THE last train out of Newcastle was seven minutes late.
At just before 11.30pm on Thusday night what may be the final train to ever depart from Newcastle Station pulled out, albeit delayed.
Between 30 and 40 people came out to ride, or just witness, the train depart, almost all of them filming the moment.
The train had been expected to be one of the seven Hunter railcars, a diesel train introduced in the Hunter Valley between 2006 and 2007.
The driver of that train, Mark Woollams, from Dudley, had been preparing to drive the last train out since he saw the final roster two days before.
‘‘I’ve been a driver [since] 1981, my grand-father was a driver in Eveleigh before World-War-Two so it’s a family business,’’ he said.
‘‘I think it will be a bit emotional ... give it a few days and I’ll probably think about it a bit.’’
However it wasn’t to be, what was due to be the second last train, a service to Gosford, was delayed by seven minutes, making it the final trip.
If legal action fails to restore train services to the line history will record double-decker power car 8106, on a train driven by Rhett Wynberg, as the last carriage to take passengers from Newcastle Station. It left the station at 11.27pm, ending a service that began in 1858.
Save Our Rail president Joan Dawson was on board, earlier she said there was ‘‘a feeling of limbo’’ hanging above the night.
‘‘We’ve saved the tracks, we still have to save the trains,’’ she said.
Ms Dawson was referring to Tuesday’s NSW Supreme Court decision which found the state government will need an act of parliament before it can begin removing the rail.
In the meantime, services will still be stopped and the government will begin the process of removing about 700 metres of wiring along the track between Newcastle and Wickham stations.
SAVE Our Rail representatives say train cancellations and bad weather have impacted turn out at Newcastle Train Station on Thursday night.
At 9.30pm there were about a dozen Save Our Rail members or affiliates present at Newcastle Station, showing their anger at the state government’s decision to stop trains running into the city, despite a court ruling on Tuesday it could not begin the process of ripping up the rail line without an act of parliament.
But Save Our Rail member Kate Tuohy-Main said numbers at the station had been curtailed after a number of train cancellations earlier in the evening.
‘‘A lot of people have been cut off at the knees by the cancellations,’’ she said.
‘‘I was actually surprised by how many people coming in tonight don’t know that it’s ending, so many tourists have been saying ‘what? What are we going to do?,’’ she said.
The final train is due to depart from Newcastle at 11.24pm on Thursday, heading to Telarah.
After a hectic week, Save Our Rail president Joan Dawson was present at the station, saying it was ‘‘the right place for me to be’’.
FIVE Hunter train services were cancelled on Thursday night, as mechanical problems plagued what could be the last night of heavy rail into Newcastle.
A number of mechanical issues throughout the afternoon and night saw services on the Hunter Line cancelled en masse.
The services were:
6.55pm Newcastle to Telarah
7.37pm Dungog to Newcastle
7.55pm Newcastle to Telarah.
8.47pm Telarah to Newcastle.
8.47pm Scone to Newcastle.
The services were replaced by busses, and some Some Save Our Rail representatives said the cancellations were to blame for a small turn out of protesters to campaign against the ending of rail services into the city.