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Govt to close or downgrade northern rivers railway stations

Members of Trains On Our Tracks and the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group at Casino airport.

Members of Trains On Our Tracks and the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group at Casino airport.

Railway stations at Lismore, Byron Bay and Murwillumbah are among eleven stations earmarked for closure by the NSW Government.

And the stations at Casino will have its staff reduced under a radical shake-up of the NSW rail network.

A review by NSW TrainLink, which runs regional and rural rail services, has raised concerns about the lack of security and shrinking customer service on trains to and from some of the state’s biggest regional towns.

And although the stations in the northern rivers area no longer service trains, they do provide face-to-face ticket sales, and service coaches that link with trains at other locations.

NSW Shadow Minister for Transport Jodi McKay said the government was yet to consult with communities being targeted by the closures while Greens Transport spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi said ‘billions of dollars is being wasted in Sydney while the Government cries poor about providing even basic services to the rest of the state.’

The union representing rail workers described the announcement as ‘out-of-the-blue’.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union Secretary Alex Claassens said that these cuts will hurt rural communities and will leave workers with few other employment options in regions already struggling with unemployment.

“Some of these stations have been operating for more than 100 years, and now the Baird Government will be ripping away jobs and services from our regional communities,” Mr Claassens said.

“Despite the union writing to the Nationals MPs some months ago asking them to protect locals jobs and services, we haven’t heard anything back.

“The Nationals are nowhere to be seen to stand up for these jobs.  They have gone quiet and let this government completely forget about country areas. Now is the time for them to stand up for their constituents.

“These workers are at the heart of their towns and serve a central role not just at the stations themselves, but tourism advice, as well as support and assistance for visitors and locals using the XPT and Xplorer services.”

Mr Claassens said that a staffing review of an additional 19 regional stations, plus the Sydney Booking Office, would see full time positions slashed and replaced with part time jobs.

“Ripping fulltime jobs out of rural and regional communities and replacing them with fewer part-time positions will have flow on effects throughout the whole community,” Mr Claassens said.

“Moving staff from an eight hour job, down to just three hours part-time will create a new working poor who won’t be able to afford to only have one job and will be forced to try and get other work, or just go without.”

The union will be visiting each and every station earmarked for closure over the next two weeks to discuss the changes with affected staff and ensure that all workers are given the support they need.


7 responses to “Govt to close or downgrade northern rivers railway stations”

  1. j.jones says:

    I make trips on the train from Murwillumbah to Central (Sydney) at least twice a year also down to Ballina by bus and the tickets from the station office is very handy for people just to pop in there pay and pick up the tickets. They have taken the trains from us just leave the ticket office alone.

  2. Bob Kirchner says:

    More great “regional vision” from our “state” government!

  3. Melanie Gates-Manar says:

    We have 3 teens who are unable to get to and from jobs around the region without organising lifts. They’re missing out on career and social opportunities because the government refuses to implement a safe, reliable public transport system. Surely we need to be showing the next generation that public transport is the only way to travel if we’re serious about reducing pollution on the planet?

  4. Kamala says:

    Where are the visionaries in politics ? Allowing infrastructure such as railway lines, tracks, bridges etc… to lay dormant & decay into oblivion is crazy, but, then that will give them justification in closing of railway stations & ticket offices leading to more job losses in Nth NSW.
    The fastest growing area in NSW needs trains, we need to help Mother Earth with less cars on the road!
    Looks like same old, same old, politicians looking after their jobs whilst serving their term but, our children & grandchildren will be here in ten, twenty, thirty years time – shame on the politicians again – when will we have politicians that actually open their eyes & become visionaries??????????

  5. PeterL says:

    It’s all about who has the money to lobby the State Govt hardest.
    That’s who they listen to. Not ordinary people (voters)
    So clearly the trucking industry wins. More roads, more B Doubles,
    More accidents
    Public transport? What’s that?

  6. Gary Ainsworth says:

    TrainLink say they are ‘modernising’ the rail network…

    They could make a great start by actually running trains!

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