Below are just some of the reasons why the truncation of the rail line west of Stewart Avenue will not benefit the viability and future renewal of the Newcastle City Centre.
- Inconvenience of unnecessary interchange – ALL passengers would be affected by forced change of mode during trip.
- Loss of patronage – public transport will lose patronage as people resist lack of convenience and will opt for greater car use OR fewer visits to the CBD.
- Hardship for disabled, frail aged (especially difficult for blind and wheel chair passengers) – actual difficulty with process of getting off train onto bus.
- Loss of time – relevant to journey to work and students (passengers with punctuality imperative) – estimate of 20- 30 minutes added to journey. Return trip loss of time, delay of buses in traffic could mean missing the connection for return home (e.g. Dungog, Scone last train times 5.30p.m. and 5.50 p.m).
- Social implications – Inland communities affected by loss of direct public transport to beach/harbour – surfboards not welcome on buses. Young people, too young to drive, denied access. Also re access to nightlife venues in major regional city.
- Capacity difference – capacity difference of train and bus significant. Maitland trains packed work days and weekends (standing room only from Thornton) – train capacity (seated) hunter cars – 136, Electric line – 2-car K Set 224, 8 car V set 832, buses licenced to carry 59 (including standing).
- Residents of inner Newcastle and Stockton will be adversely affected (many choose locality to be near train connection). Retirement choice for when too old to drive.
- Traffic implications will be huge – disruption of actual termination building/arrangements, entry of buses via Stewart Ave, also indications of closure of Railway Street and Beaumont Street crossings, as well as many people using car rather than inconvenience of interchange (experts predict 20% to 60% patronage loss to car use).
- Stewart Avenue will be worse – The congestion at Stewart Ave is likely to be far worse with the rail gates removed due to extra pedestrian movements, additional traffic and complex activity in the area.
- Tourism – Cheap trip market 2 ½ hours to Sydney. Major events run extra trains to cope – buses will not cope. Steamfest (major tourist attraction) will not be able to involve Newcastle. Historical relevance.
- Luggage and large objects– buses do not accommodate guitars, large luggage, surfboards and bikes. Trains do.
- Financial loss implications – cost of removal of infrastructure and replacing terminal – funding not available for more urgent needs in Hunter Region. Financial implications for small businesses operating in proximity to rail line. Land value capture – research indicates value of mass transit such as rail to land value. This would be lost to Newcastle if line closed.
- Viability of city – initiatives to improve prospects of Newcastle would be adversely affected. Commercial activity requires people, trains bring people and offer certainty for investors. New Court House building was approved with very limited parking provision because of proximity to Civic station. Proposed city University Campus will need efficient transport – important link between City, Callaghan and Ourimbah campuses.
- Transport miss match – The Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy (NURS) proposes to replace the current rail line with the Hunter Street bus service. The rail service is a major transport provision, an intercity connection between Newcastle, Sydney, Central Coast, Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Hunter Valley. NURS aims to replace this large system with an inner city bus. These are two entirely different forms of transport provision and would result in a reduced public transport system.
- Contrary to the 2021 NSW Plan – The 2021 aims at increasing public transport use and making roads better. Truncation will reduce public transport use and cause major challenges for roadways.
- Huge expense – truncation, road works and modifications to the city layout will be a huge expense. Those funds will not be available for other desirable projects.
- Not wanted by the community – there is no credible evidence that the results of truncation are wanted by the community, are of benefit to the community or have a sound cost benefit analysis.
References to support the above points are available on request.
If you can add to this list please send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you do support the truncation Save Our Rail would also like to have your three key reasons supported by sound facts and creditable information.