Newcastle Rail Line: Announcements

 
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

For all of my life I have been a frequent visitor to Newcastle and a routine traveller through the area. From my earliest memories, regular visits to relatives in Newcastle are constant joys. The 4.40pm UP Newcastle Flyer was a much loved old friend.

With 6 months of the new transport arrangements it was time for a visit to see how the objectives promoting the line closure were progressing towards fulfilment. The changes can only be described as profound. Had somebody predicted them 12 months ago they would not have been believed. The proponents of the line closure and their supporters must be beside themselves with delight.

The most striking change east of Stewart Ave is the absence of people. The area around Hunter/Watt/Scott Sts is like a ghost town – totally deserted. The bus terminus is a lonely and empty place with a few buses standing over and no people. The route 110 shuttle buses barely have enough passengers to justify their operation. The normal services along Tudor St and Maitland Rd can easily handle the demand. There is no justification for a tramway.

Prior to the line closure it was predicted that the downturn in train passengers would be about 25%. Anecdotally, it appears to be about 66%. The only people now travelling into downtown are those who must; employees and those needing to keep appointments. Just about all travel by choice has ceased. The visitors are now going elsewhere.

We were told that an objective of the line closure was to rejuvenate the retail trade. The closure has certainly brought fundamental change to retail. Without the passing pedestrian traffic, many surviving retailers are fast going broke. There is no longer enough business to remain financially solvent. The visitors who have gone will not be coming back.


A second objective of the line closure was to open up the town to the riverbank. The new crossings of the railway “right of way” are tradesmen’s masterpieces. The sun reflects brightly off of the green grass and black bitumen of the crossings. Nobody is using them. They are deserted. Recently another 7 story building was approved for construction on the riverbank in the Honeysuckle precinct. Undoubtedly this will enhance the attraction of the riverbank from Hunter St. The enhancements will be complete when all of the space between Hannell St and Honeysuckle which is north of the railway line is filled with 5 or 7 story buildings. A wonderful achievement of the claimed objective.

It is almost awe inspiring to observe the management of train movements at Hamilton. You do not need to be a railway minded person to understand that convenient interchange is of major importance to passengers. The connection at Hamilton between Sydney and Maitland trains has never been good, let alone perfect. I had the spectacle of a Maitland train departing and being held at the first junction signal to allow the train from Sydney to cross in front of it. Passengers from Sydney being denied a convenient connection to Maitland. The inconvenience made worse by the Maitland train continuing to be held to allow an UP freight to cross in front of it at Islington Jct. This was a wonderful display of how to arrange matters for the comfort and convenience of passengers.

Then there is the spectacle of carsets sitting in the Railway St reversing lines preventing arriving trains from moving forward from the platform which of course blocks further arriving trains from entering the station. The confected issue of running empty trains continues. Trains arriving at the end of their journey need to be cleaned and serviced. The necessary facilities are not at Newcastle nor at Hamilton so they must return to Broadmeadow. The serviced carsets must then return empty. This practice continues as a necessity. The Beaumont St gates close against road traffic on average every 6 minutes. When road traffic is stopped by the traffic lights at Tudor St or Maitland Rd., it banks up and vehicles stop on the railway tracks. Newcastle road users are such wonderfully safe drivers. The whole spectacle at Hamilton is like something from Alice in Wonderland.

The proponents of the line closure and their supporters should be delighted with the progress being achieved since the line closed.

By any measure; Newcastle has ceased to be a city. Retail is in its final death throes; as office leases expire it remains to be seen if they will be renewed; visitors have stopped coming; there has never been a lot of recreational/sports/arts facilities in the downtown area and the viability of any proposals looks doubtful.
In a nutshell: "How To Kill A CBD"
So how do you explain the massive explosion in investment since the rail truncation was announced?
What investment. The CBD is dead and the last time I was in Newcastle (a few weeks ago). There were shops shutting down left right and centre and there was not one new development started. In fact the only thing new that I saw was the amount of shuttered buildings with for sale or lease signs on them. The only thing being constructed in Newcastle is the Wickham interchange. Other then that everything else is being dismantled.

The reason buses are having it so easy is because traffic has dropped significantly and nothing at all to do with the train line closing. Fixing up the CBD could have easily been fixed by sinking the rail line. This would have opened up the cbd to the foreshore and retained passenger train services into Newcastle while also removing the level crossings. If the tram was to get built the level crossings would have to be re activated which is why the tram will never happen as it will get in the way of the government selling the land to developers.

It must be nice however to look through rose tinted classes Northern Flyer.
simstrain
You are a funny guy. "What investment" - did you see the SIX tower cranes in the CBD. Newcastle would celebrate if there was one crane. I would say SIX is unheard of. There is over a billion dollars worth of projects coming out of the ground and about to start.

