Newcastle Light Railway construction

 
  tezza Chief Commissioner

Newcastle rail line truncation: Gladys Berejiklian bills test drilling as strongest commitment yet that light rail will proceed ......

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/2536545/newcastle-rail-line-truncation-test-drilling-starts-saturday/?cs=303

EARTH test drilling on the route of the proposed light rail service in Newcastle will begin this weekend, state transport minister Gladys Berejiklian announced on Thursday.

The minister also announced that a team of two Newcastle-based companies had been selected from a state tendering process to undertake the project’s environmental assessment.
Delivering a keynote address to a forum attended by some of the region’s key business and industry figures at Newcastle City Hall, Ms Berejiklian said the geotechnical work would provide further evidence of ‘‘the government getting on with what we said we would do’’.
‘‘Some people who are sceptical about the heavy rail truncation are saying oh ‘but you’ll never build the light rail’,’’ Ms Berejiklian said. ‘‘Well this is as strong a commitment as ever that we will be doing it, like we said we’ll be doing it.’’
Newcastle-based companies GHD and RPS Manidis Roberts will form the partnership charged with carrying out the environmental impact study on the light rail project. The companies recently worked on the light rail extension in Sydney’s inner west, and on Canberra’s light rail project.
Today’s forum was hosted by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA).

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  Showtime Chief Train Controller

Gladys must be up to her armpits in the developer farce that is this "light rail"
Heavy rail has been on that corridor for over 100 years so why would you now need to carry out a geotechnical inspection unless you were planning to build at least a 10 story project on that land.
Even the rediculous interchange is only a tin lean-to that wouldn't weigh more than a couple of lengths of rail.
The stench on this project is strong and it goes south about a 160kms.
This is all bullcrap again and just because the developers that we know of have been busted paying off the pollies, doesn't mean they still aren't pulling the strings.
The will just be a bit more careful on how they distribute the funds to the decision makers now - such as injections of funds into family trusts and other lower key and less traceable methods
  tezza Chief Commissioner

http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/local-jobs-newcastle-light-rail-planning-contract-geotechnical-works-begin

Media Release: Transport for NSW
4 September 2014

Local jobs for Newcastle light rail planning contract as geotechnical works begin

Minister for Transport and Minister for the Hunter Gladys Berejiklian today announced that a combined team of Newcastle-based experts will prepare an environmental impact assessment for the Newcastle Light Rail project, as geotechnical works begin.

“The NSW Government is getting on with the job of delivering important infrastructure projects for this state, and this is another important stage in the revitalisation of Newcastle,” Ms Berejiklian said during a visit to Newcastle today.

The next stage in delivering light rail will begin soon with detailed environmental studies to be undertaken by locally-based companies GHD and RPS Manidis Roberts.

The work includes technical studies, field investigations and consultation with the community to identify the possible impacts and mitigations for construction and operation of light rail. This will help identify strategies to minimise community and environmental impacts.

“These experienced companies will undertake the studies and investigations required as part of the planning approval process,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The companies have previously worked on the Inner West Light Rail Extension in Sydney and Canberra’s Capital Metro light rail service, as well as major transport projects in the Hunter. The contract was awarded following a competitive open tender.

The environmental assessment studies will include heritage, visual and urban design, noise and vibration, social impacts, air quality and traffic, and access.

Ms Berejiklian also announced today that geotechnical works will begin this weekend along the light rail route to assess above and below ground conditions and identify services including electrical, telecommunications and stormwater.

“This work will provide important information to feed into the Newcastle Light Rail design and planning work,” she said.

“Newcastle light rail will provide a service through the CBD, connecting the new transport interchange at Wickham with the beach.

“Newcastle residents and businesses have said they want better access to the waterfront, improved public domain and the option to extend the light rail in the future.

“The light rail route will deliver customers to a number of new stops, and will serve the main activity areas of the city and improve connections so locals and visitors can enjoy all that Newcastle has to offer.

“During the environmental planning process, consultation will play an important role in finalising the design for Newcastle Light Rail.”

Ms Berejiklian said this consultation will build on engagement already undertaken during the public display of the Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for the Wickham Transport Interchange.

“The Wickham Transport Interchange REF was on public display throughout August and the project team have received over 260 submissions,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“I am really pleased with the response we have received from the community during this consultation period. Transport for NSW will now consider the issues raised in submissions and will respond to community feedback.

