Newcastle Rail Line: Announcements

 
  Sydney Yard Station Staff

" YOU DONT REALISE WHAT YOU'VE GOT TILL IT"S GONE "

Showtime: Thank you for your comments. and to clarify in case you may have mistaken some of my comments in regard to the apathy and lack of serious engagement by a large portion of the general population of Newcastle in relation to the closure of the line, I would like to make it clear that this is not aimed at the individuals and groups such as  " Save Our Rail "  who have made a valiant effort at opposing the actions of the present Government, and the vested interest groups, and " others " that also promote this action and have also done so for a long time before this Government came to power when the same and other pressure and self interest groups were pushing for the closure of the rail. What prompted my posting was what I felt was the attack on "Save Our Rail" by a previous poster that was critical of their direction of wishing to return trains to Newcastle, and what I feel is the Importance of maintaining this position for the future and used the example of the return and re opening with great success the train service to The City of Fremantle .

The City of Fremantle is a picturesque  historic Port City with a  number  of  old style homes and heritage buildings along with a mixture of maritime and industrial  buildings, and without a really large population base, it is situated  between the very wide Swan River and the Indian Ocean and is on a branch rail line rail line that is serviced by fast electric suburban train services that run near the Swan River and connect it to the City of Perth ( and the rest of the West Australian suburban and country rail network.) Passenger Trains Terminate there at Freemantle before recommencing their journey back in the direction from where they came from along this double track line that services it, and as it was once closed amongst great opposition to it's closure and has now been not only reopened but also dramatically upgraded and electrified  with Brass commemorative plates in place as a tribute to the public pressure that led to it's revival I feel that their can certainly be  a number of similarities to and examples for Newcastle and it is a good example for the poster that criticised "Save Our Rail" for not Giving Up and maintaining their objective of a future return of rail services to Newcastle and protecting the Corridor for the future.

Getting back to the subject at the start of this post. I use the term " others " in this post as a broad term, as while it includes many with their own agendas and the self interest of themselves or others they may work for or represent, ( including members or sympathisers of political parties or groups,)  it also  includes many well meaning individuals that  have good intentions and genuinely have the future of Newcastle at heart.

Unfortunately, for any balanced argument it is often very easy to capture the imagination of well meaning people such as many of those well meaning "others"  previously mentioned above, as if they are continually fed, as they have been, a constant stream of promotions for a particular idea or concept, such as this concept that the Rail line into Newcastle is the reason for the gradual decline of the  City, and then are also  fed all sorts propaganda and arguments and  concepts for how the removal of the rail and replacing it with a token section of light rail will be the greatest thing to ever happen to Newcastle, then it is not hard to see how they can become caught up in all this and become very enthusiastic to the cause, and be used and manipulated to that end. After all people have been constantly told that the rail line into Newcastle is the reason for people not coming into Newcastle and for all it's problems for so long now and well before this Government came to power that no wonder so many people believe this and take it as gospel and without question. As they say "Tell a Lie long enough and often enough and it becomes the truth to many".

But the greatest enemy and the one that allows bad acts and bad Government to prevail is Apathy, people not caring, not engaging, not acting and leaving it to others  ( and of course they then become the first to whinge and complain when it's gone or does not work out the way they expected ) It is this Apathy over many issues of the past especially in sitting back and letting successive Governments progressively close and dismantle the once extensive suburban rail system of Greater Newcastle and the Hunter, that has helped in the decline of Newcastle.

If all these previous rail services from multiple destinations were still flowing into Newcastle as they once were there would be a much greater frequency of services compared to the frequency that has existed in recent times with this dramatically cut back suburban rail system that existed just prior to closure, and with the increased growth in population and it's spread from the inner City areas ( just as has been the case for years in Sydney )  This Urban spread (  with the road congestion it brings ) and the availability of frequent train services from various parts of the suburbs and regions that have previously had their services closed would result in many more people commuting into the CBD for work, for play and for shopping.

A bonus that would come with this increase in services coming from various parts of the Newcastle suburban network would be an even greater increase in frequency of trains travelling through the inner area of the network through Hamilton , Wickham and Civic to Newcastle as all these services from various areas ran through ( just as they did in the past along with the express Inter-City services and the Newcastle Flyers ) This would mean Newcastle also had a frequent service up and down this Inner City
corridor from Hamilton to Newcastle that would have a service at least every 10 minutes or less  and enable people to just turn up and go to travel from place to place quickly within this inner city corridor and would provide a faster, more frequent and far superior service free of any road congestion that any tram of the type that is planned for Newcastle would ever be able to provide, and the Tracks and dedicated corridor already existed, unlike the Tram to Wickham that we are yet to see, and the future tram service to ................................ pick  a  destination, any convenient destination that comes into your head, but preferably a vote winning destination  that we may be promised by the politicians for us to have in the future. ( And if such a promise ever came to fruition then most of the present workforce would be retired so it would not be much of  not much of a carrot for them, still their is always the clever media and video promotions to make it look good, to make it look like it will be up and running by the end of the year, with of course the actual year not specified )  

The Light Rail or Tram from Wickham is held out to the people  (and others,) being some sort of " Saviour " of the City and the Region with lots of very expensive and very professional marketing tools, artists impressions , video presentations and public exhibitions and displays etc. etc. etc. , and of course any cost benefit studies, detailed plans, alternate options etc. etc. etc.  as we all know ( and it has been gone over numerous times,)  true public input, suggestions and consultation all only "allowed" when either it fits in with what is proposed and any views to the contrary are not welcome or even provided for and of course as a result not even considered.

