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Byron Shire
October 22, 2021

Rail links in and through Byron shire

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The article in yesterday’s Echonetdaily on ‘Train line tarred over in Byron Bay’ – states that it is the (Byron) mayor’s plan to have a rail motor run between Bangalow and Yelgun.
As the proponent of the Byron Bay TramLink, I doubt that this is factual. I have had many discussions with mayor Simon Richardson who is keen for the railway tracks to be available to a multitude of users, not just one operator.
The diesel rail motor service which is expected to begin operations later this year will run from Elements of Byron into Byron Bay, stopping near the caravan park.
Byron Bay TramLink will operate sustainably-powered electric trams and light-rail vehicles, initially between Bangalow and Byron Bay, then extending through Mullumbimby to Billinudgel and Yelgun.
It would be appreciated if you could correct the published story so that your readers know that there are plans in place to get the tracks into use as soon as possible.
It’s not an overnight process. A correction will also allay the fears of those who may fantasise about the rail-trail movement beginning work on their project.
Peter Finch, Byron Bay TramLink

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  1. It would appear from this letter that that Mr Finch and others who support the re-use of the rail corridor for rail purposes will use any opportunity to introduce criticism of proposals for a rail trail. As I have noted elsewhere, his Tramlink Facebook site goes so far as to suggest that users of the first stage of the trail, projected to number tens of thousand, would not contribute their $200 a day spending in Murwillumbah because the station is a kilometer – a few minutes pedal, from the heart of that fine town. Now I understand what he is doing , I am happy to endorse Mr Finch in his efforts developing a tram service that will take tourists out of the Bay, and if, as he says, it can at some stage supplement the limited existing bus services that should be good too. Readers will know I am a proponent of promoting cycle touring in the area, and that I believe a rail trail is one way – not the only way- to give that a boost. What I find most disappointing is the lack support by one potential tourist operator for another tourist effort that would complement rail based tourism very well. So we have a barrage of unrelenting and fanciful criticism of the trail on his site, and in the Echo, of the quality as that above concerning the location Murwillumbah station, There is also a series of very similar Facebook sites set up to oppose rail trails, generally in quite a abusive language, one masked as a rail trail site and another as a disability transport site, all of which appear to have been set up by one or two individuals to create the impression of a substantial opposition to the trails. There is of course no serious referencing in any of these to the feasibility studies on the rail trail, and like Tramlink’s site reasonable commentary correcting nonsense like that I refer to above is soon censored. What concerns me more though is that there are no suggestions from the Tramlink and other rail supporters as to how the two interests can work together to maximise the benefits to the area and to visitors of the corridor. The spirit of imagination and tolerance is one of the things that distinguishes the North Coast from its many other rural areas; how saddening not to see that spirit at work to open up two very different but satisfying ways for visitors to enjoy the beauties of the corridor.


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