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Byron Shire
June 1, 2023

Tweed rail trail to be completed by 2020

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Tweed Shire Council is optimistic its planned rail trail can be completed by September 2020, following a successful start to the tender process last week.

Some 27 representatives from 19 construction and consultancy companies and a vegetation management company attended a Council workshop to learn more about the proposed first stage of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek.

At the workshop, Council released the short video above showcasing the route and scenery along the way.

The workshop gave tenderers an insight into the proposed rail trail and highlighted some of the design and construction challenges.

The construction companies now have until December 12 to respond to with Expressions of Interest.

Around February next year, Council will short-list three to four companies to tender. The contract will be awarded around May, with construction to start about June 2019 for completion by September 2020.

‘We were very pleased with the diversity and depth of construction expertise that today’s workshop attracted, with obvious rail bridge and civil engineering expertise in the room,’ rail trail project director Iain Lonsdale said.

‘The questions from the floor demonstrated a keen desire of prospective tenderers to understand the detailed design and construction challenges of the project, explore on-rail and off-rail formation opportunities and to manage community expectations and adjacent landowner needs throughout.’

Prospective tenderers got a bird’s eye view of the condition of the corridor via the video, detailing the major design and construction challenges, such as: difficult topography; significant grades; flood-prone land; landslips and scours; numerous creek crossings; historic bridges with spans missing; and overgrown vegetation.

The Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek rail trail is 24-kilometres long, winding through the villages of Stokers Siding, Burringbar and Crabbes Creek. It features two tunnels, one 523-metres long with ecological values that need to be managed during design and construction; 27 bridges, of which 18 are significant in size or construction method; and, several heritage items.

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail, stage 1 from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek, is fully funded by the federal and state governments and supported by Tweed Shire Council.

To have your say, visit www.yoursaytweed.com.au/RailTrail.


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  1. You will more growth fixing railway line. 13 million better off spent laying foundation work for rail. They killed Murwillumbah ,Stoker Mooball when train went. Forward planninng should connect line from casino to Queensland Gold Coast line. The Tweed and Murwillumbah should on par with Gold coast economically. With planning with keeping farmland and bring new industries for jobs. Walking track cycle tracks waste of really money. Tweed and Murwillumbah has got stop being Slum or shanty town of Gold coast because Gold coast send riff raff and people with low income gravitate to Tweed and Murwillumbah and they need long term jobs.

    • The reality is that no government is going to fund the massive cost of rail reinstatement and operation. Period..
      So we must save our corridor from selloff.
      Rail Trails are the world wide solution to preserving vital corridors, in case rail or whatever, becomes necessary.
      This could easily be many decades away.
      In the meantime, rail trails provide employment opportunities for some of our vital young, to enable them to avoid the city dole lifestyle to nowhere syndromes.
      Get on board, the future..

    • Yes, that’s right Terry. We round all them riff raff people up, toss em’ in the back of cattle trucks and drop them off at the border. Actually, we’re thinking of building a wall too, would you be on board with that?

      On the upside, as shanty town slums go, the Tweed and surrounds would have to be the most picturesque and well maintained of these on the planet. Just a suggestion but perhaps you should appreciate a little more what you have here already. And you don’t want to be ‘on par’ (whatever that entails) with the GC. If you want to attract money you need to attract the people who have it. That means building attractive recreational infrastructure, like the Rail Trail. Its a perfect fit for the region. Trust me Terry, having seen a few truly awful places, this part of the world, its paradise man.

  2. The dimmest thing I’ve ever heard of.

    How about a light rail from Coolangatta to Varsity lakes train station…. Makes soooo much more sense

  3. Connecting Murwillumbah station to tweed heads station (when there was a tweed heads station) in the first place would of made this line a booming success, but instead NSW government spend all their money on Sydney’s numerous rail projects, tunnels, roadways, and putting back the tramway they ripped up 60 years ago!

    Queensland government ripped up the Gold Coast line, then put a freeway over it, then decided, you guessed it, they needed a railway line!

    Unfortunate they are all a bunch of numb nut skulls that have as much vision as a candle on a foggy night!

    And guess who pays for all the stuff ups!

    • The community rejected the idea of a rail connection form Murbah to Tweed Heads in 1930s, in favour of an all weather road. It meant for the first time families like mine living on the Condong range could afford to go Brisbane, and it only took two hours to do it. Had a train service been put in place it would have cost a fortune for my grandparents and their seven kids. Little has changed and at a cost of a hundred or more dollars to provide a seat on rail for that distance, trains remain un-affordably expensive in rural areas particularly for families.

      Rail will not be worthwhile until we have a population like the Gold Coast, and the recent to do over the Tweed hospital or West Byron shows how much appetite there is for that level of development in this area. If does happen it is most unlikely to run on the current rail alignment through the Tweed,. If it were to use the Billinudgel to Bangalow corridor that will only be available if it is protected by a tourist train and/or by a rail trail, the latter with a suitable legislative framework preventing any sell-off of the land.

  4. It seems there is no motivation, politically speaking, in NSW to grow rail infrastructure so the obvious choice is that of the Tweed Shire Council. Build the rail trail and do a good job and cycle tourism will happen.
    The towns along the route will rep the benefits.
    Examples of towns being rejuvenated through cycle tourism can be found in Victoria, Queensland and New Zealand.

    • Ummm Michael , Victoria has plenty of rail trails that no one likes or used and do little more than Burdon the local councils with maintaining them after the committees that create them fall apart ( south Gippsland is a prime example ) Victoria is now anti rail trail preferring to its new regional rail revival where rail is now recognised as a vital form of public transport in regional areas . The last four years In Vic have been all about reopening closed lines and upgrading infrastructure and rolling stock . Trails are out and proven unsuccessful so please don’t repeat the mistake . How do I know , simple I’ve lived in three regions and witnessed rail trails being built , I’ve also witnessed rail lines reopened and I know which is the failure and which the success , it’s not trails mate !!

  5. Great news. It will attract a great many visitors when the trail reaches 100klms or so.
    We almost need traffic lights at the weekend on the BVRT now!

  6. Can’t wait! Wish them a speedy construction so we can get on the trail and start enjoying it. It will bring so many people to the region and will be great for small businesses in Murwillumbah.

  7. $13 million funding is a cheep investmentin such a great tourist venture. Well done to the rail trail crowd for successfuly funding this project. I’m yet to see any money raised by the those protesting the rail trail. Put your money where your mouth is, if you want the trains back then go rais some money. You need to beat the $13 million + already raised by the trail people.


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