Any attempt by the public to be fully informed as to the merits and reasons for the decision that have been made and for the detailed planning for this closure of the rail line and for this light rail / tram project are  hidden from  public scrutiny or labelled as " commercial in confidence " and treated as though it is like  the secrets of the countries defence strategy being made public, almost as a bigger secret  than the  " secret herbs and spices of the colonel'  being revealed.      

History is littered with examples of well meaning average folk getting caught up with enthusiasm for ideas that are well promoted and presented especially by politicians, political parties and other influential organizations, and these groups are experts in the art of manipulation. Of course what they promise, the aspirations that they cultivate, the ethics, convictions , commitment and trust for future that they wish and often succeed in us placing in them and what they end up delivering are often two different things. We will be into a federal election again shortly and the media saturation advertising and propaganda will be promising all things to all people.  We must learn to not ask "what can they do " but what have they done".

If we were applying for a job, ( as they are) an employer would want to see our "resume" of  " what we have done and accomplished"  before showing any interests in any "promise of what we may do".  I feel that the present State Government may be very reluctant to hand over a true and accurate resume of their past accomplishments when the next state election is held, but that is when the power of the art of media manipulation by their pressure and vested interest groups along with big funds and donations for a media propaganda campaign once again can help get them over the line. This of course means some favours and some debts may need to be returned or repaid in some way, but we all know about that don't we.

Syd.

Sponsored advertisement

  Mad Panda Station Master

Location: NSW Australia
I fear though, the best that can happen in the first pass, is the light rail. Even so, there is every chance it'll shift more people than the heavy rail did.  

The good bit is, there will be more people to shift!  After decades, the tide has turned finally and the people are returning.

Five or more tower cranes speaks volumes! I can't ever recall that in three decades.
Where will these people miraculously come from?  If there's more people coming by train to Wickham, what is the whole point of the light rail exercise?  Watch for the outrage when it dawns on the community at large that their bus routes might also be truncated at Wickham.  But alas by then it might be too late.
Transtopic
I'd like to believe, that the point is , a functioning transport system will shift more people than a dysfunctional one. You know, that one we've here in newy for, oh, 30 years or more.  Got issues with todays plans? Start with Neville Wran and work from there.  There are so many ways to better utilise the vast amount of space in the two parallel corridors.
  Transtopic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney
I fear though, the best that can happen in the first pass, is the light rail. Even so, there is every chance it'll shift more people than the heavy rail did.  

The good bit is, there will be more people to shift!  After decades, the tide has turned finally and the people are returning.

Five or more tower cranes speaks volumes! I can't ever recall that in three decades.
Where will these people miraculously come from?  If there's more people coming by train to Wickham, what is the whole point of the light rail exercise?  Watch for the outrage when it dawns on the community at large that their bus routes might also be truncated at Wickham.  But alas by then it might be too late.
I'd like to believe, that the point is , a functioning transport system will shift more people than a dysfunctional one. You know, that one we've here in newy for, oh, 30 years or more.  Got issues with todays plans? Start with Neville Wran and work from there.  There are so many ways to better utilise the vast amount of space in the two parallel corridors.
Mad Panda
What is so functional about an expensive and unneeded change of mode for the last couple of kilometres into the TRUE CBD of Newcastle?  Trying to move the Newcastle CBD further west to Wickham is like moving the Sydney CBD to Redfern.  It's pure fantasyland stuff.  Vested interests have tried to portray the decline of the Newcastle CBD on the barrier created by the rail link, but it's pure fiction.  It's got nothing to do with it.  If the powers that be had the inclination to undertake an objective assessment of the decline of the CBD, they would discover that it's more to do with the decentralisation of retail and commercial development into the suburbs.  If they want to rejuvenate the Newcastle CBD, that should be their focus.

That focus should be in re-establishing the existing CBD as well as the Honeysuckle Precinct as the major commercial centre for the Hunter Region.  Retail plays a secondary role, as that has already migrated to the suburbs, but more intensive commercial development will drive supportive retail development.  The current strategy to focus on residential development in the CBD will only create a soulless dormitory heart for the City of Newcastle.  Every city needs a broadly based focal centre.

That leads to the question of connectivity to the focal centre of the Hunter Region and when an existing heavy rail corridor already exists, it is shear madness to abandon it.
  tezza Chief Commissioner

There are a few photos here from of corridor work for the CBD Interchange at Wickham

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=761456580658055&id=670944553042592
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

Well written but I do have to take you to task on one issue.
It has been difficult for groups to defend the retention when this reprehensible  State Government has re-interpreted  and re-written laws at every level to prevent successful opposition.

