22 C
Byron Shire
April 19, 2021

Rail trail does not have full community support

Latest News

No accountability for proven police misconduct

On Australia Day in 1998, I was the legal observer for the ‘Nude Ain’t Rude’ rally at Belongil Beach.

Other News

Coalition ‘hellbent’

Mat Morris, Bangalow The NSW coalition seems to be hellbent on outdoing their federal counterparts when it comes to the denigration...

Midwife quits

Deb Walsh, Fernleigh It’s become untenable for me to continue working in hospitals. I have quit. I will be deregistered soon...

SCU named as partner in two national drought hubs

Southern Cross University has been announced as playing a crucial partnership role in two new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs.

Interview with Jean Kittson

Comedian, writer, and social commentator Jean Kittson has the ability to distil complex ideas into commonsense. Jean is one of the national treasures in conversation with Mandy Nolan and Fiona O’Loughlin at No Eggs for Breakfast, a comedic chat themed around life beyond fertility! It seemed remiss not to ask Ms Kittson on her take on the debacle that is federal politics and gender equity.

What’s the real cost of ‘affordable housing’? 

With ‘affordable housing’ being the new catchcry in parts of the Northern Rivers, The Echo did a ring-around to find the cheapest rental living space in Byron Bay’s caravan parks and camping grounds.

Interview with Mitch King from Dream Bigger

Dream Bigger is presenting Lismore Youth Festival in partnership with numerous organisations in Lismore. Dream Bigger connects established artists with potential future artists to make their ideas a reality through engaging workshops and collaboration. The Echo spoke to Mitch King from Dream Bigger.

Jens Krause, Byron Bay

The maximalist, extremist position of the winner takes all  ‘rail trail project’  has definitely not full support in our shire.

This was demonstrated by the recent Byron Shire Council vote, where a motion to fully support the ‘rail trail project’ was debated.

Even though the numbers were five in favour and four against, it is clear there is no full support.

Not even a majority support, if the democratically illegitimate vote of one councillor is discarded.

Cr Rose Wanchap has changed sides and does nor represent anymore the voters who voted her in on a Greens ticket.

Why is this important? Because the NSW government is looking for support from the community before spending money on the rail trail and demolishing of the tracks. The state government cannot rely on the support it is seeking.

More likely there is large support for a light rail service with adjacent cycling tracks, where possible.

Do not spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, creating a plaything for the few. This money would be sufficient to restore a light rail service connecting the towns in our shire.

It is now time to combine resources to create a Byron Shire Light Rail and Trail project.


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.


  1. I suspect that the majority of people living in the shire of Byron Bay would like to see the return of the railway, within the current alignment. However, reality must prevail, the cost to install a realistic rail system on the existing alignment, regardless of what the so called ” experts ” say, would be near to a BILLION dollars. Even if this were halved by waving some magic wand, when the cost to operate and service the debt incurred, is included in the equation, it just doesn’t stack up, and really never will, given the current desirable population density.
    Councillors who vote for, and members of the community who lobby for, the return of the railway, belong to a same group of people who are the very reason our council is in the poor financial state that it is in.
    Please TOOT and other affiliated groups give it a rest, and face reality and accept that the return of the railway is a lost cause.
    This community deserves an opportunity to build a Rail Trail that would be the equal of, or better than, any current Rail Trail, certainly in Australia, and something we could be very proud of.

  2. Please have a look at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com then you may get to understand the touring cyclist market they stay longer and spend more. It sounds great to think you can have public transport what comes with it is more development and people how will this protect the environment. Once trails prevailed aover the countryside all around for walking, horse riding and bicycles how many more roads and train lines do we need? People deserve better to have a place to transverse the countryside is not a play thing for a few it’s a right for everyone.

  3. Best article. Gotta love ABC and Northern Star articles on the propaganda lately. Very influential, democracy and factual.

    The problem is the community do not know nor understand this rail trail vs trains debate. Look at the NBN news report on other day regarding the reporter interviewed the people in the public. Mainly in Lismore, but still get an idea why we deserve to have trains back. Rail trail is minority group, it is a community self interest group where people enjoy riding bikes, horse riding and thereof. It is NOT a governmental service, that accounts people and tourism in our region. We have 300,000 residents and 4.6million tourists, without train services is shocking!

