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Byron Shire
May 24, 2022

Trains on our tracks or traffic tsunami?

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Having spent a long time reflecting on the last 13 weeks since the floods devastated our region, many important issues have come to my attention – loss of homes, possessions, safety, schools suspended from flooding, chaos, death, loss of animals, extreme anxiety and desperation, and so much more.

While Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC (Rail corridors up for grabs with new bill) is working hard to try and stop the state government introducing legislation that will allow the government to give itself discretionary powers to destroy unused rail lines across the state, including the valuable Casino to Murwillumbah rail line, and sell off the land to developers, some uninformed people are actively helping the government in their dastardly activities.

Dr Faruqi is also an engineer who knows a thing or two about the cost and value of train services.

Are people really suggesting that all Australian train (and bus) services should be shut down as they run on diesel and have no EIS? That would cause riots in our cities.

It’s a mystery where these people get their information from. According to the Climate Change Authority’s review of vehicle emissions 2014, 57 per cent of transport emissions come from cars and light vehicles, (those stuck on congested Ewingsdale RD for hours) 18 per cent comes from trucks, and an amazing 3 per cent of emissions come from trains! People who drive many thousands of kilometres in their cars every year create the most pollution.

While ever the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line sits wasting away not being used it remains under threat from vested interests The only way to save the line and get the train service this region has needed for many years, is to get trains on it.

They will have to be diesel trains, but the technology is being developed to allow more environmentally friendly options in future. But if we have no train line there’ll be no trains of any kind, just a tsunami of traffic increasing every year.

Byron Shire residents are really looking forward to that.

Louise Doran, Ocean Shores


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  1. Well said Louise. I’m always pondering how people can put their vested interests first, say it is ‘green’ despite the amount of cars clogging the roads every day 24/7! The ‘logic’ just doesn’t add up!

  2. So, are you suggesting that less or more than 3% of daily commuters use trains? And how do they get to them in the first place? At least if I rode my bike to the bottom of the hill at Eltham, I could use a low-gradient fossil-fuel free means to get to Lismore or Bangalow in about 15-30 minutes, little more than it takes to drive directly there, and I won’t have to worry about parking.

    Have you even been to Eltham or any of the other dozens of derelict stations lately? No, of course not, because that would force you to see how derelict the rail-way track itself has become. Which kind of makes your whole argument DERELICT!

    At least give the corridor half a chance to actually be useful before you force it into the sale of the century from which it will never be recovered.

    Sorry to notice an afterthought… but how useful will it be to you in Ocean Shores? Won’t you also have to emit emissions in order to pay for parking somewhere to have this corridor even slightly useful to you?

  3. Yet another nonsensical letter from Louise backed up by her loyal Gary. All other states are able to close down unused railway lines so they can be converted to popular and well patronised rail trails. NSW govt is finally coming into line with the rest of Australia and the world. The Greens should let the elected govt get on with the job.

    The Murwillumbah to Casino line has been closed for 12 years. It is in poor condition with missing bridges, land slides and badly damaged infrastrure that will cost millions if not billions to fix. All this for a train that doesn’t actually serve the major coastal population areas in our region.

    The ARUP study(http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/Projects-Completed-Projects/projects-casino-to-murwillumbah-transport-study) commissioned in 2012 provides a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the costs and benefits of this project. In conclusion the costs by far outweigh the limited benefits. Why then would any government ignore this report and re-open the line? Re-opening this line is simply a ‘pipe-dream’ of Louise and TOOT supporters and it would do very little to stop this supposed ‘tsunami of traffic that is coming our way’.

    Interestingly the Greens spent a considerable amount of money chartering to a helicopter to fly over the corridor last year. All for what, as absolutely nothing has come out of this? Surely the Greens could have found a more worthy social cause such as helping refugees rather than going for a joy flight over the Casino to Murwillumbah rail corridor?

    After 12 years it is time Lousie and TOOT accepted the reality and moved aside so a more viable use such as a rail trail can proceed. Such a trail is not simply for the exclusive use of lycra clad cyclists, families, joggers, walkers and horse riders could all use the trail. The trail would actually protect corridor from being sold off while providing a fantastic eco-tourism opportunity. Rail trails have proven to be highly successful overseas and interstate and pay for themselves in terms of increased tourism and economic activity.

  4. Living in Uki I think it far more realistic that I would cycle to Stokers Siding to catch the train to Byron or Mullumbimby than to drive to Stokers and cycle to either destination. I reckon there would be quite a few people these days feeling the same. I would prefer that our council (Tweed Shire) spend money on footpaths and roadside cycle paths than pursuing the conversion of a fantastic rail opportunity.

    Evidently there are many sides to this conversation!

  5. Louise, here’s the thing. In Australia, diesel trains are NOT subject to emissions testing as are the requirement for cars, buses and trucks. That is why you don’t have diesel trains used as commuters in populated areas. As a train fan you would know that trains that are used in populated areas are all electric. Why? Because diesel particulates are VERY DANGEROUS, particularly to children and the elderly.

    Whilst a lot of the northern rivers line is not in a highly populated area at present, the proposed Elements toxic train is. Their aim is to run the WW2 antiquated technology, up and down the rail corridor every half hour, 30 times a day, 7 days per week, within metres of family homes and tourism businesses. Diesel vehicles have been banned from 52 cities across Europe. The toxic particulates from the Elements train will be blown into homes by the prevailing sea breeze.

    It will not take away traffic from Ewingsdale road – There is very little parking

    It will not be converted to Solar/Electric – It’s not possible or they would do it from the start, not look at it two years down the ‘track’.

    Lets have an EIS based on the significant increase in usage, proximity to marine estuary, wild life corridor and family homes. If there is nothing to hide, why avoid this?

    A solution might be retrofitted electric powered buses on the lines. Adelaide Metro run solar powered buses so there are other viable options out there.


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