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Byron Shire
September 17, 2021

Rail trail ok, but corridor must be preserved

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The rail trail is an excellent initiative that should benefit both locals and tourists, and I think it will be well frequented.

However, I agree with Cr Basil Cameron that we shouldn’t rip up the existing train lines to make the corridor solely a bike trail.

The rail, and perhaps light rail, are not the panacea for our transport woes, and the congested roads we face every day, but it could be part of a suite of solutions that go to assist our traffic problems.

In particular, I suggest that the transport issues into and around Byron Bay are a key consideration for future planning needs of the town.

This leads me to the view that the rail corridor should be preserved for transport uses that are compatible with a rail trail being constructed in those sections.

I applaud the rail trail initiative, but I do not  believe we have the luxury of throwing out potential solutions to our congested roads.

Paul Spooner, Labor candidate for Ballina

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  1. I would hope that all the candidates for this region will read transport articles written by Dr Philip Laird and in particular his term ” Steam Era Alignment”.
    Check what is happening in QLD with their commuter and freight train lines , major straightening,deviations,gradient lowering and tunnel height raising.It will be a shame to destroy the history and heritage of our 1880s track and tunnels as it also will require this same major work to bring it out of the “steam era alignment”.
    The train line use to run thru the heart of Eumundi but it was deviated in the 1980s to increase its speed and also to take the noise associated with train movements away from town centre .
    Main train lines i.e MBah to Casino, need to have reasonably fast and frequent trains at least 18 hours a day.
    See what is happening on the Caboolture to Nambour train line to understand the ramifications of what will happen to the MBah to Casino corridor if the old corridor is reinstated for trains.
    The rail trail is just a by-product of an unworkable train corridor.
    Start working now for a study on a main train line following the highways all the way to Coolangatta airport.Don’t give us a second rate transport solution.

  2. The corridor will preserved for possible future “transport uses.” In the meantime, it can be used for “active transport.” The infrastructure will have to be replaced in most places, so taking up the tracks is a non-issue. The tracks will remain where possible eg. North Byron to Byron CBD. If Grab The Rail Project gets approved then well and good.

  3. Thank you Paul. Good to see this clarification that you, like many others in this community, don’t support the ripping up of existing rail infrastructure to partially fund the construction of a bike path. The region is crying out for better public transport solutions, and yes rail is part of that.

  4. The cycleway will not preserve the line. $50m will be spent to rip it up. Development is also planned along the line to ensure the cycleway is viable. ENDING ANY CHANCE OF TRAIN SERVICES EVER RETURNING.

    “We’re never going to sort put Melbourne’s road congestion unless we give people rail options”. Bill Shorten

    Federal ALP Leader ABC News 16.3.15.

  5. Guys, take a look at the roads around here (Particularly Lismore). People are dying because of the state of the roads! I know one man has died because the fastest way by road was filled with potholes, so the Ambulance could not get through. They then had to take a longer route, but by the time they got there, the man had sadly died.

    There are things called priorities, which then goes back to the want and need. Rail Trail = WANT. Safer, improved roads and improved public transport (Trains) = NEED

    If our roads are neglected, how do you think this glorified bike track will hold up?

  6. Paul –
    I assume you know light rail will not run on the existing line.

    Other than the problem with one roundabout in Byron what other congested roads would a train fix (or make worse)?

    How much extra will it cost to leave the old line in place and will you fund that?

    What would do with the tunnels and bridges?

    Other than a train what are your public transport plans for the area?

    P.S. It is not “solely a bike trail” – the rail trail is much more than that.

  7. “we’re never going to sort out Melbourne’s (Byron’s) road congestion unless you give people rail options”
    Bill Shorten Federal ALP Leader ABC news 196.3.15.

    We have rail infrastructure worth billions-let’s get trains on it.

    Don’t vote for politicians who want to waste $ millions ripping up our train line.


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