Newcastle's rail line must be removed, Infrastructure NSW chairman and former premier Nick Greiner has told a gathering of Hunter business and political leaders in Sydney today.
Speaking at a Hunter Valley Research Foundation function at State Parliament, Mr Greiner gave his frank opinion on a number of infrastructure challenges facing the region, from the coal chain to the future of Williamtown airport.
But he left his strongest comments for the vexed issue of the city's rail line.
"If you really want to fix the [central business district], which you ought to because it's the heart and soul, then you can't do it with the rail line there," Mr Greiner told about 130 people.
"...I do think it's as simple as that, but I've got to say to you that's a personal view, it's got nothing to do with [Infrastructure NSW]."
He was also critical of Nathan Tinkler's proposal for a coal loader at Mayfield, which has been knocked back by the state government.