Care to name which shops are closing? I bet not because there has not be so many shops open in Newcastle since the late 1970's. How is a closing a heavy railway that carried only 500 passengers in the peak period the cause of traffic decreasing?

It sounds like you have visited the wrong city. I live in Newcastle and what you have just said is 100% BS.

Sponsored advertisement

  Northern Flyer Train Controller

2018 until the first tram?? Yawn FMD..
This is nearly as good as the Belmont branch revival, buy a bicycle and get there yourself!
Junction box
Tenders called early 2016, work starts mid 2016, 2 years to build and commission, finish in 2018. See, not hard at all to understand or believe.
  steve_w_1990 Junior Train Controller

Location: Trying to fix something on the PTA Network
I've mentioned in a previous post about the Fremantle line being sunk to free up the land above the rail way, so I thought I might bring up a different example.

If you catch the Australind Train from Perth to Bunbury, you will end up at the Bunbury passenger terminal, just outside of town. From there if you want to get into the town centre itself, you catch a shuttle bus, which, (now be sure to be seated for this) drops you off at the Old Bunbury Train Station.

The original railway station was closed over 20 years ago, and the town still manages to survive. Everytime I go to Bunbury (which admiddidly isn't all that often) I don't see tumbleweeds rolling down the streets.

All the shuttle buses to and from the station are fully wheelchair accesable, and they're free.
  doyle Junior Train Controller

It's been a very long time since I last visited Newcastle, why Hamilton and not Civic station for the terminal. If Civic was chosen there would be no need for a tram replacement.
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

Why not Woodville Junction.
There is tons of land there and it is the meeting place for both lines.
Would have made more sense except that no property owner or developer has any assets in that area so nothing to be gained by the profiteers of this mission.
Also look at the amount of land available on the old gas works site at Islington.
What a great place to build a huge interchange.
Same answer though, no developer owns any land or buildings there so they can't make any money or see the value of their assets increase if it is over there.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

Why not Woodville Junction.
There is tons of land there and it is the meeting place for both lines.
Would have made more sense except that no property owner or developer has any assets in that area so nothing to be gained by the profiteers of this mission.
Also look at the amount of land available on the old gas works site at Islington.
What a great place to build a huge interchange.
Same answer though, no developer owns any land or buildings there so they can't make any money or see the value of their assets increase if it is over there.
Showtime
Not as big as you think. You would have to move the main line to the west including rebuilding the Donald Street bridge. The site looks big until you start placing 200m platforms on the triangle. To make it worse, it is heavily contaminated.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

It's been a very long time since I last visited Newcastle, why Hamilton and not Civic station for the terminal. If Civic was chosen there would be no need for a tram replacement.
doyle
Hamilton is temporary. Wickham, which is really Newcastle West is the main interchange now under construction.
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
Well Showtime, I did say "could". It was a hypothetical observation that Newcastle could be rejuvenated in the same way as many smaller cites abroad. The example I gave was Montpellier in the south of France which has a population of only about 260,000. Their tramway is all new work.

(enlarge the map to see the tramways, also the mainline station close to the town centre - they did not feel the need to remove heavy rail in order to rejuvenate).

Of could I did not say "will" because I am cynical enough to expect that the crooks in Macquarie Street will do nothing about light rail in Newcastle. If they were ever serious then various early works would have begun well before the announcement of their intention to close the line. Tenders for substantial work would have been ready to call the day that they got their Act of parliament through.
TomBTR
Population density of Montpellier (2012 census) 4,700 / sq km.
Population density of Newcastle (2011 census) 1,103 / sq km.

This ratio is typical of virtually every European city that has been suggested as a positive role model for light rail in Newcastle. The exceptions (excluding the spectacular light rail failures) have special reasons why light rail is viable; a long historical tradition of light rail use, a world class niche tourist market, and/or very strong economic growth to justify long term planning for an extended network.

I'll say it again. Newcastle will have to be transformed into a mini Hong Kong / Singapore to make light rail viable.
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
2018 until the first tram?? Yawn FMD..
This is nearly as good as the Belmont branch revival, buy a bicycle and get there yourself!
Tenders called early 2016, work starts mid 2016, 2 years to build and commission, finish in 2018. See, not hard at all to understand or believe.
Northern Flyer
2018 too hard to believe LOL, the Government is a joke.
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
Why not Woodville Junction.
There is tons of land there and it is the meeting place for both lines.
Would have made more sense except that no property owner or developer has any assets in that area so nothing to be gained by the profiteers of this mission.
Also look at the amount of land available on the old gas works site at Islington.
What a great place to build a huge interchange.
Same answer though, no developer owns any land or buildings there so they can't make any money or see the value of their assets increase if it is over there.
Not as big as you think. You would have to move the main line to the west including rebuilding the Donald Street bridge. The site looks big until you start placing 200m platforms on the triangle. To make it worse, it is heavily contaminated.
Northern Flyer
Definitely not big enough. Under modern design constraints the platforms have to be straight, and if you include a platform for long distance services then you need five of them, which is a major reason why Woodville Jn has always been the most expensive terminus option. If you get rid of all track east of Woodville and then decide to electrify to Maitland (not that this government would want to do any such thing, but we are being idealistic just thinking about Woodville as a terminus), then Woodville becomes a through station, which means a hideously expensive and time-consuming redesign; maybe you just junk the lot and use Broadmeadow instead.