What we have now or what we will get will never be what Newcastle should have had.

Here is a fantasy scenario to ponder -

What if the rail line had always terminated at Hamilton or Wickham, and then a forward thinking government of the day had said to the people of Newcastle that they had secured a land corridor from Hamilton to the top of Newcastle and they are going to extend the main rail line right into the heart of the city. We would have all raised our hands and thanked this great government for such a glorious gesture in finally completing a much needed transport terminal to Newcastle.

Unfortunately it is a fantasy to even contemplate that the present government would do anything positive in Newcastle
Showtime
In fact, that exact scenario did exist in the 1850's when more than half of Newcastle turned out to protest the alienation of the city from the waterfront due to the extension of the railway to Watt Street.

A more accurate scenario would be imagine if someone came along and said all the streets and footpaths that connected the city to the waterfront were to be cut and people would have to walk much further to get from north to south. Streets would become rubbish filled dead ends and the property prices would plummet. All of this so that trains arriving with less than 20 passengers could continue the last 2km rather than have to change to a bus.
  Transtopic Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Well written but I do have to take you to task on one issue.
It has been difficult for groups to defend the retention when this reprehensible  State Government has re-interpreted  and re-written laws at every level to prevent successful opposition.

What we have now or what we will get will never be what Newcastle should have had.

Here is a fantasy scenario to ponder -

What if the rail line had always terminated at Hamilton or Wickham, and then a forward thinking government of the day had said to the people of Newcastle that they had secured a land corridor from Hamilton to the top of Newcastle and they are going to extend the main rail line right into the heart of the city. We would have all raised our hands and thanked this great government for such a glorious gesture in finally completing a much needed transport terminal to Newcastle.

Unfortunately it is a fantasy to even contemplate that the present government would do anything positive in Newcastle
In fact, that exact scenario did exist in the 1850's when more than half of Newcastle turned out to protest the alienation of the city from the waterfront due to the extension of the railway to Watt Street.

A more accurate scenario would be imagine if someone came along and said all the streets and footpaths that connected the city to the waterfront were to be cut and people would have to walk much further to get from north to south. Streets would become rubbish filled dead ends and the property prices would plummet. All of this so that trains arriving with less than 20 passengers could continue the last 2km rather than have to change to a bus.
Northern Flyer
I don't know how many times I have to say it before it sinks in, but the decline of the Newcastle CBD has nothing to do with the rail line extension.  It prospered for over a century, despite the rail line intrusion, and the decline commenced with the decentralisation to the suburbs and the rising influence of the motor vehicle.  It has nothing to do with the rail line, so get over it.  Why do you continue to peddle the lie that the rail corridor cutting off the CBD from the foreshore is the reason for holding back development?  It's complete bulls**t and you know it. If anything, that decline, and I'm talking about commercial and retail business, has accelerated since the truncation of the rail line.  Figure it out!
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
Mad Panda, 20/4/16:

"Nothing like a truncation to get the feathers up!

I'll try to be succinct.

Newcastle in the late '80s was boarded up, shops closed. The west end was dead.
Any commentary today about that sorry state, is simply decades late."

Mad Panda then proceeds to offer a further 10 paragraphs of commentary that is
decades late.

"Being a rusted on Labor seat at both federal and state level for 100 years has
not been good for ole Newy. Whatever the problems are. The blamer lies with the
voters. Marginal seats get the love folks!"

Mad Panda, were you having a Mirabella light globe moment there? You evidently
have more trust in the validity of pork-barrel promises than most, including the
former Lord Mayor of Newcastle. Yes, Newcastle has been taken for granted by
Labor, but thinking that the alternative side would give more than it would take
for the sake of a temporary foothold is laughable.

"Transport planning in Newcastle has been non existent. Barely credible anywhere
else in NSW for that matter."

Public Transport Commission (1972), Travers Morgan (1989), Newcastle Chamber of
Commerce's Transit to a Better City (1996), Sinclair Knight Merz (2001), Lower
Hunter Transport Working Group (2003), Hunter Business Chamber (2007), Parsons
Brinckerhoff (2009), and those are just the transport plans that advocated heavy
rail truncation prior to the disorganised mess over which the current NSW
government has presided. They existed all right, but the reasons why none of
them were credible are varied.

The PTC, under the dreaded Mr Shirley, did not realise that a whole of
government approach was needed. The Greiner government, likewise obsessed with
cost-cutting, imploded before it could follow through on the Travers Morgan
report. But mostly, the proposals were just underpants-on-head silly, and needed
to be nipped in the bud by responsible transport authorities. The proposals for
Woodville Junction (1996, 2001) and Warabrook (2007) were technically and
economically naive. Has there ever been a city anywhere else in the world that
wanted to move its electric rail terminus from the CBD to a swamp 8 km away?

