Newcastle Rail Line: Announcements

 
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

A major part of my dissatisafaction with the truncation is the tremendous waste of money in removing a fully funded and functioning asset to replace it with a half baked system that will delay normal transport times and make driving and parking in Hunter street more difficult.

We should be getting paid to accept this second rate system by the people (developers and consultants?) that will be making the profits from it but instead we are shelling out millions of dollars from the state coffers that could have been used on a dozen more worthy local and Hunter projects.

The politicians treat us like cattle, consider us fools, and think contemptibly of us when we try and resist.

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  TomBTR Chief Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
The politicians treat us like cattle, consider us fools, and think contemptibly of us ...
Showtime
Unless we happen live in a marginal electorate, or are in a position to contribute towards the cost of getting reelected. Applies equally to both parties.
  Fred Scuttle Junior Train Controller

Location: Point Clare, NSW
Strange days indeed - first, the Newcastle Herald reports on Saturday that Keolis Downer's Newcastle Project Director tells a Property Council Lunch that his company was "not completely convinced" that light rail would work in Newcastle, and that buses would work just as well, and then on Monday, said Project Director is backpedalling at a rate of knots, declaring that he's been misquoted.

My own feeling is that he was merely saying out loud what a lot of people think - that the chances of light rail actually getting up and running in Newcastle are about as likely as the Government announcing that it's going to bore out the tunnels on the NWRL to take DD stock.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Fred, while the Herald has used a title that would make the readers read, what you said they said is not quite correct, and you forget to add an important part to it. I wlll say what that part is after I do a few things first.
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
How would buses work just as well with bicycles and surfboards not to mention wheelchairs.
Sounds like further cost cutting, put the OH back up.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Fred, Junction Box & others, to summarise the CEO said that "Newcastle is too small for light rail - + unless it was a network +"

Again as per usual, SOR (that has lost credibility - a lot IMO) & others left out those important words between the "+"s.

I can't show the full quote, as this internet "broadband' connection" that I'm on is about one-third the speed than dial up was!

Here is the link to the first Tram Slam article: http://tinyurl.com/jt96dfq
And here is the full transcript of what was said: http://tinyurl.com/zzs32xg

Having said that, a few years ago, a packed Town Hall room, we were told that after a question was asked about light rail in Newcastle, and the reply word for word was "Newcastle does not have the population for light rail."
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

To Save Our Fail (Save Our Rail),

If you are going to paste a screenshot of the transcript, at least get the decency to include the most important part that I believe that you chose on purpose not to show.

To sumarise as in not showing that part that suggests "unless it was a network"

See: https://www.facebook.com/Save-Our-Rail-NSW-Incorporated-32054379385/

Sumarising. "Newcastle is not big enough for light rail" is different than "Newcastle is not big enough for light rail - unless it's a network."
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
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.
"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.
Northern Flyer
Whatever else you might be, Northern Flyer, you cannot possibly be a credible
transport analyst. Your reputation as such would never survive these postings.

A branch line that stops at Newcastle? That is a ridiculous distortion of the
rail traffic patterns in the lower Hunter valley (excluding the coal lines,
which are clearly irrelevant to the case). The great majority of train movements
on the main lines between Maitland / Lake Macquarie and the Woodville triangle
originate or terminate to the east (Hamilton, formerly Newcastle). The pathetic
three platform terminus proposed for Wickham will cripple the capaacity for
future expansion of heavy rail services to the Newcastle CBD.

Arguments based on the average passenger loading are instrinsically stupid. All
suburban commuter rail systems are justified in terms of their ability to cope
with peak loadings, and in car-happy Australia they can be very lightly loaded
at other times.

The comparison between light rail on the St Kilda / Port Melbourne lines and the
Newcastle proposal is a favourite with shallow thinkers. One glaring
dissimilarity is that nobody ever proposed to close Flinders Street station and
replace it with a produce market (or drilled in the area to check if the produce
market could be fifteen storeys high). This point applies equally to the
principal heavy rail termini in the London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool,
etc cases.

A major consideration motivating the conversion of the St Kilda / Port Melbourne
lines was the intractable problem of congestion at Flinders Street station, both
in the movement of pedestrians around the station, and the movement of trains on
the approach tracks and in the platform area. Even with the diversion of trains
onto the underground loop and the recently opened regional line, this remains a
major issue.

