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Byron Shire
April 17, 2021

North coast transport corridor needs rail

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The trail without rail (TWR) proponents are once again imagining that we live in some declining rural backwater without traffic problems. The reality is we live in what will be the busiest transport corridor in the country within the next few years.

Neil Mckenzie claims we have no significant commuter movements. The corridor between the coast and Casino is already the busiest east west corridor between the Hunter Valley and Queensland border.

Seems that ‘commuter’ also ignores the 4.6 million tourist visitors in our region who contribute to the increasing traffic gridlock in the region’s coastal towns.

We do not, as TWR boosters imagine, exist in isolation from southeast Queensland, where most of the tourists come from.

Traffic counts taken in 2004 show that there were 42,724 vehicle movements a day at the Queensland border. The Sydney-Brisbane Corridor Strategy (2007) has projected that this will rise to 151,000 a day by 2026.

It is worth remembering that Queensland has an operational rail line in the corridor to reduce the number of cars. We do not.

TWR executive Marie Lawton rather optimistically hopes that the lack of toilets ‘won’t be a huge issue’ and simply ignores many of the other costs not included in the proposal.

Most TWRs do end up costing councils every year in infrastructure support and maintenance.

The biggest worry for ratepayers must be the inadequate estimate of $75 million compared to the $50 million of potential funding from the NSW government.

Despite the TWR publicity, this is not guaranteed as the TWR group must prove their business case. Clearly they are falling well short of that at the moment.

Cr Basil Cameron, Goonengerry

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  1. Yes, exactly we need a new rail corridor to serve our regions needs including the 4.6 million tourists who visit our beaches each year! Reinstating the train services on the single track Murwillumbah to Casino line that was designed for 1800s steam engines is not the answer to transport needs in 2015. I’m glad you can see this Cr Basil Cameron. Building a much straighter, modern and faster line that follows the highway and can serve all the major population centers not served by the current corridor including Tweed Heads, Kingscliff, Ballina etc makes much more sense than restoring the a train line built on 19th century alignment.

    Converting the old Murbah to Casino line to a rail trail will be a huge tourism boost for the area. Especially for the inland towns and villages that currently see very little tourism and are in economic decline. Rail trails interstate and overseas have been a huge success and revitalized dying towns.

  2. Yep, we definitely need trains back. The traffic is insane around Belongil fields and I don’t see it getting any better. I sat in bumper to bumper traffic along there for 40 mins a few weekends ago, and there wasn’t even a festival on (or an accident!).

    And some people wont to make it for bikes and walking/running only? What is that going to achieve? Honestly? What a silly idea.

    Bring trains back! Link up more and more places, use old and new stations. Fix it all, do it!

  3. It is great too see that Basil is starting to grasp the need to look for a fast train .A fast train only needs to average the same speed as cars or buses, of course most of the old MBah to Casino corridor will never be able to provide this. It is great to see that Basil is looking to get the 4 million visitors coming from airports at Ballina,Gold Coast and Lismore via a new fast corridor, visitors don’t want to sit on a slow winding train like we once had. And it is great to see that Basil wants to get the train corridor close to the population corridor which is Tweed to Pottsville and Lennox Head to Ballina to Alstonvile to Lismore/Casino.
    Of course there will be still the usual crowd wanting to give us a slow heritage trai going via cow paddocks,cane fields and macadamia plantations. Do these same people want to give us a taxpayer funded public transport white elephant by using the old corridor? I hope not.
    Think about what the growth population areas are now and into the future ,not what you personally want now.


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