“Together, these projects represent a significant investment in the Hunter region demonstrating this Government’s recognition of the important role the region has to play in the economic future of NSW.”
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

"CONSULTATION" my bum
  TomBTR Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
If she were serious about public transport the trains would keep running until all the rest of the tram line is ready, followed by the briefest of outages while the street track to heavy rail connection is made. This is how highways upgraded to freeways or even simple intersections are built.

Sydney has spent a couple of years planning the new light rail line but George Street has remained open throughout. Parts will be closed after ANZAC Day for preparatory works but Sydney people would not have put up with total closure for years just on the promise that something might happen some time. However Sydney did fall for the Barangaroo trick, and Newcastle has fewer voters so I suppose they thought it worth a try.
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

Perthaps if they run this again next year ......

[img]http://i178.photobucket.com/albums/w279/letmedesign/train.jpg[/img]

they can change the itinery a little to read .....

Step off the steam train at Wickham and wonder around in a daze whilst waiting for a bus to arrive.
Travel by bus up the once magificent Hunter Street and view the empty and vandalised buldings.
On the way, our guide will point out the historic rail corridor which once ran the famous 3801 down it's road.
Marvel at the new high rise apartments being built on this narrow strip.
Stop and visit the newly erected shrine to Geoff McCloy, an infamous but misunderstood former Mayor.
The statue, which stands where the original Newcastle Railway Station once existed, was funded directly by the State Government and was dedicated by the newly promoted Deputy Premier Gladys Beercan.
After a wonderful afternoon in Newcastle you can again try and catch a bus back to Wickham and if you are lucky you will get there in time to catch the steam train back to Sydney.
Bon Voyage
  TomBTR Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
No Showtime, it will not be like that.

They will step off at Broadmeadow. Wickham station will be gone. The replacement will be quite close to Hamilton, if it ever gets built, which it won't by this time next year. Also, with one fewer platforms it will be harder to run specials than now.

On the other hand, without access to Newcastle and Civic, the Hunter traffic should have dried up nicely by the time the new station is built so perhaps there will be room for us after all.
  bramt Deputy Commissioner

When I first heard about the truncation, I was shocked.
The stated reasons for the project appear to be removal of a level crossing to benefit motorists, and to free up non 'undermined' land for developers.
They're cutting up a major railway line while condemning commuters with years of bustitution, waiting for a tram that may never be built. The stench of corruption from ICAC doesn't help.

Then I looked at a map of Newcastle.

It's pretty obvious the railway line needs to go.
(I can't believe I just said that, after 8 years on Railpage!)
The line between Wickham and Newcastle is a major physical barrier cutting off the waterfront from most of the city. Ideally the line should be put underground, but the cost would be astronomical, especially considering the risk of undermined land, and the proximity to the water. Decking the existing line is also no good: the line is at ground level, so decking it would not make it any easier for pedestrians to access the waterfront. While trains can obviously carry more people, trams can be more accessible, meaning:
-higher frequency
-more stops closer to passenger's final destination
-better fit with streetscape and urban renewal (ie, no fences!)
Note that list is of some potential benefits of a tram, not necessarily of this one. Who knows what the actual service frequency or fence use will be.

I still have plenty of issues with the current plan, however:
-The current timeline just doesn't make sense. They should construct the street section of tramway before closing the rail line, then simply change the line voltage and connect the street to the reserved section in a short (2-4 week) closure. Melbourne regularly relays 200-500m of track in only 3 days, there's no reason the street construction of only 1.75km should take long (yes, I understand there's service relocation, overhead, substations, a depot etc needed as well). Closing the line before tram works even start inspires zero confidence they're serious about building it.
-Is creating a new tram system of only 2.2km viable? It would be one of the shortest revenue tramways in the world. Are there plans beyond this project?
-Cutting the line back to Hamilton for over a year while they build a new interchange/shed at Wickham is a bit harsh. More work could have gone into keeping trains running longer.

Of course, I've never been to Newcastle, and haven't been able to dig through all 15 pages of the "Newcastle Rail Line: Announcements" thread, so there are probably some aspects I've missed. What's the executive summary of the situation from someone 'on the ground'?
  TomBTR Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
.....
Closing the line before tram works even start inspires zero confidence they're serious about building it.
.....
so there are probably some aspects I've missed. What's the executive summary of the situation from someone 'on the ground'?

No, you have not missed much. You have an accurate executive summary in your own line above.

