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Byron Shire
April 16, 2021

TOOT’s train going nowhere

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TOOT is on another pilgrimage. This time, to hassle as many pollies as they can, to get them all to see their wisdom in remaining stuck to the limits of the rusting rail tracks of our totally disused and decaying 1890s rail corridor.

Wow, that image of the Monty Python warrior with both legs and one arm totally cut off in battle, waving his sword at the enemy, calling them gutless cowards and to keep up the good fight, comes swiftly to my mind again.

Can pathos get any more pathetic?

But the real question TOOT’ers cannot answer is; Who’s going to pay the $1 Billion to go back to the 1890’s single track freight line, in the guise of a vital piece of modern public transport network?

Well, the rest of us can answer it. The answer is… no one…

Can anyone finally cut through and tell TOOTers ‘They’re dreaming’, like in The Castle movie?

The rail trail ticks all the boxes with regard to our disused rail corridor, with its vast array of cost effective benefits. But above all, it is about to get the funding to bring it to reality. Can you imagine it, our corridor, for us all to use. That’s like about 1,000 extra acres of parkland and cycleways for us all to enjoy sharing and utilising with futuristic imagination.

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Tim Shanasy, NRRT Inc, Byron Bay

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  1. You are wrong Tim. Tourists will pay the price.
    Go to Warwick Qld and get the facts on Steam Train travel for TOURISM.
    Ahhh, back to the 1890s.
    Tourists have the money to pay $50 a trip. a bit more than cup of coffee.
    Depart Warwick Station at 08:00am for a leisurely steam train trip to Stanthorpe, arriving at 10:00am.
    Two options are available here, with a winery tour and lunch package, or explore Stanthorpe at your own leisure.
    Winery tour option – half Day Winery Tour-Pick up from Stanthorpe
    Cost $60pp. Visit 5- 6 wineries & enjoy a sumptuous lunch (included).
    Train departure from Stanthorpe Station is at 4:00pm for a steam train trip back down to Warwick as the sun sets, arriving at 6:00pm.
    Train only Adults $55 – Conc* $50
    Train and Winery Tour Adults $115 – Conc* $110

    • Sorry Len, I’ve seen this train at Warwick and it looked half empty. I wonder how subsidised it is and if it will be around in 10 years time?

    • I am not part of NRRT Inc. and have never claimed or stated to be. My comments are mine alone and have not been approved by NRRT Inc.

      NRRT Inc. is however, the ONLY credible organisation, as it has done the hard yards on behalf of the region’s people, to present the only viable option for our wasted corridor, to enhance our community with the real prospect of a rail trail coming to fruition and revitalising the entire corridor and peoples’ employment prospects.

      Contrary to the hammered catch-cries of vested interests, the NRRT Inc. is holistically supportive of job creation for us all, especially the currently unemployed. I believe their ongoing involvement may well continue to be voluntary.

      I take my hat off to them. This could be this century’s greatest regional gift.

      Public transport has since 2004, been an entirely different issue, due to costings and population growth areas.

    • To answer Len Heggarty . .
      I thought burning COAL was a no no . .
      Your steam engines burn coal.
      Is this your dream for our corridor? A carbon polluting corridor?

  2. Personal attacks and trashing over 15,700 people who have signed many petitions over 12 years calling for Trains On Our Tracks will not change reality. Ripping up a valuable piece of PUBLIC infrastructure to replace it with a very expensive cycleway,will not provide transport for anyone.

    The 2004 PWC report (commissioned by the National Party) stated it would cost less than $30m to repair the C-M line for a commuter train service.

    In 2006 then opposition leader Barry O’Farrell stated ‘a 16 trans a day train service would cost $1.5m’. The state government’s report with the inflated over-the-top costs for repairing the line has been completely discredited. Holding politicians to account for not honouring repeated promises made over many years is not hassling them. Anyone observing the proceedings at the ICAC knows too many of our politicians have behaved disgracefully and can’t be trusted.

    The main train line in NSW, which was built in the late 19th century, with upgrades and new branch lines added over the years, is still in service and no one would suggest it should be ripped up and replaced with a cycleway!

