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February 3, 2023

Rail trail tale gets a fail

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Letters – 1 February 2023

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don’t be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

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Your article on the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line is a disgrace.

Normally if a person accuses another person of lying you as a journalist should at the very least contact the person being accused to give them a right of reply. You did not contact me.

For the record, our commitment before the 2011 election was to do a feasibility study into trains being reinstated on the Casino to Murwillumbah line. We honoured that commitment.

The feasibility study said, amongst other things, reinstating trains on the Casino to Murwillumbah line would not meet the public transport needs of the region because two of the three largest towns in the region (i.e. Ballina and Tweed Heads) would not be serviced by the trains no matter what combination of services were provided. This remains the case regardless of any argument about costs.

Secondly, the government has made it clear, and it’s in the Terms of Reference for the Rail Trail study, any consideration of a rail trail must be based on the commitment to keeping the rail corridor in public ownership in case at some future time trains become viable.

Don Page MP, member for Ballina

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  1. Sounds like Don is spruiking on behalf of the rail trail group to me. Especially when he uses that old chestnut about keeping the corridor ‘intact’ just in case the government (or private enterprise?) decides to reinstate the rail service in the future. This is the biggest furphy being promoted by the rail trail group – that they want the rail trail established in order to save the corridor for future rail. What a load of cobblers. It’s nothing more than a blatant grab for the land for their own purposes. Once they have it they won’t want to let it go – even if the majority of locals would rather enjoy the benefits of a modern light rail service.

  2. The “majority” of locals for the return of trains is not showing up in the statistics on the Community Run website.Pro train has 860 votes but funnily enough the pro Rail Trail has 2850 votes.So would you call pro Train a majority vote? No I don’t think so.

  3. I ride regularly in the Northern Rivers region between Tweed, Byron and to the west. This is my home and we are so fortunate to live where we do. I think the rail trail would be a welcome asset for our region and one that would be used by locals and visitors alike. I’m hoping other locals can embrace this positive alternative for our communities.

  4. The pro-train doesn’t show because many people do not click on the internet, or don’t even have the time as to do the internet takes time! I remember the crowds at the stations & elsewhere showing they wanted trains – for transport! Also I speak to a lot of people about train transport, incl hitchikers and they say/agree yes, train transport!Jillian Spring


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