People who think that there is a lot of land at Woodville Junction are i) overlooking the 1890 steam-age track alignments, and ii) judging by the intensely cramped standards of the Newcastle CBD.
  tezza Chief Commissioner

Where would you find these photos?
Speedbird1
I've only found two group pages on Facebook that cover the heavy rail truncation, one is named Revitalise Newcastle and the other is Newcastle for Change. There is also a page published by Urban Growth named Revitalising Newcastle and one other interesting one named Newcastle-City of Opportunity
  tezza Chief Commissioner

The Interchange is underway

WICKHAM interchange contractor Laing O’Rourke is set to move a team into the old Store building as work on the long-awaited transport project gathers pace.

December 20, 2015


http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3590870/interchange-designers-in-store/
  tezza Chief Commissioner

Labor/The Greens political activist group 'Save our Rail' is just about KAPUT

THE Save Our Rail group is facing a crippling bill of more than $800,000 for legal fees after the Court of Appeal ruled against it in its long-running dispute with the Baird government over the removal of Newcastle's rail line.

The court found on Tuesday that the government did not need to enact legislation to close two kilometres of track between Wickham and Newcastle stations - about a month after the NSW Parliament passed a bill enabling it to do so.

In a further and possibly fatal blow for the group, the court also ordered Save Our Rail to pay the government's legal costs for the appeal as well as for the original challenge that the group launched and won last year in the Supreme Court.

Figures obtained by the Newcastle Herald show Transport for NSW has spent $302,000 on legal fees for the proceedings, $80,000 of it on barristers, including senior counsel.

November 10, 2015



http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3483904/who-will-save-save-our-rail-poll/
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

In what is a gift to defamation lawyers, Save Our Rail have made an extraordinary personal attack on business men and women, government representatives (from Labor and Liberal), government boards (both Labor and Liberal), the former head of Newcastle Trades Hall, the editor of the Newcastle Herald and anyone else they could think of. A stunning spray that seems to have little or no basis in fact.

I know of at least two lawyers have already been briefed. Their current $800,000 debt will look like chicken feed. Being an Incorporated Entity won't stop personal legal action against the organisation's office bearers.





Issue: 10 January 2016                                   Joan Dawson, President



Hello Members and Supporters,

Happy New Year,
Let’s work to regain the train!

The outlook appears bleak, however I continue to believe that something will occur to cause a re-think regarding Newcastle’s future, because the issue remains.

People who work, study, have appointments or need to get to inner Newcastle for any reason, including to the beach, will require the sort of direct  transport that was available until Boxing Day 2014 when rail services were discontinued.


CAUSE AND EFFECT
We realise that the reason for cutting the rail line has nothing whatever to do with transport. It is a blatant land grab.

This was indicated as early as 1993 when HDC, (then Honeysuckle DevelopmentCorporation, now Hunter Development Corporation) set out in its “Approved Scheme” that the rail line should be cut and developed.

In 2004 a report prepared for Lower Hunter Transport Working Group (a group with 3 out of 4 on HDC Board) by GHD (the same firm currently being employed by HDC to plan Newcastle) in a section headed Review of Development Opportunities from Closurequoted a TIDC review “good potential at Newcastle Station,” and went on to state “with productive reuse of Newcastle Station and signal box …..creating a large mixed use site with a total ground floor area of 8,725 sqm and 3 floors above of 30,475 sqm totalling 39,200 sqm. This would have the potential to provide approximately 300 apartmentequivalents over the whole site.”

This is why SOR looks cynically at the statements being trotted out that this whole rail “truncation” is to do with access to the foreshore and that it will “revitalise” Newcastle?

It will not and we believe already it is “de-vitalising” Newcastle.

There have been so called “solutions” in articles and letters in the Newcastle Herald recently (including Tony Proust “Tram Trains are the Win-win Solution for Newcastle”) which offer ways to supposedly solve a “problem” being created by the rail line.  The writers are ignoring the fact that the Government has not taken this costly act of vandalism in order to “open up the city,” or create access from Hunter Street to the harbour.  The people behind this program are not slightly interested in whether there are hordes lined up to get to the foreshore. Those throngs lined up at the “dingo fence” are in the imagination of the people who dreamed them up as excuses to be presented to justify what is being done. There is no problem, there are no crowds jostling to cross the line. If that was a real problem bridges or tunnels could have been built.  After all, a bridge with no actual transport need has appeared suddenly across the skyline of Merewether!

