Newcastle News


It’s only two kilometres long and about 30 metres wide, but the heavy rail line from Wickham to Newcastle is dividing a city and putting the future of the ailing mall in doubt.

Debate has re-ignited over the issue with developer, GPT, wanting the railway terminated at Wickham.

Over the next five nights we’ll present the opinions of key players, but first to the history of the rail line and the CBD.

Click here to see Episode 2

Should the Newcastle rail line be cut at Wickham?

  • No (61%, )
  • Yes (39%, )

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  1. close rail and sell land for the future and better of newcastle open mall to all .
    look at maitland since they closed the mall its business are closing as well

  2. Today I rode the train from Fassifern to Wyong, Wyong to Newcastle, Newcastle to Maitland, Maitland to Newcastle, Newcastle to Cardiff, Cardiff to Newcastle and finally Newcastle to Fassifern. It restored my confidence as I spoke to hundreds of people, the media beatup currently occurring can be nothing more than a desperate attempt to mislead the public. Of the hundreds of people I spoke with only one man said he thought that if the rail was gone ,”connectivity” would be established. I asked this solitary fellow if “connectivity” was so important wouldn’t it be merely a case of opening up crossings? He agreed that is so,but he said it’s never been done. I agreed it’s never been done because if it was done there’d be no excuse to remove the rail line. These hundreds of people all reported the same view, as follows: “Developers will do anything to get control of the land in Newcastle”. Perhaps NBN could try adding this trip into their media report. It could be worth mentioning also that the monthly meeting of Save Our Rail, Hunter will be held at the Hamilton Station Hotel this Wednesday 5th November commencing at 5.30 pm, and unlike the people proposing the rail closure is open to any members of the public (the community) who wish to attend.

  3. The rail line to Newcastle station must either be placed under ground to utilise the facilities of Ncle station or be terminated at Wickham.
    The CBD of the city died a horrible death in the aftermarth of the earthquake along with the development of large regional shopping centres in the suburbs.
    Newcastle needs life injected into it, this is slowly occuring with the development of Honeysuckle. The city also requires a suitable shopping precinct to rival the regional centres for the future city residence and of those across the harbour and to the north of Stockton.
    The Ncle. City Council must, in my opinion take the bull by the horns, ignore all the would be’s and wanna be’s the Hill group and any other negatively progressive mob and commit the city to an advantageous outcome.

  4. One of the first investment analysis lessons is to look beyond the proposed benefits and costs of an investment proposal at the people behind the project. They don’t inspire confidence? Then prudence dictates, don’t get involved. There are a number of reasons why GPT’s proposal for Newcastle CBD doesn’t communicate confidence that this is likely to be a successful project that will make the city proud. Taking GPT’s recent Eurpoean investment partnership with Babcock and Brown as a pointer, Newcastle City Council would be prudent to assume that doing business with GPT, given contemporary credit catastrophes engulfing real estate trusts, is a high risk venture.

  5. My wife and myself Have live in Newcastle for over 50 years.
    and we have never seen Newcastle look so poorly before.
    live in Newcastle back in the seventy going in to town in Newcastle was a big thing on the weekends there would be people sholder to sholder walk down Hunter street. and going the pictures on a Saturday was a real treat of the week.

    Now you go into Newcastle on a Saturday and the Place is Dead and Dieing in Hunter Street in many areas.

    I think they should Pull the Rail way line and Start again to put New life into Newcastle.

  6. If the rail is cut the cbd will die the forshore is closed off with all the buliding along it . .this is the only cuntry that is cutting rail where the rest of the world is putting rail back in
    we also should be bringing the trams back as they carry more people and are cleaner than road transport and are quiter

  7. If the rail is cut at Wickham you will kill newcastle as it will draw more and more people out of the city.
    For a lot of young people this service is a quick and easy way for them to get into town so they can go to the beach and hang out with there friends in newcastle.
    The rail service is also used by a lot people who head into town at night to go to the local clubs and pubs.
    By taking away this service you will be affecting the young people of newcastle, the spirit of youth in the town and the local businesses.

