Newcastle Rail Line: Announcements

 
  tezza Chief Commissioner

The Murwillumbah railway is not closed, it is services suspended. Following the debacle in Newcastle caused by the Save our Rail court injunction preventing the removal of disused infrastructure, the Libs are now planning changes in legislation in regards to the Administration Act so railway lines can be formally closed without an Act of Parliament. Basically means any disused railway can then be sold, leased, subdivided, developed, turned into a rail trail without requiring a formal closure bill or Upper House enquiry.

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  Northern Flyer Train Controller

With the line closed the government should take the opportunity to underground the line for most of its length by cut and cover the costs of which would be recouped by the sale of air rights over most of the length, a solution that should satisfy both sides of the argument and enable the preservation of Newcastle station.
Mufreight
The land is only worth about $20 million, if that. Spending a billion plus on difficult tunnel under the water table with three underground stations and underground stabling doesn't make a lot of sense.
  Piston Train Controller

Well we have just gone six months since the Newcastle line has been closed.

Apart from the rusty rails, a weed corridor without restrictions on how high they can grow, massive inconvenience to passengers, disruption and job losses for staff etc etc has anyone got an update on the corridor?.

Have the light rail vehicles been ordered yet?

Has construction started on the interchange? With all the years of planning I though it would be well under way by now.

How are the court cases going?

Any updates please or has the government got a public website for the corridor?
  Speedbird1 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Wyee
Well we have just gone six months since the Newcastle line has been closed.

Apart from the rusty rails, a weed corridor without restrictions on how high they can grow, massive inconvenience to passengers, disruption and job losses for staff etc etc has anyone got an update on the corridor?.

Have the light rail vehicles been ordered yet?

Has construction started on the interchange? With all the years of planning I though it would be well under way by now.

How are the court cases going?

Any updates please or has the government got a public website for the corridor?
Piston
No they haven't, no money allocated either.

No it hasn't, no money there either. As it happens, there is no finalized design for the interchange. The tin shed concept was scrapped and no new idea has been revealed.

Government appeal in the Supreme Court July 15/16, counter-appeal by SOR

No updates other than $50 million (taxpayer) spent grouting Honeysuckle.

Basically, it's at standstill until the appeal, with no money allocated to the project.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

No they haven't, no money allocated either.

No it hasn't, no money there either. As it happens, there is no finalized design for the interchange. The tin shed concept was scrapped and no new idea has been revealed.

Government appeal in the Supreme Court July 15/16, counter-appeal by SOR

No updates other than $50 million (taxpayer) spent grouting Honeysuckle.

Basically, it's at standstill until the appeal, with no money allocated to the project.
No, try this

  • Wickham Interchange Contract awarded to Lang O'Rourke for $73,000,000. Works underway to be completed late 2016
  • Contracts awarded for Light Rail planning, environmental, etc
  • Light Rail construction to start 2015
  • $70 million spent in 2014/15
  • $103 million allocated for 2015/16 which includes Light Rail Construction
  • Newcastle Council signed MOU with Urban Growth to advance plans for corridor reuse.
  • Newcastle Labour Mayor in US on a study tour with Urban Growth.
  • Save Our Rail still living in lah lah land believing that the court case will bring back trains.
  • $50 million is not being spent on grouting. A much smaller amount is being spent and recouped by the government in the sale price of the land to a development that will bring 750 people into the city.
  Speedbird1 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Wyee
...will bring 750 people into the city.
Northern
How does that happen with quick public transport demolished?

Wickham Interchange Contract awarded to Lang O'Rourke for $73,000,000.
Northern
Without even a design? Sounds suspicious to me...

$103 million allocated for 2015/16
Northern
So the $430 million promised from the $1.8 billion port sale comes when?...
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

How does that happen with quick public transport demolished?

Without even a design? Sounds suspicious to me...

So the $430 million promised from the $1.8 billion port sale comes when?...
Speedbird1
1. Rail will still exist to western side of CBD
2. Very few people will ever use rail to CBD.
3. Very few suburbs have rail
4. Most people use buses or drive
5. Investment in CBD has taken off since truncation. Increased 8 fold since 2010.

1. Preliminary design was released in 2014
2. Lang O'Rourke contract is for Design and Construction
3. Not suspicious, normal method of delivery for railway works.