I believe that the notion of “light rail” has been a ploy to cause acceptance of the rail closure with the promise of something that looks “better.” Minister Hazzard said light rail was not viable in Newcastle (June 2012) but then a month later declared it would be provided. I believe this was because he was advised people would accept it as a replacement for the existing rail services, especially with enhanced photos in local media.

The developers need that particular strip of land where the rail line runs because it is not undermined. There is no other land in Newcastle like it. The section including Newcastle Station is the prize  because it could readily support large buildings. The entire rail closure  scheme is based around developers’ need to avoid mine subsidence.

Alternative proposals to supposedly provide a win/win will not be considered by HDC or the Government. Therefore no form of transport will be allowed on that part of the corridor – not Tramtrains,  not “light rail”, not trains (Heaven forbid!), not electric people movers or even flying saucers!

We could all come up with notions but we have to realise that there has been HUGE investment in clearing the rail tracks off that corridor, therefore it is foolish to think that a sensible alternative would be acceptable to a government that has gone to bizarre lengths to satisfy the monster that is apparently controlling it. It is like a juggernaut running rampant over the city. Who the “Fat Controller” is remains a mystery, but it is almost certain that rewards have been provided to some in high positions to achieve the present situation in Newcastle which provides developer advantage and community “derailment.”

Some facts and related events are as follows:
  • The “ducks have been lined up” for years as HDC has infiltrated community and organisations – HBC (Hunter Business Chamber) acting for businesses has believed and supported the myth of “revitalisation” and key figures have been HDC board members; Property Council  similarly involved; Newcastle Herald – earlier Editor on HDC board, now Office moved to Honeysuckle; The unions – Earlier NTHC secretary appointed to HDC board (new Sec now supporting community instead); Newcastle Alliance – an initiative of NCC originally community based, later influenced by business figures; Newcastle Tourism – Newcastle chief is partner of HDC board member, non-promotion of Newcastle & rail; University ofNewcastle – assisted with city campus; developer donations to political candidates as revealed by ICAC; HIIF (Hunter Infrastructure Implementation Fund) members chosen by HDC; Awabakal Land Council being offered space at Newcastle Station … the list goes on and includes of course the deal done with theShooters and Fishers Party to legislate to close Newcastle Rail Line.
  • Actions to manipulate the development of the CBD have been designed to bring every event or movement of people into Newcastle, to the Honeysuckle precinct and away from the east  – e.g. the relocation of the Newcastle Court against the wishes of the legal fraternity, the development of a new university campus in the centre of Newcastle when there was ample space at the Callaghan Campus, major Soccer carnival – buses to Honeysuckle for evening activities instead of near to the sport event,  New Years Eve fireworks on concrete space in Honeysuckle instead of larger more user friendly space of Foreshore Park.
  • NSW government sold off offices in Newcastle despite there being a shortage of office space. Retention and improvement of these could have helped Newcastle.
  • Public servants employed in Newcastle were relocated to Charlestown. How does that “revitalise?”
  • There would be no development on the transport corridor they said. It would be a “green corridor.” Then Pru Goward admitted plans included building on the line.
  • Minister Hazzard promised the rail corridor would stay in public hands. “100% guarantee.” he said in 2012. Now we know transport privatisation is proposed as well as the sale of rail line land.
  • Newcastle has lost its direct rail service.
  • The rail issue would be a “referendum” in the election, said Mr Baird. With Liberals losing in all 7 seats why did he then ignore that “mandate?”
  • Enormous sums of public money are being spent to provide buses, with inconvenience and delay, to replace what had been efficient (6 minutes Hamilton to Newcastle) and low cost for the addition of 2 further stops on a trip of that length.
  • Trees were removed in Hamilton to accommodate bus stop areas, without apparent due process.
  • The port of Newcastle was privatised (leased for 99 years) at what is considered to be an inadequate price, considering the loss of potential income over that period.
  • Money from the loss of Newcastle’s port is mostly going to provide infrastructure in Sydney.  Newcastle is being dudded!
  • ICAC revealed scandalous breaking of the law involving developer donations.
  • The Upper House Inquiry into Hunter planning procedures revealed a lack of due process.
  • The law as it stood in December 2014 was being breached by the actions of the Government as ruled by Justice Adams in the Supreme Court of NSW.
  • The government then changed the law to allow closure of the line as well as sale of the corridor land.
  • To achieve the change of law deals were made with the minority Shooters and Fishers party. (Duck shooting at night in national parks we are told.)
  • The destruction of existing transport infrastructure was immediately begun, despite no adequate replacement provision.
  • Difficulties and inconvenience for passengers has been significant.
  • Loss of Hunter Line patronage has been huge – far greater than anticipated – 55,000 in 3 month period, according to Transport for NSW figures.
  • Businesses have been adversely affected resulting in staff reductions and some business closures.
  • Newcastle CBD is in severe decline. Newcastle is displaying symptoms of a dying city.
  • Based on research and expert opinion SOR predicted what is now occurring - the death of the Newcastle CBD with a new centre developing where the rail line will terminate;  there is no green corridor but Urban Growth is planning structures on the land; the drop in patronage which may provide a reason to abandon the light rail project. We were accused of inventing “conspiracy theories,” when these predictions were made so what now are they saying?

