Context of new $500m announcement for high speed rail Sydney-Newcastle

 
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
That’s being a little pedantic, isn’t it? :p Newcastle Interchange is still in “Newcastle”, surely? I quite like the LR, they just need to expand it.
Totoro

What is the name of the interchange just outside Newcastle?

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  Totoro Junior Train Controller

I’ll let you pick one? Here’s a map of the Newcastle statistical region to help get started. Low and behold, that region does include the Newcastle Interchange. Who would’ve thought.. :p

https://profile.id.com.au/newcastle/about
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
The new interchange is at the north of Broadmeadow if I am not wrong as opposed to the previous terminus in Newcastle. The interchange is not Newcastle but 3 kms east of the cbd as we know as Newcastle.
  alleve Junior Train Controller

Location: T4 Illawarra Line
Newcastle Interchange is located in Wickham, about a block or two away from the Newcastle LGA border. It is easily within the broadly accepted area of Newcastle, and it's an interchange with Newcastle Light Rail and Newcastle buses, the name "Newcastle Interchange" seems pretty accurate to me. It's extremely pedantic to have a problem with Newcastle Interchange being called that because it's less than 180m straight line distance from the LGA of Newcastle.

If we're going to argue about the technicalities of Newcastle Interchange being named after Newcastle, why don't we start arguing about all of the other train stations that are technically incorrectly named? What about Macdonaldtown, which is named after a suburb that doesn't exist? What about Museum, which is further away from the museum after which it is named than Newcastle Interchange is from Newcastle? From the Bathurst St entrance, Museum is at least 250m away straight line distance and from the main Liverpool St entrance it's almost 400m away.
  billybaxter Chief Commissioner

Location: Bosnia Park, Fairfield
Or even Central. Maybe it should be called Southern, it's location is certainly not central cbd.
  ExtremeCommuter Locomotive Fireman

*sigh*

So we will (unlikely) be able to travel between Sydney and Newcastle in one hour? assuming they can somehow break the bonds of the Sydney metropolitan area (which currently takes about 40 minutes),and navigate extremely steep terrain, and re-enter another metropolitan area (which currently takes 20 minutes), to what benefit would this be? especially when one end of the line has no supporting infrastructure?

We would have an inter-city journey that takes one hour, but then with the public transport and pedestrian infrastructure ranging from poor to non-existent within Newcastle itself, a 'last mile' so to speak that can take upwards of 2 hours in some cases, with issues stating right at the station with Broadmeadow being the busiest station in the Hunter region yet one of the closest businesses to said station does not even allow train passengers to purchase anything (since it's a drive-thru only KFC).


  -one might say that it would allow Newcastle residents to work in Sydney, but this is not true, especially for the younger generation, people won't suddenly be able to live in Newcastle and quickly be able to commute to Sydney just because the train is faster! job applications are largely automated and applying for a Sydney job with a regional address will likely get your application automatically spat out, and since employers are more concerned about employee's having cars (another filter), a faster train service would hardly entice them to change this.

  -it's been touted that high speed rail will give Australian's choice in where they live, also not true, people will live where (1) housing is available and (2) where resources, including work, are available, and since the work argument doesn't fly (apart from maybe a select few professional roles), housing is not up so scratch in any part of the country but especially outside of capital cities, and high speed rails won't suddenly improve local resources such as public transport and healthcare, this argument is shut down before it leaves the station.

  -not sure if this one has been said, but one could argue that high speed rail will help lower the cost of living, also wrong, if anything it may even make it worse, in Sydney near suburban stations, large chunks of land have been cleared out for car parks that are completely useless after 7:00/7:30am, this land could have been used for affordable housing in a location that would have allowed for an affordable lifestyle - now imagine how big the car parks would be if instead of serving a suburb, they would be serving an entire mid-sized secondary city?

  -but won't it create more jobs outside of Sydney? well yes, but not in the numbers needed unless other investments in these places are given, sure train crew (for now), station staff (for now) and the initial construction (which would probably be done with as little local labour as possible), the latest Bradfield project shows that the government would rather right after demolishing residential land during a housing crisis, demolish a bunch of farms during a food crisis to build a brand new businesses park instead of using already existing places like Newcastle and Wollongong which need more jobs.

  -but at least high speed rail will reduce dependence on cars right? wrong, while it may take a few cars off the M1, it will just increase car-dependency around stations.


I know this seems all negative and doom&gloom, but I do actually want faster trips between Sydney and Newcastle, but this is putting the cart before the horse, right now there are times I can't use the train between the two cities and it's NOT because of the journey time between Central and Newcastle Intg, it's because of how hostile Newcastle is to navigate without a car, fix this and improve frequencies and stopping patterns on the existing services, then and only then we can talk about gradual improvements to journey time over time.

Also, with all the problems in Australia and the world right now, is this the best use of funds, we have already made the mistake of a $660m commuter car park program in the middle of a housing crisis! we are ready to destroy some farms for a new CBD we don't need (Bradfield) in the middle of a food crisis! and now this!
How about extending the Newcastle light rail first so it actually goes somewhere? or putting in local new stations next to key destinations one the Newcastle railway lines that already existing? or installing pedestrian access in the local stations that already exist?
  alleve Junior Train Controller

Location: T4 Illawarra Line
*sigh*

So we will (unlikely) be able to travel between Sydney and Newcastle in one hour? assuming they can somehow break the bonds of the Sydney metropolitan area (which currently takes about 40 minutes),and navigate extremely steep terrain, and re-enter another metropolitan area (which currently takes 20 minutes), to what benefit would this be? especially when one end of the line has no supporting infrastructure?

We would have an inter-city journey that takes one hour, but then with the public transport and pedestrian infrastructure ranging from poor to non-existent within Newcastle itself, a 'last mile' so to speak that can take upwards of 2 hours in some cases, with issues stating right at the station with Broadmeadow being the busiest station in the Hunter region yet one of the closest businesses to said station does not even allow train passengers to purchase anything (since it's a drive-thru only KFC).


