Commemorating 125 years since the opening of the Murwillumbah to Casino railway line and 15 years since its closure the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group (NRRAG) and Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT) are gathering at the Lismore railway station on Saturday May 11.
‘We are inviting supporters of the return of rail to come along and hear the latest information from the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group (NRRAG) and Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT),’ Sid Lydia Kindred, co-secretary, NRRAG and TOOT.
‘A lot has been happening and we have not given up on bringing regular passenger and some freight services back to the Northern Rivers.
‘We are still working towards this important cause that ticks all the boxes of economic, social and environmental sustainability for the future of our region,’ she said.
Supporters are welcome to join them from 1 till 3pm on Saturday to enjoy some music and listen to speakers who are hopeful for a rail based integrated public transport system in the Northern Rivers.
It is indeed a fine thing to celebrate the Murwillumbah to Casino railway. For many decades it provided an important freight and passenger link to the port at Byron Bay and after the rail link was made at Grafton, by rail to Sydney . The port at the Bay closed after the war, road travel became faster and more efficient, and air travel is now cheaper than passenger rail. Three inquiries over three decades advised governments that the Casino – Murbah line no longer served our freight or passenger transport needs, and services were suspended – effectively closed – in 2004.
Another nail has been put in the coffin of the C-M rail line with the publication this week by SCU and the Northern Rivers Joint Organisation of the ” Roots to Routes ” study into optimising freight movements and linkages for our region (surprisingly or perhaps not the Echo has not seen this study as newsworthy). Even thoguh the report provides a good argument for increasing freight movement by train using a shuttle rail freight service along the main North Coast with freight hubs in Kyogle, Casino and Grafton. But the irrelevance of calls like that above by TOOTs and NRRAG to re-open the line for freight – usually versed as “getting trucks of our roads – is underlined by the complete absence of any reference to the disused C-M rail line.
All good transport analyses focus first on freight and people – where they are coming from, where they need to go, and how best to do it in a time, cost and energy efficient way. The analyses focus on freight and people now and for the foreseeable future. The SCU NRJO report is yet another rebuff to those who want to use, at whatever cost, the line we built more than a century ago.
Reopen the Casino Murwillumbah line and EXTEND it to the Gold Coast Airport./Coolangatta.With the Olympic Games likely to be held in Brisbane and the Gold Coast every transport option should be built and utilised to get people to the games.