The LHTWG Broadmeadow proposal (2003) was characterised by Professor Currie's
review as full of inaccurate, biased and misrepresented information, a finding
that has encouraged subsequent rail truncation advocates to dumb down the public
debate on transport issues to a ludicrous degree. This invites healthy doubts
about the honesty of subsequent proposals. It is highly suspicious that
advocates for the Parsons Brinckerhoff proposal should claim that Newcastle
University needed the rail line removed, given that the University
administration issued an outright denial that they had said any such thing.

It is fashionable to allege that the Parsons Brinckerhoff proposal was left to
languish by the dregs of the 1995-2011 Labor regime, but the driving force
striving for its adoption was GPT, which suffered a corporate near-death
experience in 2007 (in the words of its newly appointed CEO in 2009), and could
hardly be trusted to make good its promises until it had been recapitalised and
relieved of its unprofitable Hunter Street holdings. Try as I might, I cannot
blame Obeid, MacDonald and other former Labor members of interest to ICAC for
all of this, although they did succeed in paralysing and destroying a government
through their narrow pursuit of self-interest.

"Sinking the line was not an option. Nor lifting it.  Unless you can figure out
how to change the levels at Broadmeadow and Woodville Junction.  A skyhook?

Stuart Avenue was mess prior to the closure.  Today there is an option for a
nth/sth cut/cover tunnel permitting uninterrupted flow."

Mad Panda, please explain why a north-south cut and cover tunnel under the heavy
rail line was not a better deal than ripping out the heavy rail line and still
needing the road tunnel to avoid traffic chaos.

"Lets not forget, the city had been dead for decades.  Honeysuckle Dev Corp did
some good, but much more investment needed, and that should not come from the
public purse. The city is big enough, ugly enough to stand on its own feet."

Is this still the same post? Five paragraphs ago, the fault lay with the voters
for not abandoning Labor sooner.

As for the public purse, if selling off the port of Newcastle was necessary to
fund the first phase light rail proposal, how do you suppose that things will
change to fund extensions?

"Line usage. Dwindling, like all Newcastle public transport. But for a commuter
rush, there wasn't much to talk about here."

This is an irresponsible mis-statement. Patronage on the Hunter line was growing
faster than the decline on the Lake Macquarie line, until the truncation was
announced. The temporary terminus at Hamilton was responsible for the largest
drop-off in recent times.

"Two HUGE transport corridors, being Hunter St and the rail corridor side by
side, with an inaccessible strip of land between them.  The inefficiency was
huge. Both the corridors combined carried so few people.

We were well overdue then, for a major re think on how to get people into and
out of town, for the next 100 years."

Mad Panda, have you noticed that private road transport is the least efficient
way to transport people in and out of town, measured purely in terms of numbers
transported when the corridor is saturated? If you are thinking 100 years ahead,
as apologists for rail truncation invariably can't be bothered to, then improved
public transport is the only viable solution, and the reserved (heavy rail)
corridor above all should be retained.

"Newcastle can be a funny place, as a resident of some 30yrs, the cultural
resistance to change, sometime still surprises me.

This story isn't as simple as a truncated branch.  The whole place needed a
shake up.  All transport modes need to be looked at in the one view.  Certainly,
those two giant corridors need to utilised far more effectively than they have
been."

A two track rail line and a four lane road (forgetting for the moment about
Scott St) represent giant corridors in the context of transport requirements on
a 100 year time scale? Even if we use 1980 as the starting point, your ideas are
utterly short-sighted and regressive.

On 18/5/2014, Planning Minister Hazzard declared that light rail in Newcastle
would not be viable or sustainable for 10 to 20 years. 30 days later
(17/5/2014), light rail was announced in the NSW budget speech. By what mumbo
jumbo could these two statements be construed as part of the one view? The
simple truth is that the decisions of the current government about the rail line
have nothing to do with any unified vision for public transport, and everything
to do with ad hoc decisions made in defiance of proper transport planning.

"I fear though, the best that can happen in the first pass, is the light rail.
Even so, there is every chance it'll shift more people than the heavy rail did."

Read the future options for extension of light rail, Mad Panda, and it should be
obvious that the first pass is little worse than the only extensions that could
conscientiously be recommended. I would be fascinated to know on what basis you
are estimating passenger numbers for the 3km light rail line. All reasonable
indicators (and even the former Lord Mayor) suggest that the light rail idea is
a total flop.

"The good bit is, there will be more people to shift!  After decades, the tide
has turned finally and the people are returning."

Mad Panda, you could have saved us all this rambling self-contradiction by
admitting at the outset that the whole purpose of rail truncation was to develop
high-rise residential units on the corridor. But the increase in population
required to bring the Newcastle light rail proposal up to scratch is far more
than anything yet mooted by the most optimistic developers.

As I have said before, Newcastle LGA's population density is about one quarter
of that in overseas cities where short light rail systems are viable without a
strong niche market like world class tourist attractions, and the proposed line
runs mostly through commercial areas, where the population density is even
lower, by a long way. How high do you want to see those residential tower blocks
rise to redeem this fundamental economic deficiency?