  -one might say that it would allow Newcastle residents to work in Sydney, but this is not true, especially for the younger generation, people won't suddenly be able to live in Newcastle and quickly be able to commute to Sydney just because the train is faster! job applications are largely automated and applying for a Sydney job with a regional address will likely get your application automatically spat out, and since employers are more concerned about employee's having cars (another filter), a faster train service would hardly entice them to change this.

  -it's been touted that high speed rail will give Australian's choice in where they live, also not true, people will live where (1) housing is available and (2) where resources, including work, are available, and since the work argument doesn't fly (apart from maybe a select few professional roles), housing is not up so scratch in any part of the country but especially outside of capital cities, and high speed rails won't suddenly improve local resources such as public transport and healthcare, this argument is shut down before it leaves the station.

  -not sure if this one has been said, but one could argue that high speed rail will help lower the cost of living, also wrong, if anything it may even make it worse, in Sydney near suburban stations, large chunks of land have been cleared out for car parks that are completely useless after 7:00/7:30am, this land could have been used for affordable housing in a location that would have allowed for an affordable lifestyle - now imagine how big the car parks would be if instead of serving a suburb, they would be serving an entire mid-sized secondary city?

  -but won't it create more jobs outside of Sydney? well yes, but not in the numbers needed unless other investments in these places are given, sure train crew (for now), station staff (for now) and the initial construction (which would probably be done with as little local labour as possible), the latest Bradfield project shows that the government would rather right after demolishing residential land during a housing crisis, demolish a bunch of farms during a food crisis to build a brand new businesses park instead of using already existing places like Newcastle and Wollongong which need more jobs.

  -but at least high speed rail will reduce dependence on cars right? wrong, while it may take a few cars off the M1, it will just increase car-dependency around stations.


I know this seems all negative and doom&gloom, but I do actually want faster trips between Sydney and Newcastle, but this is putting the cart before the horse, right now there are times I can't use the train between the two cities and it's NOT because of the journey time between Central and Newcastle Intg, it's because of how hostile Newcastle is to navigate without a car, fix this and improve frequencies and stopping patterns on the existing services, then and only then we can talk about gradual improvements to journey time over time.

Also, with all the problems in Australia and the world right now, is this the best use of funds, we have already made the mistake of a $660m commuter car park program in the middle of a housing crisis! we are ready to destroy some farms for a new CBD we don't need (Bradfield) in the middle of a food crisis! and now this!
How about extending the Newcastle light rail first so it actually goes somewhere? or putting in local new stations next to key destinations one the Newcastle railway lines that already existing? or installing pedestrian access in the local stations that already exist?
ExtremeCommuter
Bit of a nitpick, Newcastle Intg is by far the busiest Hunter station, it gets over 2x the patronage that Broadmeadow gets. Broadmeadow is second place.

Other than that though you're right, the focus should be on improvements to the existing service and improvements to transport at either end, mostly the regional end.
  epicanova Beginner

job applications are largely automated and applying for a Sydney job with a regional address will likely get your application automatically spat out
ExtremeCommuter

Why would they do that? Last I checked we had a labour shortage, employers can't afford to be throwing out applicants based on their location. This isn't some new thing either, why do you think we're so thirsty for skilled migrants? Australia has long had more jobs than it does workers to fill them.

and since employers are more concerned about employee's having cars (another filter)
ExtremeCommuter

That depends on the industry and location. There are just under 680k jobs in City of Sydney alone, the vast majority of which are office jobs, so no car required. https://economy.id.com.au/sydney/local-jobs

housing is not up so scratch in any part of the country but especially outside of capital cities, and high speed rails won't suddenly improve local resources such as public transport and healthcare
ExtremeCommuter

You are correct here, which is why you link HSR to existing towns with existing infrastructure. Let's look at the route from the 2014 Beyond Zero Emissions report, which followed Labor's 2013 report:

Melbourne
Seymour: buses, trains, hospital
Shepparton: buses, trains, hospital
Albury: airport, buses, trains, hospital...

I could go on but I think you get the point.

in Sydney near suburban stations, large chunks of land have been cleared out for car parks
ExtremeCommuter

You are right that commuter car parks are garbage and take up valuable real estate... so just... don't build them? Nobody ever said HSR stations need a thousand parking spaces. Again utilise towns with existing transit infrastructure.

How about extending the Newcastle light rail first so it actually goes somewhere?
ExtremeCommuter

A light rail extension would be great, but it's not sorely needed, most of the likely destinations are well-serviced by buses. Broadmeadow stadium is the only semi-urgent example, and if we were to get HSR into Broadmeadow station, that could be part of the light rail line.

In reality HSR into Broadmeadow would be expensive and require tunneling and two level crossing removals, so it'll probably end up going at Hexham. Which means we can start with fixing up the train network via:

- Hourly services to Singleton (currently: 6 trains a day with up to 9 hours of downtime, and that's the weekday schedule)
- Restoring the old Cessnock line just sitting there not being used for ??? reason
- Looking at restoring the old Belmont line (re-routing would be better, but $$$$)
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Sydney's housing problem has more to do with the empty properties sitting vacant by foreign owners. If these properties were rented or owned by Australians then the housing crisis would go away. HSR isn't going to solve this issue as much as changing policies will.
  epicanova Beginner

Sydney's housing problem has more to do with the empty properties sitting vacant by foreign owners. If these properties were rented or owned by Australians then the housing crisis would go away. HSR isn't going to solve this issue as much as changing policies will.
simstrain

You're partly right. Even if they address that problem though, Sydney will soon run out of land, and no amount of government intervention will fix that. The only solution there is to expand the definition of Sydney.
  alleve Junior Train Controller

Location: T4 Illawarra Line
Sydney's housing problem has more to do with the empty properties sitting vacant by foreign owners. If these properties were rented or owned by Australians then the housing crisis would go away. HSR isn't going to solve this issue as much as changing policies will.
simstrain
Ehh, not really.