1. $460 million is allocated, not $430 million
2. Money is put in budget as required.
3. $70 M in 2014/15, $103 M in 2015/16, $287 M in 2016/2019
  Speedbird1 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Wyee
1. Rail will still exist to western side of CBD
2. Very few people will ever use rail to CBD.
3. Very few suburbs have rail
4. Most people use buses or drive
Northern
But not to the CBD itself.

Over 4500 people used the line daily before its closure.

So we shouldn't invest in public transport infrastructure?

And we have congestion as a result, which only gets worse with light rail added...
  tezza Chief Commissioner

In 2013 passenger numbers to Newcastle Station over a 24 hour period were 2300 and falling.

Plenty of activity on the railway corridor with the construction of Hamilton Stabling Yards underway plus  new awnings for both platforms.

An enlarged works compound for the Wickham Interchange is being built during July and geotech drilling continues along the corridor from Wickham to Newcastle.

The Save our Rail court debacle continues on the 15th and 16th July, with only two days allocated for the hearing it would most like be adjourned to a later date.

Traffic has never been better through the Stewart Ave and Hunter Street intersection and will no doubt improve when the additional north/south roads are opened in the new year.
  Speedbird1 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Wyee
Traffic has never been better through the Stewart Ave and Hunter Street intersection
Tezza
So what happens when the light rail crosses Stewart Avenue from the interchange at the frequencies needed to justify its existence? (The light rail that isn't on the artists concept design)
  tezza Chief Commissioner

You can't work it out? It's in syncro with the Hunter Street lights, when traffic is stopped on Stewart Ave the tram crosses.
  Speedbird1 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Wyee
Why wasn't Hunter St level crossing "in syncro" with the lights? Why didn't they just build an overpass a few hundred metres west? Why did a useful railway line have to close to save the 29 minutes the crossing spent shut in an hour and a half, compared to the hour and 5 minutes at Hunter St intersection? Why are roads getting the priority over public transport, again?
  tezza Chief Commissioner

You might want to take all that up with the Government, they might be interested, i'm not. Pretty sure the lights on Hunter Street change more than once every 10 minutes so the tram crossing over Stewart ave will his little effect on traffic disruption. The concept plans were for the Wickham Interchange, not the light railway. The light railway platform adjacent to Beresford Lane is clearly seen on the artist impressions anyway if you care to look.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

Why wasn't Hunter St level crossing "in syncro" with the lights? Why didn't they just build an overpass a few hundred metres west? Why did a useful railway line have to close to save the 29 minutes the crossing spent shut in an hour and a half, compared to the hour and 5 minutes at Hunter St intersection? Why are roads getting the priority over public transport, again?
Speedbird1
Gates were down for up to 2 minutes for a train, a tram takes 15 seconds. The tram waits for it's turn within the cycle of the adjacent signals, a train does not. It is chalk and cheese. Any comparison is silly. As Tezza says, the improvement in traffic around the westend has been remarkable.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

But not to the CBD itself.

Over 4500 people used the line daily before its closure.

So we shouldn't invest in public transport infrastructure?

And we have congestion as a result, which only gets worse with light rail added...
Speedbird1
Tezza was being generous, 2250 people were using the line making a return trip to get 4500. That is passengers to Newcastle, Civic and Wickham combined. Most of those people are still using the shuttle buses.


The commercial CBD is growing around Wickham. More people now get off at Wickham in the morning peak than get off at Newcastle.

Light Rail is actually public transport and they are investing in it.

Congestion has been greatly reduced with the extra pedestrian crossings allowing fewer car trips. People can now walk 200m without having to take a 2km car trip to go from Marketown to Honeysuckle. Inserting Light Rail will not change it as it will just run with the other traffic. No different to an extra bus every 10 minutes.

The main reason heavy rail was removed was to reconnect the city to the harbour, improve amenity and encourage investment. That has all worked in spades.
  Mufreight Train Controller

Location: North Ipswich
The land is only worth about $20 million, if that. Spending a billion plus on difficult tunnel under the water table with three underground stations and underground stabling doesn't make a lot of sense.
Northern Flyer
The line would not be under grounded for its full length and would surface in the Newcastle station area.
To build the line by cut and cover even below the level of the water table is not a great problem, the same techniques would be used as have been regularly used for building construction on the Gold Coast where many buildings have basements below the level of the water table.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

The line would not be under grounded for its full length and would surface in the Newcastle station area.
To build the line by cut and cover even below the level of the water table is not a great problem, the same techniques would be used as have been regularly used for building construction on the Gold Coast where many buildings have basements below the level of the water table.
Mufreight
What would be the point? To come back to ground level, even at 2% grade would require an open trench that would extend for 400m west of Newcastle Station and cut off the very area that they want to open up as connections between the city and the waterfront.

