A parliamentary committee will investigate planning decisions in Newcastle, including the rail cut, if Greens MLC David Shoebridge gets his way.
He believes he will have a majority when he puts a motion to Parliament this week to establish a select committee to investigate how recent planning decisions have been made in the Hunter.
The Shooters and Fishers Party, Labor and the Christian Democratic Party are believed to be combining to vote in favour of setting up the committee.
One of its major targets would be the government’s plan to replace trains with light rail from Wickham station.
“Our job is to hold the executive to account,” Mr Shoebridge said.
“I have not heard a rational reason to date for the government’s decision [to cut the rail line].
“It is an illegitimate project and there is desperation in the government’s moves to start work.”
The committee would not have the power to halt the Boxing Day closure of the line.
But it would be able to call on state and local government officers to answer questions and give evidence.
The committee is expected to be made up of three government representatives, two Labor members, one Greens representative and one conservative cross bencher, likely to be from the Christian Democratic Party.
It would present its findings by March 5 at the latest.
The Mercury has been running a campaign, Save Hunter Rail, with sister publications in the greater Hunter in recent weeks to encourage the government to delay the rail closure until after the March election.
It began after a groundswell of residents from Maitland, Dungog and beyond expressed concern that the closure would make it difficult for them to access Newcastle, because they had few alternative transport options.
Maitland Save Our Rail president Kim Cross said her group wanted to make sure there was no undue influence on the rail decision, given recent corruption findings involving Hunter MPs.
“It’s the best news we’ve heard for quite some time,” she said.
Labor candidate for Maitland Jenny Aitchison said Labor would support any moves to stop the rail cut.
“Planning around community assets should be about what the community needs, not what developers want,” she said.
“It should also take in transport considerations, as congestion, population growth and accessibility are all key considerations for Maitland as we look to a population of 130,000 by 2030.”