Sure, foreign owned investment properties are a contributor but if you got rid of all of them tomorrow, the problem would still persist. You'd be a lot more on the money talking about investment properties as a whole, and even more on the money talking about a lack of land and a system where everyone is incentivised to live in the major cities because there's no jobs, healthcare, etc anywhere else. Which brings us back to the topic of HSR, what's the point of fast travel between Sydney and the regions if nobody is willing to move out to the regions to live? The focus should be about making secondary cities like Newcastle, Wollongong, etc more livable, and that includes better local PT.

HSR isn't going to solve this issue as much as changing policies will, but the policies that need to be changed go far beyond just breaking up foreign owned properties. As @epicanova notes, Sydney will soon run out of land.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

Sydney's housing problem has more to do with the empty properties sitting vacant by foreign owners. If these properties were rented or owned by Australians then the housing crisis would go away. HSR isn't going to solve this issue as much as changing policies will.

You're partly right. Even if they address that problem though, Sydney will soon run out of land, and no amount of government intervention will fix that. The only solution there is to expand the definition of Sydney.
epicanova
Sydney doesn't need more land; there's plenty of sky to fill up. Some have been banging on about this for decades, notably from those who stand to benefit in their pocket, and from politicians and who think it's just too much work to expand the required infrastructure into new areas. They want Sydney to look like Hong Kong, where most people live in the clouds.
  Transtopic Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Not everyone wants to live on the outskirts of Sydney, even if there's cheaper housing.  Most of the jobs are in the middle and inner ring suburbs, including the CBD.  The challenge is to provide more housing in these regions at an affordable price, but NIMBYISM gets in the way.  It doesn't have to be all high rise, which is best located around major transport hubs on the rail network, whether Sydney Trains or metro.  At the moment, all the focus seems to be on the metro stations, while there are potentially multiple locations on the existing rail network which could be developed for more intense housing.

Aside from high rise around transport hubs, there is also the option of redeveloping existing inner city regions with duplex's and the modern day equivalent of terrace housing, which could potentially double the housing stock and population in those regions and provide more affordable housing.  The more housing stock that is available in the inner and middle ring suburbs would bring downward pressure on prices.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Not everyone wants to live on the outskirts of Sydney, even if there's cheaper housing.  Most of the jobs are in the middle and inner ring suburbs, including the CBD.  The challenge is to provide more housing in these regions at an affordable price, but NIMBYISM gets in the way.  It doesn't have to be all high rise, which is best located around major transport hubs on the rail network, whether Sydney Trains or metro.  At the moment, all the focus seems to be on the metro stations, while there are potentially multiple locations on the existing rail network which could be developed for more intense housing.

Aside from high rise around transport hubs, there is also the option of redeveloping existing inner city regions with duplex's and the modern day equivalent of terrace housing, which could potentially double the housing stock and population in those regions and provide more affordable housing.  The more housing stock that is available in the inner and middle ring suburbs would bring downward pressure on prices.
Transtopic
Mostly agree, but the current strategy is very obvious and I've aactually had it confirmed by someone close to those in charge and has been like this long before the LNP took power and the first thinking of Metro.

Build up high capacity rail corridors and re-develop those areas into high rise. This process started over 20 years ago and hence the former ALP NSW govt started to invesigate with SD'ing the DD network, this later evolved into Metro style on seperate lines. Automation of course was to partly help off-set the cost.

People carry on about the Metro SW not being high density or even out to Tallawong, but sorry, you need to stop looking at with your 2013 goggles and start looking at it with 2040 vision.  The Sydney Basin will unlikely and hopefully never been copy and paset Hong Kong, but the main rail corridors especially those on any of the Metro lines certainly will. Draw a 1km circle circle around any main line station and go fine out for yourself.
  epicanova Beginner

Not everyone wants to live on the outskirts of Sydney
Transtopic

Not everyone wants to live in high rises either. What of the American... er... Australian dream, the white picket fence in the suburbs, with a backyard for your dogs and 1.6 children to play?

Australians like their single-dwelling sprawling suburban hell, so I don't think "just build up" will be an issue taken to the polls any time soon.
  epicanova Beginner

Which brings us back to the topic of HSR, what's the point of fast travel between Sydney and the regions if nobody is willing to move out to the regions to live? The focus should be about making secondary cities like Newcastle, Wollongong, etc more livable, and that includes better local PT.
alleve

There's plenty of reasons to live in Newcastle. This is why we had several train lines, an extensive tram network, and even today we still have an extensive public transport network, even if the frequency is lacking in a lot of places. On paper it made sense to live here, but in practice it fell apart.

The main thing we lacked (and still lack) is jobs, particularly jobs for the modern, knowledge-based economy. Why would a business set up in Newcastle when most of the workers are in Sydney? And where are businesses supposed to set up, when our former eastern CBD was all undermined, so no substantial office space could develop?

Newcastle's issue has never been a lack of reasons to live here: it's simply the inability to get a job that allows you to live here, particularly for people in knowledge industries; along with a hostile environment for people looking to change fields. Our biggest industry is health care, and a large chunk of those jobs are ineligible to people who didn't plan for them from high school. Then there's teaching, which is an overcrowded and nepotistic field, followed by retail.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Sydney's housing problem has more to do with the empty properties sitting vacant by foreign owners. If these properties were rented or owned by Australians then the housing crisis would go away. HSR isn't going to solve this issue as much as changing policies will.

You're partly right. Even if they address that problem though, Sydney will soon run out of land, and no amount of government intervention will fix that. The only solution there is to expand the definition of Sydney.
epicanova

Except there are so many empty properties in Sydney that we wouldn't need any extra land if they were all sold to Australians and lived in or rented out. This state government has caused this issue by closing down public housing and selling properties to private developers who then do nothing or change the zoning to something other then housing.
  ExtremeCommuter Locomotive Fireman

Bit of a nitpick, Newcastle Intg is by far the busiest Hunter station, it gets over 2x the patronage that Broadmeadow gets. Broadmeadow is second place.

Other than that though you're right, the focus should be on improvements to the existing service and improvements to transport at either end, mostly the regional end.
Oops, my mistake, I was under the impression that Broadmeadow was busier than Newcastle Interchange, but I think you are right.

