Newcastle Rail Line: Announcements

 
  tezza Chief Commissioner

The 27 bus routes that currently ply up and down Hunter and Scott Streets parrallel to the heavy rail line will also be replaced by the light railway service, so take into account those passenger numbers being included with the average of 12 per train service. Indications are that due to the increased frequency and stopping places, right outside the new University Campus, 100 metres from the Stockton Ferry and 100 metres from Newcastle Beach, passenger number will experience a marked increase .

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  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Indications are that due to the increased frequency and stopping places, right outside the new University Campus, 100 metres from the Stockton Ferry and 100 metres from Newcastle Beach, passenger number will experience a marked increase .
tezza

Where did you see those "indications"?  That's not what the modelling and associated reports put out by TfNSW and its predecessors government departments say.  They predict what should be a measurable decrease in PT mode share.  It has been publicly acknowledged by the minister that this is not a project to improve public transport.

I disagree with your earlier statements about the extent of underground workings in your reply to Transtopic too.  If you look at the subsidence risk maps for the relevant area, most of the existing corridor is regarded as low or no risk.
  tezza Chief Commissioner

Is it a project to get Novocastrians and visitors off their fat lazy arses and walk 2 kilometres then considering the Hunter area's obvious obesity problem?
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Is it a project to get Novocastrians and visitors off their fat lazy arses and walk 2 kilometres then considering the Hunter area's obvious obesity problem?
tezza

Weren't you promoting the benefits of closer spaced stops?  Closer spaced stops would imply less walking on average, as would the predicted reduction in PT mode share.

Not a terribly effective spend if a public health outcome is what you are chasing.
  gw0071 Deputy Commissioner

Looks like we're about to witness one falling upon one's own sword
  tezza Chief Commissioner

Well what do you expect? The government is providing a better service to the east end of town than what the railway currently provides and you still complain. There will be multiple choices from Wickham to enable travel tthe 2km to the east end. Tram, taxi, bus on some services, bike , rickshaw, skateboard,, rollerblade, rickshaw, you'll get there, take your pick
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Well what do you expect? The government is providing a better service to the east end of town than what the railway currently provides and you still complain. There will be multiple choices from Wickham to enable travel tthe 2km to the east end. Tram, taxi, bus on some services, bike , rickshaw, skateboard,, rollerblade, rickshaw, you'll get there, take your pick
tezza

The only additional mode of service, should the project proceed as planned, will be the light rail. Other services already exist, bar perhaps rickshaw (x2) - a mode that I haven't seen mentioned in any of the project specific or broader state transport strategy documentation.

Plausible implementation of the light rail project is likely to see truncation of bus services (if they want to have a chance of getting the "business case" to work...) so the addition of the light rail mode is not really an additional choice, it is a change in choice.

On the other hand, one mode (heavy rail) will be removed as of the end of December.

The net result is then less choice. The required mode change for existing rail users has been modelled (twice, independently, if memory serves me correctly) as increasing transit time for those travelling to the eastern end of town. A reduction in choice and an increase in transit time is not normally regarded as providing "a better service". As I said above, the government's own statements don't pretend that a better service will be the outcome - I'm not sure why you think differently.
  tezza Chief Commissioner

Rickshaw Revolution Newcastle...
http://rickshawrevolution.com.au/
They are based in Honeysuckle and provide a service throughout the city.
You could phone ahead and the Rickshaw could possibly meet you on the platform at Wickham if the interchange onto the light railway proves too much of an inconvenience.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Thank you for that link - unfortunately from the site it isn't clear whether their fare structure includes Opal options.

But note that mode exists currently, independent of the truncation and light rail plan.  Consequently my point about a reduction in choice stand.
  tezza Chief Commissioner

There is already a reduction in choice with the heavy rail, passengers are unable to alight within 100 metres of Worth Place and the Honeysuckle Wharf Precinct, they are also unable to alight within 100 metres of the Stockton Ferry terminal.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
Without the heavy rail line they won't be able to alight within 2000 metres (crows flies) of the Stockton Ferry terminal.  2000 metres is typically regarded as being worse than the current 400 metre walk.  Similar statements can be made for Worth Place, depending on the specific point you are referring to.

