With all the talk around rail trails and light rail, here’s another idea to consider for our disused railways.
RailExplorers Byron are proposing to use the 13km of abandoned railway line that runs between Banglaow and Byron Bay as a ‘tourism experience’.
Pedal-powered rail carts could wind their way down the region’s spectacular coastal and rural landscapes.
It’s the idea that Alex Catchpoole and Mary-Joy Lu are hoping will be embraced by locals and government, and they have just launched the project after 18 months in research and development.
Fleet of 100 in South Korea
The pair were inspired by the cart’s designer, Yun Jin-Gyu, who operates a fleet of 100 carts in Gokseoung, South Korea. Alex and Mary-Joy are now working with Jin-Gyu in bringing it here.
‘The carts have revitalised once isolated communities,’ Mary-Joy says.
‘We estimate this could generate more than 22 full-time jobs and $1.2 million in wages going back into the local economy every year,’ she says.
‘And it will also provide the government with a valuable revenue stream.
‘Our advice is that there is minimal work to get the track serviceable to run from Bangalow to Byron for this type of operation,’ she says.
She points to the lack of family-friendly activities in the shire and that Railexplorer would be attractive to couples, families and an older demographic. Mary-Joy added that using the track in this way preserves it for future rail use and that Railexplorer could work alongside rail trails, which they both support.
‘Rail carts would be an invitation to travel further to those not ready for the rail trail.’
For more email [email protected] or visit www.facebook.com/railexplorersbyron.