Although a bit of a nitpick, my comment about Broadmeadow Railway Station being home to the world's first Drive-Thru Only KFC points out just how strong the car-dependency is in Newcastle, and I don't think there is a single High Speed Rail line around the world that's terminus is a city that dependant on cars.

job applications are largely automated and applying for a Sydney job with a regional address will likely get your application automatically spat out
Why would they do that? Last I checked we had a labour shortage, employers can't afford to be throwing out applicants based on their location. This isn't some new thing either, why do you think we're so thirsty for skilled migrants? Australia has long had more jobs than it does workers to fill them.
and since employers are more concerned about employee's having cars (another filter)
That depends on the industry and location. There are just under 680k jobs in City of Sydney alone, the vast majority of which are office jobs, so no car required. https://economy.id.com.au/sydney/local-jobs
housing is not up so scratch in any part of the country but especially outside of capital cities, and high speed rails won't suddenly improve local resources such as public transport and healthcare
You are correct here, which is why you link HSR to existing towns with existing infrastructure. Let's look at the route from the 2014 Beyond Zero Emissions report, which followed Labor's 2013 report:

Melbourne
Seymour: buses, trains, hospital
Shepparton: buses, trains, hospital
Albury: airport, buses, trains, hospital...

I could go on but I think you get the point.
in Sydney near suburban stations, large chunks of land have been cleared out for car parks
You are right that commuter car parks are garbage and take up valuable real estate... so just... don't build them? Nobody ever said HSR stations need a thousand parking spaces. Again utilise towns with existing transit infrastructure.

How about extending the Newcastle light rail first so it actually goes somewhere?
A light rail extension would be great, but it's not sorely needed, most of the likely destinations are well-serviced by buses. Broadmeadow stadium is the only semi-urgent example, and if we were to get HSR into Broadmeadow station, that could be part of the light rail line.

In reality HSR into Broadmeadow would be expensive and require tunneling and two level crossing removals, so it'll probably end up going at Hexham. Which means we can start with fixing up the train network via:

- Hourly services to Singleton (currently: 6 trains a day with up to 9 hours of downtime, and that's the weekday schedule)
- Restoring the old Cessnock line just sitting there not being used for ??? reason
- Looking at restoring the old Belmont line (re-routing would be better, but $$$$)
Thanks for the detailed reply, to answer a few of your points:


- Why would an employer still filter applicants based on address during a labour shortage? beats me, but I don't think they can let go of their pride, I remember speaking to someone who was upset they could not find workers and blamed Centrelink because of it, but when asked if they would be willing to hire someone with no car (which would be most people on Centrelink), they said no.

- Same principle as above, no car required for office jobs but that doesn't stop employers using it as a filter.

- Not too familiar with Victoria at all so can't really comment on the examples you gave sorry, but in NSW, pretty much anywhere outside of Sydney lacks necessary infrastructure, Newcastle and Wollongong have elements in place but they are not utilised. HSR is putting the cart before the horse.

- The government was happy to spend $660M on a H̶o̶m̶e̶l̶e̶s̶s̶n̶e̶s̶s̶ Commuter Car Park program right in the middle of a housing crisis, what's stopping them doing the same thing on a larger scale with HSR? people are begging for homes and the government is clearing out the land that should be used for homes and using large amounts of raw mateiral to create giant structures that are completely useless after 7:00/7:30am! you are right, utilise town with existing transit infrastructure, which do not exist in NSW and the government is showing no intention on changing that.

- While the light rail extension may not be be sorely needed, improved transit in Newcastle is, and is shockingly easy to do so:
  - 4 trains per hour to Fassifern with additional stations at Kotara, Garden Suburb (Charlestown Road), and Glendale, existing stations to receive upgrades to become pedestrian accessible, restoration of Toroto branch as suburban terminus
  - 2 trains per hour to Aberglasslyn and Sandgate turnback to provide 4 trains per hour in the 'suburban' portion of Hunter Line, turnback could be extended to Newcastle Airport if justifiable in future, additional stations at Islington (Clyde St) and Waratah West (Maud St)
  - New line to Belmont via Charlestown making use of some old corridors to save $$$ where possible, if done right, only one underground station would be required for a 7 station line
  - Cessnock line restoration and increased train frequency to Singleton
I would argue this would be the most sorely needed so buses can feed rail stations instead of being solely relied on to across several kilometres of urban sprawl and windy roads.
As for the light rail extension, the current line is a white elephant and needs an extension to justify itself, extension should go to Wallsend via Jesmond, Lambton Pool, and Broadmeadow stadium, running alongeside bike paths and car parks to stay off the street as much as possible to save $$$ and improve travel time.




Sydney's housing problem has more to do with the empty properties sitting vacant by foreign owners. If these properties were rented or owned by Australians then the housing crisis would go away. HSR isn't going to solve this issue as much as changing policies will.
-------
Except there are so many empty properties in Sydney that we wouldn't need any extra land if they were all sold to Australians and lived in or rented out. This state government has caused this issue by closing down public housing and selling properties to private developers who then do nothing or change the zoning to something other then housing.
100% correct, this is the single biggest cause of the Housing Crisis in Australia, Australia needs to adopt a one-house policy where owners need reside in the country and own the home as a primary residence and NOTHING else.

Second biggest cause of the housing crisis is poor land use, such giant useless commuter car parks taking up primary real estate and the 'Sydneypore' policy which basically consists of our government thinking Sydney is a city-state and that other areas (such as Newcastle) do not exist and do not need infrastructure such as public transport and housing.

HSR will not solve ANY of these issues.