"Five or more tower cranes speaks volumes! I can't ever recall that in three
decades."

I'm not sure that the NSW Electoral Commission would accept a count of tower
cranes as evidence that all was well.

Mad Panda, 22/4/16:

"Id like to believe, that the point is , a functioning transport system will
shift more people than a dysfunctional one. You know, that one we've here in
newy for, oh, 30 years or more.  Got issues with todays plans? Start with
Neville Wran and work from there.  There are so many ways to better utilise the
vast amount of space in the two parallel corridors."

Mad Panda, it's nice to know that you would like to believe that the point is a
tautology, given your passionate devotion to contradictions. Every reasonable
indicator suggests that the light rail system proposed by the government is
fundamentally unsound economically, and the only viable extensions do little to
improve matters.

If the space in the two parallel corridors is so vast, then why is the
government not using more of it to relieve the prospect of two lane mixed road
and light rail traffic in Scott Street? This is of particular importance if you
are taking the light rail concept seriously in the 100 year time frame.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

Well written but I do have to take you to task on one issue.
It has been difficult for groups to defend the retention when this reprehensible  State Government has re-interpreted  and re-written laws at every level to prevent successful opposition.

What we have now or what we will get will never be what Newcastle should have had.

Here is a fantasy scenario to ponder -

What if the rail line had always terminated at Hamilton or Wickham, and then a forward thinking government of the day had said to the people of Newcastle that they had secured a land corridor from Hamilton to the top of Newcastle and they are going to extend the main rail line right into the heart of the city. We would have all raised our hands and thanked this great government for such a glorious gesture in finally completing a much needed transport terminal to Newcastle.

Unfortunately it is a fantasy to even contemplate that the present government would do anything positive in Newcastle
In fact, that exact scenario did exist in the 1850's when more than half of Newcastle turned out to protest the alienation of the city from the waterfront due to the extension of the railway to Watt Street.

A more accurate scenario would be imagine if someone came along and said all the streets and footpaths that connected the city to the waterfront were to be cut and people would have to walk much further to get from north to south. Streets would become rubbish filled dead ends and the property prices would plummet. All of this so that trains arriving with less than 20 passengers could continue the last 2km rather than have to change to a bus.
I don't know how many times I have to say it before it sinks in, but the decline of the Newcastle CBD has nothing to do with the rail line extension.  It prospered for over a century, despite the rail line intrusion, and the decline commenced with the decentralisation to the suburbs and the rising influence of the motor vehicle.  It has nothing to do with the rail line, so get over it.  Why do you continue to peddle the lie that the rail corridor cutting off the CBD from the foreshore is the reason for holding back development?  It's complete bulls**t and you know it. If anything, that decline, and I'm talking about commercial and retail business, has accelerated since the truncation of the rail line.  Figure it out!
Transtopic
Did I say anything about the decline of the CBD? I did say that property values would decline. If you owned a property one block from the water and somebody built a heavy railway line between your property and the water would it negatively effect the price? Of course it would. If you had a elongated city with a grid road pattern that ran down to the waterfront, the residents of that city would not welcome a heavy railway running through the middle of it as you suggest. Only a train spotter would every see that as a positive outcome.

Whilst your comment about decline of the CBD after truncation is off topic, it is also incorrect. This was the situation in Newcastle in 2009 prior to truncation - http://www.theherald.com.au/story/448862/rapid-increase-in-empty-shops-in-newcastle-cbd/interactive/. This is the situation since truncation - http://www.theherald.com.au/story/1649817/hunter-street-350m-puts-life-back-in-our-town/ and http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3693038/building-boom-in-newcastle/

There are now five cranes in the city plus dozens of smaller construction sites. People used to get excited when there was just one crane in the sky. Building activity has increased eight fold from 2011 to 2015. All shops in the Hunter Street Mall are now filled. I take it you don't live in or near Newcastle.
  gw0071 Deputy Commissioner

Trains are gone - Lest we Forget
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

I fear though, the best that can happen in the first pass, is the light rail. Even so, there is every chance it'll shift more people than the heavy rail did.  

The good bit is, there will be more people to shift!  After decades, the tide has turned finally and the people are returning.

Five or more tower cranes speaks volumes! I can't ever recall that in three decades.
Where will these people miraculously come from?  If there's more people coming by train to Wickham, what is the whole point of the light rail exercise?  Watch for the outrage when it dawns on the community at large that their bus routes might also be truncated at Wickham.  But alas by then it might be too late.
I'd like to believe, that the point is , a functioning transport system will shift more people than a dysfunctional one. You know, that one we've here in newy for, oh, 30 years or more.  Got issues with todays plans? Start with Neville Wran and work from there.  There are so many ways to better utilise the vast amount of space in the two parallel corridors.
What is so functional about an expensive and unneeded change of mode for the last couple of kilometres into the TRUE CBD of Newcastle?  Trying to move the Newcastle CBD further west to Wickham is like moving the Sydney CBD to Redfern.  It's pure fantasyland stuff.  Vested interests have tried to portray the decline of the Newcastle CBD on the barrier created by the rail link, but it's pure fiction.  It's got nothing to do with it.  If the powers that be had the inclination to undertake an objective assessment of the decline of the CBD, they would discover that it's more to do with the decentralisation of retail and commercial development into the suburbs.  If they want to rejuvenate the Newcastle CBD, that should be their focus.

