Four local groups have banded together and will host a rally calling for urgent consultation on the removal of the train tracks on the Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek rail corridor.
TOOT, Northern Rivers Rail Ltd and NR Railway Action Group have joined with a new group, We Can Ride Together to hold a rally and march starting at the Murwillumbah Railway Station and heading to the Tweed Shire Council in Murwillumbah.
Their message is ‘We Demand Community Consultation. Do Not Rip Up the Tracks.’
Tweed Shire Council (TSC) are holding their meeting in the Tweed so after rallying at Murwillumbah as many people as possible will travel there to the Tweed to attend the TSC meeting at 5.30pm. Tom Rayner from We Can Ride Together will speak to the council.
Representing the groups, Beth Shelley says it is clear from TSC meeting minutes that community consultation about the railway was discussed and staff were asked to come back with more information but it didn’t happen.
‘The tenders for the rail trail will be presented to TSC at that meeting and if accepted this will mean ripping up the railway tracks to put the bike path on top of the rail formation. However, at no point have the people of this area been asked if they want to keep the railway for rail services in the future or lose it for a bike path. Legally there’s meant to be extensive consultation and this has not happened.
‘Two new railway companies have been registered to bring rail services back, Northern Rivers Rail Ltd and the Northern Regional Rail Company. The aim of these companies is to fundraise and engage with volunteers to clear the vegetation, repair the tracks and run regular rail services. Therefore, the reasoning to have a “rail-trail” to save the corridor is not valid.
‘The state of the tracks varies from place to place but the majority of the line is still in reasonable condition and should not be destroyed, when these companies are vowing to restore the infrastructure, much of which was refurbished not long before XPT services were cut.’
The groups say that although some sections need more sleepers, signals and bridges renewed, this is cheaper and easier now than in the past, with prefab structures able to replace old bridges very quickly.
‘The loss of the northern section of our Casino – Murwillumbah line affects everyone in our region so please come to Murwillumbah and let the council know how many people care about bringing back rail services to our region!,’ says Ms Shelley
The march begins at 4pm this Thursday, June 17 at the Murwillumbah Railway Station. Please contact Marie Luxford on 0401 833 164 or Tom Rayner on 0428 771 811 for more information.