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Byron Shire
April 20, 2021

A wasted $50m rail-trail gift, but what about a tram link?

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As a parting gesture to his electorate, Don Page has gifted $50 million towards helping fund a study into the viability of two rail trails, one on the north coast railway, the other in the Riverina. Mr Page has stated that the benefits of a rail trail to tourism and job creation in the region ‘will be huge’.

Being realistic and practical I’m sure many readers would be keen to know how this will actually happen, but we can’t deny the health benefits that can gained by good exercise, and cycling does provide that.

In June 2014, I spoke with Byron mayor Simon Richardson regarding using the railway tracks for a light rail and heritage tram service to provide tourist transport services from Byron Bay to Bangalow and Mullumbimby. How many visitors actually get out and explore the beauty and attractions of the whole shire of Byron?

Mayor Richardson was enthused about the heritage tram concept and the advantages it could bring to the key towns surrounding Byron Bay.

With an extension from Mullum to Yelgun residents of Ocean Shores and Brunswick Heads would have a transport service to Byron Bay, and North Byron Parklands concert-goers will be able to get to and from their Byron accommodation via a light rail shuttle service.

How about the weekend and holiday traffic into Byron Bay on Ewingsdale Road, with a secure parking site at the Sports Centre, visitors can leave their car and take a tram.

The flexibility and advantages of this concept are great. The Byron Bay TramLink proposal can work alongside a rail trail and there is no reason why it can’t happen.

Mr Page said that the rail trail study ‘will ensure the rail corridor is preserved for the re-introduction of rail services should a suitable model become available’. It’s available now Mr Page.

The Byron Bay TramLink proposal needs support from residents of the shire, from business operators and from visitors. A transport service unique to the area can provide benefits to so much of the community. Visit https://www.facebook.com/ByronShireTramLink  and check the website, on line from January 14.

Peter Finch,Byron Bay TramLink, Goonellabah

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  1. Well said Peter Finch. I would much rather see an investment in a multi-use corridor that includes some form of light rail solution with the extensions and options as you’ve outlined. I can’t condone or support any concept that involves ripping up the tracks and replacing them with a bike trail – it’s too myopic and doesn’t offer benefits to a broad enough cross-section of our local communities. A light rail solution IS available now. CAN be implemented on much of the existing tracks and is what we need before a further investment in tourism. Our roads simply can’t cope any more – and it’s only going to get worse.

  2. Peter Finch,
    When this grandiose scheme is finalised just how are you going to get anyone to use it?
    Any scheme has to be economically viable and at least as economically viable as the original train.
    Why not just put the train back. That is what the rail line was built for? Why not as a hugely scatter-brained idea just give the people what they want and what they had. A perfectly good transport system.

  3. Something like this has to happen. There needs to be more transport off the roads for people to get around, it’s getting so bad on the roads and will obviously on get worse. The roads were not designed to cope with so many tourists.

    To be in favour of only a walking and bike trail seems so short sighted. Something needs to go on the rails and link up all of these places mentioned.

    Surely the huge festivals can be taxed more to get more funding for such a project.


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