Sydney's housing problem has more to do with the empty properties sitting vacant by foreign owners. If these properties were rented or owned by Australians then the housing crisis would go away. HSR isn't going to solve this issue as much as changing policies will.
You're partly right. Even if they address that problem though, Sydney will soon run out of land, and no amount of government intervention will fix that. The only solution there is to expand the definition of Sydney.
Sydney is already out of land, it wouldn't be if there was no empty properties like @simstrain mentioned and if we were not pouring $660M into useless commuter car park program in the middle of a housing crisis, but it is.
And that is why we are extending the definition of Sydney and clearing out farmland (in the middle of a food crisis) to build Bradfield - this should have never been done and the jobs going to Bradfield should have been sent outside of Sydney to improve regional employment.


Which brings us back to the topic of HSR, what's the point of fast travel between Sydney and the regions if nobody is willing to move out to the regions to live? The focus should be about making secondary cities like Newcastle, Wollongong, etc more livable, and that includes better local PT.
There's plenty of reasons to live in Newcastle. This is why we had several train lines, an extensive tram network, and even today we still have an extensive public transport network, even if the frequency is lacking in a lot of places. On paper it made sense to live here, but in practice it fell apart.

The main thing we lacked (and still lack) is jobs, particularly jobs for the modern, knowledge-based economy. Why would a business set up in Newcastle when most of the workers are in Sydney? And where are businesses supposed to set up, when our former eastern CBD was all undermined, so no substantial office space could develop?

Newcastle's issue has never been a lack of reasons to live here: it's simply the inability to get a job that allows you to live here, particularly for people in knowledge industries; along with a hostile environment for people looking to change fields. Our biggest industry is health care, and a large chunk of those jobs are ineligible to people who didn't plan for them from high school. Then there's teaching, which is an overcrowded and nepotistic field, followed by retail.
Which is why the Bradfield jobs should have gone to Newcastle...

Although @alleve is still right, Newcastle still needs better local PT (what remains today is not enough, most families in Newcastle need to own one car per resident, better PT could make this one car per household, lowering the cost of living), alongside better healthcare (bulk billed doctors are almost non-existent in Newcastle, although Sydney is beginning to head this way also), and better housing options.

Once again, HSR will not solve these issues.
  epicanova Beginner

4 trains per hour to Fassifern with additional stations at Kotara, Garden Suburb (Charlestown Road), and Glendale
ExtremeCommuter

This would be great, sadly with the freight bypass going north of Fassifern, I doubt any 15-minute services will extend beyond Cardiff.

This line is doomed anyway as there's no major destinations along the train line until you reach either Broadmeadow or Tuggerah, hence the low ridership which keeps frequency down.

I'm a big believer that if you want ridership (and thus frequency), you need to have destinations along the route that people want to go to, like CBDs or shopping centres. Glendale desperately needs a station for that reason.

restoration of Toroto branch as suburban terminus
ExtremeCommuter

I live in Toronto, sad to say that won't happen. The NIMBYs living across from the old station already whinge about the 273 bus being too loud, imagine the uproar if the train service came back. The bus service is good enough IMO.

New line to Belmont via Charlestown making use of some old corridors to save $$$ where possible, if done right, only one underground station would be required for a 7 station line
ExtremeCommuter

Some interesting ideas here, I've been thinking along these lines as well. I'd start by reclaiming a few km's at the northern end of the Fernleigh Trail, with a new station across from Westfield Kotara. Then it takes a left turn to reach Charlestown with a little tunneling:



From there it's all above ground to Belmont:



And hell, while I'm dreaming, why not complete the loop:





(A handful of houses may have been harmed in the making of this graphic)

That's all pie in the sky fantasy though. In terms of projects that have even the slightest chance of happening, it basically boils down to:

a) Glendale station; and
b) One high-speed rail station (most likely at Hexham).
  viaprojects Assistant Commissioner


Some interesting ideas here, I've been thinking along these lines as well. I'd start by reclaiming a few km's at the northern end of the Fernleigh Trail, with a new station across from Westfield Kotara. Then it takes a left turn to reach Charlestown with a little tunneling:

....

That's all pie in the sky fantasy though. .
epicanova



too many pies. main issue with maps the green parts are mostly holes in hilly areas .. and a straight line is a better option for new train lines ..
  ExtremeCommuter Locomotive Fireman

4 trains per hour to Fassifern with additional stations at Kotara, Garden Suburb (Charlestown Road), and Glendale
This would be great, sadly with the freight bypass going north of Fassifern, I doubt any 15-minute services will extend beyond Cardiff.

This line is doomed anyway as there's no major destinations along the train line until you reach either Broadmeadow or Tuggerah, hence the low ridership which keeps frequency down.

I'm a big believer that if you want ridership (and thus frequency), you need to have destinations along the route that people want to go to, like CBDs or shopping centres. Glendale desperately needs a station for that reason.
restoration of Toroto branch as suburban terminus
I live in Toronto, sad to say that won't happen. The NIMBYs living across from the old station already whinge about the 273 bus being too loud, imagine the uproar if the train service came back. The bus service is good enough IMO.
New line to Belmont via Charlestown making use of some old corridors to save $$$ where possible, if done right, only one underground station would be required for a 7 station line
Some interesting ideas here, I've been thinking along these lines as well. I'd start by reclaiming a few km's at the northern end of the Fernleigh Trail, with a new station across from Westfield Kotara. Then it takes a left turn to reach Charlestown with a little tunneling:

From there it's all above ground to Belmont:

And hell, while I'm dreaming, why not complete the loop:

(A handful of houses may have been harmed in the making of this graphic)

That's all pie in the sky fantasy though. In terms of projects that have even the slightest chance of happening, it basically boils down to:

a) Glendale station; and
b) One high-speed rail station (most likely at Hexham).
epicanova
Interesting points:

  - Cardiff Station would actually require a rebuild for that matter to be useful, extend the siding near Glendale into an elevated line with new station near the Macquarie/Myall intersection and rejoin the main at the Newcastle St bridge - any homes impacted should be respectfully relocated to the site of the current station - this would make Cardiff ideal for transit-oriented-development.
In terms of Cardiff being the turnback for 4 trains per hour, several new housing developments are going up west of soutwest of Cardiff, and Fassifern is a well-patronised station and being at the edge of the metropolitan area makes it (well actually Toronto, with Fassifern being kind of isolated, and Toronto being an urban centre) the logical suburban terminus.