HUGE PASSENGER INCONVENIENCE AND INCREASED JOURNEY TIMES

ALL WHO ARE EXPERIENCING DISADVANTAGE THROUGH THE LOSS OF TRAIN SERVICES TO NEWCASTLE STATION SHOULD WRITE TO PREMIER BAIRD AND SEND A COPY TO YOUR LOCAL MEMBER. EVEN IF YOU HAVE ALREADY PROTESTED MAKE A FUSS AND TRY TO LET US KNOW ALSO. THIS INCLUDES AFFECTS ON BUSINESS AND CLOSURE OF RAILWAY STREET.

Remember  “the squeaking door gets the oil.”


PROPOSAL TO CHANGE THE NAME OF WICKHAM TO “NEWCASTLE”

Transport for NSW has applied to the Geographical Names Board to call the proposed interchange at Wickham NEWCASTLE INTERCHANGE.

The Geographical Names Board is encouraging community comment before it considers the proposal. THE DATE FOR SUBMISSIONS CLOSES ON 15/01/16

SOR is asking you to all make the effort to put in your opinions on what we consider to be highly inappropriate and also fairly inflammatory in the light of the following:
  1. The “interchange” is not yet built or even properly planned.
  2. Early diagrams indicate its function is as a “terminus” rather than an interchange.
  3. The name Newcastle relates to the city which arose from the development historically located further to the east. Newcastle Station built and named in 1887 is a magnificent building listed on the state heritage register and it would be a travesty to take this name and apply it to a building of far less stature or significance. The name of Newcastle is similarly applied to the magnificent building, Newcastle Post Office. Both of these icons of Newcastle are remote from the proposed Wickham building.
  4. Diagrams of the proposed “interchange” have been ridiculed by the community, by architects and planners. It has been described as depicting a “cattle shed” a “carport on steroids” and other derogatory terms.  If it is built as depicted it would give a false adverse impression of Newcastle to visitors.
  5. The postcode for Newcastle is 2300. Wickham is a separate place with a postcode of  2293. Even Newcastle West, which is closer to Wickham has a different postcode, 2302 while Dangar which is even closer is 2309. Wickham is not Newcastle and people coming to Newcastle do not expect to be off loaded at a backwater part of the city. They expect to find Nobbys in view and various heritage buildings proudly restored dotted around and with the Newcastle landmark, Christchurch Cathedral presiding over all. Newcastle the name must be preserved for that precinct. Wickham has a separate history and its own identity. It is an insult to both Newcastle and Wickham communities and is a manipulative ploy as part of the rail closure program.
  6. Any new station built at Wickham should retain that name as it will be at the place historically known as “Wickham.”

The website for the Geographical Names Board is [color=#336699][size=2][font=Arial]www.gnb.nsw.gov.au[/font][/size][/color]  and we urge you to look it up and put in your opinion on this proposal which we consider to be a further hit to Newcastle as a city and also to Wickham which has its own proud history and heritage.

The address for posted submissions is:
Geographical Names Board of NSW
P.O. Box 143
BATHURST
NSW 2795


CHRISTMAS BARBECUE A HAPPY EVENT

SOR managed to have a very light hearted and relaxed party to end the year of 2015 (not our happiest year) in the Carriage Shed on the Newcastle Foreshore Park.

We all enjoyed the sausage sizzle, with the smell of onions cooking to entice us. Thanks to our cooks Rocky and Tony. The snags from Pete’s Country Cuts of Dungog went down well. The day was not too hot and we had a cooling breeze blowing  in from Nobbys.

Members of the Folk Club and some of our members sang and played guitars which made a friendly atmosphere for old and young. Brenda Kellaway who sings at Politics in the Pub performed for us . Hugh Merrell had written a beautiful song to mourn our lost train which he performed to great acclaim and even our own Chris Bentley – who makes those magical models of animals performed a few clarinet numbers. There were a few surprises over the talents revealed at this event.

