTION TO MY PREVIOUS POST
And the reverse when going from the Asian Cup.

These X31 buses start from Newcastle Station, and stop at a limited number of stops (& X11 from Westfield Kotara)

See http://www.transportnsw.info/en/transport-status/events/2015/01/afc-asian-cup-2015-japan-v-palestine.page? (Don't know why it was hard to find.

And where is Cvic Station? Mr. Green Hunter & Auckland St bus stop is NOT Honeysuckle.
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
Nice to know Railway street level crossing has been closed and the public have to walk around via Stewart ave, can we expect more of this bad luck attitude?
  steam3801 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Newcastle
The stations are heritage listed (for now), so they can't demolish them
Speedbird1
Stations are only heritage protected whilst they are "operating" stations. they can now be de-listed (unprotected).
  fernhill Chief Train Controller

Stations are only heritage protected whilst they are "operating" stations. they can now be de-listed (unprotected).
steam3801
I don't think this right. If they have are gazetted as of State Significance (included on the State Heritage Register) the delisting has to be advertised , approved by the NSW Heritage Council and the Minister for Heritage has to sign off the item. This usually requires a study to prove the point or a Commission of Enquiry from the Land and Environment Court.
If they of Local heritage significance the item requires 14 days notice and advertising of the intention to delist the NSW Heritage Council.

Just like closing a railway line there are provisions in the relevant Act and the Government has to obey the law.  However they can create a new Act to override the Heritage Act just as Carr did with Walsh Bay and Eveleigh.

There are other ways around the Heritage Act which it already has in place (Environmental Planning & Assessment Act)but my understanding these can only be used to improve the amenity. In the railways case improving by building extra line not to destroy just because it wants to flog the land to a developer.

There are also provisions within the Act for archaeology i.e. over 50 years old which may have to be tested.  Then there are Aboriginal issues.
Whatever way it goes the legal hole gets bigger.

Do not rely on this interpretation but it my opinion only of the NSW Heritage Act.
  tezza Chief Commissioner

Total chaos at Hamilton



http://youtu.be/Kziqo1UXQGk
  gw0071 Deputy Commissioner

You're back!
  Throughwestmail Train Controller

Total chaos at Hamilton



http://youtu.be/Kziqo1UXQGk
tezza
If this has been done to make people think that everything runs this smoothly all day every day, it is a great piece of propaganda.

Rest assured it is not like this, how about some video of peak times or when there is more than 1 train ex the yard and 1 train into the yard. How about what happens when people turn up with surfboards or wheelchairs which cannot go on the buses shown.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

And I have videos & pictures to prove that it is in reality chaotic. Throughwestmail is correct.

But remember that pro cutter video was taken in an extreme off-peak time.

We have taken several videos & pictures over a period of time. What they show are not only a long queue of traffic, but also a "train jam" where trainS had to wait until BOTH the northern platform & the yard had a free space.

As stated before that traffic queue can extend to beyond Tudor St, because of this vandalism of Newcastle transport.

One more thing, on Tuesday, the moderators at the Newcastle Herald were allowing derogatory comments being approved directed at those that are in support of the rail line, and derogatory comment directed at the SOR (along with the Hunter Concern Citizens), instead of just allowing a reasonable debate.
  Piston Train Controller

Total chaos at Hamilton



http://youtu.be/Kziqo1UXQGk
tezza
At least you didn't edit out the last guy with the bike who says "don't touch the railway, I had to walk right over"

Judging by all the people on the overbridge it looks like they have to walk over to get to the buses? Would be a great trip for an 80 year old on crutches in a thunder storm, at night in the middle of winter. No lifts at Hamilton?

Maybe you should just fade away tezza, the line is now shut beyond Hamilton.
  a6et Minister for Railways

At least you didn't edit out the last guy with the bike who says "don't touch the railway, I had to walk right over"

Judging by all the people on the overbridge it looks like they have to walk over to get to the buses? Would be a great trip for an 80 year old on crutches in a thunder storm, at night in the middle of winter. No lifts at Hamilton?

Maybe you should just fade away tezza, the line is now shut beyond Hamilton.
Piston
What happened to the pedestrian crossing on the northern end of the station alongside the road, a continuation of the Beaumont St footpaths?
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
I'd be curious to see things on Australia Day. I visited Newcastle on the NSWRTM trip last year and the number of people ringing the foreshore area and using the trains was pretty impressive - all of the trains we saw running were full, or nearly full to capacity. I assume they'll have extra buses on to get everyone down to the foreshore this year?
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

RE The Foreshore: That area is quite busy with a lot of people. But the official figure for NYE 2013/2014 was 50,000, and it was packed. But for NYE 2014/15, the official number was about 20,000, although we could not see that many. Probably 12,000 or so would be more like it.

How deserted was it? Do you expect a main road bus route to leave with NO passengers whatsoever on board from what is meant to be the largest event of the year?

Line of passengers: Probably no more than about 20 or so.

And yes I do put this poor figures of NYE down to something"

And it was claimed that more railway buses were put on from Broadmeadow to Newcastle, but the NYE timetable showed the normal amount of buses. Didn't look like extra buses. Sure extra buses on normal routes.

----------------------------------------------
Raichase, this was today. This not only applies to today though.

4 buses doing all doing a passenger run to Hamilton Station. (All of them "Hamilton Station Shuttle"

The first bus arrived parked at the set down stop.

The second bus parked and blocked the entrance to Hamilton Station car park, and the second bus had is back at an angle.

The third bus parked alongside the shop at the station, and he had to make sure that he was clear of the crossing.

The forth bus had to wait IN Beaumont St, on the other side of the railway crossing.

TRAFFIC
Several times traffic was waiting at the Beaumont & Donald St traffic lights, and that traffic went beyond the crossing into Maitland Rd. I could not see how far in Maitland Rd, as that is out of sight in Beaumont St. BUT if the traffic is anything to go by, I would estimate that the cue went back beyond the Maitland Rd/Albert Rd/Sheddon St intersection.

And when the railway gates were down, you were also getting queues as far back into Maitland Rd, and affecting the side streets.

And again, we had trains waiting at the Platform 2 for a free space in the yard, similar to yesterday.

Oh and they have actually removed almost EVERY bit of Stewart Av railway crossing expect the CCTV camera stands, and the poles that held the gates in.

And again, we quite often had and have traffic queuing across this "railway" crossing to out of sight in Hannell St. They were waiting at the King St & Stewart Ave intersection, and that SAME queue extended for two lots of traffic light intersections, I'd say it may have even been three sets of traffic lights from what I saw.

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