    Queensland taxpayers are now paying many billions to replace the Gold Coast line they allowed politicians to rip up in the 1960s. If our government won’t build the 22 ks to link our line to Coolangatta, there’s no way they will spend many billions building 130ks of new line-even if there was alternative corridor-which there isn’t.

    Politicians promised the C-M line would be maintained-obviously another broken promise!

    • Seriously Louise, I would argue that TOOT and it’s supporters are generally the ones doing most of the personal attacking!

      Hmm, you’re now quoting a 11 year old 2004 report as your basis for your pro train argument?

      As for the QLD taxpayers spending billions for the new GC line what a load of hogwash! The line was rebuilt to a new modern and fast alignment. Even if the old line was kept it would have to be re-aligned to meet modern standards as it was built in the 1800s.

      Why would the NSW want to spend billions to link the old single track 19th century aligned Casino to Muriwllumbah line to the GC line? If they did it would make NSW the laughing stock. The trains would go from new modern alignment on the GC line where the speeds traveled are in excess of 140km/h to a windy line built on 19th century alignment where average speed would be lucky to be 70km/h!

  3. -Jesus, this boy knows his movies (monty python, the castle). The cost of restoration of the line seems to be escalating, a billion? Must have blown out a bit since the last phoney study was done. I guess you can get any amount you like when “Your paying for it” Tim’s company NRRT INC wouldnt have a vested interest in seeing a rail trail now would it? I think the state government should bite the bullett & get on with the restoration. As an after thought “work for the dole could provide some assistance”…………………

  4. Tim, you are so wrong. In the letter you use nothing but inflated statistics that every person with a brain right now has figured out are false and fact less. The whole letter is just fact less, nothing but speculated made up rubbish!

    90% of Sydney’s train lines where built long before ours! and they still transport billions of people on a daily basis! So this rumour that it will not serve our needs is just rubbish!

    The real cost for the rail lines re-instatement is most certainly NOT nearly $1 billion!, I think you have that mixed up with the real cost of the rail trail! But seriously, no, the real price is something like 100 – 300 million (Trains themselves included)

    One question I have for you is, how much will the rail trail cost? the original flawed study failed to include key things like Water station, car parking, ongoing maintenance, fencing, toilets, removal of toxic waste and PLENTY more!

    The Rail Trail will be a complete fail, and the locals, tourists, and taxpayers will pay the price!

  5. Right on Tim, well said. If TOOT were serious about solving public transport needs then they would push for more bus services or a new modern, straighter and faster train corridor linking the Gold Coast. Instead they have spent the last 10+ years pushing for reinstating rail services on a single track line built with 19th century alignments for 1890s steam engines! Wake up everybody this is 2015! The current corridor doesn’t even serve the major population areas of Tweed Heads, Kingscliffe, Ballina etc. What a joke! Which is exactly why no government with half a brain will spent millions if not billions bringing trains back. TOOT supporters need to be honest and admit they are nostalgic train buffs. Not that there is anything wrong with being a train buff but don’t peddle the train argument as a guise for meeting transport needs in 2015.

    After 10 years of nothing the rail trail will be world class tourist attraction. It will bring tourism to the inland towns and villages which currently see very few of the 4.6 million tourists who supposedly visit our coastal towns every year. Rail trails have been hugely successful in other states and overseas and been an economic boost to dying towns and villages. The rail trails have all faced the same issues of toilets, access and car parking and dealt with them appropriately.

  6. I have to say I think that the trains should come back and the governments should work together to find a way to do it. Having a bike and foot trail is going to do hardly anything to fix the constantly escalating problem of major traffic on our local roads!

    We need the trains back. They can make highways at billions of dollars (im pretty sure it would cost nowhere near the stated 1 billion tho) so why can’t they re-do the train lines, tunnels and bridges and get it up and running again.

    It would be so short sighted to use the corridor for bikes and walkers/runners only imo.

  7. Here’s a’newsflash’: train lines can be upgraded to dual tracks on the same corridor. Branch lines can be built to connect communities like Ballina and the Tweed Coast to the main line. Amazing, who would have thought.

