Urban Transformation & Transport Programme



Paving the way for a transformative transport program and catalyst for urban regeneration

Located on a peninsula in the Hunter Valley region, Newcastle is the largest population centre, after Sydney, in New South Wales.

Although still Australia’s main port for exporting coal, Newcastle lost most of its heavy industry as manufacturers closed or moved away, while commercial and retail development shifted to suburban centres. Meanwhile, a heavy rail line to the harbour – a legacy of its industrial heyday – severed the modern city.

Plans to revive Newcastle’s central business district and re-connect the city centre with its harbour area hinged on truncating the rail line, constructing a new 3km-long light railway from its terminus to the harbour area, and opening up the old rail corridor and former industrial areas for community uses and development.


HKA was retained by Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) to prepare the business case for the US$430 million (A$600 million) programme and manage the project team.

What we did

As the viability of the transport scheme hinged on its wider economic benefits and urban renewal, our role required close liaison with a complex network of stakeholders, notably local authorities and the state’s development agency UrbanGrowth NSW and its successor body, the Hunter Development Corporation.

As part of our wide-ranging role, HKA:

  • Led the stakeholder engagement and business case development, including the urban renewal aspects of both preliminary and final business cases.
  • Managed the assurance review process for funding approval from Infrastructure New South Wales (INSW).
  • Established and operated the project management office (PMO) for the program.
  • Prepared all essential documentation through to the delivery phase.
  • Provided advice on planning the termination process during delivery.
  • Advised on transport network integration works.
  • Oversaw the change management process for transport assets, including risk management plans and technical assurance for INSW.
  • Acted as development manager for a new bus and coach interchange to be delivered on public land by a private developer.


This challenging business case was developed and delivered successfully to an extremely tight timeframe, between April and November 2014.

Construction work began in 2017 and transformation of the former rail corridor and surrounding areas is well advanced. The creation of a public transport system, centred on the light rail service due to open in 2019, has attracted private investment and land has been freed up for public spaces. The University of Newcastle has moved part of its campus into the city centre, while formerly derelict or under-used sites are being redeveloped as residential, commercial and cultural centres.

As a more integrated city with much improved connectivity, Newcastle is thriving and poised for further growth.

"This challenging business case was developed and delivered successfully to an extremely tight timeframe, between April and November 2014."
Project Details
  • Client
    Transport for New South Wales
  • Year
  • Value
    US$430 million (A$600 million)
  • Services
  • Sectors
    Construction and Engineering, Transportation Infrastructure




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