Dave Lisle, Goonengerry
A wave of exasperation impels me to scribble this note. Over the years, your articles, whether opinion pieces or so-called reportage, have consistently opposed the idea of a rail trail. They’re always strongly slanted towards ‘returning’ trains to the tracks. Of course, you’re entitled to stake out whatever position you choose. But it’s also important to occasionally examine your assumptions.
One of the key assumptions driving your editorial stance is that a rail-trail deprives us of public transport. I won’t delve into how absurd it is that this ‘green’ paper is so anti-bicycle – a posture shared by the wider community which I bear witness to daily as I ride my bike about the place – but rather, focus on your assumptions.
Last week’s front page took a swipe at ‘NSW Labor, who took the trains off the tracks in 2004’. What this statement fails to appreciate, and what train zealots frequently ignore, is that shutting the Murwillumbah–Casino branch line was a modal change which deprived no-one of public transport. When the train to Casino was replaced with a bus, the service was actually enhanced by connecting such places as Bruns, Ocean Shores and many others not previously serviced by the train.
So let’s be clear: public transport improved in 2004 when the line was shuttered. It’s just that you and the other train fiends objected to the type of transport being offered by the NSW government.
I’m a train lover too. But I don’t allow the pursuit of policy perfection to cloud my judgement. So whenever I need to go to Sydney and don’t feel like riding my bike, I present myself at Mullumbimby train station and board a bus for Casino. The link is seamless, and I enjoy the thrill and romance of the train journey [from Casino] to Sydney.
The rail trail is only ‘controversial’ because [ITAL]The Echo and your cohort of train zealots perseverate about the train that was supposedly stolen sixteen years ago.