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SAVE Our Rail has urged the NSW government to consider building several pedestrian level crossings instead of ripping up the Newcastle inner-city rail line.
The group’s submission to the government’s urban renewal strategy focuses almost entirely on the decision to terminate train services at Wickham.
The government has previously said that decision was final and not up for discussion.
Save Our Rail president Joan Dawson said all of the initiatives in the strategy could be achieved without cutting the rail line.
‘‘We believe the good intentions of the government have been undermined by the intrusion of false and misleading advice by a minority group of Novocastrians of power and influence and probable vested interests,’’ the group’s submission said.
Specific suggestions include pedestrian crossings that would improve access between Hunter Street and the harbour while keeping the line intact.
The crossings would be placed ‘‘at intervals between Wickham and Civic stations’’, including at Steel Street and Worth Place.
‘‘Further pedestrian access at other key locations could enhance retail success in Hunter Street,’’ the submission said.
The rail lobby group suggests raising the rail line over Stewart Avenue to address traffic issues.
It also argues that the planned University of Newcastle city campus would require direct rail services.
‘‘It is nonsensical to encourage the university presence in the inner city and at the same time remove the transport they would need,’’ the submission said.
The submission is sceptical about claims a removed rail corridor would remain in public hands, as has been insisted by the government.
‘‘The land under the Newcastle rail line and a part of Wickham are the only sites in Newcastle not undermined,’’ the submission said.
‘‘The most valuable slice of real estate in the Newcastle LGA? Not for sale? Fairies in the bottom of my garden!’’
This article first appeared on www.theherald.com.au
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