We didn’t have a huge crowd but some came down from Maitland and Dungog and we all mixed sociably. We drew our special Christmas raffle and sold some badges, which combined to raise about $700.  I have made a new batch of badges if you haven’t got one – (they’ll be collectors’ items!) Please find $2 (bargain price!) at next SOR event.

The raffle was drawn by two beautiful little girls – Alex and Grace, the daughters of Paul Keating and Sarah Vautier two of our regular meeting attendees. The girls were clever in drawing the tickets as this is how it went:

First prize, a portable Barbecue, was won by our Barbecue specialist, Rocky, who not only cooked our sausages but brought his large barbecue with him! Now it has a baby brother. Second prize of three bottles of Jacobs Creek went to Sharon Cooper, who is a teetotaller. She assured me she could get someone to drink it over Christmas!

Third prize of Barbecue tools to Col Reid, one of our regular meeting goers, who had a long piercing item to carry home on the bus.

Fourth Prize, a nice unbreakable platter to go with the barbecue – also won by Rocky!

Fifth prize of left-over bread & onions won by our treasurer, Judy

Congratulations to delightful junior members  Alex and Grace who showed such excellent skills in raffle ticket drawing!    


COURT COSTS
The costs to file the Court documents to rebut the Government's Appeal came to $2,600. We applied for a waiver so it was reduced from the original cost of $7,800. However we need to raise some money to help with these and other ongoing costs.  Justice is only for the rich!  The trap is that if we hadn't paid that filing fee we would be up for much more. This is because the government via HDC won an Appeal against our previous favourable court decision. This means unless we can have the judgment "set aside" we are liable for COSTS - the costs incurred by the Government as well as our own legal representatives.  We hope our application will prevail, but in any case the fact we are registered as an incorporated group means no individual member will be liable.  We hope for some donations to help us in this continuing fight.


NEXT MEETINGS NOT UNTIL FEBRUARY!
As we will be very busy assembling material for the court there will be no meetings of SOR Lower Hunter or Maitland Branch this month, and we hope to see you all in February!

Regards,
Joan


Coming events
In addition to the events mentioned above:
  • SOR meeting Lower Hunter branch - Third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 pm, Newcastle Leagues Club (note: no January meeting)
  • SOR meeting Maitland branch - Second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 pm, St Peters Hall (note: no January meeting)
If you have information or items to be considered at any of these meetings please email it to [color=#336699][size=2][font=Arial]info@saveourrail.org.au[/font][/size][/color]
  steve_w_1990 Junior Train Controller

Location: Trying to fix something on the PTA Network
Far out, some people just need to learn to give up.

The line's closed, an act of parliment has been passed to close the line, It's done.

The line from Wickham to Newcastle is 3kms. It's not the end of the world. How often do people need to travel directly to a train station? They more often then not they are using the staiton to go somewhere else. One of the classic Save our Rail arguments was some people are to frail to get off a train and onto a bus at Wickham. Yet they were perfectly capable of getting off a Train and onto a bus 3km's down the line at Newcastle? Or do they spend all their time looking at the train station and then going home?  

With the Save our Rail group now facing over $800,000 in legal costs they've lost all credibility. They fought bravly, however you can't win them all. The trains are gone, and I can't ever see them coming back.
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

Whatever the outcome is or was, everyone should have the right to query a government decision but Baird just went out of his way to make this impossible.
The Rail might be gone but NSW hasn't seen the last of Baird's secret squirrel follies.
Presently he is quietly selling off State owned Sydney real estate.
You can only sell the family home once and after that you don't own anything.
We will all be the future losers from this pathetic Premier
  Northern Flyer Train Controller
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
And then there were none.

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3668514/alp-walks-away-from-rail/?cs=303
Northern Flyer
There might be no trains but they should be able to see the merit of using the corridor rather than mess with Hunter street.
The heads up their arses politics is frustrating.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

And then there were none.

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3668514/alp-walks-away-from-rail/?cs=303
There might be no trains but they should be able to see the merit of using the corridor rather than mess with Hunter street.
The heads up their arses politics is frustrating.
Junction box
It depends what you want from light rail. If it is about running the last 1.5km as quick as possible you use the corridor. If it is about activating Hunter Street and freeing up land for public domain at the eastern end, you put it in Hunter Street. Not politics, just good urban planning.
  Transtopic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney
And then there were none.

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3668514/alp-walks-away-from-rail/?cs=303
There might be no trains but they should be able to see the merit of using the corridor rather than mess with Hunter street.
The heads up their arses politics is frustrating.
It depends what you want from light rail. If it is about running the last 1.5km as quick as possible you use the corridor. If it is about activating Hunter Street and freeing up land for public domain at the eastern end, you put it in Hunter Street. Not politics, just good urban planning.
Northern Flyer
In the early 20th Century, all Sydney suburban trains terminated at Central.  Passengers then had to transfer to trams to complete their journey into the Northern CBD.  Trams up and down George St, Pitt St, Castlereagh St and Elizabeth St to Circular Quay weren't enough.  People wanted direct train services into the CBD proper without having to change and hence the birth of the city underground railway.  What's so different about Newcastle?  The lessons of history can't be ignored.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

And then there were none.

