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May 8, 2021

Historic Lismore railway bridges threatened

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The Northern Rivers Railway Action Group has called an urgent public meeting for next week after learning there are moves to delist railway bridges in North Lismore from the state’s historical register.

The group claims that John Holland, a Chinese-owned company responsible for maintenance of the Casino to Murwillumbah line is looking at delisting bridges at Terania St and Alexandra Parade in North Lismore so they can remove them.

NRRAG president Beth Shelley said the bridges were built more than a hundred years ago over three years using ‘hard labour and bullock teams to build this line and these bridges’.

The group will be holding a community consultation meeting at the Lismore Workers Club on 19 July from 1pm to 2.30pm to discuss the issue.

‘We would like to see as many people as possible come along to support the heritage status of these bridges,’ she said.

More to come.


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  1. What reason is given for removing them? Perhaps they are structurally unsound and it is a matter of public safety. Being over 100 years old that may well be the case. Some of the materials may be re-usable when the rail trail is constructed? And what is the significance of the fact that John Holland is Chinese-owned. Perhaps just a touch of racism here?

  2. The best way to preserve our wonderful pioneering rail history, is to “rail-bank” the corridor with a Rail Trail.

    It’s the only chance we have to secure our corridor, and hopefully many of the remaining timber bridges with it.

    Rail Banking has been adopted over many hundreds of disused rail lines around the world.

    We simply have to be smart about this, and support, or at least not stand in the way of the saviour of a Rail Trail, in protecting and enjoying what is left.
    Who knows, we may even get a rail service again, in the decades ahead.

    But if we lose the corridor, we have nothing upon which to do ANYTHING..!!

    It’s THAT dire..!

  3. You need an inspection of the bridges by a certified engineer who has experience with old buildings.
    If the bridges are dangerous they have to come down, so it is a subjective decision that the bridges could be dangerous for they have not been dangerous for more than 100 years. The bridges also have not been tested with any weight as no train has travelled over them since 2004.
    The exact wording of the contract also needs to be examined for the words “responsible for maintenance” does not mean to delist them.
    It surely means to maintain the rail track carriageway in good order so the bridges are not delisted as the NSW government does not want to sell off the rail corridor. That point also needs investigation for if the bridges come down it puts pressure on the NSW Government to sell the whole rail corridor and the railway lines. The steel in the rali lines would be worth quite a lot of money as to carry a train it is premium steel.

  4. Pull down all the rickety , dangerous and high maintenance bridges ,replace them with concrete bridges ready for the freight and commuter trains . Or maybe they just want slow heritage trains crossing them at a snail pace . It looks we are starting to see the real face of NRRAG coming out ie slow heritage trains on a slow railway line .
    You can’t expect working people to catch a slow heritage or tourist train to their workplace , get your story right.

  5. I disagree with pretty much everything the NRRAG but I have to admire them for their bloody minded persistence in the face of overwhelming evidence that they are on the wrong track (pun intended).

    If we are to get misty eyed about hard labour and bullock teams perhaps we should tear up our roads so we can see what they looked like a hundred years ago or send the kids at Lismore High back to the cramped and insanitary conditions at their old premises (now the Con and Library) where one of the building literally fell down!

    If they want us to admire the hard work that went into the line they should support the idea of seeing it from a bicycle seat, because that’s the only way the public’s going to get near it.

  6. Just wondering, if it was an Australian-owned company, would that description have been included? Seems to me companies are companies – the nationality of who owns them is largely irrelevant to their actions, which are profit-driven but controlled by government regulation. Plenty of Australian companies have a disregard for heritage! Xenophobia is so tedious …

  7. Don’t people realise yet that this nothing to do with trains or rail trails? It’s about protection of Lismore’s oldest heritage assets.

    Furthermore, rail trails won’t protect these bridges, they will bypass them, as the Rail Trail feasibility study explains.

    • I am with you and Beth on this one Gary. They are part of our history and the view of them crossing the dairy flats is very evocative of our past. I guess there are cost consideration but at least some should be preserved.


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