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Byron Shire
April 15, 2021

Bring back our train

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I ask for the reinstatement of the Casino to Murwillumbah railway because the people of the northern rivers desperately need a train.

I worked at Casino Youth Service five years ago and found there was very serious violence between young people in Casino. I was told, ‘Young people in Casino used to be able to catch the train to Byron beach for the day. Now they’re stuck here and they’ve got nothing.’

There’s a Labor Party Rail Trails bill in two weeks in the Upper House and if it goes through we’ve lost our train forever.

It’s easy for people in Sydney to ignore the needs of this community. Before closure, the Casino-Murwillumbah railway suffered years of continuous neglect and downgrading by successive NSW governments. Then the Labor party took it away. The Nationals promised to bring it back but the Liberal government didn’t care. Seventy per cent of people in a recent Northern Star poll want the train back. Lismore is the only regional city in NSW that doesn’t have a train.

I’ve been going to the markets for two months with a petition to bring back the train and have 900 signatures. Many people stop and say: we need the train, the roads are terrible, so many accidents and then there’s climate change. They talk of fond memories of the train and how they miss it. Lismore to Byron is one of the most beautiful train trips anywhere. Our train connected us as a community and freed us from isolation and difficulty. This is a rich country that could easily afford to pay for our train. But we need politicians who care about our people and our communities.

Beth Shelley, Booerie Creek

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  1. Beth is right-so many people are disadvantaged, especially our youth, by the lack of affordable, accessible. and safe public transport.

    We know the cost to restore the Casino to Murwillumbah line would be comparable to similar lines in Victoria, between $0.124m to 4265m per kilometre to run a regular commuter service for locals and tourists.

    Not restoring the line and getting the trains running is costing taxpayers billions in road accidents and deaths, building and maintaining roads, people unable to access education and employment, traffic congestion, lack of parking and increasing pollution adding to climate change.

    In 2006-7 over 8,000 people signed a petition to get Trains On Our Tracks. Politicians and a Premier promised “we’ll get the trains running”.

    Our local MPs and state governments are happy to see third world transport conditions on the North Coast while they pander to the increasingly powerful road transport lobby who donate millions to the major political parties. These large donations allow this powerful group to dictate policy which means the majority of taxpayers’ funds are directed to funding roads.

  2. Restoring comparable rail lines in Victoria should read ‘$0.124m to $0.265m per kilometre’ (not 4265m).

  3. Why is everyone so reliant on the state for such things?

    Go hire a mini-bus and start a gypsy youth taxi running between the areas on a schedule if it is that important to you.

    If it is pulled over you are only taking friends for a ride.

    Charge a nominal fee to make it reasonable and give someone a job.

    Problem solved without relying on or begging the dysfunctional state.

    Think outside the box…

  4. Why would anyone want to restore the line between Casino to Murwillumbah when there is no real population density forecast in the future. A pathway for long planed walks etc. just makes more sense and will be a money-maker for our shires.
    However, saying this, what needs to be considered by our government and the federal government is a light rail from Coolangatta Airport to Grafton via the coastline where population density will increase dramatically if the government’s did decide on this transport infrastructure.
    It just makes sense!


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