  8. I feel unless Newcastle CBD is opened up and allowed to develope, the City is now and will be left to became become a forgotten place as is the West End now. The acquired land by the closure from Wickam could be opened up for Parklands, Commercial developements to name a few. The City could be accessed from the Mall to Foreshore, not the mention the Jobs made possible while building the new projects but also carrying on after completion, a win,win, situation. Thanks Kerry Smith

  9. Take a look at the City centre of Wollongong, it is alive with people shoulder to shoulder, the exciting place a city should be. Newcastle is an embarrisment and I would never take friends from interstate or furthur afield in NSW for a drive up Hunter Street. I think trams from Hamilton or Wickham every ten minutes along the rail corrodor to the city could be the answer along with the development of the mall by GPT. It is all very well to have the GPT development but unless you can walk a mile or climb steeps, forget about going to the foreshore when in the city. I want to feel proud of Newcastle but in it’s present state I am unable to. Just as a matter of interest, if one has business at NIB or the Water Board in Huneysuckle and you rely on public transport, how does get there?

  10. After watching the news today 3.11.09 re the train line to be cut at wickham I voted on your website However when other members wanted to vote this was not possible and I know of other people who would like to vote but have no access to the net. It would be great if you could still ring on a 13 number to vote. Just for the record that would have been another 4 votes for No.

  11. I travel the world pretty constantly, but Newcastle is home. I am proud of it,and love it, but any sensible person can see that the city precinct is a mess. Surely one can see that we would be taking the city centre into another sphere by carrying out this development. At present it is a disgrace, what has it to offer our citizens or visitors? This may well be the only chance we will get! Please take it.

  12. The separation of Newcastle by the train line has not enhance the economics or the beautification of Newcastle. The train SHOULD cease at Wickham or Broadmeadow for those small number of commuters that travel into Newcastle. The train land SHOULD become a green corridor.

  13. I believe the rail should finish at broadmeadow/Wickham as Newcastle City is in danger of becoming a ghost town.

  14. Lets get Newcastle going, we are dying a slow painfull death, come along to the HBC Rally to show your support for the revitalisation of our great city !! It is on the 25th Nov at Panthers Newcastle West from 4.30 to 6.30 pm bring along friends and family and lets be the vocal MAJORITY for a change !!!!!

  15. Get rid of the rail! It does nothing except block traffic and who are these people that catch the train. When I am on it it is always deserted so why are these nobodies wanting to save rubbish. I am a young adult to and I have seen comments that it will kill the city as young people use the rail. What rubbish, if these people knew anything they would know buses in Newcastle are free so why not use them. The city is ugly at the moment but just look at Honeysuckle it was disgusting but now it is beautiful. Why would anybody reject the chance to make their city a better place? Those people need to have a long hard look at themselves. Get rid of the rail and save our city!

  16. This argument should not be about the rail or no rail. Those that use the rail will always want it because it is an amenity that they have always had, and will always want. These folk have a need, however how many of them are there? I watched a train passing into Newcastle station yesterday evening with one passenger on board. The other side of the argument is about those that see the rail as an impediment to development, which it clearly is, if the only source of development income sites it as such. Or possibly should we listen to those that have been held up at the rail gates for so many years as they attempt to cross town on daily errands?
    Newcastle is dying because we, as a community are not capable of making the cognitive link between transport and destination. What is the use of retaining a link into the Newcastle city centre if there are no shops in the vicinity, and the law courts have moved out of the area and the business district has moved out along the harbour side?
    Separate the emotive argument for rail or no rail and look at what is required to revitalise the city. The answer becomes obvious.

  17. If once again the save our rail movement has its way, and we are forced to have a train instead of development, I hope they have a very good plan, (and a lot of money), to revitalize our city, or all we will have is a train that the majority of us don’t use, and a crumbling decaying city full of empty shops. Don’t forget DJ’s won’t be there, so how many little businesses are going to hang around losing money once that icon is gone? It’s the only store that draws me in to town and I think they ought to be congratulated for sticking it out so long.