Just like Newcastle. Not.

Overseas conversions from heavy rail passenger lines to light rail generally
have the same rationale as the absorption of surface branch lines as extensions
of the London underground system in former times. That is, to get slow local
services off the main lines and onto a separate right of way so that more long-
distance services can use the main lines in the inner urban areas.

Just like Newcastle. Not.

But wait, there's more. 50 storey high rise from one end of town to the other is
required to justify retention of heavy rail in Newcastle, but 3km of light rail
from Wickham to Nobby's can be justified on the basis of the urban regeneration
plans so far revealed.

Show us the business case that justfies this lunatic assertion. Nobody has been
able to produce a business case that is anything less than a financial disaster
in all the years that light rail has been mooted, starting in 1989. Slightly
less than one month before light rail for Newcastle was announced in the state
budget, the then Planning Minister Brad Hazzard dismissed the idea as not viable
or sustainable, on the grounds of inadequate population.

I put it to you that the promise of light rail for Newcastle is a lie.

I put it to you that the purpose of the lie is twofold: to reassure the gullible
in the wider Newcastle area that the CBD east will still have a rail service of
some kind, and to help sell apartments off the plan to those who think that life
in the CBD east without light rail or heavy rail would not appeal.

The question of who is a bare-faced liar and who is simply a dim-witted fellow-
traveller is one that I leave as an exercise for the interested reader.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Notebook Man, I was replying to Fred's post.
 
  tezza Chief Commissioner

Newcastle line is gone...

Work commenced lifting it from the Wickham end on the 18th january and final tracks were lifted to Newcommen Street on the 12th February.

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-17/newcastle-rail-infrastructure-recycled/7175130
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

Getting into Newcastle is now a joke.
Decided to go to the Red Lantan celebration at Honeysuckle last saturday.
Completely parked out. Drove around for 30 minutes and eventually found a park at a construction site behind the Town Hall.
Could have got to Civic by train if there was a rail line though which would have been perfect.

Same result discussed on NBN news last night regarding the opening of the new Court House - no parking and now no trains - and the University will only make it worse still.

And then when Tim Crackashot requests that the money from the sale of the old Court House should be used for the Adamstown Rail over/under pass, scumbag Baird's government has said the money will go into the State coffers (AGAIN)

It is doubtful Newcastle will  recover from this Premiers rule in my lifetime.
  cityrail-rulez Chief Train Controller

Getting into Newcastle is now a joke.
Decided to go to the Red Lantan celebration at Honeysuckle last saturday.
Completely parked out. Drove around for 30 minutes and eventually found a park at a construction site behind the Town Hall.
Could have got to Civic by train if there was a rail line though which would have been perfect.

Same result discussed on NBN news last night regarding the opening of the new Court House - no parking and now no trains - and the University will only make it worse still.

And then when Tim Crackashot requests that the money from the sale of the old Court House should be used for the Adamstown Rail over/under pass, scumbag Baird's government has said the money will go into the State coffers (AGAIN)

It is doubtful Newcastle will  recover from this Premiers rule in my lifetime.
Showtime
Well that's what happens when people vote the wrong idiots into power

I surely hope that once they build Newcastle's new CBD (From what I seen it's nothing but a residential block over the current location of Newcastle's railway station) I really hope it comes crashing down causing another earthquake in Newcastle
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

To Save Our Fail (Save Our Rail),

If you are going to paste a screenshot of the transcript, at least get the decency to include the most important part that I believe that you chose on purpose not to show.

To sumarise as in not showing that part that suggests "unless it was a network"

See: https://www.facebook.com/Save-Our-Rail-NSW-Incorporated-32054379385/

Sumarising. "Newcastle is not big enough for light rail" is different than "Newcastle is not big enough for light rail - unless it's a network."
Newcastle Express

Wasn't the train line that went to Newcastle part of a network? Where the heck could a light rail network actually go in Newcastle that doesn't have a train line or bus route already nearby.
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
To Save Our Fail (Save Our Rail),

If you are going to paste a screenshot of the transcript, at least get the decency to include the most important part that I believe that you chose on purpose not to show.

To sumarise as in not showing that part that suggests "unless it was a network"

See: https://www.facebook.com/Save-Our-Rail-NSW-Incorporated-32054379385/

Sumarising. "Newcastle is not big enough for light rail" is different than "Newcastle is not big enough for light rail - unless it's a network."

