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Closure of Newcastle rail stations not technically a closure of whole line, State Government lawyer says
Real estate agents say the New South Wales Government's decision to cut Newcastle's rail line has had an immediate impact with a number of inquiries already regarding property overlooking the line.
After decades of debate Planning Minister Brad Hazzard last week unveiled plans to end the train line at Wickham and build a new transport interchange.
Frequent bus services will replace trains and the rail corridor will remain as public space.
Hunter Chairman of the Real Estate Institute of NSW Wayne Stewart says over time he expects property prices around the rail line to rise.
"I think it opens up the city to the foreshore which is what the problem with the rail has been all about," he said.
"I know it has had an immediate impact.
"I mean as a practicing agent we've had calls on a unit at Wickham that we have for sale that overlooks the railway so it has had an immediate impact on the market already.
Mr Stewart says the decision will encourage more development in the city.
"I don't think it is going to have an immediate impact on prices but what it will do, it will allow buyers to make a decision on a city that is open to the foreshore rather than being cut off," he said.
"I think over time that will allow prices to rise accordingly."
Meanwhile, Upper Hunter MP George Souris says while he does not support cutting the heavy rail, he believes the State Government's plan will work.
Mr Souris has been a long time critic of the plan, saying in opposition three years ago that the proposal would be the worst thing the Government could do for transport associated with jobs in the Upper Hunter.
Mr Souris stands by his comments.
"I am not a supporter of it as everybody knows but the decision has now been made, we must make sure though that unlike in 2009, there will be now increased options for public transport from Wickham," he said.
"Not only to complete the journey but to go to other locations and destinations in Newcastle."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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