If your point is that they will be able to change to a different mode that can deliver them closer, then they can already do that now.  However for a wide range of destinations there is no need to change, and/or the user can make the trade-off between the inconvenience and time cost of an mode change and likely slower subsequent journey with an additional walk.  Light rail may reduce the time cost with appropriate timetabling or service triggering (which raises other issues) but it will not eliminate it, nor is it likely to be faster end to end.  You should also note that in some cases the planned light rail stops are further away from some destinations than the current heavy rail stations.

These plus and minus type aspects were taken into account when patronage modelling (i.e. the modelling that predicted a reduction in PT mode share) of the impact of truncation was undertaken.  That modelling didn't incorporate the specific route and stops that have been selected for the current light rail project, but I don't think the differences will be material.

It is disappointing that the transit time and patronage modelling with the current proposal hasn't been released - you would expect that it has been done as part of route selection - if not then it is a requirement for business case preparation.  

(It is similarly disappointing that a summary of the business case hasn't been released - at a high level those documents don't typically contain anything that is commercially sensitive and if they do it is easy enough to redact that specific information.  In terms of public transport in the region this project is probably the biggest single spend since the electrification of the Newcastle line.)
  TomBTR Chief Train Controller

Location: near Sydney
An observation I have made here before is that trams might be an improvement, but that is hypothetical as none are being provided. If simple conversion was the plan then the train would keep running until there were trams ready to run and a new track ready to connect to the existing line. The unseemly rush to make the rail land "redundant" would indicate that there is some agenda here other than public transport.
  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper
The unseemly rush to make the rail land "redundant" would indicate that there is some agenda here other than public transport.
"TomBTR"


Here! Here!
  tezza Chief Commissioner

It can hardly be considered a rush after 30 years of discussion and report after report after government report, 30 or 40 of them. The truncation was announced two years ago.
  Transtopic Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
The 27 bus routes that currently ply up and down Hunter and Scott Streets parrallel to the heavy rail line will also be replaced by the light railway service, so take into account those passenger numbers being included with the average of 12 per train service. Indications are that due to the increased frequency and stopping places, right outside the new University Campus, 100 metres from the Stockton Ferry and 100 metres from Newcastle Beach, passenger number will experience a marked increase .
tezza

Gee, this is the first time I've heard of any official plan to terminate the existing suburban bus services at Wickham, although I did raise the possibility of this happening to bolster the patronage for the Light rail service in an earlier post.  Please identify your source.  Regardless of the pros and cons of truncating the rail line, it seems an exorbitant amount of money to construct the Light Rail line to provide an alternative means of completing a journey into the CBD, when even Blind Freddie could see it wouldn't stack up.  This is the Achilles Heal of the whole concept. It's more likely that the Light Rail will never be built and a bus shuttle service, or interchange with existing Hunter St bus services, will become permanent.

Anyway, what's the rush to close the rail line?  There's been no time frame nominated as yet (very convenient) for implementation of the Light Rail service.  It's all very vague.  It could be 5 years, 10 years or never, who knows?  Until such time as a definite timetable for completion of the Light Rail line is officially confirmed, there is no need to close the rail line.  Once a firm commitment is made, if ever, there will be plenty of time to close the rail line and put interim alternative transport arrangements in place.  Don't give me any bull***t about the rail line inhibiting redevelopment in the CBD.  It's a complete myth.

Then there is still the problem, as I have repeated ad nauseam, of actually closing the rail line, even more so if the Light Rail doesn't proceed.  It will require an Act of Parliament passing through both Houses which is by no means guaranteed.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Please identify your source.
Transtopic

The so called "light-rail" propaganda sessions around April or May.

Anyway, what's the rush to close the rail line?
Transtopic

Certain developers, not all of them, but a number, plus the HBC/HDC & the PCA.

