Hands up anybody in Mullumbimby that would like to travel by rail to Byron Bay? Hands up the same for Bangalow? Let me tell you this is no pie in the sky.
Being a former State Rail employee I spent many years working these sections and I know that between Mullumbimby and Bangalow is some of the best track on the branch line. It has only a small number of low level bridges, has excellent alignment and surface and was carrying locomotives of up to 130 tonnes in weight.
I believe something like a 600 class 2 car rail motor seating approximately 70 passengers and weighing around 38 tonnes would be very suitable for this existing line. It could operate multiple daily services between Mullumbimby, Byron Bay, Bangalow and return and could be housed at Mullumbimby station yard.
Beachgoers could come into Byron for the day, tourists could take it up to Bangalow for shopping and coffee, commuters could go between the three stations.
The view from the line at St Helena is one of the best views from a railway carriage anywhere in Australia. It could be our answer to Queensland’s Kuranda.
Think of the huge tourism potential this could have for Byron Shire. We’re only talking about 30km of line and bringing it back into service would cost only a fraction of the $75.5m for the rail trail.
Philip J Hill, Booyong