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Byron Shire
April 22, 2024

Voters say no to trails without rails

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TOOT campaigners backed independent candidate Jeff Johnson in Ballina. Photo supplied
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Residents have sent a strong message to the Baird government: ‘hands off our tracks’.

The majority of residents in the Ballina and Lismore electorates voted for candidates opposed to the removal of the Casino-Murwillumbah rail line for a cycle way.

It’s time to restart the conversation about using the line for regular commuter shuttles.

The $50 million set aside for ripping up the tracks can be much better spent on restoring the line for trains.

With over 4.5 million tourists to the region, the rail line is a key piece of tourism infrastructure as well as the backbone of a regional public transport system linking most of the major population centres.

TOOT is looking forward to meeting with the Members for Ballina and Lismore.

We will be presenting them with over 4,000 petition signatures calling for trains on our tracks.

Basil Cameron,  Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT)

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  1. The election of Tamara Smith (Greens) to the seat of Ballina gives our community new hope for a more open and inclusive dialogue about the future of our rail corridor. Tamara has already publicly stated that she does not support the removal of existing rail infrastructure as part of a plan to create a rail trail and that she is strongly in favour of a more comprehensive public transport system for our area. NRRT well and truly had the ear of Don Page which meant that other parts of the community were not being heard on this issue. With Tamara now in the driver’s seat I look forward to a fresh new discussion about what the community really wants and needs in terms of public transport. Hurrah. In fact, HURRAH.

    • Yes, in an ideal world, there would be trains everywhere.

      Public transport everywhere.

      I even yearn for an Antarctic ship moored in Byron Bay, ready and waiting for the moment I’d like to travel to Antarctica on my pension card, free, of course.
      But where is my ship? Why can’t the government see how horridly tight pursed they are with their taxpayers’ money, in denying me my right to travel there whenever I desire?

      And where is my train? Oh, I yearn for that too, to take me whenever I want.

      Can’t they see how stingy they are? All it would take is a few hundred million dollars to replace all the sleepers, rotten or missing bridges and flood plain timber elevations, for a start.

      Then all they have to do is bring it all up to WH&S standards, load it up with rolling stock, and then try to work out a timetable for just a single tracked service, and hope there’s enough people interested in driving to a station and parking their car somewhere near a station, to help pay for the staff and their uniforms, sick leave, workers’ compensation, holiday pay and relieving staff.

      Geez, if I were a rich man, I’d jump to fund this fantastic venture into prosperity, and teach those stingy people in Macquarie Street, a lesson in economics.

      Wouldn’t you?

      • Yes, how unreasonable of North Coast people to expect the state government to maintain valuable public infrastructure and provide public train services on the North Coast, which they don’t provide anywhere else.

        Hang on-people on the Central Coast and the Hunter Valley have regular taxpayer funded train services and the poor things have to drive or catch buses to the stations. Funny how they seem very happy to do that. They’re certainly not calling for their line to be ripped up for a bike trail.

        Poor things don’t know what they’re missing out on.

  2. In 1897 the rail track was laid down in Temora in the Riverina, Tamara. There was gold on the gold fields. The train also came to Tweed from Brisbane next to the Gold Coast. The 1890s were virbrant times with the Shearers strike and the birth of the Australian Labor Party and Henry Lawson wrote and the Banjo who there with the Walzing of the Matilda and there was the activist and they with their steely muscles laid the track down in the sun for many years before Ben Chiffley an engine driver became a hands-on-the-lever prime minister.
    Rail and the train and steam was the driver of the nation and of the economy. It was the time of men and the male spirit and the labourer and when women were ladies and gentlemen were gentlemen and they with their kerchiefs and plumes and finery boarded the train and travelled. Those were the common times in the villages of common people and common names like Smith and Jones and Brown and the upper class saw the country through the train window on the ups and downs even up on the Darling Downs.
    They were not the times of ‘rip them up, they cost too much” as a rail trail was never heard of then in the good times when there was humanity. Oh yes the train is still there in NSW. Anyone can go by train to Temora, Tamara.

    • Actually Len, you can’t catch a train all the way to Temora, you have to jump off a train Service at Cootamundra and then take the bus to Temora.

  3. The Rankins Springs line from Barmedman to Rankins Springs would make the perfect railtrail as the rail line is washed away and would be unreasonable to repair for trains within the States budgets.
    The tourism industry would be a very welcome for jobs but the usual objections from farm owners would be screamed from their farm gates.


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