Transtopic, many people have being saying, if the NSW Dictat, I mean "government' was REALLY serious, they would be building the light rail FIRST.
  a6et Minister for Railways

It can hardly be considered a rush after 30 years of discussion and report after report after government report, 30 or 40 of them. The truncation was announced two years ago.
tezza

30 years of discussion & reports? that takes us back to 1980, & I certainly never heard any talk of the closure of the line during the 80's & certainly never came up during several of the working groups that I was involved in.

The one thing that your comment shows is that the old adage that goes along the lines of "if at first you don't succeed try, try, try & continue until you wear down the opposition as they are the ones who will grow weary"

That is a typical ploy of businesses, governments, & individuals who have a desire to do something, or get what they want by raising an issue & drop it out in the public arena & see what comes out of it. If not a lot of opposition comes out, then drop some more out there, provide all the reasons that the alternative is better for those that oppose & after a while those who become brain washed end up thinking the idea is good, they fall for the publicity.

The Railways & governments in most consultants they hired to investigate the many & varied areas that were wanted to be eliminated provided the consultants with their boundaries of what to look at, the intent is/was to come up with solutions on how to impliment what the governments & Rail bosses wanted in the outcome of the final report, all they wanted was the rubber stamping of what they wanted to do, & the consultants would make the case that was sellable to the voting public.

The end justifies the means which justifies the end result.
  Transtopic Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Transtopic, many people have being saying, if the NSW Dictat, I mean "government' was REALLY serious, they would be building the light rail FIRST.
Newcastle Express

Too true!
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
http://www.theherald.com.au/story/444788/survey-finds-93-of-hunter-residents-want-newcastle-city-centre-revived/
Survey finds 93% of Hunter residents want Newcastle city centre revivedBy JULIEANNE STRACHAN State Political ReporterAug. 5, 2009, 12:29 p.m.
HUNTER residents have backed plans to revive Newcastle's heart, with a Hunter Valley Research Foundation survey finding 93 per cent of people recognised the need to rejuvenate the city centre.
An overwhelming majority of residents surveyed also backed plans to remove the rail line to Newcastle in order to push ahead with major building projects across the city.
The foundation's survey showed that 71 per cent of people sampled supported cutting the heavy rail line at Wickham, if other catalyst projects depended on doing it.
The NSW Government commissioned the survey of 507 residents from Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Cessnock and Port Stephens.
The survey also found that 59 per cent of respondents indicated moderate or higher support for removing the heavy rail regardless of other projects.
More than 85 per cent of respondents supported the education, justice, retail, tourism and commercial precincts outlined in the Hunter Development Corporation's City Centre Renewal Plan.
It has been estimated the projects have the potential to create up to 4700 jobs during construction, more than 2400 jobs in the long term and would mean an estimated investment of $1.4 billion into the region.
Minister for the Hunter Jodi McKay welcomed the survey findings.
Ms McKay said the survey was conducted during an eight-week public feedback process, during which more than than 3000 people accessed the Hunter Development Corporation's website to view the revitalisation plans.
"The overwhelming sentiment behind the responses was that we need to act now on plans to redevelop Newcastle," Ms McKay said.
"It was also abundantly clear that Newcastle City Council, the community and our business leaders endorse the catalyst projects outlined in the report."
Ms McKay said the next step was to appoint a consultant to work with the University of Newcastle and the development corporation to identify a suitable location for the first stage of the university's relocation project.
Suitable state-owned sites would need to be identified.
The renewal plan proposed moving up to 7000 university students and 100 staff into the heart of the city.
"There is strong support within the community, businesses and Newcastle City Council for us to expedite plans to relocate the University of Newcastle to the city centre," Ms McKay said.
tezza

A survey of the five Greater Newcastle Area LGAs, total population 550,000, and they managed to survey 507 people? Wow, that's really working hard. Show me the sampling techniques. No, let me guess: one from HDC, one from McCloy's cronies, one from the mates of that rabid McCloy supporter from Port Stephens, one from F*x Our City, one from the NSW Planning Department, gosh this is tiring, when can we stop?
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
30 years of discussion & reports? that takes us back to 1980, & I certainly never heard any talk of the closure of the line during the 80's & certainly never came up during several of the working groups that I was involved in.

