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Byron Shire
June 18, 2021

Trainspotters

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Jillian Spring, Billinudgel

In the article –  At a gathering of trainspotters, 21/4/21 by David Lisle, re Tweed Council Rail Trail, it is noted in brackets ‘fully funded and already under construction’ – well, no. Their RT is not either.  Actually, in a document produced by Rider Levett Bucknall, called Casino to Murwillumbah Rail Trail Concept Cost Plan Estimate Report, the estimate presented is a desktop study only.

Mr Bucknall’s report states: ‘The sites have not been visited to look at the issues relating to converting existing track to rail trail’. No allowance had been made for umpteen works, including treatment, handling or disposal of any contaminated material, and the list went on!

Mr Bucknall’s report was for The ARUP Study, stating there was no way we could keep our rail line, yet actually ARUP did say, all should be stopped until connection with Qld had been fully investigated!

So much information was ignored and MPs, Crs, NOROC, who had all fought for our railway and saw the tourism need it addressed, backflipped, changing their position to: Rip our rail lines out!


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4 COMMENTS

  1. Jillian is using the seven year old Arup study into the feasibility of the rail trail as the basis for her claim that the project has not been fully costed. The Bucknell report she refers to is also outdated.

    In the intervening period until today, Tweed Shire Council has conducted a comprehensive , on the ground study into the corridor and the costs of constructing a rail trail. This work included taking soil samples from which they determined there are no apparent problems with contamination.

    The connection with Queensland has already been investigated in the Public Transport Strategy available at the Tweed Shire Council website. Any new railway from Tweed will be able to support heavy rail, following the M1, providing a much shorter route directly to Yelgun where the M1, Tweed Valley Way and (t)rail corridor converge. This route would be much closer to the growing coastal population and support speeds of at least 160 kph rather than the 60 kph limits on many of the tight curves of the old steam age alignment.

    The same distance as Murwillumbah but along the M1 route would bring the railway within eight kilometres of Yelgun and completely obviate the need to reconstruct 26 kilometres of the most decrepit section of the old Casino-Murwillumbah railway, which, at the time of the cessation of services in 2004, was already slated for “major repair or replacement” by NSW Rail. Being buried in thick vegetation for more than a decade, including substantial trees growing up between the tracks has certainly not helped. Neither have the decaying and collapsing wooden trestle bridges and serious flood damage to the formation.

    Trains will not be returning to this section of the corridor. Not on the old rails nor on new rails. Anyone who believes otherwise has their head in the sand.

  2. Greg Clitheroe, in reference to my reply to Tim Shanasy, i state: You know very well, ‘that’ ARUP Rail Trail Feasibility Study |Final |6 May 2014, was & is the basis of the closing of our rail services for everyday use and tourism (which was omitted from that so-called Gov ‘study’), plus the 2012 – released 2013 Transport for Northern Rivers Study was the basis of the ARUP ‘lets say, to keep the people happy’ study methinks. The costing of the whole RT, $75,486,000,00 but devoid of multple costs according to that Rider Levett Bucknall Casino to Murwillumbah Rail Trail | CONCEPT COST PLAN ESTIMATE REPORT APRIL 2014 & QUOTED in that ARUP STUDY was Appendix C which turned out to be the RLB COST ESTIMATES which also stated: RLB were engaged by Arup Pty Ltd, to prepare an estimate. This estimate was a desktop study only – RLB had not visited the site tolook at the issues relating to converting existing track to Rail Trail & pricing prepared bason on historical info obtained by RLB over the years on other rail/rail trail/bikeway schemes. THE MOST VITAL ISSUE IS THAT LISMORE CITY HAS BEEN DENIED A RAIL SERVICE & CONNECTION BETWEEN THE COAST & INLAND DENIED BY IGNORING OF CORRECT EVIDENCE.
    Tim Shanasy, You say: The truth is, that no-one dislikes trains, but most understand why the rail service had to be closed 16 years ago.Yes, it’s very sad that trains ceased in 2004, but the writing was long on the wall.
    No, most do not understand why our rail service had to be closed & the writing was long on the wall!
    On reading the Inquiry into the closure of our rail service, the plain simple fact was, maintenance had begun to be ‘avoided’ as we shall say, money to maintain, was never all used, only very small amounts, work gangs were gradually reduced, the XPT was introduced, carrying less passengers & with only 1 train per day, of course passenger numbers were down! The Sydney pollies took our train away! This also stated by Sue Dakin, Country Labor lady from Ballina and Jenny Dowell, plus they said they were all shocked and it was a very sad day before Easter the Min Michael Costa said the train service would be stopped and this was 6 months earlier than he had promised before, of which Sue Dakin & Jenny Dowell were shocked at this news! That was the Northern Star feature news and with so much support all the time in the battle to keep our train service! Bridges etc, maintenance was happening, thousands of steel sleepers were waiting to replace old wooden sleepers! The NSW Labor budget was a-happening – so our rail service was to be the scapegoat & ‘save’ the NSW city Labor $5M. 12 months was promised, then suddenly that was renigned on – so hence the protest train to Sydney with all politcal parties (except city Labor), mayors of all our towns, All in all – a swift nasty plain simple political action to take our train service – as The Northern Star headline read: The day the Sydney pollies took our train. What an indictment – LISMORE CITY DELETE OF A TRAIN SERVICE!! Delay seemed to be a ‘weapon’ to continue to delay maintenance also and other political parties backflipped and we know who don’t we, plus Country Labor Lismore ex-mayor who fought for the train service but ‘gave in’! Jillian Spring, Billinudgel

  3. The original concept for the rail trail provided a basis for investing in more detailed designs and business cases for stage one of the rail trail in the Tweed and stage two from Casino. Those business cases provided the basis for fully funding stage one and the Richmond Valley part of stage two. The Parliament has closed the two parts of the line to allow the rail trail to be constructed, and the initial work on construction has commenced. There is no proposal for any rail service on either of those two stages. The current moves by so called rail company to use the line is a bad joke. Who starts a rail company after a line is closed in order to remove the rail company? If there had been any interest in the community in a tourist, heritage or any other rail on those parts of the line there was every opportunity for supportive members from the Greens, One Nation or the Shooters to tell the NSW Parliament so it could consider that before it closed the line to build the rail trail. There was no proposal put.
    The rail lobby knows a train is not possible and that tenders are likely to show a path beside the tracks is the most feasible way to build a rail trail along the length of the Tweed stage one. The current moves are not about any train or building a path beside the tracks , they are just about stopping the rail trail.

  4. It’s always good to have some historical perspective on political decisions and injustices of more than 16 years ago. It’s something some might get angry about, but
    it does not change what we have to work with today. Is it sensible to spend a billion dollars to correct this injustice, or look at the best way of using a community resource?

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