As for the line being doomed, used to think so myself, because you are right "if you want ridership (and thus frequency), you need to have destinations along the route that people want to go to, like CBDs or shopping centres", but then I realised that there are destinations along both the electrified line and the Hunter line within suburban Newcastle, the problem is that there are in most cases no stations or inaccessible stations combined with poor frequencies.

First example is Kotara, what could be rich transit-oriented-development is a complete mess, the railway divides the New Lambton residential area from the Homemaker centre and an completely unnecessary impenetrable fence divides the Homemaker centre from Westfield, a railway station and skybridge could connected these area and lead to new developments, so relocate the existing station then? no, just build a new one, the existing station serves many homes, but a cracked and broken entrance and hidden platforms makes people well unsafe using it, fix this, and then to really make this station work, provide a pedestrian link to Blackbutt Reserve and renamed the station accordingly.

A station in Garden Suburb at the western mouth of the Tickhole Tunnel would provide interchange with quick and frequent buses to both John Hunter Hosptial and Charlestown Square, as well as Jesmond and Newcastle University, just would require an access road and a tall lift.

Cardiff has been discussed and so has Glendale (which I am confused by the fact that it gets more attention than Kotara), but Cockle Creek and Booragul are notable as both have new housing developments going up near their respective stations but with NO pedestrian access, fixing this would tie in Toronto as a logical suburban terminus for 3-4 trains per hour.

On the suburban portion of the Hunter Line, stations at Clyde St Islington and Maud St Waratah West would serve the Newcastle TAFE and Mater Hosptial (and surrounding areas) and provide appropriate station spacing.


  - As for NIMBY's in Toronto not wanting the railway, well as long as they are happy to pay for rego and insurance for everyone, that is fine Laughing reminds of someone I knew who lived near another old line and said they wouldn't want trains back, they had two young children who will one day grow up and either they will need to pay their rego and insurance despite rapid inflation or doom their kids to a life of eternal welfare - thinking they would probably want the trains back then, maybe educate the NIMBY's with situations like this.

In all seriousness, some NIMBY's have a point, they might look to Sydney and fear that every station will turn into a sea of poorly designed apartments and useless car parks, while some stations can be made home to new developments of (albeit better designed) apartments (and NO useless commuter car parks), while others area can remain low density with smaller developments of smaller affordable freestanding homes and duplexes, Newcastle Intg, Broadmeadow, Kotara, Cardiff, Glendale, Toronto, and MAYBE Islington and Warabrook can have high density transit-oriented-development, and the rest of the stations can remain low density areas with transit access.


  - In regards to your Belmont Line concept, I like the alignment, using it I would put stations at Westfield Kotara, Admastown Heights (Pacific Highway interchange, would require another tall lift), Kahibah, Charlestown (obviously lol), Charlestown West, Hillsborough, Warners Bay Industrial Area, Bayview Street, Warners Bay Road, Mount Hutton, Windale (would need to figure out a differnet name since many people are so rude that patronage would be lost if station was not renamed, sadly I'm not making this up), Bennetts Green, Jewells, Belmont North, and Belmont (obviously lol).

Certainly serves more ares than my line with less tunnelling, but would require more track probably resulting in more $$$ which combined with the curvy alignment would be difficult to sell, personally though, I like it.


  - Lastly, in terms of the realistic projects, I see Glendale as essential but Kotara more so (Glendale shopping centre should be demolished entirely and be rebuild as an enclosed shopping centre integrated into a railway station with transit-oriented-development).

But a high speed rail station in Hexham is useless, being almost as far from Newcastle as the airport is, when one of the benefits of rail travel is meant to be convenient stations in the centre of a city or town - I do fear that a 'freight' bypass will see the track between Broadmeadow and Fassifern become a latest cycleway given the history of rail lines in the area, with the areas once served on rail becoming so car-dependent that they ironically develop in a way that is completely hostile towards cycling, as has already happened in Newcastle, just look at the mess that is Kotara.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Thanks for the detailed reply, to answer a few of your points:


- Why would an employer still filter applicants based on address during a labour shortage? beats me, but I don't think they can let go of their pride, I remember speaking to someone who was upset they could not find workers and blamed Centrelink because of it, but when asked if they would be willing to hire someone with no car (which would be most people on Centrelink), they said no.

- Same principle as above, no car required for office jobs but that doesn't stop employers using it as a filter.

- Not too familiar with Victoria at all so can't really comment on the examples you gave sorry, but in NSW, pretty much anywhere outside of Sydney lacks necessary infrastructure, Newcastle and Wollongong have elements in place but they are not utilised. HSR is putting the cart before the horse.

- The government was happy to spend $660M on a H̶o̶m̶e̶l̶e̶s̶s̶n̶e̶s̶s̶ Commuter Car Park program right in the middle of a housing crisis, what's stopping them doing the same thing on a larger scale with HSR? people are begging for homes and the government is clearing out the land that should be used for homes and using large amounts of raw mateiral to create giant structures that are completely useless after 7:00/7:30am! you are right, utilise town with existing transit infrastructure, which do not exist in NSW and the government is showing no intention on changing that.

- While the light rail extension may not be be sorely needed, improved transit in Newcastle is, and is shockingly easy to do so:
  - 4 trains per hour to Fassifern with additional stations at Kotara, Garden Suburb (Charlestown Road), and Glendale, existing stations to receive upgrades to become pedestrian accessible, restoration of Toroto branch as suburban terminus
  - 2 trains per hour to Aberglasslyn and Sandgate turnback to provide 4 trains per hour in the 'suburban' portion of Hunter Line, turnback could be extended to Newcastle Airport if justifiable in future, additional stations at Islington (Clyde St) and Waratah West (Maud St)
  - New line to Belmont via Charlestown making use of some old corridors to save $$$ where possible, if done right, only one underground station would be required for a 7 station line
  - Cessnock line restoration and increased train frequency to Singleton
I would argue this would be the most sorely needed so buses can feed rail stations instead of being solely relied on to across several kilometres of urban sprawl and windy roads.
As for the light rail extension, the current line is a white elephant and needs an extension to justify itself, extension should go to Wallsend via Jesmond, Lambton Pool, and Broadmeadow stadium, running alongeside bike paths and car parks to stay off the street as much as possible to save $$$ and improve travel time.


