Radical new rail design for Newcastle

IT could be the best of both worlds: a solution to Newcastle’s never-ending rail woes that keeps the heavy line but links the CBD and foreshore.

The concept was developed by Shaddock Smith architects for a recent exhibition and envisages crossing the rail line and Hunter Street with a pedestrian park.

Peter Shaddock said the idea was inspired by High Line park in New York, where gardens are built on a disused elevated rail line through the city.

In Newcastle’s case, the gardens would be set above the working rail line and cascade into a foreshore plaza that Mr Shaddock said could be a focal point for the city centre.

‘‘I was inspired a bit by the Suters report [that showed concept designs for Newcastle if the rail line was removed],’’ Mr Shaddock said.

‘‘I haven’t seen a solution that keeps the rail line and makes it look good.’’

He said the plan recreates the ‘‘Dangar axis’’, which is supposed to link the cathedral and the harbour.

Restaurants and bars at Queens Wharf are moved under the raised pedestrian park in the plan, and the infamous Queens Wharf tower removed.

The firm has decided to release its idea to stimulate debate about how to reinvent Newcastle.

Ben Smee

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