NSW Transport minister Gladys Berejiklian reaffirms Newcastle light rail plans

NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian in Newcastle last week.

NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian in Newcastle last week.

SHE joked about it in a speech in front of dozens of Hunter business leaders, but stood by her line that "scaffolding and things" for Newcastle's light rail would be up by the end of the year.

The NSW Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian made light of a February newspaper article at a Hunter Business Chamber's luncheon at Merewether Surfhouse last week.

Ms Berejiklian said she was embarrassed by the headline that used her quote "There'll be scaffolding and things going on by the end of this year". However, she reaffirmed the government would start work on the project by December.

She said the government was working hard behind the scenes on the details and was still working on a definite timetable for the heavy rail's truncation.

The state government is in the process of investigating all of the above and below-ground factors that may be a problem when building the light rail.

In other developments, the state government has asked private companies to register their interest in designing and constructing the transport interchange at Wickham.

Ms Berejiklian said customer amenities would be prioritised when deciding on the design.

In other transport news, she said all buses as far north as Port Stephens would be on the Opal electronic card system by the end of the year.

Ms Berejiklian also said she would have more to say about improving services between Newcastle and Sydney in the coming months, having recently announced 105 extra train services between the two cities.

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