100% correct, this is the single biggest cause of the Housing Crisis in Australia, Australia needs to adopt a one-house policy where owners need reside in the country and own the home as a primary residence and NOTHING else.

Second biggest cause of the housing crisis is poor land use, such giant useless commuter car parks taking up primary real estate and the 'Sydneypore' policy which basically consists of our government thinking Sydney is a city-state and that other areas (such as Newcastle) do not exist and do not need infrastructure such as public transport and housing.

HSR will not solve ANY of these issues.

Sydney is already out of land, it wouldn't be if there was no empty properties like @simstrain mentioned and if we were not pouring $660M into useless commuter car park program in the middle of a housing crisis, but it is.
And that is why we are extending the definition of Sydney and clearing out farmland (in the middle of a food crisis) to build Bradfield - this should have never been done and the jobs going to Bradfield should have been sent outside of Sydney to improve regional employment.


Which is why the Bradfield jobs should have gone to Newcastle...

Although @alleve is still right, Newcastle still needs better local PT (what remains today is not enough, most families in Newcastle need to own one car per resident, better PT could make this one car per household, lowering the cost of living), alongside better healthcare (bulk billed doctors are almost non-existent in Newcastle, although Sydney is beginning to head this way also), and better housing options.

Once again, HSR will not solve these issues.
ExtremeCommuter

You have been flogging this dead horse of "employer filter by address" for sometime now and myself and others have posted that by and larger is doesn't actually happen and CV's no longer have addresses on them nor are you required to provide it nor is it on a few jobs adds I looked at until after you have the job as part of ATO requirement and to do so could be risk for the employer, especially for female candidates. There maybe the odd employer that does this and if they do its likely to do with geninue reason as well as the odd employer that may have had issues in the past.  If you are claiming its about pride? Seriously you are way off. In the current labour market there is no scope for employers with "pride".

If an employee needs a car, then this is a geniune reason for eliminating, but you do not need to provide proof of ownership at an interview. If they want you to have a car because of where you live and PT in your area is limited and they know that then this is your issue, not theirs.

Only capital cities have reasonable PT infrastructure for obvious reasons. Towns and small cities that take 20min to drive from one side to the other in "peak" will always struggle with PT.

Agree, HSR is not a communter requirement.

Once again, the commuter car park is needed because its full, you said so yourself. So why keep on harping on about it? The stations with these massive car parks are hubs and building a multiple billion dollar parallel railway 2km away isn't going to save money. You just cause other issues as these people will drive further and completely avoid PT. Yes local buses help, but doesn't work everywhere for everyone all the time. Been there done that from personal experience.

The food crisis has nothing to do with the airport area, nor would it be solved by stopping the project. Basically everything west of Paramatta was built on former farm land.

Sydney's housing problem is complex issue which isn't limited to just Sydney or even Australia for that matter. Auckalnd, Vancouver, Most of urban and rural UK, Dubai! etc the problem is the same. Longterm ultra low interest rates and easier finanace as a starter.

Not building those carparks won't solve the housing crisis and may even make it work as if roads get congested then people need to live closer to work, driving up prices. Cost effect and practical PT enables the sprawl to go further thus reducing the competition for the same piece of land. Most of this so called prime realestate is actually in the railway ROW corridor. There are 10 trillion more wastes of space in Greater Sydney than a few dozen commuter car parks.

The reasons Newcastle had all that rail PT infrastructure has been gone for decades and really not that dissimilar to many other cities in Australia including Sydney and Brisbane.

People will not drop to one car per household because there is a LR line running past their house. Has not worked elsewhere, why there. Car ownership is driven more by personal choice and need that commuting. Necastle has an extensive bus network.

All regional and fringe areas are the same, limited diversity in jobs and hence why so many people from those areas leave. Tasmania is the same. When I was doing my degree there almost every Tasmanian student had intentions of leaving the state upon graduation. Moral of the story you cannot have a the diversity of a 5m people city in a city of 0.5m.

Bulk Billing is not non-exitant in Necastle, but its in decline everywhere and the reasons are more to do with the type of service it offers or rather poorly offers and Dr's willing to operate in such a low revenue environment.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Interesting points:

  - Cardiff Station would actually require a rebuild for that matter to be useful, extend the siding near Glendale into an elevated line with new station near the Macquarie/Myall intersection and rejoin the main at the Newcastle St bridge - any homes impacted should be respectfully relocated to the site of the current station - this would make Cardiff ideal for transit-oriented-development.
In terms of Cardiff being the turnback for 4 trains per hour, several new housing developments are going up west of soutwest of Cardiff, and Fassifern is a well-patronised station and being at the edge of the metropolitan area makes it (well actually Toronto, with Fassifern being kind of isolated, and Toronto being an urban centre) the logical suburban terminus.

As for the line being doomed, used to think so myself, because you are right "if you want ridership (and thus frequency), you need to have destinations along the route that people want to go to, like CBDs or shopping centres", but then I realised that there are destinations along both the electrified line and the Hunter line within suburban Newcastle, the problem is that there are in most cases no stations or inaccessible stations combined with poor frequencies.

First example is Kotara, what could be rich transit-oriented-development is a complete mess, the railway divides the New Lambton residential area from the Homemaker centre and an completely unnecessary impenetrable fence divides the Homemaker centre from Westfield, a railway station and skybridge could connected these area and lead to new developments, so relocate the existing station then? no, just build a new one, the existing station serves many homes, but a cracked and broken entrance and hidden platforms makes people well unsafe using it, fix this, and then to really make this station work, provide a pedestrian link to Blackbutt Reserve and renamed the station accordingly.