-Is creating a new tram system of only 2.2km viable? It would be one of the shortest revenue tramways in the world. Are there plans beyond this project?
-Cutting the line back to Hamilton for over a year while they build a new interchange/shed at Wickham is a bit harsh. More work could have gone into keeping trains running longer.

In the unlikely event that the tram line gets built there are ample opportunities for extension - much of the routs of the former network is still available. The first stage of the Sydney revival was not much longer, at least as the crow flies between Central and Wentworth Park. The two extensions so far have been popular, and probably eased the political path to starting the eastern suburbs line.

Cutting the rail line anywhere before all the other work is ready is evidence of either incompetence or bad faith. Much of the debate on Railpage and elsewhere in Newcastle has been about which.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

First, shouldn't this thread be part of the Newcastle Line Annoucements thread?

Bramt & Tom, the decision was made BEFORE the little consultation took place, see: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3739/13124744365_63b1767ca4_b.jpg

Their are some other stuff as well. I'm not going to repeat myself (see the main thread), but Goward has already admitted that the rail land can developed on, and that is confirmed in this year's Budget papers.

When I first heard about the truncation, I was shocked.
The stated reasons for the project appear to be removal of a level crossing to benefit motorists, and to free up non 'undermined' land for developers.
bramt

The rail corridor, and a bit near Wickham station are the only pieces of land not undermined.

It's pretty obvious the railway line needs to go.
(I can't believe I just said that, after 8 years on Railpage!)
The line between Wickham and Newcastle is a major physical barrier cutting off the waterfront from most of the city.
bramt

Answers: Crown Plaza Hotel, and the recent buildings nearby are the real barriesr.

-The current timeline just doesn't make sense. They should construct the street section of tramway before closing the rail line, then simply change the line voltage and connect the street to the reserved section in a short (2-4 week) closure.
bramt

Cutting the rail line anywhere before all the other work is ready is evidence of either incompetence or bad faith.
TomBTR

Bramt, you see it makes "sense" when you note my photo (or rather NOT see something):-
(And yes, they try to give an "explanation")

  tezza Chief Commissioner

This thread was specifically created for the discussion of the Newcastle Light Railway construction, the project has begun at Wickham with the commencement of the testt drilling. Keep the discussion relevant to this thread, whinging, conspiracies and tinfoil hat theories can continue on the Newcastle Railway announcements thread. The project has been announced, the heavy railway is being truncated at Wickham and the Light Railway project is underway.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Their was no geotechnical truck anywhere. That was observed a number of times.
And I still say that this thread should have been put in the Newcastle Line Announcement thread.
Decisions can be reversed.
  TomBTR Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
There was no geotechnical truck anywhere. That was observed a number of times.
....
Decisions can be reversed.
Newcastle Express

It's so hard to prove a negative ... If any geotech work had been observed then we would know that this was not just another fraudulent announcement. However if as you say, no geotech work has been observed by anyone, then all that is proved is that no observations were made - after all they could have been drilling late at night to avoid disturbing the traffic, or horizontal directional boring from a secret location. Or then again, Gladys Berejiklian might have been economical with the truth, you choose.

As for decisions being reversed, this government is driven by ideology - they do not like government owned transport. So they try to do things that cannot be reversed, for example the fractionally too-small tunnels on the Sydney NW line, or contracts with Packer for his Barangaroo casino on what was once publicly owned (but fenced port) land that was promised to the public for opening up the city to the waterfront. Sound familiar?
  PKBeam Locomotive Driver

Location: Somewhere in NSW
This thread was specifically created for the discussion of the Newcastle Light Railway construction, the project has begun at Wickham with the commencement of the testt drilling. Keep the discussion relevant to this thread, whinging, conspiracies and tinfoil hat theories can continue on the Newcastle Railway announcements thread. The project has been announced, the heavy railway is being truncated at Wickham and the Light Railway project is underway.
tezza

You should've probably said that in the OP or the title.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Note the following:
“A decision will be made whether to proceed with the proposal.”
  Magic Man Station Master

Why the mad rush to close the line? The speed of project is not typical of public infrastructure projects implemented in NSW, which usually are dragging the chain.

MCloy and many of his Coalition mates are gone.

I wish the NSW government could implement light rail systems in outer western Sydney with such speed.

Or does the State Government still feel obligated to the "business" lobby in Newcastle and to companies who stand to directly benefit from its construction through design and construct contracts.

