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CIVIC leaders and business groups have welcomed news of an imminent decision on the Newcastle rail line.
It follows a report in Saturday’s Newcastle Herald that business sources believe the state government will announce early in the new year the creation of a terminus at Woodville Junction.
The Hamilton to Newcastle link would become a green corridor, which could be used for a future light rail service.
Newcastle lord mayor John Tate, whose support for a Woodville Junction interchange goes back a decade, said it remained the best option.
‘‘If you are going to do it properly, do it at Woodville Junction,’’ he said.
‘‘It is a brownfield site where there is plenty of room for rail to spread out from.’’
But he cautioned that any plan needed to be backed-up with funding.
‘‘If they just say they are going to cut the rail line no one is going to be happy,’’ he said.
Newcastle Alliance and the Hunter Business Chamber also welcomed the suggestion that a decision on the rail was imminent.
‘‘I think any announcement on the rail line would be welcomed by the community because that is what they [the government] were elected on,’’ alliance chairman Paul Murphy said.
Chamber president Richard Anicich said the organisation believed that creating an effective public transport system was essential to the revival of inner Newcastle.
‘‘Our main emphasis is to ensure that wherever the rail line is terminated it results in an effective transport system that leads to the renewal of the CBD,’’ he said.
But not everyone is enthusiastic. Maitland Save Our Rail campaigner Jan Davis said community groups would fight tooth and nail to retain heavy rail into Newcastle.
‘‘Once again lacklustre governments are looking for easy answers to get the developers off their back,’’ she said.
Ms Davis said there would be no compromise.
‘‘It is a world-class railway line that is incredibly well used,’’ she said.
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