In 1964 the Southport to Beenleigh rail line was closed, three years earlier the branch line to Tweed Heads was closed, subsequently the National Party government sold off important parts of the corridors.
So that when Queensland needed rail again in the Gold Coast area 30 years later it cost lots, around $10 billion in today’s money so far and on a similar alignment but not the exactly the same alignment as the old Tweed Heads branch line.
The next section from Varsity Lakes to the Coolangatta airport is budgeted at $2.8 billion, meanwhile $1.6 billion has been spent on the just completed 13km light rail.
So for people like Geoff Bensley to blithely suggest we rip up the existing track that already runs through or near a large portion of the population of the northern rivers and build a new mythical line is an idealistic fantasy at best.
By all means we could extend a line along the already existing corridor to Ballina, and extend the line onto a new corridor from Murwillumbah to Tweed Heads and the airport.
There may even be a case to straighten and reroute parts of the line through Byron shire over time, but to predicate this on ripping up the current line in Byron Shire when it already runs so close or through all our major population centres, is crazy.
Finally am I the only one who thinks it will be really important to have an alternative way to get into Byron Bay (apart from St Helena goat track) once Ewingsdale road grinds to a permanent halt when there are new traffic loads because of developments at West Byron, and around the new hospital.
Malcolm Price, Byron Bay