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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Railway group to rally at Lismore MP’s office

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Lismore Nationals MP Thomas George.
Lismore Nationals MP Thomas George.

The Northern Rivers Railway Action Group is holding a rally on Friday at 11am outside Lismore MP Thomas George’s office.

A NRRAG spokesperson said the rally would demonstrate against the lack of public transport services in the Northern Rivers region.

It would also raise concerns about ‘the Liberal government’s obvious lack of care concerning climate change and the danger on roads.

‘We are concerned about the railway tracks being ripped up while there are 4.6m tourists to the region who need transport,’ NRRAG spokesperson Beth Shelley said.

’We believe the poor, elderly and those unable to drive are entitled to the same services as those in Sydney.

‘There was $9 billion allocated to rail for Sydney in the 2014/15 budget but no rail line for the Northern Rivers.

‘We believe they’ve lied to us about the cost of reinstating the train and that they get financial support from companies that make money out of roads.

‘We are letting Thomas George know how we feel about the lack of train services.’

Ms Shelley said the rally would be followed by the Save Our Community Forum, a week later, on 22 November, at the Lismore Workers Club at 2pm.

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  1. Since the time that I was the Policy Adviser to the then Member for Ryde Michael S Photios, the Liberals in conjunction have reduced and not increased public transport outside the capital city of Sydney, and minimal services to and from regional areas.

    Whey even the Federal Nationals are investigating the construction of a freight line from Moree to the port of Yamba.

    If this policy emmanates from the Feds, what in the hell are the State doing to preserve, reconstruct where necessary and reintroduce commuter, freight and tourist traffic to these regional areas so dependent on people making these visits to these areas.

    What the current Baird government needs to come to grips with is quite simple. Public transport for commuters etc is a public service and in order not to be seen as Sydney centric need to upgrade the level of funding to regional areas where public transport is either minimal or non existant.

  2. Cant wait for the community forum! By goly I will vote for trains with PRIDE!!!
    Time to stand up and tell the libs, nats, rail trail advocates and more WE WANT TRAINS!!!

  3. Thomas George deserves the community to come down on him hard for he has betrayed their interests in more ways than one. He promised for years while in Opposition to bring back the trains and made some very passionate and well argued speeches, but in Government he has only sat on his hands citing a very flawed ARUP Transport report that grossly over inflates the repair costs to justify his inaction. In more recent times he along with his Nationals chum Don page have backed a plan for Rail Trails which includes the ripping up of rail infrastructure. So who is he working for? Certainly not the community. Let’s hope he is voted out at the election next March.

    • Garth, I suppose the 3958 people (4 times the number of rail petition signatories) who have signed the online petition for a rail trail aren’t part of the community? Please speak to us and tell us why our wishes count for nothing according to you!

  4. I do hope that NNRAG is pushing for a train line that will follow the population corridor and not the old corridor that will give the cows transport. Politicians won’t take you seriously if you keep pushing for the return of the old corridor train as it does not and never will serve the majority of the population on the Northern Rivers. A very small number of people live between Murwillumbah and Billinudgel or Bangalow and Lismore . Give the growth corridor at Lennox Head ,Ballina ,Alstonville,Wollongbar,Goonellabah and Kingscliff to Pottsville a train or it will be a total waste of taxpayers money and it will alienate these towns.
    Also focus on a public transport train and not a nostalgic steam /novelty train and focus on what corridor a train will be required in 100 years ,not for you personally now.
    If NRRAG keeps focussing on reinstating the old corridor at all costs then we will end up with nothing but a weed infested corridor that nobody can use.

  5. When will the pro train supporters realise the rail will not be returning.

    It would never pay for itself as there never were enough full fare paying people using it and very few passengers at all.

    Just yesterday, I drove past the wooden frame under the line near Eltham. It is dangerously rotten. When the train did run it had to travel so slowly over that and other area. The cost to allow trains on the line would be exorbitant.

    The train does not go anywhere useful these days. As it was originally built to transport cargo to and from the wharf at Byron and Murwillumbah.

    When one sees disused rail lines out west that could still carry thousands of tonnes of grain and other paying cargo, it ensures us this very unprofitable line will never be a rail line again.

    There is a more potentially money making project for this line and that is a Rail Trail.

  6. This is really important thing to keep for our region. No matter how much it is whether how many people going to use it. Back then it was enough and it is efficient. Today, our population grew half of twice the size and tourism grew more than 200% more. Trains isn’t feasible when there is not enough people, right? So lets compare this unsubsided $900million project cost to a Tintenbar to Ewingsdale highway upgrade. The highway upgrade is 17km long including tunnels, bridges and concretes. The return of Casino to Murwillumbah railway is 132km long with several bridges and tunnels. So what option is best, longer the cheaper is than a polluted and congested highway for shorter distance? Road construction in 21st century is way more expensiver than constructing public transport infrastructure. Its very simple. What is the government worrying about? Revenue issues? Dead end taxes? Losing money because of anxiety?

    Rail trail is lovely idea and I want to ride bikes in forests and beautiful places. But I am not fully supporting to rip up our important public transport infrastructure to make way for 18th century public transport. Rail trail, as in ripping the tracks up seemingly favouring the roads and automobiles industry. Like in the US and UK where massive tollways besiding a rail trail. Be careful of what you choosing for the future!

  7. If NNRAG supporters are so passionate about providing transport to our region then why do they only appear to focus on trains? Bus services with their flexible routes can much better service our villages and towns. The truth is car ownership per capita is higher than ever. This is why bus services in the region have low patronage. A train service on old Murwillumbah to Casino train route does not serve the major population areas and will never be viable.

    By supporting a rail trail our politicians have shown vision. After 10 years the trains aren’t coming back and it is time to do something positive with the corridor and not let it rot for another 10 years!

  8. I always thought that my online research skills were pretty good but I now have to admit failure. I have been trawling through Hansard looking for any records of the petition/petitions that have been tabled in the NSW Parliament for the reintroduction of trains between Casino and Murwillumbah that contain the 11,000 signatures often quoted by Louise Doran and others. I can’t find it/them. Could anyone who knows the details post a link to these documents in this forum or guide me to the place where I can find them?


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