Why I support the Save Our Rail movement
Debates concerning the future of the Newcastle railway line have gone on for decades.
Fifteen years ago I was a member of a committee established by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle to examine the future of the line and its report recommended that the line be replaced with a transport interchange at Woodville Junction. The interchange would include a light rail alternative into the CBD and shuttle buses to the other major population centres of Newcastle which are the university and the John Hunter Hospital.
My support for the recommendation was conditional upon the interchange being seamless and fully accessible so that train passengers with wheelchairs, prams or skateboards could continue their journey with minimal inconvenience.
The final report was comprehensive and included advice from transport experts from around Australia. Nevertheless the State Government refused to fund the project.
All subsequent plans for the rail line have failed the test for me, including the impending closure of the line at Wickham.
Wickham has no interchange and there is no light rail in sight.
Last weekend some 2000 people turned out for a rally in an effort to save our rail.
The protests have come a little late I fear, but they have my vote.
Newcastle’s foreshore, beaches and entertainment centres are for everyone, including those who travel with wheelchairs, prams and skateboards.