Yes, you can build an underground railway but it comes down to cost. Three underground stations, underground stabling, underground terminus facilities, provision for diesel trains, exhaust systems, exhaust stacks, all under the water table next to buildings that would require stabilisation before you could lower the water table to build the thing. It's around a $1 billion job.

The original point of the post was to point out that the value of any land that would be released by undergrounding the line was, at best, $20 million and was a tiny tiny fraction of the construction cost. It also kills the conspiracy argument that the government is only doing it to sell the land. The numbers just don't stack up. Even Baird is not going to do $460 million work just to sell off $20 million of land.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Despite what tezza & Northern Flyer, their is only one reason why developers want the rail line cut.

But I'd like to ask both a question. Do you agree that any light rail should have been first before closing the rail line?
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

Despite what tezza & Northern Flyer, their is only one reason why developers want the rail line cut.

But I'd like to ask both a question. Do you agree that any light rail should have been first before closing the rail line?
Newcastle Express
What is that reason Newcastle Flyer? The government owns the land and it is only worth about $20 million. None of it is owned by a developer. Why would it spend $460 million to release that value? If your going to subscribe to a conspiracy theory, it needs to make at least some sense.

It is not practical to build a light rail network when the heavy rail is running. You have to build the interchange, stabling for light rail, stabling for heavy rail, maintenance facilities for light rail, relay all of the track, partially remove the ballast and cover with concrete, build light rail stations, remove the overhead wiring and supports, build new overhead wiring and supports, build and activate new substations and remove sidings and stabling at Newcastle Station. So you think that all this should be done with heavy rail still operating? It would take 10 years instead of 3 years and cost three times as much.
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

What is that reason Newcastle Flyer? The government owns the land and it is only worth about $20 million. None of it is owned by a developer. Why would it spend $460 million to release that value? If your going to subscribe to a conspiracy theory, it needs to make at least some sense.

It is not practical to build a light rail network when the heavy rail is running. You have to build the interchange, stabling for light rail, stabling for heavy rail, maintenance facilities for light rail, relay all of the track, partially remove the ballast and cover with concrete, build light rail stations, remove the overhead wiring and supports, build new overhead wiring and supports, build and activate new substations and remove sidings and stabling at Newcastle Station. So you think that all this should be done with heavy rail still operating? It would take 10 years instead of 3 years and cost three times as much.
Northern Flyer
Well considered response Northern Flyer rather than the back yard fence gossip put about by others. Nice to see some objectivity in a response.

Cheers

Rod
  normw Junior Train Controller

The value of any land recovered will be a pittance compared to the value the same space of real estate is worth to a developer, and a future cash donation to a poorly performing political party in the area (by way of thanks) would be greatly appreciated.
  Northern Flyer Train Controller

The value of any land recovered will be a pittance compared to the value the same space of real estate is worth to a developer, and a future cash donation to a poorly performing political party in the area (by way of thanks) would be greatly appreciated.
normw
Run that one past me again? Assuming that the land is put up for auction, the value of that land is the highest bid made. That is the value of the land and that is what it is worth to a developer. It is the same thing.

In Newcastle CBD, similar land is selling for $10 million per hectare. Why would it be worth more than that?
  Speedbird1 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Wyee
Run that one past me again? Assuming that the land is put up for auction, the value of that land is the highest bid made. That is the value of the land and that is what it is worth to a developer. It is the same thing.

In Newcastle CBD, similar land is selling for $10 million per hectare. Why would it be worth more than that?
Northern
Because it's the only land in the city not undermined by coal mines. Its the only land capable of holding a twenty story building. That's why they want it so badly. That's why they'll bribe the local members (ICAC 2014) and rip up public infrastructure.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Speedbird, it is the only part that's not undermined, with the possible exceptions of one or two small areas, that wouldn't really make a difference for developers.
  Speedbird1 Locomotive Fireman

Location: Wyee
Speedbird, it is the only part that's not undermined, with the possible exceptions of one or two small areas, that wouldn't really make a difference for developers.
Newcastle
The Mine Subsidence Board released a map of the area showing the strength of the ground. Newcastle station + bus layover would be a goldmine.

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