Wasn't the train line that went to Newcastle part of a network? Where the heck could a light rail network actually go in Newcastle that doesn't have a train line or bus route already nearby.
simstrain
Good question.

A legitimate (but hopelessly optimistic) answer would be that it could serve areas to which heavy rail access was too expensive. Don't expect that to happen under this government. It would be more likely if SOR became political and formed a government. Much more likely. Smile
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
Cracks in the facade of the Newcastle light rail myth.

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3729833/mixed-signals-at-the-light-rail-interchange/
  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.
"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.
Whatever else you might be, Northern Flyer, you cannot possibly be a credible
transport analyst. Your reputation as such would never survive these postings.

A branch line that stops at Newcastle? That is a ridiculous distortion of the
rail traffic patterns in the lower Hunter valley (excluding the coal lines,
which are clearly irrelevant to the case). The great majority of train movements
on the main lines between Maitland / Lake Macquarie and the Woodville triangle
originate or terminate to the east (Hamilton, formerly Newcastle). The pathetic
three platform terminus proposed for Wickham will cripple the capaacity for
future expansion of heavy rail services to the Newcastle CBD.

Arguments based on the average passenger loading are instrinsically stupid. All
suburban commuter rail systems are justified in terms of their ability to cope
with peak loadings, and in car-happy Australia they can be very lightly loaded
at other times.

The comparison between light rail on the St Kilda / Port Melbourne lines and the
Newcastle proposal is a favourite with shallow thinkers. One glaring
dissimilarity is that nobody ever proposed to close Flinders Street station and
replace it with a produce market (or drilled in the area to check if the produce
market could be fifteen storeys high). This point applies equally to the
principal heavy rail termini in the London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool,
etc cases.

A major consideration motivating the conversion of the St Kilda / Port Melbourne
lines was the intractable problem of congestion at Flinders Street station, both
in the movement of pedestrians around the station, and the movement of trains on
the approach tracks and in the platform area. Even with the diversion of trains
onto the underground loop and the recently opened regional line, this remains a
major issue.

Just like Newcastle. Not.

Overseas conversions from heavy rail passenger lines to light rail generally
have the same rationale as the absorption of surface branch lines as extensions
of the London underground system in former times. That is, to get slow local
services off the main lines and onto a separate right of way so that more long-
distance services can use the main lines in the inner urban areas.

Just like Newcastle. Not.

But wait, there's more. 50 storey high rise from one end of town to the other is
required to justify retention of heavy rail in Newcastle, but 3km of light rail
from Wickham to Nobby's can be justified on the basis of the urban regeneration
plans so far revealed.

Show us the business case that justfies this lunatic assertion. Nobody has been
able to produce a business case that is anything less than a financial disaster
in all the years that light rail has been mooted, starting in 1989. Slightly
less than one month before light rail for Newcastle was announced in the state
budget, the then Planning Minister Brad Hazzard dismissed the idea as not viable
or sustainable, on the grounds of inadequate population.

I put it to you that the promise of light rail for Newcastle is a lie.

I put it to you that the purpose of the lie is twofold: to reassure the gullible
in the wider Newcastle area that the CBD east will still have a rail service of
some kind, and to help sell apartments off the plan to those who think that life
in the CBD east without light rail or heavy rail would not appeal.

The question of who is a bare-faced liar and who is simply a dim-witted fellow-
traveller is one that I leave as an exercise for the interested reader.
NotebookMan
An amazing rant. Not only do you attack me personally you seem to forget what you are arguing. I made the point that replacing heavy rail with light rail is common. I did not say the reasons are the same in Newcastle. The reasons for doing so vary from place to place and are often numerous. Of course the reasons for doing so in Newcastle will not be identical to other places around the world. Where did I say they were?

I quote an average patronage to demonstrate that it is not the massive number that some would have us believe and it is going down year on year. Of course I know that it is higher in peak periods but still very low. 290 passengers on 16 trains in the morning peak - still less than 20 per train in the peak period - it is still very very low and getting even lower as land use changes.

Light Rail is moving ahead. Construction of the interchange at Wickham, complete with Light Rail platforms is now well underway. Contracts for design and environmental works have been let. A project team is already established in Honeysuckle. The Project Director has been appointed. The REF is due out any day. Survey and utility searches have been completed. Seems like your claim that Light Rail is a lie is in fact the lie.

