16 C
Byron Shire
April 22, 2021

Pedal-cart plan could keep rail track in place

Latest News

Fast Buck$ ejected from Byron Council meeting

During this morning's Byron Shire Council meeting a dispute between the Mayor Simon Richardson and local activist and agitator Fast Buck$ over the pronunciation of Cr Sarah Ndiaye's name led to the meeting being suspended.

Other News

Electricity ‘fun facts’

Anonymous, Ballina I’m surprised that a part of David Lowe’s online article of March 15 slipped under the fact-check radar (‘Tamara Smith...

Interview with Toni Childs

Internationally celebrated musician, Emmy winner and three times Grammy nominee Toni Childs is bringing her show to The Brunswick Picture House. With two acts, Childs is promising a special two hour performance as she celebrates her vast catalogue of music, which also saw her celebrate the 30th anniversary of her critically acclaimed album Union in 2019.

Music photos

Jack Paten, Shellharbour Over the years I have collected various photos from the past of Australian Country Music history and am...

The Channon resilient after disaster

Northern Rivers communities are nothing if not resilient and The Channon community is preparing to take a proactive stance when it comes to disasters in the area.

Jungle juice

There are times when water just doesn’t cut it. And luckily, for those times, there is Jungle Juice.

Your Local Club Academy Games

The North Coast Academy of Sport prepared its largest squad ever to compete at the 2021 Your Local Club Academy Games, held in the Hunter region last weekend.

James and Charlie, with parents Alex and Mary-Joy, show how much fun rail carts would be if they were given the go-ahead. Photo Jeff ‘Carted Off Since 1986’ Dawson
James and Charlie, with parents Alex and Mary-Joy, show how much fun rail carts would be if they were given the go-ahead. Photo Jeff ‘Carted Off Since 1986’ Dawson

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.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Not a great idea, heavier than a bicycle, only able to travel in one direction at a time, would require signalling and safe working practices & the potential for a collision is too great. Would be fine with a double track, but who is going to duplicate it. Maintenance of the rails would be an issue as well. Much easier to patch a pothole than to replace a sleeper or rail.

  2. Thanks for the comments and for your interest in RailExplorers Byron.
    Ponyrider and Caspar – thank you! We are lobbying the state and local governments for access to the track. With public support we can make it happen.

    John Holstein – these are important issues, but not insurmountable problems. The experience is a one way trip – our proposal is to start in Bangalow and travel down the hill to Byron Bay. Riders will be shuttled back to Bangalow by bus. In South Korea there is a train that follows the final rider down the track and then brings all the passengers and carts back to the start. This would be great in Byron also, but would require significantly more work to upgrade the track – hopefully one day we can offer this too.
    All level crossings would be monitored by RailExplorers staff to ensure safety and minimal interruption to traffic.
    Track maintenance will be taken care of – RalExplorers is a business, and we will be generating revenue through ticket sales and re-investing in the business and the community.

    John – the idea is to cruise along, enjoying the scenery and the experience, and to relax and take your time. Each railbike departs with some distance from the cart in front, and by managing your speed you can maintain the space between carts. Passing is really not an issue.

    The RailExplorers Byron railbike will be at the local Farmers Markets this week – in Byron on Thursday the 3rd, in Mullum on Friday and in Bangalow on Saturday. Come check it out and say hi!

  3. There is one massive big problem & that is people want/need train transport to meet theri independence to be able to go to all the different happenings that well, – happen – on the northern rivers. We cannot just have roads roads roads; airports – still need roads roads roads to shuttle people to them! The rail trail is one ‘big can of worms’ what with all the planning, LEPs, legislation, arsenic etc on the line & surrounds. The contamination needed to be done when the ARUP Pty Ltd Feasibility Study was done. Why did that not happen?! Desination Tweed continue to state the increase in population. Are we all going to stay on roads roads roads? Jillian Spring

  4. An eco friendly, family friendly activity that will bring tourists to the hinterland, what’s not to like. On days when it’s not beach weather it may even bring a younger crowd up looking for something different to do. People drive cars these days, they don’t take trains. This looks like fun.

  5. We should have an integrated rail system with bike trails connected or next to the tracks, but some people have been getting it into their head that we cant have both and its one or the other – rip up the tracks or not. i dont agree with this logic about one or the other, and i think real rail services should be the priority here in a place that is lacking public transport, but atleast this is another option thrown into the mix. these rail-bikes would be better than a rail-trail because it will help maintain the existing track and not rip them up like the rail-trail group would like to do!

  6. This model works well in Tasmania on the old Gordon railway line – “rail track riders”

    All issues have already been overcome there and it is thriving!!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Shenhua gone and Breeza breathes again

In a much-hoped-for move, the NSW Government and the China Shenhua Energy Company Limited have reached a $100 million agreement in which Shenhua will withdraw its mining lease application and surrender its development consent for the Shenhua Watermark Coal project at Breeza on the Liverpool Plains.

Pandemic plate lickers release lockdown dessert

The 2020 pandemic lockdown meant the entire entertainment industry was cancelled, but making music cannot be cancelled.

5MW solar farm funding under question

A 5MW solar farm proposed for Myocum, located near the Byron Resource Recovery Centre, poses a ‘high degree of risk’, and could jeopardise funding for other large Council infrastructure projects, according to a staff report, to be tabled at this Thursday’s meeting.

Tony Barry, Ben Chifley and FD’s Four Freedoms

Local actor-vist, Tony Barry, has taken on a lot since he moved to the Northern Rivers, and though cancer took one of his legs, Tony still manages to put in the hard yards for social, environmental and human rights causes.