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Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

Byron has most to gain from rail trail

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In reply to Angie Burgler’s letter: if you found yourself bleeding to death, I bet the first thing you’d do is to grasp hard at the wound site, to help save yourself. Yes? Well, one of our collective wounds used to be our old and dilapidated railway line, stretching 134km from Casino to Murwillumbah. The Carr government finally had to grasp at the outflow of taxpayer’s hard cash, as the constantly depleting patronage demonstrated the imminent death of the ever-higher cost service.

Even cutting back savagely on the upkeep costs for the many final years could not stem the losses. It’s an awfully sad outcome, but train services like this were just one of many historic icons that have met similar fates, like sailing ships, even steam ships. And even if we could wave a wand and have an average 100 people per day ride a train for $10 a ticket, that daily $1,000 would barely cover the wages of the drivers and station attendants, let alone their uniforms, superannuation, workers compensation insurance and sick leave, etc.

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail mob talk about small businesses sprouting up along this wonderful rail corridor, quenching our thirsts and feeding our appetites and with world-class views currently unattainable, with stopovers in northern-rivers-style quaint accommodation. Wow, these people are cool cyclists, walkers, horse riders, and maybe electric pedal-bikers and trikers too. They’re into no-carbon transport and keeping fit so they can live longer and enjoy life more.

Come to think of it, it sounds like the theme of this whole region to me. It’s just such a pity that our Byron Shire is the only shire along this magnificent corridor that is not on board. Maybe they’re waiting for someone to show them how to use a calculator. It’s hard to fathom really, as Byron Shire is at the centre of this corridor, and its greatest potential winner.

Tim Shanasy, Byron Bay

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  1. Try ,1,000 rail trips per day and up for size. Spread over 20 rail services per day, not unrealistic.

    Numbers have exceeded all expectations when rail was reintroduced in 2005 in regional Northern Italy, with a population density similar to here. That is after the rail was shut down for 15 years for similar reasons as here and reopened in 2005. Now it has become a blueprint for many projects overseas. The secret is a well integrated system.

    Where are the Regional tourism bodies , the Southern Cross University to investigate? 300,000 residents and 2.5 million tourists a year, of which many people have reasonable access to the rail line. Add park and ride to it for many others.

    It is also a myth, that trains need to compete with cars in terms of travel time. A train ride allows you to relax and gain any lost time by arriving afresh at your destination.

  2. If the push bike mob and the train mob don’t stop blueing with each other we’ll finish up nothing but the continuation of the weed river that the rail corridor has now turned into.

  3. Imagine if the Pacific Highway section between Bangalow and Murwillumbah that was built in 1939 had just been upgraded and not taken on a completely route,what an antiquated highway we would have ended up with.The train line was built circa 1890 ,why would they follow this same tortuous path that was OK back then but it is not suitable today.Build a new train line system but not on the 1800s designed alignment.Crikey we live in the year 2014 ,surely we want a train system that will take us into the 2100s?

    • Most people know that many train services around Australia are still using the same lines built in the 1890s and earlier, including the Sydney to Newcastle/Hunter Valley line where they’re building a designated freight line to relieve congestion and delays for packed passenger trains. If the Brisbane to Tweed Heads line had not been ripped up in the 1960s the service would have been more easily accessible for many people who now have to drive/catch a bus to new train stations out of town.


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