All you have done is demonstrate why rail enthusiasts should never be taken serious when it comes to broad transport policy. The above rant shows that in spades.
  tezza Chief Commissioner

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3785767/government-digs-up-dirt-on-the-store/?cs=305

GOVERNMENT developer UrbanGrowth NSW will begin soil testing at The Store next week as it works on integrating the former retail site into the new Wickham transport interchange.

Since the state government produced a rare truce in the tussle over planning in Newcastle by buying the site of The Store late last year, there have been few details about when and how the iconic building would be redeveloped, and if it would be part of the interchange.

The Store and carpark are both closed, and UrbanGrowth has done basic work ensuring the site is safe.

But, in a sign that progress in those deliberations is taking place behind the scenes, UrbanGrowth will begin “ground testing” at the site from Thursday.

“The testing is being undertaken to understand soil conditions prior to the commencement of detailed planning for the site,” UrbanGrowth project director Michael Cassel said in a letter distributed to neighbouring businesses.

“The process will involve the excavation of shallow pits and drilling into the ground at various locations across the site.

“While there will be some noise associated with drilling activities, we anticipate the overall impact of this work will be low. Access to Beresford Lane will be restricted at times during the works.”

With a building height limit of 90 metres, or about 30 storeys, The Store is one of the city’s most strategic sites, and plans for its redevelopment are part of a joint effort between UrbanGrowth, the Hunter Development Corporation and Transport for NSW.

The Hunter Street property backs onto the site of the interchange, and its purchase provided more room for buses and taxis, as well as car parking, which was previously missing from the project’s plans.

Part of the site is likely to used by Laing O’Rourke, the contractor responsible for construction of the transport interchange, but its purchase also opened new urban renewal possibilities for the city’s West End.

A decision would need to be made on whether to hold off on redeveloping The Store until after the East End redevelopment with the GPT Group is done and changes are made to the heavy rail corridor, but at the time of the purchase Mr Cassel said it provided an opportunity to bring forward the area’s renewal.

In October, he said the two could areas could be done ‘‘running in parallel’’.
Laing O’Rourke was awarded a $73 million design and build contract for the interchange last year, and preparatory work for construction has begun.

The site is scheduled to open in 2017.
The purchase of The Store achieved a rare consensus at the time of the purchase, receiving praise from both sides of the city’s often fractured political divide.


[color=#0c41a4][/color][color=#0c41a4][/color][color=#0c41a4][/color]

  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
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.
"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.
Whatever else you might be, Northern Flyer, you cannot possibly be a credible
transport analyst. Your reputation as such would never survive these postings.

A branch line that stops at Newcastle? That is a ridiculous distortion of the
rail traffic patterns in the lower Hunter valley (excluding the coal lines,
which are clearly irrelevant to the case). The great majority of train movements
on the main lines between Maitland / Lake Macquarie and the Woodville triangle
originate or terminate to the east (Hamilton, formerly Newcastle). The pathetic
three platform terminus proposed for Wickham will cripple the capaacity for
future expansion of heavy rail services to the Newcastle CBD.

Arguments based on the average passenger loading are instrinsically stupid. All
suburban commuter rail systems are justified in terms of their ability to cope
with peak loadings, and in car-happy Australia they can be very lightly loaded
at other times.

The comparison between light rail on the St Kilda / Port Melbourne lines and the
Newcastle proposal is a favourite with shallow thinkers. One glaring
dissimilarity is that nobody ever proposed to close Flinders Street station and
replace it with a produce market (or drilled in the area to check if the produce
market could be fifteen storeys high). This point applies equally to the
principal heavy rail termini in the London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool,
etc cases.

A major consideration motivating the conversion of the St Kilda / Port Melbourne
lines was the intractable problem of congestion at Flinders Street station, both
in the movement of pedestrians around the station, and the movement of trains on
the approach tracks and in the platform area. Even with the diversion of trains
onto the underground loop and the recently opened regional line, this remains a
major issue.

Just like Newcastle. Not.

Overseas conversions from heavy rail passenger lines to light rail generally
have the same rationale as the absorption of surface branch lines as extensions
of the London underground system in former times. That is, to get slow local
services off the main lines and onto a separate right of way so that more long-
distance services can use the main lines in the inner urban areas.

