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Byron Shire
January 26, 2022

Light rail the solution to Bluesfest transport woes

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Hundreds of Bluesfest patrons were left stranded at Tyagarah Fields on Friday when the last buses left more than an hour before the entertainment finished.

Some of those who tried to walk back to their accommodation risked their lives trying to hitch a ride or walk to Brunswick Heads and Byron Bay.

I am head of Byron Bay TramLink, an organisation planning to reopen the north coast rail lines in Byron Shire to operate trams and light rail as a tourist transport service.

Light rail vehicles can carry 200 people at a time quickly and quietly and would be the ideal solution to getting people to and from the dozen or so events in and around Byron each year.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is also looking at transport options to move visitors from Byron Bay to Cape Byron and light rail is one of the concepts that may provide the solution to the growing problem of parking and access for disabled to this iconic site.

Byron Bay TramLink began working on plans to use light rail and trams on the disused train lines in 2014 as a means of providing tourist access to Bangalow, Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads, and is currently evaluating battery technology to power the vehicles instead of costly overhead wiring.

Batteries are being used to run buses in Melbourne and Adelaide, and a Melbourne tram is currently undergoing trials using lithium batteries so we’re ensuring the best technology available will be used on the Byron Bay TramLink service.

There’s little point rushing into any proposal unless the right equipment and facilities are available for the task.

The concept will use a type of hybrid lithium cell now in the final stages of evaluation and solar battery charging to provide a transport service unique to regional Australia.

Peter Finch, Byron Bay


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  1. Why not just use battery powered buses rather than having to lay down new tram tracks to Tyagarah and Brunswick Heads? Much cheaper

    • Whats the point when they are only going to loose battery power when they get stuck in traffic for 45+mins?

  2. Great idea Pete. This would be a real public transport alternative for the benefit of the whole community, and it would be great to be able to go to events such as Bluesfest and not face the time consuming wait in traffic, but instead a short scenic trip through the countryside and into Byron

  3. Interesting concept Peter.
    How do you plan to run on the section of track with the proposed Elements dirty diesel train? Shame that they did not have the vision to implement the same concept.
    There are a number of crossings that require significant approvals including Bayshore Drive – hence Elements not going further west on the line.

  4. Wooden sleepers & bridges, old rail heads, oh and don’t forget the other reason SRA canned the line. LACK OF PATRONAGE by anyone other than concession card holders… As a solution to the problem mentioned above it would have the same issues rail or bus. It was a timetable issue.


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