Professor Currie Gives Rail Closure Advocates Curry

Newcastle Council Chambers – Today Prof Graham Currie [1] slammed the reports used to recommend the closure of the Newcastle rail.

Internationally recognised transport expert Prof Graham Currie addressed Newcastle Council which had commissioned him to provide an independent review of the reports recommending the closure of the Newcastle rail line.

Prof Currie pointed out that:

  • The reports were biased in favour of closing the rail line
  • No options were provided for improved service for passengers
  • Patronage figures used could have been subject to seasonality
  • Rail gives Newcastle a competitive advantage
  • Claims that rail inhibits development were surprising because the foreshore area is doing very well WITH the rail still there
  • The Economic Impact Report was “the worst report I ever read”
  • Land value advice by Dupont Fagan Valuation firm was misrepresented
  • If you “cut off the head” [Newcastle Line], the Hunter Line could become irrelevant
  • Advice to close rail is inconsistent with NSW Govt Metropolitan Strategy
  • Problems of access and time delay at crossings are not addressed
  • Effect of rail closure on CBD parking is ignored
  • Consultation processes were inadequate and analysis “weak and minimalist”

Members of the media, I refer you to the final paragraph of Prof. Currie’s report as follows:

“The passenger rail services in the Hunter region are a high quality feature of the region’s public transport system. Many cities of substantially greater size than Newcastle lack rail services and would covet the opportunity for such a substantive resource as a means for providing sustainable transport into the future. Newcastle is clearly gifted in the physical and natural resources it possesses. It is unfortunate that its sustainable transport system is to be discarded so easily, based on what can be factually identified as biased, flawed and misrepresented advice.”

Authorised by: Joan Dawson, President, Save Our Rail NSW Inc.

[You can download the Currie Report via this link]

[1] – Professor Currie is a well known international Public Transport researcher and planner with over 25 years experience. He has worked for some of the worlds leading Public Transport Operators including London Transport, and has managed Public Transport research and development projects in Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America.

Professor Currie has a unique range of experience in relation to the development of Public Transport strategies for Special Events. He developed the public transport plan for the successful 1996 Australian Grand Prix, led independent reviews of both the Atlanta and Sydney summer Olympic Games transport systems and was an advisor to the Athens Olympic Committee for the design of transport services for the 2004 Olympic Games.

Professor Currie has managed a full range of Public Transport projects in all major Australasian cities, states and territories. Mr Curries experience spans Project Management, Demand Forecasting, Planning Methods in Public Transport, Regulatory Reviews, Efficiency and Performance Benchmarking, Training, Market Research, Investment Appraisal and Financial and Economic Analysis.

As Australasia’s first Chair in Public Transport, Professor Currie’s role is to develop research and education in the public transport profession.

Professor Currie is a member of the Victorian Road Based Public Transport Advisory Committee. He is also an international panel member of the US Federal Transit Administration TCRP project H-32 ‘Determining the Elements Needed to Create High Ridership Transit Systems’.