HISTORIC Newcastle railway station will be reopened to the public for the first time since the last train rolled in two years ago.
The state government will temporarily reopen the area on Friday afternoon, between 3pm and 8pm, and Saturday, between 10am and 3pm, so Novocastrians can refamiliarise themselves with the former terminus station before it is overhauled into something new.
Dubbed the Revitalising Newcastle “Ideas Festival”, the aim is to “help Novocastrians envisage how the areas might look with different outcomes”.
The government promised it would consult with the community to find new ideas for future uses of the now-defunct station.
Urban Growth program director Michael Cassel said on Thursday the government would also seek opinion on the buildings belonging to the former Civic station.
Knocking down the Civic station buildings are an option to be considered.
“The Ideas Festival is a call for ideas for the use of the Newcastle Station precinct, and for feedback on whether the Civic Station buildings should be retained and adaptively re-used or removed to create more open space,” Mr Cassel said.
“Ideas will be sought, collated, considered and prioritised to enable expressions of interest to be sought from potential future operators. The Ideas Festival is designed so that the people of Newcastle are at the centre of the decision-making into the future use of the two precincts.” The ideas will then be shortlisted.
Photographs released by Revitalising Newcastle on Thursday show Newcastle station in relatively good condition after being empty for two years.
The temporary reopening of the station comes as the government prepares to let the public back in to sections of the former rail corridor.
It will be the first time the rail corridor is used for anything other than transport in 100 years.
A section of the corridor between Market and Scott streets, where the now-removed Market Street footbridge was located, will be reopened on December 9.
Mr Cassel said there were plans for a summer fiesta-themed event, which is tipped to be the first of a number of different “trial” events over the next year.
“We encourage families to come into the city and enjoy a brand new space. It’s a big moment for Newcastle,” he said. “Feedback from the community will let us know what activities people most enjoy, which will help us determine how the final domain space will be used.”
The two milestones come about a month after Newcastle council took the divisive step of agreeing to rezone the former heavy rail corridor so that buildings, parks and housing could be built.