23.1 C
Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

Worldwide rail revival

Latest News

Police looking for missing Pottsville woman

Police say they are seeking public assistance to locate a woman missing from Pottsville for almost a week.

Other News

Constitutional referendum/poll for LG elections for Byron Shire?

Is the wards fight back again? Byron Shire Council staff have advised, in the upcoming agenda, that ‘Council may conduct a Constitutional referendum or poll in conjunction with the Local Government Election, to be held in September 2021’.

Mt Warning ban

Chris Gee, Byron Bay Indigenous readers be advised that the following letter contains references to persons deceased. I read with some...

Saltwater mob style

Story & photo Melissa Butters If you’ve ever tasted the wild fish rillettes from The Bay SmokeHouse you know what’s...

Police confirm Main Arm drug operation

NSW Police have finally confirmed what pretty much every one in Main Arm already knows – they are conducting drug operations in the north of the Shire.

Green Spine parking

Ian Kingston, Mullumbimby I am concerned at the apparent loss of parking spaces proposed in the centre of Mullum under...

Cartoon of the week – 24 February, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Over the past few months I’ve been overseas studying transport systems and policies. The core message is integration – it’s not just about bikes, or rail or cars. You create the core longer routes, then add the short, connecting journeys.

The northern rivers is blessed with a transport corridor 130km long that connects our towns and villages – like Bangalow, Lillipilli, Byron, Sunrise, Tyagarah, Mullum and Billi.

For long distances between towns, rail is the only serious transport option. It suits visitors and residents, young and old, night and day, rain or sun.

We can use bikes to get to and from stations. Or, we take our bikes on the train. Or, bikes travel beside the tracks on their own path – as they do in California, Italy and even Victoria. This creates a choice to bike one way and rail home.

We also add small feeder buses, like Ocean Shores to Billinudgel, to assist others.

Keeping the tracks for rail is the only option that guarantees the land stays in public ownership forever, for long-term social, economic and environmental reasons. No other option does this. The rail revival is happening worldwide – let’s not go backwards.

Karin Kolbe, Suffolk Park



Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. We can keep the corridor in public ownership with a rail trail. The scoping study will look into the possibility of running both train and bikes on the corridor. Once finished, we need to run with their decision – otherwise we get nothing. No-one wants that! If it is decided that the rail trail can go ahead, the corridor will be available for future trains if it becomes a viable option down the track. Having a rail trail will not stop the trains coming back.
    Rail Trails around Australia and the world are becoming a popular way of ‘railbanking’; preserving disused railways for future rail use by maintaining the rail corridor for an interim use, such as a public trail.
    The NRRT group understand the sadness for all of you who have worked so hard to get the trains back.
    I think it would be fantastic if we can all work together now and keep the corridor in whatever way is possible, viable and likely!

  2. Karen did not need to travel overseas to find this out.
    All the reports on active transport and community transport say this.
    This is what the Northern Rivers Rail Trail Association has been saying all year.
    It is why the NRRT has a policy of rail banking; if we can get a train back using the corridor, firstly we have to keep the corridor. The best way to keep it is to use it so until the funds and patronage can be found for a train service, we need to use the corridor and the most achievable way is as a cycling and walking trail.
    So lets work together on this and make sure the corridor is not sold off or used for purely commercial purposes that do not help this community.

  3. The heading for Karin’s article could have been “Worldwide rail trail revival”. Cycling and walking trails are being built on disused rail corridors at an increasing rate across Australia and worldwide. They protect the corridor and ensure it remains in public ownership. Every rail trail that has been developed attracts multiple users, inevitably far more than the most optimistic projections for rail travel on the same corridor. The Northern Rivers Rail Trail will do the same with tens of thousands of users each year. The trail will give people a safe, healthy and enjoyable way to move around busy towns and to connect to schools, shops, work, libraries, etc. It will take cars off our roads as people rediscover the joys of walking and cycling. Very few people used the train 10 years ago – it doesn’t meets our needs – a rail trail does.

  4. I agree that integrating a number of options for using the available rail line is a good idea. However, there needs to be priorities. In my opinion, the number 1 priority for Northern Rivers communities is an effective light rail system that links our various towns and hamlets, and provides a much-needed, safe, environmentally-friendly transport option to those who are either forced to drive daily around the region, or who are prevented from finding employment etc because of lack of transport. Train first. All the other ‘nice to have’ options second. Karin speaks for many people who don’t possess the same volume of some of those who have been extremely vocal and somewhat divisive about their real intentions for the rail line. The only way to truly protect the rail option is to reinstigate it, whether by public or private means. Don’t be fooled by assertions that the rail trail (without rail) is the only way of ‘protecting’ it’ the rail some mythical time in the future.

  5. The patronage of the old one a day XPT train service running at inconvenient times, which locals could not use, cannot be compared to a light commuter service with trains running all day. A more relevant comparison is the Gold Coast to Brisbane service which is usually packed with standing room only.

    Given that the line has been allowed to deteriorate to such an extent, upgrading the existing line to make it safe for a rail trail will cost the same as for a rail service. It does not make sense to spend huge amounts of taxpayers’ money for something that will only be used by a few very fit people in good weather when for the same money we could have a service which could be used by the whole community-bikers, surfers, students, workers, everyone.

    Rail trail supporters need to beware of politicians who have a record of making promises but delivering nothing.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Dr Matt Landos, East Ballina There is the real news and then there is the fake news. The radio news announced recently new economic figures showing...

Monkey see

Daniel Brown, Byron Bay Back in my early youth growing up in Mt Eliza Victoria in the ‘90s I’d secretly look up to and admire...

Australia’s bastardry

Gareth W R Smith, Byron Bay Australia has a long string of racist and anti-humanitarian policies. These range from its treatment of Aboriginal people, complicity...

Mt Warning ban

Chris Gee, Byron Bay Indigenous readers be advised that the following letter contains references to persons deceased. I read with some interest and also, I am...