That focus should be in re-establishing the existing CBD as well as the Honeysuckle Precinct as the major commercial centre for the Hunter Region.  Retail plays a secondary role, as that has already migrated to the suburbs, but more intensive commercial development will drive supportive retail development.  The current strategy to focus on residential development in the CBD will only create a soulless dormitory heart for the City of Newcastle.  Every city needs a broadly based focal centre.

That leads to the question of connectivity to the focal centre of the Hunter Region and when an existing heavy rail corridor already exists, it is shear madness to abandon it.
Transtopic
The Newcastle CBD (read commercial) has been moving west for decades simply because that is what the market is doing. Wickham, prior to truncation, had more inbound passengers than Newcastle in the morning peak. Commercial businesses can't grow in the limitations of the small heritage buildings in the eastern part of the city. Where exactly in the Eastend would you build something to house NIB or GHD? If that land wasn't available at Honeysukle, those businesses would not have a Newcastle CBD office at all.

Your seem to be preoccupied about people "blaming" the heavy railway. Post industrial cities around the world have suffered change for a variety of reasons (like shopping heading out to the suburbs), the lesson is they have to change with the times or they become crime ridden ghettos (plenty of examples exist in the US). The big step is identifying the positive attributes of a city and take advantage of that. In Newcastle, we have waterfront on the north and eastern side which will attract residents, niche retail and lifestyle choices. The Westend has large blocks suitable for commercial development. So it makes sense to have the transport hub in Wickham and remove heavy rail east of there to maximise the advantage of the waterfront.

See, no one is blaming anything. It is very basic Town Planning 101 stuff.
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
More on the Newcastle light-headed rail proposal:

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/3870180/remember-that-light-rail-cabinet-minute/
  Mad Panda Station Master

Location: NSW Australia
NotepadMan

"Dear Mad Panda, on 20/4/16 you wrote:

/snip/
.
.
.
/snip/

And then I replied....

/snip/
.
.
.
ramble.....
.

something else....
.
.
yet more!
.


/snip/

________________________

And you suggest i ramble!?!

My apologies old mate, you mistook my little list of observations for a cogent argument in support of rail truncation and support for the current government.

Nothing of the sort!

Corridor size(s), utilization, cut/cover methodologies...... you'd clearly argue about the colour of black.  I'll make it even simpler.

The city suffered decades of neglect. Something had to give. Something has! Onward and upward! Smile

You clearly have more time and energy for this than I, and you've got across those old reports, perhaps you could put forward an outline for an effective transport system 100 years hence?

Cheers
MP
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
NotepadMan

"Dear Mad Panda, on 20/4/16 you wrote:

/snip/
.
.
.
/snip/

And then I replied....

/snip/
.
.
.
ramble.....
.

something else....
.
.
yet more!
.


/snip/

________________________

And you suggest i ramble!?!

My apologies old mate, you mistook my little list of observations for a cogent argument in support of rail truncation and support for the current government.

Nothing of the sort!

Corridor size(s), utilization, cut/cover methodologies...... you'd clearly argue about the colour of black.  I'll make it even simpler.

The city suffered decades of neglect. Something had to give. Something has! Onward and upward! Smile

You clearly have more time and energy for this than I, and you've got across those old reports, perhaps you could put forward an outline for an effective transport system 100 years hence?

Cheers
MP
Mad Panda
Mad Panda,

Nothing of the sort, indeed. You string together lazy cliches, absolve yourself of any responsibility for resolving contradictions, and then express wonderment that anyone should challenge your threadbare platitudes.

At the moment, a transport system fit for current requirements seems too much to ask from the current government, so let's not get too hopeful. I'm happy to leave the 100 year plan where I found it, in your nebulous dreams.

While we are on the subject of the colour black, your second post was not a reply to me. Get a grip.
  Mad Panda Station Master

Location: NSW Australia

The city suffered decades of neglect. Something had to give. Something has! Onward and upward! Smile
Mad Panda,

Nothing of the sort, indeed. You string together lazy cliches, absolve yourself of any responsibility for resolving contradictions, and then express wonderment that anyone should challenge your threadbare platitudes.

At the moment, a transport system fit for current requirements seems too much to ask from the current government, so let's not get too hopeful. I'm happy to leave the 100 year plan where I found it, in your nebulous dreams.

While we are on the subject of the colour black, your second post was not a reply to me. Get a grip.
NotebookMan
Heh Heh, it appears we are furiously agreeing!  I can confirm that I still express wonderment at digitial watches, and that my grip, is, happily, loosening!