  18. If the rail is cut, do you really think that the rail corridor will become green? How much money can be made by developers creating a green corridor? Think about it! The green corridor will become another high rise concrete jungle .like Moneysuckle.

    In the past year GPT has bought properties and paid retailers to leave, adding to the demise of the city. The goal posts have been constantly moved and now to move the posts even further away, we are lead to believe that the reason they’re not going to commence is because the railway is in the way when it has nothing to do with their proposed development.

    Someone other than GPT want the rail to go, could it be Moneysuckle ?

  19. Concrete buildings will not open up the forshore. GPT plans show block buildings all over Newcastle Station and back to Wolfe Street on the rail line – not a green corridor or a place for future “light rail.” Rail can have attractive crossings as in San Diego, which is a very similar city to Newcastle. They did not close off their rail line but improved it. They have crossings with palm trees and water features. Newcastle can come to life with the rail. If you take it away there will be more congestion with 4800 passengers to come by car or bus, which will clog up the city & cause more parking problems.

  20. I have been fortunate to visit many cities throughout the USA and Asia. The most enjoyable of these cities have rail, light rail or sky rail transport systems for the movement of people all of the way to their city centres.
    The resendial population of Newcastle is growing with apartment syyle living and limited parking. Puplic transport will become esential to service this population.
    Areaa away from the caost such as Maitland are also growing rapidly. Many young people use the rail service to access the beaches in Newcastle. Cutting the rail line will make it more difficult to access the beaches.

  21. Did our forebears who opposed this rail into Newcastle really understahnd what woudl happen in the future?
    Lessons from History are always worthwhile. This rail from Wickham to Newcastle is dividing our city and for the first time we have a future vision for our children and our future.
    We should get behind the vision and then sought out details .
    Previous suggestions[re Broadmeadow being the rail end]] were uncosted and unco-ordinated this proposal looks with what I can feel is a clear vision which preserves the greening of the city..

  22. Thumbs up to all those people who are sensible enough to see that the rail debate really has very little to do with the revitalisation of Newcastle’s CBD!! And to those of you who for some bizarre reason think that if the rail line is dismantled, this will become a green corridor, wake up to yourselves!! As if that would ever happen!

    The CBD of Newcastle is a disgrace, ghost town, whatever you want to call it because the Council and others made some bad decisions in the past, especially following the earthquake in 1989. Novocastrians should be proud of their city’s heritage – including the fact that it was a city that was heavily reliant on industry like the BHP. The ‘beautification’ of the city (which includes the Honeysuckle precinct) may appeal to some, but it’s considered to be equally ugly to others. Why turn our city into another Darling Harbour – devoid of character and individuality.

    The Newcastle Railway Station is a beautiful example of a Victorian period station, and should be celebrated and protected as such. As long as people are using the line, and the station is doing the job it was built to do – leave it alone! Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Go and find something else to spend your money on – there are plenty of unsightly things in Newcastle that should be fixed if you want to attract tourists and people back into the CBD!!!

  23. In 2003 I submitted a light rail proposal to the Lower Hunter Transport Working Group concerning thr rail line from Hamilton to Newcastle.In this submission I made note of a new rail station at Woodville Junction west of Hamilton station, the line into the city converted to light rail use. Rail crossings would be converted to traffic light operation much appreciated by road users. I now go further and submit a extension of the light rail tracks from Newcastle Station to Newcastle Beach the Baths to Nobbys Beach and back to Newcastle Station. The removal of rail fencing and parking next to some areas of light rail would enhance and showcase the Honeysuckle and City and Foreshore areas. It will be shown a increase of patronidge will occur..

  24. There should be no question at all as to why we should save our railway infrastructure. It makes no sense to distroy our railways. Haven’t they heard that there is increasing uncertainty of the supply of crude oil. In the near future we will be reliant on general goods traffic to be transported by rail, not to mention people. Once the land is sold and developed, buried by an unquenchable thirst for commercial development it is lost forever. SAVE OUR RAILWAY INFRASTRUCTURE FOR OUR FUTURE SURVIVAL!

