SO, at last we have a decision on the fate of the Newcastle railway line; a NSW government decision democratically arrived at. Democracy NSW-style, that is.
Don’t ask the people who come to Newcastle by train how they feel about changing transport modes at Wickham. Don’t ask the out-of-towners from Lake Macquarie, Maitland and the Upper Hunter. They have already spoken, loud and clear, in the correspondence columns, but you mustn’t take any notice of them.
Don’t ask the mothers with prams, the oldies on walkers, the backpackers with their heavy loads, the surfies with their big boards or the bike riders who put their bikes in the spacious areas inside the doors. And if you do, be sure to ignore their needs.
No, ask the big boys, the developers, the influential, those where the money is and those who haven’t used a train in years.
I thought, naively, that the inordinate cost of ripping up the line would save it. How wrong I was; there’s money for projects that keep the developers and the dreamers happy.
So now you can go forward, build your high-rise over this prime real estate. After all, that’s all it is. You might get a glimpse of the harbour from the top floors. Keep turning Newcastle’s east end charm into another Gold Coast or Darling Harbour with more obscene glassy skyscrapers. Forget the people, just think of the economics.