As you say NCL was taken for granted...Agreed.  A transport system fit for current requirements (let alone future requirements) has been too much for any government. That's the problem.  Looking forward 100 years is exactly what any multi modal transport network planning should be about.

But that, of course is OT, as this is about the NCL spur line.   You appear to have a wealth of historical knowledge! You've made references to a time when, I'm pretty sure, my only concern would have been the state of my nappy.  In a more appropriate forum, it would be interesting to hear your piece on how Newy has come to be where it is.

In closing, I wish to add some context. There have been two fatals, this month, in Newy, on the same road.  Transport planning discussions are merely that. Discussions.

Tread lightly folks Smile
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
Heh Heh, it appears we are furiously agreeing!  I can confirm that I still express wonderment at digitial watches, and that my grip, is, happily, loosening!

As you say NCL was taken for granted...Agreed.  A transport system fit for current requirements (let alone future requirements) has been too much for any government. That's the problem.  Looking forward 100 years is exactly what any multi modal transport network planning should be about.

But that, of course is OT, as this is about the NCL spur line.   You appear to have a wealth of historical knowledge! You've made references to a time when, I'm pretty sure, my only concern would have been the state of my nappy.  In a more appropriate forum, it would be interesting to hear your piece on how Newy has come to be where it is.

In closing, I wish to add some context. There have been two fatals, this month, in Newy, on the same road.  Transport planning discussions are merely that. Discussions.

Tread lightly folks Smile
Mad Panda:
OK, MP, I'll take off my angry face now; I've said my piece, and we have found a less noisy wavelength.

It would be nice to be able to emulate Dr J J C Bradfield, whose transport plan for Sydney (albeit only about half implemented, even with the advent of half of his plan for the Eastern Suburbs railway) has done a lot for Sydney since work started in the 1920s. But the trouble with today is that the future is becoming more and more volatile. I doubt that even a genius could anticipate the needs of the next 100 years. This is particularly an issue with rail, where the capital costs to achieve a major increase in capacity are so high.
  Mad Panda Station Master

Location: NSW Australia
Heh Heh, it appears we are furiously agreeing!  .........
Tread lightly folks Smile
........

It would be nice to be able to emulate Dr J J C Bradfield, .......... I doubt that even a genius could anticipate the needs of the next 100 years.......
NotebookMan
Certainly planning for the future is not so straight forward as the previous century.  I'd like to think that some clever thinking and plain cooperative planning (unheard of!, I know) could plan for the future.  Planned elasticity in a transport system isn't beyond the realm of possible.  Of course rail, so far, is seen as fundamentally inelastic.

If Dmitri Mendelev can create a table of elements as yet undiscovered, I'm sure today, we can create a timetable for a population as yet unaccounted for!

Having said that, I think the days of timetabled public transport are fast evaporating.  I think if, say, a city bus network requires a timetable, then we are doing it wrong!

Now there is an interesting thread! Elastic rail networks - How?  A network that can expand/contract, maybe even relocate as the future requires?
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Oh for goodness sake Save Our Rail - you're not going to get the train line back.

Remember, you are called Save Our RAIL, not Save Our Trains / Restore Our Trains)
(Perhaps if you listened to others, you may have got somewhere)

SOR is still attempting (get this) to restore the RAIL line to Newcastle Station. Though to be fair, looks like their wording may have changed to just "rail infrastructure." & "transport infrastructure)

Comparing to the Fremantle Line a page or two back
Someone was trying to compare the Fremantle Line closure with closing the Newcastle Line, saying that the Fremantle Line was reopened about 4 years or so later.

Can't really compare the two, as the Fremantle Line tracks weren't removed.

****************

Seems that they have to get the Hunter Concerned Citizens to organise a public meeting on behalf of Save Our Rail on Monday from 18:00 to 21:00 called "Keep Rail On Corridor." See http://tinyurl.com/j68uq6u

(IF anyone will be going, I hope they will not interrupt, but to put up their hand and say "Excuse me, that's not correct, the correct is XYZ")

Going by the speakers, it seems it MAYBE just to score political points, even though it's a state matter.

Trouble is, if you try to correct them, . . . OR try to have a different view, they to say why you are wrong.

EG: ****** from what is known as the Hunter Concerned Citizens said about the North West Metro "Did you know they are building it to a different gauge?"
  steve_w_1990 Junior Train Controller

Location: Trying to fix something on the PTA Network
Just out of curiosity, I've looked at the Newcastle Rail corridor on Nearmap, and the latest photos on there (4th May 2016) show most of the Perway and supporting infrastructure has been removed between Wickham and Newcastle, however Newcastle station itself, still has most of it's track in place. Is the track from in and around Newcastle station being removed or left in place? The only reason I ask is because on the photo, all the demolition equipment seems to have disappeared.

