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Byron Shire
January 21, 2022

A better way

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The Rail Trail ad in the last Echo concludes with ‘We can’t think of a better way to experience the beauty of our backyard. Can you?’ Well yes. Through the window of an air-conditioned solar-powered train.

Imagine what it would be like to travel between Lismore and Murwillumbah in comfort and safety. The patronage from Byron to the Bluesfest and Splendour alone would go a long way to ensuring the financial viability of such a train. Instead, we’re going to be burdened with an asphalt psycho-cyclist’s wet dream. As summers become increasingly sweltering, the popularity of slogging through all weathers will gradually fade and the white elephant that it is will become evident to all.

The O’Farrell team were all over the Northern Rivers in ‘Trains on Our Tracks’ T-shirts while campaigning for the 2011 election. This successful tactic turned out to be a complete fake. Highly inflated costs were quoted. ‘Just isn’t financially possible’ they said. Hundreds of millions can be spent on things like demolishing a perfectly good stadium, or on Sydney trains that don’t fit the platforms, trams that crack up, ferries that can’t be used – but essential infrastructure for the regions? Don’t think so.

The rail trail concept is a sneaky way to avoid State government responsibility and shift costs onto ratepayers. The Tweed section has been allocated $600K for the first three years of maintenance, which may or may not be adequate. But we know who will be paying for this in perpetuity when the three years are up. The Byron Shire section is longer than the Tweed’s, so start saving up.

Alan Watterson, Hastings Point


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2 COMMENTS

  1. The Splendour in the Grass music festival box office entry gate is a 1.8km walk from the Crabbes Creek Train station platform, too far for punters without a fleet of buses ferrying them .
    Blues Fest box office entry gate is 2km walk from the closest railway station platform site at Tyagarah, another fleet of buses required.
    Now getting punters to and from Byron Bay , Mullum, Bangers , Billinudgel or Murwillumbah Train station also requires an additional fleet of buses .
    So attending a music festival requires 3 transport modal changes going there and 3 transport modal changes departing ?
    Sorry but punters will only accept 2 transport modal changes on their journeys .
    20,000 punters on a single slow train track sitting in passing loops waiting for clearance of a train coming in the opposite direction just isn’t going to get people out of cars or provide quick and efficient transport.
    Anyway the future rail system is on a completely different route following the M1 highway with stations located at all the interchanges with carparks and bus stations.

  2. A “ psycho-cyclist’s wet dream”! A soon to be white elephant. Really!

    If the rail trail eventuates before I’m in a nursing home I fully intend to enjoy it. I don’t exactly see myself as a psycho cyclist and I don’t have that many wet dreams. If you think the trail will be a white elephant in this magnificent countryside perhaps go on an adventure to see their popularity in Victoria in areas of temperature range between -6 and 46.

    It’s fine to argue the relative merits and feasibility of different options for the corridor but this sort of ridiculous overblown rhetoric and wild claims do nothing for credibility.

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