THE former director-general of Transport NSW wants the Newcastle rail line cut at Hamilton, with no light rail connection into Newcastle.
John Lee, who now heads the Tourism and Transport Forum lobby group, has met with several of Newcastle’s civic and business leaders this week to discuss the rail line’s future.
Mr Lee advocated spending $30million creating a transport interchange at Woodville Junction while he oversaw the state’s transport system between 2003 and 2006.
He believes improving the bus service between Hamilton and Newcastle is a better option than light rail.
‘‘I don’t support light rail in Newcastle because you don’t have the density,’’ he said.
‘‘Light rail only works when it’s point-to-point, where there are two areas that can fill it both ways.’’
The Newcastle Herald reported last week that the business community believes the state government is poised to make a decision about the rail line early in the new year.
Woodville Junction at Hamilton is understood to be the preferred terminus, with a green corridor left, allowing for a future light rail service, into the CBD.
Mr Lee believes alternative land uses need to be found for the Newcastle rail corridor.
‘‘It is worldwide best practice now that integrated development, that is, a mixture of some retail, some commercial or some residential all within walking distance of each other is how you activate an area,’’ he said.
But before that could occur, the government needed to provide a clear direction for the CBD.