Also there is what appears to be a large construction site beginning to take shape, just before where the line used to cross the road and go into Wickham station, is this where the new terminal is to be built?
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
Just out of curiosity, I've looked at the Newcastle Rail corridor on Nearmap, and the latest photos on there (4th May 2016) show most of the Perway and supporting infrastructure has been removed between Wickham and Newcastle, however Newcastle station itself, still has most of it's track in place. Is the track from in and around Newcastle station being removed or left in place? The only reason I ask is because on the photo, all the demolition equipment seems to have disappeared.

Also there is what appears to be a large construction site beginning to take shape, just before where the line used to cross the road and go into Wickham station, is this where the new terminal is to be built?
steve_w_1990
I read somewhere that drilling around Newcastle station discovered very serious contamination issues. This might explain the lack of activity at the time of the photograph.

If the road you are talking about is Stewart Avenue, the first street to the west of the former Wickham station, then that's exactly where.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

I'll post part of what I said at Bus Australia

At the latest "so-called" consultation sessions (NSW Govt & Urban Growth [more like Urban Greed!]) make their minds up first, THEN so called consult with the community.

Of note is that spin video that TfNSW (& the video was at the sessions) has put out differs with the desk plans at the latest sessions, and both of those differ with the pamphlets that were available.

From what I can make out from the long desk plan, if I'm not mistaken the track going eastwards looks to be on the wrong side (ie the Hunter St Mall side) of Scott St from Newcomen St to Pacific St. Here is part of that desk plan near Pacific Park.

I haven't had a chance to look properly yet, but some have suggested that some of the maps are incorrect, such as the airport in the wrong place. (Incorrect as way incorrect, eg: they claim that the maps show an airport in the wrong place.)

And two people said to us, that their driveway of the property they own, is going to be blocked by the raised part and a proposed light rail platform directly in the way!

Not only the above, but several people noticed that their were some changes made to the plans between sessions.

And as like the last lot these sessions, they were meant to be information sessions, but any question didn't want to answer, it was answered by "But these are not the final plans." (A few Saturdays ago, a similar answer was even more stranger.)

Me: How long will the light rail platforms be?
TfNSW #1: "Um, I don't know, I'll go an ask another person"
TfNSW #2: "I don't know, I will go an ask the 'main' person
Main TfNSW: "Ur I don't know, I'll look it up in the REF book.
Main TFNSW: "Ar the REF book says they are to be 33 metres long"
Me: "How high will these platforms be?
TfNSW rep: "Um we don't know.
Me: "And what vehicles are to be used?
TfNSW rep: "Urr, um, we don't know"
Me: "We'll ya should know, as these are suppose to be information sessions.
TfNSW: "But these are NOT the final plans.

And similarly
See https://www.flickr.com/gp/34023326@N02/942025
Me: "And how is traffic going to turn right from Telford St into Scott St, as the Pacific Park terminus will be in the way of traffic turning right?"
TfNSW: "Um well they'll do what they'll do now.
Me: But cars won't be able to turn right there, as the terminus will be in the way.
TfNSW: Ar, but these are not the final plans.

And etc & etc.

The plan is to have the raised part from Worth Place turning left into Hunter St. The [Are you sitting down?] RAISED section is to go through the intersection of Worth Place & Hunter St.
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

We may have lost the rail but we can regale in the knowledge that the Government buffoons will never get the light rail to work even on paper, and so it will never happen, and the buses will remain with new stops built to accommodate the new high rise structures constructed on and around the old rail corridor.
  Gaz170 Junior Train Controller

Location: Gold Coast
Watching this argument from afar (Gold Coast - ex Sydney resident) I can't believe the stupidity of removing a working trainline without any idea of a realistic replacement.

The battle is probably lost, but the consequences will live on for generations.  The Gold Coast has yet to fully get back what was lost 60 years ago.
  tezza Chief Commissioner

The replacement service has been known since mid 2014 and there has been a 14 month delay due to a court injunction. According to the current works page for Newcastle Light Rail there were survey teams out on the route and there will be a geotech survey undertaken on Hunter and Scott Streets from Monday the 23rd.

Last week Urban Growth approached several local Landscape Architectural firms to begin design work on the old corridor (aca The Goods Line) which will also incorporates a cycleway. Hunter Development Corporation also want a couple of multi storey carparks along there too.With all the new roads going in, the Scott Street widening etc and the corridor landscaping we don't really know where these new high rise apartments are going to fit
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

Tezza what a load of bollocks you do talk.

All the Geotech stuff could have been done while the heavy rail was still running.
All the interchange designs could have been done while the heavy rail was still running.
All the tenders for the rolling stock could have been done while the heavy rail was still running
All the options for the actual route could have been done while the heavy rail was still running.

Stop treating the people on this forum like morons
  tezza Chief Commissioner

Nah, its not only about the railway, it needed to be gone and out of the way long ago. The corridor is contaminated, undermined and needs remediation, wouldnt be done if it was still operating. There are now dozens of new buildings going up, others being renovated etc which wouldnt be occuring if the railway was still operating as no companies, private owners etc would invest. There's already been a 14 month delay due to court action but now the interchange construction  is in full swing, the time for whinging has long gone

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