Namely and the big engineering consultants, tier #1 construction contractors + rolling stock companies for Newcastle light rail?
  tezza Chief Commissioner

The project was announced in 2012, some two years ago.Work on the ground has only just begun around Hamilton and Wickham, that's hardly rushing into it.
   The Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy, released in 2012, included a range of initiatives to revitalise Hunter Street and improve links between the city centre and the waterfront.

http://www.revitalisingnewcastle.com.au/downloads/file/community/RevitalisingNewcastleLightRail_Storyboards.pdf
  Magic Man Station Master

Yeah, but even 2yrs is rocket speed compared to some other projects.
Governments (even this one) are usually drawn kicking a screaming to do something like this.

Tezza must own a negative geared investment property or some other financial interest somewhere along the route?
  tezza Chief Commissioner

And add the 10 years previously of 40 or so submissions and report after report before the truncation announcement was made, certainly flying at rocket speed.
  Magic Man Station Master

And add the 10 years previously of 40 or so submissions and report after report before the truncation announcement was made, certainly flying at rocket speed.
tezza

Maybe so, but it didn't really get going till McCloy & friends plus his corrupt m/puppets started lobbying the current coalition government.

So while it can be said the unions run the ALP it can also be said that one can write big cheques or provide cash in brown paper bags in carparks to the coalition election fund and you can get things done your own way in the state of NSW when it is run by the coalition.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney

Newcastle Express


The new crossovers oblitorate the Railway Street Level Crossing.

Does the red track of Platform 3 continue far enough to allow simultaneous arrivals into P3 at the same time as departure from P2?

What speed for the crossovers, X25, X40 or X60, etc?

P1, P2, and P3 are numbered as if Sydney Central were the system main station.

There appears to be room for a rail/tram interchange, which is perhaps is not shown because LRV is a kind of stage 2.
  tezza Chief Commissioner

FRED NILE BACKS NEWCASTLE LIGHT RAILWAY......

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/2735376/nile-calls-for-fast-build-on-light-rail/?cs=305

KEY crossbench MP Fred Nile says he will back the proposed lease of the state’s poles and wires but wants the government to put some proceeds into Newcastle to ensure light rail is built swiftly if it pushes ahead with plans to truncate the heavy rail.
A parliamentary inquiry into Newcastle planning decisions headed by Reverend Nile is expected to hand down an interim report on December 19. If the Christian Democrats leader gets his way, the report will call on the government to postpone the December 26 truncation.
But with a delay looking unlikely, Mr Nile said the government should ensure light rail is built swiftly so passengers aren’t stuck using buses for months, and if necessary use a fair share of the proceeds from the electricity privatisation to speed up  delivery of the project.
‘‘They should make sure the light rail goes in straight away,’’ he said.
The government could be reliant on the Christian Democrats to ensure the partial electricity privatisation goes ahead should it fail to gain control of the upper house, with other key crossbenchers, the Shooters and Fishers Party MPs, vowing to block any proposal in the upper house.
MPs Robert Borsak and Robert Brown said on Monday households and businesses in regional NSW would be hit hardest by electricity price increases that could be expected to follow privatisation, which they described as a ‘‘lazy’’ policy for raising money for infrastructure.
They said they would never support the policy and did not believe the Liberals would stick to their current agreement with the National Party to exclude rural network Essential Energy, which covers part of the Upper Hunter, from the deal.
‘‘Who is going to buy 49percent of a public entity without having some understanding they will be able to get their hands on the whole lot?’’ Mr Borsak, who is up for re-election, said.
On Monday Premier Mike Baird would not categorically reject a full sale in the future.
‘‘Our plan says leasing 49percent maintaining 100percent of Essential Energy. That is the plan we will come back and present to parliament,’’ he said.
The new state infrastructure strategy unveiled last week did not include  projects for the Hunter, although details on how regional NSW’s $6billion share of the proceeds will be spent is expected to be announced during the election campaign.
The Shooters and Fishers say they expect the issue to be a major concern in the Upper Hunter, and will campaign there and in regional areas on the slogan ‘‘Don’t let the National Party sell off NSW’’.
While they supported the sale of the state’s electricity generators, they would not negotiate on the poles and wires, having been ‘‘double crossed’’ by the Coalition  on their promises to allow shooting in national parks in exchange for support.
Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals leader Troy Grant said “we’ll look after the politics after the election – we’ve got to get elected first.’’

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