The one thing that your comment shows is that the old adage that goes along the lines of "if at first you don't succeed try, try, try & continue until you wear down the opposition as they are the ones who will grow weary"

That is a typical ploy of businesses, governments, & individuals who have a desire to do something, or get what they want by raising an issue & drop it out in the public arena & see what comes out of it. If not a lot of opposition comes out, then drop some more out there, provide all the reasons that the alternative is better for those that oppose & after a while those who become brain washed end up thinking the idea is good, they fall for the publicity.

The Railways & governments in most consultants they hired to investigate the many & varied areas that were wanted to be eliminated provided the consultants with their boundaries of what to look at, the intent is/was to come up with solutions on how to impliment what the governments & Rail bosses wanted in the outcome of the final report, all they wanted was the rubber stamping of what they wanted to do, & the consultants would make the case that was sellable to the voting public.

The end justifies the means which justifies the end result.
a6et

A6et, I do have some slight issues with your comment about the 80s, which was when the Greiner Government came to power (1988.) and commissioned the Travers Morgan report (1989, although it didn't report until 1990). There had already been numerous approaches to the NSWGR through the 50s and 60s, which came to nothing because the freight yards were still contributing to the balance sheet. The first major challenge came in 1972 when the PTC under Shirley decided to sell all railway land east of Civic to Fund relocation of the Newcastle terminus. Somebody forgot to tell the property developers what a bargain they were getting for $3M the lot, what with green bans, uncertainty about Zaara St power station, and the Whitlam Government stirring up renewed interest in urban passenger railways (a line from Newcastle to Nobbys was mooted). The whole idea slowly ran out of steam, except that Wran eventually released Newcastle East as parkland (after electrification had arrived in Newcastle!).

But of course I agree that the current government is strutting around in the Emperor's new clothes when it comes to a well justified plan for cutting the rail line. The worst example of its contempt for precedent is the light rail proposal, which has been condemned by every study that considered it. I aso agree that since 2000 the pro rail cut lobby has been using pester power non-stop and to hell with the logic of it all.
  NotebookMan Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wahroonga NSW
Re "Shadow Government" news article. Seriously? $60 million donated by the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund to "help in the Government's deliberations on the future of the rail line"! Seems a lot of money for just making a decision to close a railway line, even if extensive investigation is required. Shouldn't this be the Government's responsibility to meet the cost anyway? Incredible!

Here's another potential obstacle, which might not stop the Light Rail project, if in fact it goes ahead, but would certainly thwart any aspirations to redevelop a valuable piece of real estate. Further to my earlier post with regard to the Transport Administration Act, requiring authorisation by an Act of Parliament to close a railway line, that part of the existing rail corridor from Wickham to Scott St, which is proposed to be converted to Light Rail, technically wouldn't require Parliamentary approval, because it isn't "closing" the rail line, but merely changing the mode of operation. However, for that part of the remaining Newcastle Yard and Station, it may be a different matter. Putting aside the Heritage issues, it may well require an Act of Parliament to remove the tracks and station infrastructure.
Transtopic

You have correctly analysed part of the government's strategy. But once the reason for Newcastle station's existence is removed, it will be a simple matter to put the case that it serves no useful purpose, and that those who oppose its closure are simply cutting off their noses to spite their faces and obstructing productive development of the site. To understand this, you need to be able to think like a politician/property developer, notwithstanding the distateful sensation of grubbiness that goes with it.
  a6et Minister for Railways

A6et, I do have some slight issues with your comment about the 80s, which was when the Greiner Government came to power (1988.) and commissioned the Travers Morgan report (1989, although it didn't report until 1990). There had already been numerous approaches to the NSWGR through the 50s and 60s, which came to nothing because the freight yards were still contributing to the balance sheet. The first major challenge came in 1972 when the PTC under Shirley decided to sell all railway land east of Civic to Fund relocation of the Newcastle terminus. Somebody forgot to tell the property developers what a bargain they were getting for $3M the lot, what with green bans, uncertainty about Zaara St power station, and the Whitlam Government stirring up renewed interest in urban passenger railways (a line from Newcastle to Nobbys was mooted). The whole idea slowly ran out of steam, except that Wran eventually released Newcastle East as parkland (after electrification had arrived in Newcastle!).