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3668514/alp-walks-away-from-rail/?cs=303
There might be no trains but they should be able to see the merit of using the corridor rather than mess with Hunter street.
The heads up their arses politics is frustrating.
It depends what you want from light rail. If it is about running the last 1.5km as quick as possible you use the corridor. If it is about activating Hunter Street and freeing up land for public domain at the eastern end, you put it in Hunter Street. Not politics, just good urban planning.
In the early 20th Century, all Sydney suburban trains terminated at Central.  Passengers then had to transfer to trams to complete their journey into the Northern CBD.  Trams up and down George St, Pitt St, Castlereagh St and Elizabeth St to Circular Quay weren't enough.  People wanted direct train services into the CBD proper without having to change and hence the birth of the city underground railway.  What's so different about Newcastle?  The lessons of history can't be ignored.
Transtopic
It is a branch line that stops at Newcastle and would never be extended. In the last full year of operation, the average load into Newcastle Station was 11. No where in the world would you spend $1 billion to build a tunnel so that 11 passengers would not have to change from a train to a tram for 2km. Removing heavy rail in the inner city and replacing it with light rail is happening all around the world. History tells us that every city is different and has different transport requirements. It's about building better cities, not train spotting nostalgia.
  Transtopic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney
And then there were none.

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3668514/alp-walks-away-from-rail/?cs=303
There might be no trains but they should be able to see the merit of using the corridor rather than mess with Hunter street.
The heads up their arses politics is frustrating.
cIt depends what you want from light rail. If it is about running the last 1.5km as quick as possible you use the corridor. If it is about activating Hunter Street and freeing up land for public domain at the eastern end, you put it in Hunter Street. Not politics, just good urban planning.
In the early 20th Century, all Sydney suburban trains terminated at Central.  Passengers then had to transfer to trams to complete their journey into the Northern CBD.  Trams up and down George St, Pitt St, Castlereagh St and Elizabeth St to Circular Quay weren't enough.  People wanted direct train services into the CBD proper without having to change and hence the birth of the city underground railway.  What's so different about Newcastle?  The lessons of history can't be ignored.
It is a branch line that stops at Newcastle and would never be extended. In the last full year of operation, the average load into Newcastle Station was 11. No where in the world would you spend $1 billion to build a tunnel so that 11 passengers would not have to change from a train to a tram for 2km. Removing heavy rail in the inner city and replacing it with light rail is happening all around the world. History tells us that every city is different and has different transport requirements. It's about building better cities, not train spotting nostalgia.
Northern Flyer
I wasn't suggesting that Newcastle needs to build an underground link from the Wickham terminus to Newcastle Station but merely pointing out the folly of closing the existing line which up until now has already provided that link into the CBD. Remember, we're not just talking about current day operations, but the potential for future growth. As Newcastle grows, I have no doubt that future generations of Novocastrians will regret the decision to truncate the line.  The myth being peddled by the carpetbagger developer lobby, including HDC, that the rail line is holding back development is a complete furphy.  Anyone with half a brain knows that it's all about getting their hands on the rail corridor for development which isn't undermined.  If the government was genuinely concerned about opening up the CBD to the waterfront, then they would retain the railway corridor as parkland.  I wouldn't hold my breath though.

Your statement that 'removing heavy rail in the inner city and replacing it with light rail is happening all around the world' is total fiction and has no credibility whatsoever.  Give us some examples.

I have no problem with the light rail concept per se, but not as an extension of the heavy rail service into the CBD.  It's primary purpose should be to service the main public transport trunk routes into the CBD, such as Swansea to the CBD, if in fact it is warranted, although I have my doubts.  As far as I'm aware, we've yet to see the business case for the light rail as proposed, and I would be amazed if it showed a positive outcome.  I doubt if the light rail proposal will ever see the light of day.

As things stand, the current CBD will just become another dormitory residential centre along with other suburban centres and Newcastle will no longer have a "CBD".  It will be soulless.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

And then there were none.