  25. In a submission I made to the Hunter Transport Working Group in 2003 I suggested A new rail station being built at woodville just west of Hamilton station with the rail line into Newcastle converted into light rail use, I still say this is the way to go. Railway crossings converted to traffic light operation would stop the congestion that now happens. I now add the light rail could extend from Newcastle Station to Newcastle Beach the Baths to Nobbys Beach and back to Newcastle Station. The removal of railway fencing and parking near some sections of the light rail tracks would cerftainly enhance the Honeysuckle City and Foreshore development.

  26. If the railway is removed in any way it will never ever be replaced. The people from Stockton and the Port Stephens area and those from the Maitland and the Upper Hunter region will lose a vital direct linkto the Beaches Tourist sights as well as a direct connection to Sydney and the Central Coast.Those in wheel chairs, Mothers with children in prams Older people , and those with physical disabilities will all suffer as consequence of having to change from one mode of transport to another. Further with the likelihood of increased Petrol prices only the well off will be able to drive their cars. Who benefits only the Property developers.

  27. Yes ! no doubt that along the rail site could do with a bit of a tidy up and some improvements made. Newcastle CBD does need a breath of fresh air. We have some designers, engineers and developers that can see a vibrant future for the city, making better use of the features that we already have. The rail system gives excellent opportunities to stop at more than one location along Hunter St. The full rail system gives a better opportunity to access more of the features that are at the top of town, beaches & ocean baths, parks, entertainment, art galleries, museum, Fort Scratchly and the Honeysuckle area. Maybe ideas need to be developed to make better use of the facilities that we have already in place than to scrap what has worked for Newcastle in the past and can again. What about all the money spent by the state government on the upgrade of carriages for the rail system diesel passenger carriages and electrical services.


    The closure of the Newcastle Rail Line, so as to open up Newcastle CBD to
    the harbour foreshore has been debated for around 20 years. This debate is
    likely to continue for another 20 years unless a trial closure is tested
    to measure the benefits to the community and the impacts on rail users.

    The least expensive and least disruptive trial would be to terminate rail
    services at Civic and have buses collect travellers for the remainder of
    their trip. This would enable broadwalks to be constructed across the rail
    line at the end of Perkins, Wolfe, Thorn and Newcomen Streets so that the
    public can experience direct access between the CBD and the harbour foreshore.

    While train travellers would be affected, no infrastructure would be dismantled,
    except for some fencing along the rail corridor where the boardwalks would
    be constructed.

    This option requires no political or financial commitments other than to
    fund and participate in the trial closure. What it would do however, is to
    allow the Newcastle community to experience the benefits and disbenefits
    of closing the rail line as a means of opening up the CBD to the harbour
    foreshore. In this way both the community and our politicans will be in a
    better position to decide whether such a closure is in the best long-term
    interests of Newcastle.

    Stop all the debate and trial a closure.

    Trevor Prior
    Waratah West

  29. Well, my two bobs worth is to remove the heavy rail by all means, but retain the transport corridor and use trams. Stop buses going up Hunter/Scott St (hooray!) and get people to use the tram instead. This retains and even improves the functionality of the rail corridor but stops it being a barrier between the city and the harbour. Don’t let greedy developers place large buildings all over the place; the city is getting quite enough of them already…

  30. The rail line may as well be renamed the “Demilitarised Zone”.
    On the Foreshore side is the State Funded and initiated ‘Riviera’.
    On the other the graffiti riddled, culturally toxic, empty ghetto that the “Community” opted for.
    Politicians and councillors love quoting the ‘Community’ on such issues.
    It helps them say ‘No’ to any change.
    At the moment there is no ‘Community’ inhabiting the wasteland south of the Rail line.
    Be brave Novocastrians! It won’t take much in this global climate for GPT to take a walk.
    This is a no brainer.
    The barrier should be uprooted and sold to a third world country… if you can find a buyer.

