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Byron Shire
May 22, 2024

Byron light rail gets council nod

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A rail motor similar to the one planned for use on the Byron - Belongil run. Photo Wikipedia
A rail motor similar to the one planned for use on the Byron – Belongil run. Photo Wikipedia

While it may be some time off, Byron Shire Council unanimously voted Thursday to support North Byron Beach Resort’s light-rail proposal, which is now with the NSW state government for consideration.

From December 2014 the resort wants to run a railmotor shuttle service between Byron Bay railway station and a new station at Bayshore Drive. It will be open for the public at a proposed fee of $3.

‘We’d like to congratulate the resort’s owners for having the vision to build a real transport option,’ said Karin Kolbe, president of Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT).

‘It confirms the viability of light rail in the northern rivers,’ said Ms Kolbe.

Shared use of the Belongil bridge

‘Their plan for shared use of the Belongil bridge by both rail and cyclists/walkers demonstrates that the corridor can be shared.’

‘Byron Bay’s road system is crawling to a halt, and even a bypass will only offer temporary relief if the full West Byron development of 800-plus houses goes ahead.

‘Once the initial service is established, it can then be extended further along the Casino–Murwillumbah rail line.

‘Light rail will be increasingly important in moving tourists and locals around – not just around Byron Shire but the whole northern rivers, and beyond to southeast Queensland.’

In its submission to Council the resort’s managers noted, ‘The unique nature of the proposed service significantly limited rolling stock options… The 660 series railmotor constructed in 1971… was the most appropriate passenger vehicle for the proposed 3km service.

‘The 661 number motor car and 726 number trailer car have both been acquired by Lithgow State Mine Railway Limited and are available on a lease arrangement.

‘A lease option has been secured for this motor and trailer set, with ongoing operational and maintenance support to be provided by Lithgow State Mine Railway Limited.’

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  1. Please think back to 2004 when we had only two train movements per day? If you have forgotten then try to envisage the huge traffic queues that occurred at the rail crossing near Warren Simmons Sevice Station.I can remember it clearly,waiting ,waiting,back logs of traffic.Now multiply these blockages to say every 30 minutes during holiday times,weekends,farmers market days .Also think about this noisy and smelly diesel locomotive travelling at night up to say 3am delivering our late night revellers behind the First Sun Caravan Park,residential homes in Shirley St,Cavanbah St,Kendall St and Belongil Crescent.Do you really want this noise in your backyard? Backing onto a train line devalues your property and inhibits what building can occur on your property.For a much better option would be a 22 seat mini bus that can drop off tourists or locals much closer to their intended locations ie Woolworths and Lighthouse.Buses are much quieter,easier to service and can be used for more options instead of being permanently attached to steel track.Think wisely before saying yes this motor rail system is a good idea.

      • Yes real estate does become more expensive IF it is located more than 500 metres (noise issues detract buyers) from the train line corridor and within 2km (walking distance, not straight line) of the train station. So when you draw 2 circles ,with the train station as it’s centre point you only capture the area between the 500 metre and 2km area from the station ,this is a very narrow band when you look at towns like Byron Bay ,Mullumbimby,Bangalow etc.
        Check the real estate websites to confirm my info.Add to the fact that we live in one of the wettest parts of NSW and I ask who wants to walk to a train station dripping wet?
        Trains are needed but not one that goes smack bang thru the middle of a bustling and thriving town.
        Access to beaches via approved railway crossings will only be allowed at Kendall St and Jonson St,all the other crossing behind Cavanbah and Shirley St will be illegal and possible security fences will be installed by State Rail to comply with their own safety codes.
        Don’t forget the noise from the warning bells at the road crossings and pedestrian crossings,imagine this at 2 o’clock in the morning or every 30 minutes.I presume most people would have heard these bells on trips to Sydney or Melbourne?
        Work hard for a new train line that is straight,can carry freight as well as passengers and won’t affect peoples sleep .One that will takes us into the next century and not back to the nineteenth century with the existing train corridor.Think big to save money and the environment.

  2. This does not make sense. What happens to the traffic when the train crosses the main road into town? There would have to be boom gates. It will not ease traffic into town – it will only make it worse.

    How many people are going to drive to the new station, park, wait for it and pay to travel a few kilometres? It only works if your destination is within walking distance of the station.

  3. Where was the Public Consultation on this proposal from the Resort Developer, Brian Flannery? How late will the proposed Trains run until. With Mr Flannery’s Pub and Drive Thru Bottle Shop right next the the proposed station in Sunrise open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays will there be trains full of party goers heading into Byron for late night clubbing? So will residents in Sunrise have a noisy smoky Diesel running past their homes at 12.30am or 1am??????
    These things have not even been mentioned. And what about the early morning trains? It is not just the noise but also the vibration. From the photo, the ‘light rail’ doesn’t seem so light to me. A 2nd hand Diesel from the 1970’s?!?!? With My Flannery’s Millions couldn’t he afford an eco friendly electric tram style system?

    I think the main benefit of this development will go to Brian Flannery and his propsed 200 unit Resort and already approved Pub/Bistro/Bottle Shop/ I wish the man had stayed in Queensland and not decided to move io Byron Bay and “develop it”.

  4. Some pro train people talk about electric trains ,won’t this look nice with poles and wires dangling thru our towns and countryside.Check what all these railway power poles ,support poles and power lines look like when you travel up to Brisbane next ,a pretty ugly mess.And just when people want power lines to be put underground to cut RF and EMF radiation ! Yes we need public transport badly but look and think big , not just for the next 10 years but for at least 50 years.The train line from Casino (was going to originally go to Tenterfield) to Murwillumbah was thought of in about 1882, it has passed its use by date,the same as what is happening to the Pacific Highway.Spend money wisely and future proofed.

  5. I like this idea! A private operator throws all his money into this money-pit, it causes chaos, it tanks big time, it loses a squillion dollars, and thus proves that this train bunkum was all a house of cards built by TOOT and the Greens (read Byron council) on very flimsy political foundations! No loss to the taxpayer, perfect!

  6. In my dreams I envisage a herd of white elephants having to tow a broken down diesel locomotive to the maintenance shed regularly!


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