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Byron Shire
May 18, 2021

Rail trail would be a boon to region

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It’s interesting to see the Greens have surveyed the track by chopper between Casino and Murwillumbah to promote the retention of the existing track.

I got to wondering how will they inspect the 187 bridges the majority being of timber construction and now in poor unusable condition, let alone the thousands of timber sleepers rotting away in the ground.

Today’s trains require either bulk commodities (ie coal, iron ore) or a large population to operate successfully (and profitably).

The north east area of NSW has neither and even the Gold Coast railway (where SE Queensland area has 10 times the population of the NE NSW area) has so far only reached Varsity Lakes and it is not scheduled to reach the Coolangatta airport (which is a good idea) before 2031.

That railway (which clips along at 130kph till Beenleigh) is all new, replacing an original railway that had been closed down due to lack of use. Sound familiar?

And if it is decided to leave the parts of the Casino-Murwillumbah track in situ, for what? to be pulled out in five, ten or more years’ time, if money was then available?

A rail  trail will be a boon to the NSW north coast area as others have been in other areas in Australia and overseas, a reason that all local councils involved now support the rail trail.

Ian Stocks, Ballina

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    • I’ll second that too! A rail trail would be a massive win for the region. It will really bring tourism out of the coastal areas such as Byron etc and bring much needed $$ to the town and communities along the corridor. By bringing tourists out of the major tourist areas it will also alleviate the pressure currently being experienced in these tourist ‘hot spots’. Rail trails have proven to be highly successful both interstate and overseas. The Otago rail trail in NZ currently gets over 100,000 visitors a year!

      It would be ludicrous to connect the old and windy Casino to Mu’rbah corridor built on 19th century alignment for steam trains to the modern and very fast Gold Coast line. Maybe in 2031 if there is the demand a new straighter and faster railway corridor could be established.In the mean-time lets not wait another 11 years for no trains and no trail! Bring on the rail trail!

  1. It’s nothing more than a cheap, cynical grab for the land. Time for the bike path obsessives to realise that the only way they will be granted a widespread social licence here is if their little path sits alongside the tracks.

  2. Thanks for that insight Ian. When the rail trail is completed everyone will wonder what the opposition was all about. Until then we simply continue to put the case and hope that common sense prevails. Maybe one day there will be a purpose built rail line linking us to the Gold Coast but probably not in our lifetime!


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