    • Nice simple idea but try taking getting out and having a look at sections of the track eg around stokers siding, Burringbar etc. There are tunnels, bridges and narrow culverts. To upgrade these would require massive engineering and very expensive land reclamation works. If no government will spend money to refurbish the existing line then why do you really think they would spend the billions required to duplicate the track and build branch lines.

  8. oh please…. enough of the attacks from the rail trail group! The reason TOOT believes in rail services over buses is because the buses cause more road damage than the cars, and road maintenance is never taken into account with these costings. The buses don’t suit a large part of the community either, the elderly or disabled. But we have said this over and over again and some people wont listen.
    The $950 million cost estimate in the government commissioned report was for rebuilding it for the XPT. Obviously restoring the line to a much lighter weight train such as the railcar set proposed by the North Byron Beach Resort will cost much less than what the government has been telling you. And restoring a smaller section of the line such as Byron Shire will also cost much less than what they would like you to believe, and it will keep the railway open and operational. The Beach Resorts proposal even includes fitting the railcar set with solar panels, it could be the first solar-hybrid-rail service in Australia. Now wouldn’t that be a world class tourist attraction?
    Why are the rail trail advocates always trying to suppress this information about the opportunities for rail and real transport solutions? Not many people see riding bikes everywhere as an answer to the current traffic problems.
    unfortunately there are a few people out there who have been trying to silence the TOOT campaign, including continuously stealing TOOT signs that have been put up by hard working local volunteers. Now that is pathetic.

    • One question. How will people get to the train station if they don’t live next to it? Bus maybe??? Using TOOTs logic of buses are bad for the roads then all our capital cities with large bus networks should have roads in poor condition with lots of pot holes? Really?? I guess as TOOT stands for Trains on Our Tracks then their ‘tunnel’ vision focused on bringing back trains and not objectively trying to meet the transport needs in our region. I think it’s a fair comment to make that most of their arguments are simply based on nostalgia for trains and little else.

      Modern city buses are now very wheel chair friendly with special disabled and wheel chair seating and these buses can actually ‘kneel’. I would argue these buses are more wheel chair/disabled friendly than trains. There is also this thing called a ‘mini-bus’ which could be used to link up all our villages and towns, not just the few on the train line. Only 40% of the population (and this is predicted to reduce to 25%) actually live along the current rail corridor. One of the key recommendations of the 2013 Murwillumbah to Casino Transport study was “investigating improving bus services to provide more people with frequent, cost-effective public transport to key destinations, rather than reinstating the rail line.”

      • How do people get the the train? Of course they can catch a bus or ride a bike if it is an integrated transport system. An integrated system will reduce buses on on roads, especially the dangerous lismore Bangalow rd. And so you know, we are not in the city and all our buses are not wheelchair friendly! That’s why many people would prefer rail.

  9. Of course that discredited study recommended more bus services-it was $2m worth of rubbish to justify the government’s decision not to honour their promises to ‘get the trains running’.

    Buses doing short trips to train stations, as they do on the Central Coast, work well. Local buses doing long trips on dangerous congested roads are empty because they take too long and don’t connect people to where they want to go. The bus from Mullum to Byron takes an hour. A packed small train did the trip in ten minutes.

    Anyone who has had to use public transport from Byron to Brisbane, (an hour and a half car trip), knows it takes almost a day, unless you miss your connection, then you might have to stay overnight at Tweed.

    This is supposed to be the 21st century.

  10. This is a non-argument. The trains will not be reinstated in the near future on that corridor – even if we have 20,000 signatures. Lets just get on with using it for something else and keep on campaigning for a modern, useful railway that goes where it is needed. Of course we need public transport but the rail trail is a separate issue.

    • Ah, here we go again, the same tired old argument used repeatedly by short sighted rail trail supporters. Marie, look at what North Byron Beach Resort want. They want to use the section from Bayshore Drive to the railway station, and guess what? believe it or not, they also proved the biased Government report to be sheer garbage, as the Governments cost estimate was something ridiculously high, while the NBBR approached the project with an open mind and their figures where MUCH different! Here is the Article: https://www.echo.net.au/2014/12/rail-shuttle-costs-way-below-government-estimate/

      So, yes, the region will never see a train again if the rail trail goes ahead, but if the rail trail didn’t happen, then we actually have quite a good chance.


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