Newcastle businesses were promised a dinky toy train as a sop to compensate for the sale of the city’s most valuable asset, the Port of Newcastle. This was a bribe to keep criticism at bay.
Now we learn the plan is to go “back to the future” with a previously rejected notion to cut the rail line at Broadmeadow or Woodville Junction.
Business people in Newcastle should be spitting!
Kellog Brown Root (KBR), commissioned to examine the past madness warned:
“… any removal of the heavy rail line towards Woodville junction would mean that preservation of the CBD’s role as the regional centre would be compromised.”
This would be the death knell for any chance of Newcastle renewal as the business centre would move to where the major transport terminates. A Broadmeadow or Woodville Junction decision will cause the rise of a new centre for business and commerce or maybe a further rise of alternate centres of Maitland and Lake Macquarie.
This is conventional wisdom gained from the experiences of cities throughout the world – when heavy rail lines have closed cities have declined. When cities have re-built the rail, prosperity has returned. It’s not rocket science.
As Prof Peter Newman (then at Murdoch University) stated: (Newcastle Herald 20/04/05)
“It’s not tunnel vision; rail means business. Cutting the line will be bad for economic growth.”
Interchange at either Broadmeadow or Woodville Junction would be extremely inconvenient for all commuters from the Hunter lines. Maitland and Newcastle have a long history of worker exchange. The time penalty plus inconvenience will cause people to seek a different work location or opt for car transport. This cannot benefit Newcastle. There is no evidence that cutting the line will magically transform the city.
Newcastle needs people and trains bring people. It is that simple.
Save Our Rail believes Newcastle’s prospects are best served by retaining the direct heavy rail into its heart. We support Newcastle and the business people who need the trains to bring customers.
Our support for Newcastle is the reason we are hosting a festival to honour the role rail has played in keeping Newcastle viable despite an earthquake, closure of major industry, removal of the major hospital and a global downturn.
Newcastle business people will join with us at “RAILFEST” on Sunday 20th October at the Foreshore Park. We celebrate the rail line and the link it forms with other cities.
We believe Tim Fischer when he declares, “Rail is the future.”
For further information or comment please contact:-
President Save Our Rail NSW Inc.
Mobile 0408 618 198