Bad spellers make more new English words than William Shakespeare; The Echo strives to keep Byron at the forefront of language innovation, just as our solar train is at the cutting edge of sustrainability.


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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsor Brunswick Picture House.