But of course I agree that the current government is strutting around in the Emperor's new clothes when it comes to a well justified plan for cutting the rail line. The worst example of its contempt for precedent is the light rail proposal, which has been condemned by every study that considered it. I aso agree that since 2000 the pro rail cut lobby has been using pester power non-stop and to hell with the logic of it all.
NotebookMan

I have some issues with your concept that the Travers Morgan Report was of 1988, when I am referring to others that were commissioned prior to that.  In fact IIRC, Wran came into power in around 76/77 just prior to Granville, not the 80's

I finished up at the end 88, but was involved with reports as well as being part of working groups involved with the earlier Small parcels & LCL traffic,  Booze Allan Hamilton, along with Northern Regional workings involved with the New England region as well as the investigations into the relocation of a Newcastle general freight centre with the closure of Honeysuckle durring mid 80's.

The later report that you mention was another follow report costing a heck of a lot of money to counter the investigation committee that was set up to report back on the earlier report, which I was involved in.  The later Booze Allan Hamilton report was a farce as was the earlier one.

Bare in mind that there were more than one Travers Morgan reports & from my understanding the other mob also was further engaged to deliver other reports.

The beginnings came through Shirley when through his own team of over 50 appointed Assistant Commissioners, deputies & new branch head structures of middle management that replaced the old team of 1 commissioner & Secretary & Branch Managers which equated to much less than 20, went out of their way to discourage & push away business in the freight area especially in the Newcastle area, & yes Honeysuckle was making a very strong in the amount of freight that was both received & despached from there along with the other industrial areas around the PTW area.

Good example was the directive to stop steam from operating at midnight as he left the office to go home, despite a full roster of trains to be run it did not matter to him, efforts to get engines in & out of BMD depot prior to midnight to keep freight services running the next day received a huge kick next morning when Shirley was informed.  He issued an immediate call for them to be returned to BMD & stopped.

I forget how many train services were cancelled as a result owing to loco shortages, it caused a lot of issues in regional areas as freight was seriously delayed in getting to clients, & as it was mainly rural produce, the marketing section was also told to no longer accept certain types of freight.

The legacy of Shirley was followed on by the likes of David Hill, Vince Graham & others, although the Kiwi was short term & did nothing.  Politicians controlled it all & made the orders/bullets while the Rail bosses pulled the triggers, the reports by all the consultants were no more than showing how to load the guns to fire the bullets.
  tezza Chief Commissioner

PREMIER Mike Baird has rejected calls from new city Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp to put off the truncation of Newcastle’s heavy rail line, with work set to start in about five weeks.....

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/2705772/premier-rejects-call-to-keep-rail/?cs=305

The government is still in discussions with Lake Macquarie independent MP Greg Piper about his bill to prevent significant development on the rail corridor.
Labor has refused to back the bill.
  wxtre Chief Train Controller
  tezza Chief Commissioner

Mike Baird allows Boxing Day trade for Newcastle railway station cafe..

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/2713842/rail-kiosk-gets-its-christmas-wish/?cs=316
By JASON GORDON, Nov. 21, 2014.

NSW Premier Mike Baird has stepped in to make sure the Newcastle railway station cafe’s Christmas wish comes true.
On Friday, the "Newcastle Herald"
reported that the government wanted the kiosk closed on Christmas Eve, two days before the planned Boxing Day shutdown of the station.
Alex Hudson, who has operated the kiosk for 27 years, was furious he would be forced to pack up before his two busiest trading days of the year.
But after reading the "Herald" story, Mr Baird intervened on Friday evening.
‘‘It’s unacceptable and I will make sure that Mr Hudson can trade until Boxing Day,’’ he said.
A thrilled Mr Hudson said the news was ‘‘just perfect’’ and he was chuffed his story had made it ‘‘all the way to the top’’.
‘‘It’s great news, it means I won’t have to put off staff before Christmas,’’ he said.
‘‘I would like to thank Mr Baird. Thanks for being reasonable, thanks for being a man.’’

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