I HAVE just returned from a five-week holiday in Europe where I visited the following cities: Barcelona, Marseille, Monte Carlo, Florence, Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Venice, Athens, Istanbul, Lesbos, Kusadasi, Santorini, Vienna, Prague, Bratislava and Budapest.
I cannot recall seeing a level crossing in any of these cities. Almost without exception, inter-city rail services were truncated short of the city centre, and either trams, electric buses, underground metros, or underground trains took commuters into the city centre.
City fathers in these cities obviously decided long ago that ugly railway corridors and beautiful city centres were incompatible.
We now have the first opportunity since Newcastle was formed as an industrial centre many years ago to transform it into a beautiful city, by taking full advantage of the surrounds of our city centre by implementing a transportation system that is used successfully all over the world.
It took us 21 years to sort out the surfhouse at Merewether, and a couple of years to shift the infamous rock at Newcastle South.
We cannot afford to procrastinate any longer and blow a wonderful chance to turn our city centre into something which is world class, and not of Third World standard as it is today.