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Truncated line sets Newcastle up for light rail tender

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Transport for NSW will truncate the heavy rail line in Newcastle to allow for the development of the city’s new light rail project, state minister for transport, and minister for the Hunter Gladys Berejiklian said last week. </span> <p>Work is progressing to have trains stop operating beyond Wickham from Boxing Day this year, Berejiklian said. The truncation of the heavy rail line in this way will allow for a fully accessible transport interchange at Wickham, “unlocking” the area to the new light rail line, Transport for NSW said.</p><p>“The closure of the heavy rail line past Wickham on 26 December will allow work to begin on revitalising Newcastle – with the rail line no longer forming a barrier and dividing the city from one of its greatest assets – the waterfront,” Berejiklian said.</p><p>“Importantly, once the heavy rail line is truncated, work will start on construction of a major new interchange at Wickham for customers to connect with trains, light rail, buses and taxis.”</p><p>The truncation also means existing railway level crossings between Wickham and the beach will effectively be permanently open to road traffic from Boxing Day onwards.</p><p>Wickham’s new transport interchange is targeted for completion at the end of 2016.</p><p>Berejiklian also announced a tender has been released to prepare and carry out a detailed environmental assessment for the light rail project. A review of environmental factors for Wickham interchange is expected to start in July, on top of this.</p><p>During development of the light rail, one key goal for Transport for NSW is ensuring there is a comprehensive bus plan in place to move customers in the interim.</p><p>“I want to assure customers that I will be doing everything possible to make sure the interim transport arrangements are reliable, convenient and quick for public transport customers,” Berejikilan assured.</p>