Just like Newcastle. Not.

But wait, there's more. 50 storey high rise from one end of town to the other is
required to justify retention of heavy rail in Newcastle, but 3km of light rail
from Wickham to Nobby's can be justified on the basis of the urban regeneration
plans so far revealed.

Show us the business case that justfies this lunatic assertion. Nobody has been
able to produce a business case that is anything less than a financial disaster
in all the years that light rail has been mooted, starting in 1989. Slightly
less than one month before light rail for Newcastle was announced in the state
budget, the then Planning Minister Brad Hazzard dismissed the idea as not viable
or sustainable, on the grounds of inadequate population.

I put it to you that the promise of light rail for Newcastle is a lie.

I put it to you that the purpose of the lie is twofold: to reassure the gullible
in the wider Newcastle area that the CBD east will still have a rail service of
some kind, and to help sell apartments off the plan to those who think that life
in the CBD east without light rail or heavy rail would not appeal.

The question of who is a bare-faced liar and who is simply a dim-witted fellow-
traveller is one that I leave as an exercise for the interested reader.
An amazing rant. Not only do you attack me personally you seem to forget what you are arguing. I made the point that replacing heavy rail with light rail is common. I did not say the reasons are the same in Newcastle. The reasons for doing so vary from place to place and are often numerous. Of course the reasons for doing so in Newcastle will not be identical to other places around the world. Where did I say they were?

I quote an average patronage to demonstrate that it is not the massive number that some would have us believe and it is going down year on year. Of course I know that it is higher in peak periods but still very low. 290 passengers on 16 trains in the morning peak - still less than 20 per train in the peak period - it is still very very low and getting even lower as land use changes.

Light Rail is moving ahead. Construction of the interchange at Wickham, complete with Light Rail platforms is now well underway. Contracts for design and environmental works have been let. A project team is already established in Honeysuckle. The Project Director has been appointed. The REF is due out any day. Survey and utility searches have been completed. Seems like your claim that Light Rail is a lie is in fact the lie.

All you have done is demonstrate why rail enthusiasts should never be taken serious when it comes to broad transport policy. The above rant shows that in spades.
Northern Flyer
“An amazing rant. Not only do you attack me personally you seem to forget what
you are arguing. I made the point that replacing heavy rail with light rail is
common. I did not say the reasons are the same in Newcastle. The reasons for
doing so vary from place to place and are often numerous. Of course the reasons
for doing so in Newcastle will not be identical to other places around the
world. Where did I say they were?”


Your silence on this issue is certainly significant. But while you were singing
a muted version of "Everybody's doing it, doing it, doing it" and pointing to
examples, like one of the daydream sequences in a Dennis Potter teleplay, I was
trying to find relevance to the main subject of this disputation: the
replacement of heavy rail with light rail in Newcastle. Could one say, for
instance, that the downtown shopping precincts of your example cities were
at death's door, until heavy rail hopped into a nearby phone booth, wrenched its
own head off, replaced it with a tiny light rail network, then jumped back out
and saved the day? I think not.


I shall have more to say in due course about the legendary restorative powers of
light rail in shopping precincts. But it is really up to you to demonstrate that
your example cities have some logical relevance to the case for replacing heavy
rail with light rail in Newcastle. Otherwise your examples merely supply rocks
to my catapult.


A personal attack? I have not called you a child molester, or a domestic
violence risk, or anything else of a specifically personal nature. I do not want
to. I do not have reason to.


You are the leading defender of the government’s Newcastle rail policy on this
forum. It is a forum for discussion of rail issues. You should expect your
understanding of rail-related issues to be challenged where that understanding
appears deficient.


You should expect the occasional colourful metaphor. For example, “lunatic
assertion”, where it is the assertion that carries the lunatic tag (the
behaviour, not the person), and colourful does not come anywhere near the more
intense shades of blue.


“I quote an average patronage to demonstrate that it is not the massive number
that some would have us believe and it is going down year on year. Of course I
know that it is higher in peak periods but still very low. 290 passengers on 16
trains in the morning peak - still less than 20 per train in the peak period -
it is still very very low and getting even lower as land use changes.”