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3668514/alp-walks-away-from-rail/?cs=303
There might be no trains but they should be able to see the merit of using the corridor rather than mess with Hunter street.
The heads up their arses politics is frustrating.
cIt depends what you want from light rail. If it is about running the last 1.5km as quick as possible you use the corridor. If it is about activating Hunter Street and freeing up land for public domain at the eastern end, you put it in Hunter Street. Not politics, just good urban planning.
In the early 20th Century, all Sydney suburban trains terminated at Central.  Passengers then had to transfer to trams to complete their journey into the Northern CBD.  Trams up and down George St, Pitt St, Castlereagh St and Elizabeth St to Circular Quay weren't enough.  People wanted direct train services into the CBD proper without having to change and hence the birth of the city underground railway.  What's so different about Newcastle?  The lessons of history can't be ignored.
It is a branch line that stops at Newcastle and would never be extended. In the last full year of operation, the average load into Newcastle Station was 11. No where in the world would you spend $1 billion to build a tunnel so that 11 passengers would not have to change from a train to a tram for 2km. Removing heavy rail in the inner city and replacing it with light rail is happening all around the world. History tells us that every city is different and has different transport requirements. It's about building better cities, not train spotting nostalgia.
I wasn't suggesting that Newcastle needs to build an underground link from the Wickham terminus to Newcastle Station but merely pointing out the folly of closing the existing line which up until now has already provided that link into the CBD. Remember, we're not just talking about current day operations, but the potential for future growth. As Newcastle grows, I have no doubt that future generations of Novocastrians will regret the decision to truncate the line.  The myth being peddled by the carpetbagger developer lobby, including HDC, that the rail line is holding back development is a complete furphy.  Anyone with half a brain knows that it's all about getting their hands on the rail corridor for development which isn't undermined.  If the government was genuinely concerned about opening up the CBD to the waterfront, then they would retain the railway corridor as parkland.  I wouldn't hold my breath though.

Your statement that 'removing heavy rail in the inner city and replacing it with light rail is happening all around the world' is total fiction and has no credibility whatsoever.  Give us some examples.

I have no problem with the light rail concept per se, but not as an extension of the heavy rail service into the CBD.  It's primary purpose should be to service the main public transport trunk routes into the CBD, such as Swansea to the CBD, if in fact it is warranted, although I have my doubts.  As far as I'm aware, we've yet to see the business case for the light rail as proposed, and I would be amazed if it showed a positive outcome.  I doubt if the light rail proposal will ever see the light of day.

As things stand, the current CBD will just become another dormitory residential centre along with other suburban centres and Newcastle will no longer have a "CBD".  It will be soulless.
Transtopic
"Half a brain"? "Carpetbagger"? I have considerable technical and practical in Urban Design and renewal. Newcastle's biggest advantage into the future is it's waterfront location. Having a heavy railway barrier through the middle of it all is about the worse thing you could do from an urban design prospective. Therefore, I must fit into the category of people you consider to have less than "half a brain".

Light rail fiction? Is not the St Kilda and Port Melbourne lines examples of heavy rail being replaced by light rail. Same goes for Croydon in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool..the list goes on. Convert old heavy railways to light rail and often extending them on street running is one of the most common implementation of light rail around the world.

Unless you fill in the harbour or build 50 storey high rise from one end of town to the other, there is never going to be the sort of demand for heavy rail, particularly from the two lines that service Newcastle. In fact, most of the commercial and residential growth will be around Wickham, so heavy rail, for the most part, still exists in the CBD.

If you think creating a mixed use city of residential, commercial, retail and recreation will create a "soul less" city, you are at complete odds with modern urban planners.

Your arguments are the sort that finally killed heavy rail. Save Our Rail kept dragging out the same narrow minded train spotter arguments and finally the government had enough and the rest is history.
  TomBTR Chief Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
Light rail fiction? Is not the St Kilda and Port Melbourne lines examples of heavy rail being replaced by light rail.
Flyer
Yes, but the difference is that the two Melbourne lines were changed from heavy to light rail. In Newcastle the plan is to replace most of the the heavy rail with apartment or commercial buildings.

If it were simply a matter of heavy to light rail conversion there would have been a lot less fuss.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

Light rail fiction? Is not the St Kilda and Port Melbourne lines examples of heavy rail being replaced by light rail.
Yes, but the difference is that the two Melbourne lines were changed from heavy to light rail. In Newcastle the plan is to replace most of the the heavy rail with apartment or commercial buildings.

If it were simply a matter of heavy to light rail conversion there would have been a lot less fuss.
TomBTR
Firstly, not all of St Kilda and Port Melbourne lines were converted. Parts were not used and at one or both ends they ran onto streets, just like in Newcastle.

Nearly all of the fuss has been over heavy rail being truncated at Wickham, FULL STOP. Those opposed have tried to spark additional conspiracy theories over the PART use of the corridor for development. Urban Growth just completed public consultation and the majority voted for development on PART of the corridor where it made sense (and didn't lend itself to public space) and open space on the best land at the eastern end.

The "fuss" has been going on for nearly 25 years. I don't think the use of part of the corridor for buildings has had any effect whatsoever.

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