A station in Garden Suburb at the western mouth of the Tickhole Tunnel would provide interchange with quick and frequent buses to both John Hunter Hosptial and Charlestown Square, as well as Jesmond and Newcastle University, just would require an access road and a tall lift.

Cardiff has been discussed and so has Glendale (which I am confused by the fact that it gets more attention than Kotara), but Cockle Creek and Booragul are notable as both have new housing developments going up near their respective stations but with NO pedestrian access, fixing this would tie in Toronto as a logical suburban terminus for 3-4 trains per hour.

On the suburban portion of the Hunter Line, stations at Clyde St Islington and Maud St Waratah West would serve the Newcastle TAFE and Mater Hosptial (and surrounding areas) and provide appropriate station spacing.


  - As for NIMBY's in Toronto not wanting the railway, well as long as they are happy to pay for rego and insurance for everyone, that is fine Laughing reminds of someone I knew who lived near another old line and said they wouldn't want trains back, they had two young children who will one day grow up and either they will need to pay their rego and insurance despite rapid inflation or doom their kids to a life of eternal welfare - thinking they would probably want the trains back then, maybe educate the NIMBY's with situations like this.

In all seriousness, some NIMBY's have a point, they might look to Sydney and fear that every station will turn into a sea of poorly designed apartments and useless car parks, while some stations can be made home to new developments of (albeit better designed) apartments (and NO useless commuter car parks), while others area can remain low density with smaller developments of smaller affordable freestanding homes and duplexes, Newcastle Intg, Broadmeadow, Kotara, Cardiff, Glendale, Toronto, and MAYBE Islington and Warabrook can have high density transit-oriented-development, and the rest of the stations can remain low density areas with transit access.


  - In regards to your Belmont Line concept, I like the alignment, using it I would put stations at Westfield Kotara, Admastown Heights (Pacific Highway interchange, would require another tall lift), Kahibah, Charlestown (obviously lol), Charlestown West, Hillsborough, Warners Bay Industrial Area, Bayview Street, Warners Bay Road, Mount Hutton, Windale (would need to figure out a differnet name since many people are so rude that patronage would be lost if station was not renamed, sadly I'm not making this up), Bennetts Green, Jewells, Belmont North, and Belmont (obviously lol).

Certainly serves more ares than my line with less tunnelling, but would require more track probably resulting in more $$$ which combined with the curvy alignment would be difficult to sell, personally though, I like it.


  - Lastly, in terms of the realistic projects, I see Glendale as essential but Kotara more so (Glendale shopping centre should be demolished entirely and be rebuild as an enclosed shopping centre integrated into a railway station with transit-oriented-development).

But a high speed rail station in Hexham is useless, being almost as far from Newcastle as the airport is, when one of the benefits of rail travel is meant to be convenient stations in the centre of a city or town - I do fear that a 'freight' bypass will see the track between Broadmeadow and Fassifern become a latest cycleway given the history of rail lines in the area, with the areas once served on rail becoming so car-dependent that they ironically develop in a way that is completely hostile towards cycling, as has already happened in Newcastle, just look at the mess that is Kotara.
ExtremeCommuter
4 trains per hour should start from Fassifern which is the southern foot print of Greater Newcastle and a major stop. Yes a few stations need to be moved and line relocated. Such as the loop at Booragul and straighten Cardiff. Railways should be built for commuters as they are the bulk of users. At the same time stations closer than 2km apart adds little value and minimal if any extra ridership.

If good people at Toronto don't want the railway, then anyone moving there expecting one after the old line was closed for the last 35 years would be pretty stupid. I suspect and if I lived there many I'd feel the same I don't want the area to be a commuter suburb, rather local based resident. Fassifern is close enough to bus, walk or ride and yes park and ride.

Charleston Line is a good future line. Not sure extension beyond this area or Windale would be viable.

Further improvements without building new track as such is as we have discussed previously out to north of Maitland and Kuri / Cessnock.
  ANR Chief Commissioner

As much as this is a noble cause, this entire thread should be moved to Armchair Operators because it is another case of the politicians stringing people along the high speed rail fantasy when it suits them. It creates a nice news story, but that's all.

Why not spend all that money creating jobs and industries/tech in Newcastle/Hunter region?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
As much as this is a noble cause, this entire thread should be moved to Armchair Operators because it is another case of the politicians stringing people along the high speed rail fantasy when it suits them. It creates a nice news story, but that's all.

Why not spend all that money creating jobs and industries/tech in Newcastle/Hunter region?
ANR
Something the UAE is extremely good at but Australia is not is the ability to set up industry specfic "hubs" that attract economic activity.

Dubai has a "medical hub" that 10 years ago didn't exist and now 2nd in world for medical tourism.

Dubai has the largest Free zone, Jebel Ali Port, 30 years ago it didn't exist. It now handles more container freight than Australia and supporting industrial distrtict is larger than Botany Bay.

We have Media zone, wasn't there 10 years ago.

The Dubai Financial Centre, is a massive freezone of finance, insurance and global contractual law, even has its own courts in English and with mosty foreign judges, almost like an outpost of London, Sydney and Auckland as this is where the judges and lawyers comes from. Average salary of this cluster of buildings would be higher than George Street in Sydney.

The KIZAD industrial zone where my employers new smelter is didn't exist in 2005, it now has more GDP than the Northen Territory and its still growing. Our smelter makes more aluminium than all Australia and NZ combined.

etc

People often say UAE is all about oil. Dubai Emirate has basically no oil and is not funded by Abu Dhabi who has the Oil as Dubai Emirate is basically semi-autonomus who's population has grown by more than Newcastle ion 10 years. I'm not sure how the magic works, but they say they want something and it happens.

What Dubai doesn't do, is build Metro stations every 1km in a grid so there are no excuses on how to get to work (like some imply is the issue in Newcastle). Transport is your problem. There is however a very good bus network connecting to the Metro and LR and ferry's / water taxis, so they have done their bit there. Up to you if you want to use it or drive. And yes, Dubai has more Tesla's than Australia, despite fuel being 2/3 the price.

So yes I agree with you, but the how is the issue.

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