The Railway Stalemate – Is There Another Way?

Many people concerned with the future of Newcastle found the last election frustrating. The future development of transport in Newcastle – particularly the future of the rail line between Hamilton and Newcastle terminus – was supposed to be a major policy fight between the two major parties. But despite years of debate, neither side produced a policy that attracted wide support.

The Liberal Party proposed removing and selling the existing rail line, and promised the future development of a light rail down the middle of Hunter Street. Many loyal Liberal Party members found this policy difficult to support, but kept silent and did not speak against it in the interests of the party.

Similarly, the Labor Party proposed keeping the existing heavy rail, but opening extra level crossings to remove some of its adverse effects. Again, many party members did not agree with this idea, but kept silent due to party loyalties.

After the election, the Liberal Government does not have control of the Upper House, and will not be able to sell or develop the existing rail line. It is a political stalemate, with party supporters entrenched in positions that many don’t agree with. The end result is a failure to achieve any decent public transport system for Newcastle.

Is there another way? The next public forum of the Newcastle Institute will find out.

Professor Jim Jose, Newcastle Uni Political Scientist, will examine the political reality after election. He will followed by Ed Duc, Architect, and Howard Dick, Economist, from the Hunter Independent Public Transport Group. They will discuss possible alternative models for future public transport in Newcastle that could be better than either of the entrenched and unsatisfactory proposals suggested by the two major parties at the election. A forum discussion including Allan Squires, of Hunter Transport for Business Development, will then explore these ideas further.

Without community leadership, the rail issue will remain as a political stalemate preventing the development of a modern transport network for all of Newcastle. The next public Newcastle Institute Forum will be an opportunity for thinking citizens to push the political war machines out of the trenches, and look at more constructive, innovative solutions.


VENUE: Banquet Room, Newcastle City Hall

DATE: Wednesday 13th May 2015

TIME: 6.00 till 7.30pm

ADMISSION: $5 Donation



7 Responses

  1. You have three self appointed experts talking about a subject that they have no professional experience in. Does that mean I can come along next month and talk about my ideas on a cure for cancer.

    You have just destroyed your credibility.

  2. The only solution is to terminate the rail at either Broadmeadow of Hamilton North and run light rail along the existing corridor as far as Nobbys.

  3. im all for keeping the rail into the city but the current plan stinks it achives nothing…

    They could have at least run light rail from broadmeddow and extend the electric trains to maitland…

    Or even cheaper… Just truncate at civic nothing more.. No light rail etc..

  4. Can we visit the idea of underground rail from, perhaps Broadmeadow, into Newcastle station?

  5. Hi. Re Chris Sutton. If the NI Committee felt your ideas about a cure for cancer would attract enough interest and audience to cover the Institutes costs for the. Evening, and justify the organisational effort, then I’m sure you would be very welcome to present. The Institute has had previous events on health related topics, some of which have been very well attended, but others have incurred a loss. If you could outline your ideas, to help the committee decide on whether to pursue this further, that would be most helpful.

  6. Does it actually need to be replaced? If so, then I believe the cut and cover option is the only viable alternative. Obviously there are delays and inconvenience to former in city train users; however the 3 people I work with (in town) who catch trains have adapted.

    Has a study been undertaken to identify the time saved and benefits to road and pedestrian commuters after the rail closure? My wife saves about 8 minutes each way going to and from work. There used to be a lot of cars stopped waiting for all those almost empty trains. Arguable more people are benefiting from the rail closure than those inconvenienced by it.

  7. Hello Ed, I think I spoke to you after to-nights forum (I was interested in nos of people using the proposed light rail). In case my letter doesn’t get published in the N.H.(sent yesterday) your ideas closely resemble some thoughts I presented over 3 years ago to various elected officials, but my proposals suggested the Hunter St option. Its focus was more about optimising patronage of the light rail rather than further fragmenting opinion. On the lack of solidarity we should shift blame to the government for not providing a vision and for not coming up with a single decision maker capable of fulfilling that vision. I did like the ideas that H.I.P.T.G offered including local autonomy. I was less enthusiastic(but might be convinced) about Woodville and light rails abilities in streetscapes. Your Institute needs to have a much closer look at passenger volumes particularly from the Newcastle end. To-nights forum it needs to be said, was not a good cross section of the community (the average age I would put at over 50). To have the mass appeal needed for an integrated transport system we have to seek more feedback from all prospective users. Congratulations on starting the process to form a consensus.

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