A new Railway Action Group will be starting in Murwillumbah at a meeting held on Wednesday at 7pm at the Murwillumbah RSL.
As the threat of losing the railway track from Casino to Murwillumbah becomes more urgent, Bill Fenelon of the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group (NRRAG) is proposing to start Murwillumbah’s own group for those who care about the future of rail in this region.
‘This will be the third NRRAG meeting to be held in Murwillumbah this year and there is strong community desire to see this railway reopened,’ Mr Fenelon said.
‘We call on supporters to attend this meeting and send a strong message to the NSW Government that the region needs a commuter rail service connection from the Gold Coast and throughout the Northern NSW Region, connecting to Sydney through Casino.”
NNRAG spokesperson Beth Shelley said people seem confused about what’s happening with the railway track as they’ve been told a rail trail/bike path proposal will protect the rail corridor.
‘Some people think it means having the bike path next to the railway track. It’s not true.
‘In order to remove the railway tracks to have a bike path it is first necessary to pass an act of parliament closing the railway line. This means the land becomes Crown reserve and no longer protected as a rail corridor.
‘If the funding was provided and the legislation goes through for the Murwillumbah rail trail proposal of 26 kms, the rest of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail corridor is crown land and therefore disposable.’
Tweed Shire Mayor Katie Milne will be attending and said: “In the end a solution needs to be driven by the community. We need to support each other and come together instead of being divided.”
Ms Shelley said trains were needed because ‘we are a fast-growing population of nearly 300,000 with over 4.6 million tourists yearly. We are the biggest area for tourism in NSW after Sydney and so the rate of our traffic congestion, road accidents and road maintenance costs is very high. We need a regular, commuter rail service to make our roads safer for all and cut carbon emissions.
‘In 18 months we have a NSW state election coming up. We need to vote for people who care that the Northern Rivers community has good public services, including transport. Railways are about fairness and equal access to support and opportunities for all people.’