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Byron Shire
October 25, 2021

Car free delight

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Robin Harrison, Binna Burra

I can’t begin to tell you how much I would like to see a rail trail. I ride an electric bike and our roads are not designed for bikes. Having a car-free transport corridor running through the middle of our Shire would be ideal, and I’m sure the upsurge in electric bikes etc for local transport would be huge, not to mention the massive tourism potential.

That said, I’m not a fan of ripping out the rails. That would end the possibility of trains, and that’s not a good idea. We can certainly have both trains and trail but we don’t have to do it all at once, which would be prohibitively expensive.

Instead, the rails could be used to facilitate the trail until they’re needed for trains. A filler between the rails could be relatively simple, readily removable and only needed where there isn’t room beside the track for a trail, e.g. bridges. If and when we get trains back, the trail will have proved itself enough to get its own bridges etc.

A rail and trail transport corridor through the middle of our Shire is a huge opportunity on so many levels, it boggles the mind that we haven’t taken advantage of it in all these years since they took our trains. Perhaps there are those who have a vested interest in it not happening?


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4 COMMENTS

  1. The rails are 143 centimetres apart. A trail needs to be a minimum of 2.5 to 3 metres wide. Passing on a trail built between the tracks with a sudden 200 mm drop off onto gapped sleepers would be incredibly dangerous and would not be allowed.

    It would be a complete waste of money to build a third rate trail down in the grunge beside the formation. It would be vastly more expensive to construct and maintain than removing the tracks and flattening the top of the formation. We need a world class trail to attract our share of the rail trail tourist dollar.

    The trains are long gone and will not be coming back to the corridor, especially the decrepit Murwillumbah- Crabbes Creek section which would never be chosen as the route if any railway ever were to be built to Tweed Heads which is the only destination where a railway would make the slightest sense. A route beside the M1 from Yelgun to Tweed would be nearly twenty kilometres shorter and able to support modern railway speeds that are impossible on the line winding through the Burringbar Range.

    Let’s stop with the nonsense railway pipe dreams and just get on with building the what will inevitably become one of the most popular rail trails in the world.

    • An insert that extended beyond the tracks with an appropriate safety guard would be easy and probably be cheaper unless, of course, someone was profiting from the massive amount of scrap in those rails. Any idea who might have that in mind?

      • A custom “insert” would cost far more and result in an inferior hard to maintain track than simply removing the rails and making a flat top. There is absolutely no point retaining the rails to let them corrode away.

        The obsession of rail advocates with accusations of hidden agendas, shady motives and conspiracy theories has become really tiresome. It is a product of their inability to offer anything substantial to back their irrational nonsense.

  2. It would be great to believe that we can have both rail and rail trails, but it is by no means certain. The corridor might be wide but it is more difficult – and so much more expensive – to build beside the rails through the many low lying areas, steep slopes, and narrow cuttings and of course it’s not possible through tunnels (ARCADIS did not find it possible between Mullumbimby and Billinudgel) . .
    A path along the corridor was allocated the highest priority in the Shire’s cycling plan – lots of Byron folk share your love – and mine – of pedaling. Encourage Council to pursue the much less expensive study of the business case and design for building a corridor path, and that should clarify if it is feasible to build it off the rail formation between Bangalow and Mullumbimby.

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