The Murwillumbah Group of Northern Rivers Rail Supporters are holding an event this Thursday as part of the campaign to save the railway tracks from being ripped up. They are suggesting the rail trail be put next to the railway so the tracks won’t be lost.
The groups say people of Murwillumbah have not been consulted on whether they want to keep the Casino to Murwillumbah railway line for the future. This question has not been asked of anyone along the whole 132 km of line.
Marie Luxford from the Murwillumbah Rail Group says the state government has closed the section of the line from Condong/Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek which effectively cuts off any potential for future rail connections between the Northern Rivers and QLD, while at the same time there are plans to bring the Gold Coast light rail down to South Tweed.
‘The Government’s own website states that the NSW Government will undertake an independently facilitated community consultation session for each proposed rail trail. This hasn’t happened. Tweed Shire Council only organised one small meeting with some of the landholders next to the rail corridor before the closure of our line.’
Not a good use of taxpayers’ money
The group says the assessment of the cost of the rail trail on the Casino to Murwillumbah railway line is $596,000 per km whereas the actual cost of the Byron Railway company to repair the line at Byron cost $660,000 per km. A very slight difference. ‘Destroying the railway line is not a good use of taxpayers’ money,’ said Ms Luxford.
Serena V. Dolinska from the Murwillumbah group says that driving up the M1 on the Easter weekend towards Tweed, she passed a few cyclists pedalling in the cycle lane. ‘Why is a 132km bike trail needed when there’s a dedicated sealed cycle path for long-distance riders already there? Plus with the amount of concrete walking and bike paths along the coast and through parklands, the Tweed Shire is well serviced already.
A train could still run
‘Why go to the extent of removing all the existing rail infrastructure to create more paths? To install a gravel track that will need weeding and maintenance, constantly, in summer in this climate? How would the track bear up in rain like we’ve been having recently? A train could still run.’
Representatives from the group said that at a recent Murwillumbah Rail Meeting, Mayor Chris Cherry said that she’d had the opportunity to speak to the tenderers for the rail trail and told them that Council has resolved to consider an off-formation option, meaning alongside the tracks. ‘However at meetings at Burringbar, Iain Lonsdale, the Rail Trail Project Officer, stated that this was not going to happen and TSC staff had only worked on the on-formation option.
‘When looking at the tracks you can see how wide the corridor is and there’s room to put the bike path beside. Council does not need to pull up the railway tracks in order to have a bike path.’
The event will be held at the Regent Cinema on Thursday, April 29 from 6pm.