At Melbourne’s Crown Casino last Thursday night a small not-for-profit heritage-rail operator from Byron Bay took the Rail Sustainability Award at the Australasian Rail Association Awards.
‘It is fantastic to see the Byron Bay Railroad Company receive this award for converting a 1949 heritage diesel rail car into the world’s first solar-powered conventional train,’ said Danny Broad, CEO of the Australasian Railway Association. ‘This is leading the way in the use of sustainable energy resources in the rail industry.’
The solar-train project was a collaborative effort delivered in conjunction with Lithgow Railway Workshop, Nickel Energy and ELMOFO. ‘A lot of different people have been involved and it was a hard-fought battle,’ said Jeremy Holmes. ‘So it’s nice to be recognised by the rail industry for what we have achieved in firstly delivering a heritage railway service and secondly showcasing where sustainability can have an impact in the rail industry.’
The Byron Bay Train was launched on 16 December 2017 and operates daily services on the 3km coastal track between the North Beach Station at the end of Bayshore Drive in the Byron Arts & Industry Estate and the Byron Beach Platform at the Shirley Street level crossing in Byron town centre. The two-carriage train seats 92 passengers with room for bicycles, luggage and surfboards. Since commencement not one service has been missed.
‘We truly are sustainable in that we are generating more energy than we are using,’ said rail safety manager Geoff Clark, who has guided the project for the past five years. ‘We have focused on reuse of old rail assets as opposed to new build. People said it couldn’t happen and it wouldn’t work. Yet it does. It’s quiet, environmentally friendly and sustainable.’
This award follows two recent wins at the Good Design Awards held at the Sydney Opera House in May, where Byron Bay Railroad Company was both a Good Design Award Gold winner in the Product Design category and a Good Design Award winner in the Engineering category, in recognition for outstanding design and innovation.
For more info visit byronbaytrain.com.au