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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

State approves $6 million for Tweed rail trail

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Photo Flickr/RailWA
Photo Flickr/RailWA

While arguments still swirl regarding the pros and cons of a rail trail versus a return of trains to Byron Shire, in neighbouring Tweed money has already been approved for the conversion of section of the old North Coast line into a world class rail trail.

The state government yesterday stumped up $6 million towards the cost of converting the Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek section of the track into a trail, pending an expected dollar-for-dollar federal government grant by the end of next month.

Tourism Minister Adam Marshall visited Murwillumbah for the funding announcement yesterday.

Mr Marshall told media the state government was ‘reserving $6.3 million’ and ‘hopefully the Commonwealth will match that funding.’

The project was initiated by Tweed Shire Council, which has made a contribution of just under half a million dollars.

TSC General Manager Troy Green welcomed the announcement, saying the rail trail would bring ‘an extremely valuable economic boost to the Tweed, as well as major health and social benefits.’

‘The experiences of similar rails trails throughout Australia and overseas clearly demonstrate how popular they are in bringing tourism, job creation and long-term financial boosts to the towns and villages along their routes,’ Mr Green said.

‘With the incredible beauty of the land along the disused Murwillumbah to Casino rail corridor and the many attractions the rail trail will link, we’re confident this will be one of the most successful rail trails.

‘This is supported by independent evaluations of the project and the feedback we’re receiving by users of rail trails around the world,’ he said.

Lismore MP George (Nationals) praised Tweed Shire Council and the Northern Rivers Rail Trail Inc, who he said ‘have been for some years now trying to obtain funding for this project to go ahead.’

‘They’ve continually, as two organisations, been pushing this as one.’

Tweed MP Geoff Provest (Nationals) praised the efforts of Northern Rivers Rail Trail Inc in crowdfunding $75,000 for a feasibility study recently

‘There has certainly been a tangible and measurable statement of support for the rail trail from the community, there’s no denying that fact,’ he said.

‘The Northern Rivers Rail Trail has enormous potential to enhance the local tourism industry, create jobs and grow the regional economy,’ Mr Provest added.

 


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13 COMMENTS

  1. This is a fantastic announcement that spells the official start of the trail towards its reality.
    So many years of hard dedicated work, is now reaping a vision splendid, that only recently seemed relegated to dreams.

    It appears that soon, our desires to explore our beautiful landscapes and vistas, in a totally new way, will indeed be felt by the senses.

    Particular recognition is given to the consistent momentum, groundwork and communications continuity on all levels, by Marie Lawton, and a resounding ovation was given at the announcement.

    Well done to all the many people that have helped forge this result.

    All the crowdfunding donors can applaud themselves too, for stating clearly, that this community is truly progressive and clear headed in their passion for this new addition, the trail.

  2. what a waste of money in victoria they are handing but the rail trails to the councils as the cost to maintain them is be on the the people that run them, get the train back then all these small towns along the track and Willumbah the big tourist dollar that is out there

    • The East Gippsland Council is indeed taking over maintenance of the popular rail trail there. But they are also funding the planning for an extension to it, so plainly they consider the benefits outweigh the capital and recurrent costs.

  3. It would be nice if the overtly, although questionably, green Byron Shire got on with it. Rather than just giving bits away to developers.

  4. It would be great if the overtly, although questionably, green Byron Shire just got on with it. Rather than just giving bits away to developers.

  5. Great to see this initiative getting closer & closer. NSW is lagging well behind other states & many other countries. They’ve all seen the benefit in terms of tourism, revitalised communities, more active & healthier local residents, & improved opportunities for active transport for those who don’t want to drive from one place to another but find it too far to walk.

  6. This news represents a justly deserved swipe up the side of the head for our shiny green byron shire council.

  7. http://www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/Download.aspx?Path=~/Documents/Community/Transportation/TSC01557_Public_Transport_Strategy_Report.pdf
    The local train groups didn’t have any strategies or options in place that would correspond and work with the 2011 Tweed Shire Transport Strategy document ,and as such they ruined any chance of getting trains for the Northern Rivers . The Tweed Shire states in this document that a train system will most likely follow the Pacific Highway corridor as that best suits the population growth regions of their Shire.
    The train groups ie TOOTs and NRRAG didn’t show any interest or support for this route ,what a sad affair they caused.
    This groups options are –
    1: Trains on the old corridor
    2: Trains on the old corridor
    3: Trains on the old corridor
    4: Trains on the old corridor.

    Even the new mayor of Tweed Shire must not have read the Transport Strategy document , talk about an oversight.
    These train groups are so blinkered that they haven’t looked at other options for a train system on the Northern Rivers and we lost the High Speed Rail line (that can also be used for outer urban trains ) that was on the short list for going thru Lismore and Mullumbimby to the Gold Coast and Brisbane . We had a chance of getting this but for the noisy stupidity of not wanting anything but ‘Trains on our old corridor ‘.

  8. And our Green Mayor and his team have refused an offer from Tweed Council to have the Northern Rivers Rail Trail terminate at Billinudgel, denying our beautiful northern village the economic and health benefits of arguably one the best rail trails in the world. Why you ask? Because Mayor Richardson believes that privately owned and operated trains will carry thousands of Splendour In The Grass patrons on the last few of kilometers of track to Yelgun. Of course the operator will have to upgrade the track and bridges and cover these costs through festival patronage. But wait, how will these passengers get from the Yelgun station (which has to be constructed) to the festival site? Oh they will have to walk 100’s m through private land and cross the old Pacific Highway…. Go figure!?

  9. Congratulations to the Tweed for seeing the realistic future of Rail Trails which have multiple proven economic and social benefits. Let’s hope that the Byron Council soon see that a Rail Trail is the only viable option.
    The return of trains on the old corridor in the foreseeable is neither practical nor a financially feasible option. The more likely option will be permanent loss of the corridor land from public ownership if it isn’t pegged soon as a Rail Trail.

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