And the recent decline dates from the announcement that the line would be cut,
and is steepest in consequence of the interim truncation at Hamilton. Which is
old news as far as the fate of heavy rail in inner Newcastle is concerned, but
you somehow expect light rail from Wickham to do better than the former heavy
rail service, despite the fact that change of mode causes loss of patronage
according to every reputable transport model. Consultants and reviewers differ,
sometimes heatedly, about how much patronage drops, but all agree that it drops.


You have claimed in this thread that light rail is a proven means of activating
shopping centres. References, please. According to Travers Morgan (1989) and the
overseas surveys that they referenced, the introduction of light rail will not
attract business to an area if the pre-existing case for the business enterprise
is inadequate. At most, it will determine the specific areas in which the most
intense development occurs (typically those areas closest to the light rail
route). I'll just repeat for the sake of clarity that the latter outcome only
applies where the business case for commercial development is sound even without
light rail's presence.


The business case for Newcastle as a magnet for shoppers from the suburbs is
much feebler now than in 1989. The introduction of a forced mode change is
significant for those passengers who don’t care two hoots about the nostalgic
value of heavy rail, but do prefer a continuous journey on a reserved transport
corridor.


But of course you didn’t mean that Newcastle would become the regional shopping
magnet of old; that would be just so much nostalgia (if it were used to justify
heavy rail). Where do you think the shoppers will come from in sufficient
numbers to justify light rail? Or to justify the shops themselves, for that
matter? Considered on its own, the light rail route runs through mostly
commercial areas, meaning that the number of residents within walking distance
of the line will be abnormally low, even relative to the population density of
the Newcastle local government area as a whole, which is itself low by world
standards.


The more realistic argument underpinning the government's urban strategy for
Newcastle is not that light rail will save the shopping centre. Their strategy
is an outgrowth (hopefully a benign outgrowth) of the view held by Newcastle
councillors since at least the early 70s, but reinforced by the subsequent
decline until the departure of major department stores; Newcastle needs to build
its local population base to replace the suburban shoppers who now go to
suburban shopping centres. A by-product of this would be that the increase in
local population would also provide more potential light rail customers, who
would probably not find heavy rail services quite so convenient. But a certain
critical population density must be attained for light rail to be viable.


This is where the planning department is the right place to look for the best
information. No doubt they have put their best population estimates into the
business case study for light rail. Yes, the one that red-flagged the light rail
concept as not offering value for money, and put warning flags on several other
criteria.


So what has changed since 1989 that might be seen as invalidating the verdict of
the 2014 study? For one thing, Professor Peter Newman has advocated construction
of light rail systems where the cost would be exorbitant unless entrepreneurs
such as property developers fund it at least partly, in consideration of the
increased value that it will return to them on their investment. For another,
the government has proposed that the light rail line and all the rest of
Newcastle’s local public transport systems should be operated on a commercial
basis by a single private enterprise. So it would seem that the critical issues
are whether Newcastle has enough residential and commercial development
potential to drive the light rail business case into reasonable value for money
territory, and whether any entrepreneurs are prepared to take the chance on it.


I won’t pretend to any specific knowledge of the business case which, small
leaks excepted, is still cabinet in confidence, but it would seem that there is
not an oversupply of land to be developed, even using the rail corridor, and the
only real direction in which to expand is upwards. It may well be that we won’t
see high rise residential developments on the site of the Newcastle Cathedral
(think of the harbour views!), but who would dare to offer a guarantee, given
the track record of this government in promising one outcome and delivering
another?


And the latest developments?


“Light Rail is moving ahead. Construction of the interchange at Wickham,
complete with Light Rail platforms is now well underway. Contracts for design
and environmental works have been let. A project team is already established in
Honeysuckle. The Project Director has been appointed. The REF is due out any
day. Survey and utility searches have been completed. Seems like your claim that
Light Rail is a lie is in fact the lie.”


This is evidence that the government now regards fulfillment of its light rail
promise, or at least the appearance of such a possibility, as a political
necessity. It has nothing to do with the conditions under which the government
made the promise originally. There was no deal with the Shooters and Fishers at
that time. The readiness of the government to break promises seemingly made in
good faith was not then so blatantly apparent. Least of all was it apparent to
Paul Broad, who as chairman of HDC seems to have been one of the last to hear
that the heavy rail corridor would not be preserved from development.


It may be relevant that I said “is a lie” where “was a lie” may prove to be the
eventual reality. If so, I’ll accept the correction, when it happens. But it
would be a case of governmental truthfulness by misadventure.


