The Hunter should take a leaf out of London’s book when it comes to public transport.
That’s what a former Hunter resident living in the United Kingdom thinks.
Paul Newman has been following the public debate on the plan to remove Newcastle rail line.
He wrote to the Mercury this week to put the debate into an international context.
“As a London resident now, I am witnessing great strides in creating new heavy rail infrastructure – Crossrail, Thameslink, etc – taking rail right through the heart of the city, deemed by our government to be absolutely essential to provide the transport needs for a modern 21st century city,” Mr Newman said.
“The government considers the multi-billion pound price tag well worth the investment in the city’s future.”
Mr Newman said it was depressing that the NSW government planned to take the heavy rail from the heart of Newcastle.
“It’s not just the act of doing it, but how it is being done – rip the line out then we’ll think about the alternatives,” he said.
“And [Minister for Transport and Minister for the Hunter] Gladys [Berejiklian] says she is confident public transport usage to the city will increase. It is as if they want to eliminate the demand for passenger rail transport in the area so they can turn the rail system over to the coal chain.”
Mr Newman said he believed the proposed light rail into Newcastle would never eventuate.
“The business case for building and operating just 3km of stand-alone tramway just does not stack up,” he said.
The government will close the rail line between Wickham and Newcastle stations from Boxing Day.
Commuters will have to change from trains to buses at Broadmeadow to reach the CBD while work takes place.
The government plans to build a transport interchange at Wickham and set up a light rail network into the city, but there is no timeline for work to be finished.