    NRRT supports the party which supports CSG, motor industry, superhighways and non-renewable energy projects. I can sense an election here. I always having trouble talking to people who support rail trails via online and in the community. I do understand the money is the problem, but I am sorry to say this – the monetary and supporting terms are NOT true.

    So why rail trail have to be involved a majority? Why act like a major project for our region? I can’t see this happening at all. There are far so many people in our community are seeking support, help and access. Without trains in near future, our region won’t be capable to commute because people will become poorer, polluted environment, rising cost of fuel and insurances and so on. Not everyone uses rail trails! It just for the people who enjoy riding bikes and horses. It is good for tourism, but bad for socioeconomic, worst for the environment due to rising CO2 emissions from our superhighways and it also bad for our humanity.

    NRRT, please stop pitch forking people. Stop brainwashing our communities. The numbers on your petitions and market stalls does not tell the truth of majority of our region wants a rail trail! Gosh! You kept inviting cycle shops owners and their employers, politicians and organisations to the fairytale events!

    Our Labor and Greens candidates have NO position for rail trails. They want trains back, it is because we deserve it! Carry on please!

  4. I’ve got to laugh at all the people,who want the train back. Few people used it…that’s why it was shut in the first place. If the train was truly popular it never would have gone away.
    The trail idea will bring in huge tourist dollars to the region, impact on many lifestyle factors and create opportunities for regional events.

  5. It gets tiring to keep having to make this point but………
    If a train were really needed, I am guessing that the buses would be full.
    Alas they are not.

  6. The rail trail proposal does not take an extreme position. As there is no government or other body that has expressed any interest in funding tourist or other rail services leaving the rail corridor disused, the proposal is to build a rail trail along the corridor. . Councillors are always conscious of the views of ratepayers and others who vote and in the Byron Shire it appears they appreciate that a trail that will bring economic and recreational benefits will be popular with the community. While it might appear to make sense to put a trail beside the track the initial rail trail study explains the issues:

    “ In a majority of locations, the removal of track, sleepers and ballast material will be required, where a trail cannot be economically formed adjacent to the existing line and remain within the existing railway corridor boundary. Given the relative narrowness of the corridor along the majority of the route, there will only be select locations, such as the Byron Bay town centre where existing rails, sleepers and ballast can remain and a trail formed immediately adjacent.
    In certain locations, typically where the formation or corridor width allows, it may be possible to form the trail adjacent to the rail, allowing for existing rail sections to remain in place as a reminder of the origins of the rail corridor.”

    Through the Byron Shire you would expect it would be particularly difficult and so expensive to build the trail beside the rail on the steep St Helena section to Bangalow and through the hills and tunnel between Mullumbimby and Ocean Shores, and there is no safe and level road or other alternative to using the rail bed. The Tweed Shire will call bids for a rail beside trail but is difficult to see how a conforming bid will address similar issues through the Burringbar range. We will read with interest the Byron Line study but it is difficult to see how any rail service could go from Burringbar to Bangalow when a grade separate crossing would be required over Jonson Street and major works on other crossings to ensure we do not return to the horrors of level crossing smashes in the Shire. It might be possible to build a trail beside rail between the Bay and Mullum if anyone can be found willing to fund a tourist train on that section; in line with the Byron Line proposals the rail service would be expected to contribute to the establishment of the rail trail and in particular any additional costs of rail beside trail. .

    The rail trail is a proven concept that can deliver benefits to our region. It should not be delayed or compromised because the rail lobby refuses to accept the repeated advice by rail and other experts that rail services are prohibitively expensive and not have a serious contribution to make to safe affordable sustainable transport in our area.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Pottsville policing forum asks the hard questions

Members of the Pottsville and Tweed Coast community say that in response to an increase in criminal activity in the area and their request for increased police presence, they were hosting a police presentation at Pottsville.

Coalition ‘hellbent’

Mat Morris, Bangalow The NSW coalition seems to be hellbent on outdoing their federal counterparts when it comes to the denigration of women and protection of...

An insult, Poppa

From what I can understand, Poppa Veet Mayo’s letter seems to imply that this latest COVID scare is a government conspiracy (yes, another one). To...

Upgrades for Lighthouse Parade in Ballina

One of the showcase areas of Ballina is about to get a safety and aesthetic upgrade, with the Lighthouse Parade Pedestrian Precinct and Road Safety Project commencing soon.