Come on, Northern Flyer. Put me in my proper place once and for all, by telling
me that it was Brad Hazzard who was the liar on 18th May 2013, when he said that
light rail was not economically viable or sustainable in Newcastle for the next
10 to 20 years. That, and the budget announcement of 17th June 2013, cannot both
represent the truth. An interval of thirty days was not sufficient time to make
a responsible and well-researched decision to switch policy from the easy option
to the hard option. I shall resist all temptation to speculate about who pulled
whose strings, and from what motives, because I just don't know, but the process
was simply not rational.


Does the establishment of a light rail bureaucracy mean that everyone is pulling
together on this? Mild language warning, but the description coined several
decades ago by a government member for a particularly unpopular policy seems
relevant here. I haven’t attempted to google the exact wording, for reasons that
a moment’s thought will explain, but the gist of it is as follows: “This policy
is like a great big turd sandwich, and we’ve all got to eat it up, and smile,
and go yummy, yummy, yummy.” In relation to the Newcastle light rail team, it
has been reported that at least one member has felt sufficient revulsion to spit
the yummy in a very public way, and I sympathise with that team member's reduced
career prospects in consequence of such honesty:


http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3729833/mixed-signals-at-the-light-rail-interchange/


“All you have done is demonstrate why rail enthusiasts should never be taken
serious when it comes to broad transport policy. The above rant shows that in
spades.”


And the approved model for handling “broad transport policy” (not to be confused
with Paul Broad’s transport policy) goes something like this:


Someone asks a question about the location of the heavy / light rail
interchange: will it be at Wickham, as announced several months previously, or at
Woodville Junction? Naturally, they ask the Transport Minister. The Transport
Minister refers them to the Planning Minister. The Planning Minister refers them
to HDC. Bob Hawes at HDC states that the location of the interchange is an
operational matter, and will be dealt with in the scoping studies due to
commence shortly. Mow who can guess what might be wrong with all that?


The location of a major transport interchange is not an operational matter,
which is generally understood to mean an issue that arises in the day to day
running of the system. It is a significant factor in the capital cost of a
transport project, and as such should be considered as part of the project
definition study. The scoping study referenced by Hawes sounds as though it has
that function, but it should not be commenced after the budget allocation has
been announced. Not that the budget contained any specific allocation for light
rail; the press assumed that it was the same item described as urban
revitalisation in Newcastle. However there was a set allocation for the heavy
rail truncation, and truncation at Woodville Junction would have made a massive
difference to that; Woodvill Junction has always been the most expensive option.
Oh yes, the scoping study for light rail was to decide the route to be followed
betweem Wickham and Newcastle; the business case study to determine the
viability of light rail was not even put out to tender until several months
later. What a total dog’s breakfast.
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

Well written NotebookMan.
Northern Flyer will have to take a few days off before comprehensively replying to this if he has any fire left.
  TomBTR Chief Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
Also well written, Notebookman.

However, for our convenience, could both you and Flyer please NOT quote all previous correspondence on this subject each time you post.
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
Also well written, Notebookman.

However, for our convenience, could both you and Flyer please NOT quote all previous correspondence on this subject each time you post.
TomBTR
Sorry about that, other things on my mind. Will do.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

It's lazy to quote whole posts - hmmm!

Notebookman, you replied to Northern Flyer in your previous post, but because you have quoted the whole post, with other quotes in it, I am not sure what part of his post(s) you are replying to.

And no, it takes too much time to try & find what part you are replying to.

IF they the government were really serious, they would have built the tram lines first, THEN maybe cut the train service - if they need to.

A number of people are comparing other light-rail system with this "so called" Newcastle light rail, but that is comparing apples and oranges.

Their are many reasons why you can't compare them.

And I note in one of the articles it says that the "light-rail is under review"
  tezza Chief Commissioner

HARBOUR-front real estate in Newcastle is on the market for the first time in a decade.

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3796678/on-the-harbour-and-now-on-the-market/?cs=305
  marvin Assistant Commissioner

Location: Mars... "The Earth? Oh, the Earth will be gone in just a few seconds!"
So the developers are up Mike Baird's board shorts like a rat up drain.

Couldn't possibly have seen that coming.

marvin
-------
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
The rails have been ripped up except for Newcastle platforms, what is the future for the signal box?

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