  31. RAIL offers the only sane solution to the problem already strangling our Inner City East Area – CARS, ILLEGAL PARKING! The Foreshore Park already attracts excess capacity populations on a regular basis. The rail service needs to be enhanced, made more user-friendly, with free, secure parking at suburban stns. and be part of a functional, integrated transport system. That rail is essential was demonstrated last weekend, with 2 events – Fat As Butter and Trucks on the Foreshore, when an EXTRA SERVICE was required to exit youth from the CITY CENTRE – NOT FROM WICKHAM. The most popular destination, the peak people concentrations, is at Top of Town. The Question should be: HOW MANY CARS CAN PARK ON A PENINSULA? PUBLIC TRANSPORT is OUR FUTURE?

  32. Pull up the underutulised rail line but keep the station as a tourist information/transport hub centre for travel further out. If this were promoted it would bring people into the city and then show thewm what agreat place we live in.

  33. in a time of dwindeling oil reserves, building a large Car park and closing the rail line into Central newcastle would border not on stupid but insane. If thats the best idea the developers of the site can come up with I feel sorry for the Rate Payers of Newcastle. The rail line belongs to the NSW Goverment and will be election time soon so if you appose the development start Lobying Your state Member.

  34. For goodness sake Newcastle get into the 21st Century….it is really quite simple get rid of the ugly heavy rail run a rail as they do from Central in Sydney and lets get moving in beautifing this fantastic city just remember how much opposition there was against the foreshore and who would be without it now.

  35. I wish to vote for terminating the rail line at Wickham, but do not know how. Could this vote be accepted?

  36. Dont cut the rail line. It’s too valuable an asset to lose. Lets make the best of it by reducing fares and getting more people to use it. What about a free inner city train like the free bus?

  37. Always public transport should come first. If a mall cannot survive without a sacrifice of public space of any kind, then why bother trying to keep it alive? Shopping belongs in the suburbs, where people live, not in the city where people work..

  38. in my opinion the rail line should terminate at Wickham.
    But if it could be placed under ground then we would have the best of both inner city transport and development could then be carried out above.
    Newcastle needs progress, the city died a horrible death in the wake of the earthquake. The city needs to be revitalised and leaving the rail line were it is will not help.

  39. The rail doesn’t divide the city from the foreshore, the roads and buildings do. How is removing the heavy rail going to revitalise the CBD? Removing ti will just makes journeys longer and increase traffic congestion. Come on fellow Novcastrians put your thinking caps on, the heavy rail is our asset don’t be GPT sheep and ask for its removal!!!

  40. It’s not rail that’s killed the CBD but satellite shopping Centres. Can’t locals see that this entire debate has been engineered by GPT. Whose the biggest landlord in CBD? GPT. In whose interest was it for the centre to look tatty so they could buy up properties at a low price and monopolise the central area? GPT. In whose interest is it for rail to be removed GPT.

    The railroad is just another road. Landscape and put in crossings if you can’t afford to underground it. Don’t get rid of essential infrastructure just because it looks like a magic wand solution.

  41. People love the railway. It should stay. It is there. It’s not broken. It’s romantic; a part of an industrial city’s attraction. It is quite unique. If we lose this it won’t be long before we regret it.

    Why spend millions and suffer all the chaos of development to end up with something different which does the same thing, but not as well. Passengers will have to get off and on different modes of transport and there will need to be some ugly (I have never seen a pretty one) interchange development.

    Of course as some one says above, it was the corporate shopping complexes that took away business from the small retailers along Hunter Street.
    An obvious question is; has anyone wondered why this businesses precinct did not suffer all the other years the train line has been there?

    Of course the developers want to make money of course that is what it’s all about. It’s always all about money! Someone throws around a weasel word like ‘progress’ and people think they need to destroy the old to get something…better? They hardly ever do.

    We need more crossings. Nice ones.

    Don’t forget; our railway is an efficient working tourist attraction just as it is. It is one of the things people who visit me always love.

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