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Byron Shire
October 4, 2022

Some truths

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Bioenergy facility funding rejected

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In answer to David Lisle’s letter – Backlash Echo Aug 3, 2022.

Our rail corridor was only ‘disused’ because of purely political and so-called economics! The ‘economics’ was the ‘saving’ of $5M per year, yet no details to show the source of the $5M.

The train service was not defunct at all but was a vital connection across the whole region of the vast Northern Rivers, to cover the transport needs of all people who, for whatever reason, could not drive a vehicle – either too young (hence hitch-hiking), medically unable and as for the idea that the whole community will be able to use trail – nonsense.

The Labor government way back tried to delete the Casino to Murwillumbah train service but was stopped, but of course we know those opposing that also backflipped!

In the Northern Star (2 February, 2018) NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said: ‘The federal funding was the culmination of a “long fight, and a lot or work behind the scenes”.’

I have researched massively and methinks many conflicts of interest by many MPs, councillors, bicycle groups, Rail Trail groups happened so the actual decision to continue not bringing the train service back, years ago, was not fair at all.

Mr Tim Fischer, (in his passing we lost him but we have his statement about our train service, that people should know about) Australia’s best known railway enthusiast and patron of Rail Trails NSW, gave his support for the return of train services to the Northern Rivers and wrote to Northern Rivers Railway Action Group, giving his full support for the return of train services to the Northern Rivers stating ‘Rail trails are great in many ways and certainly boost cross pollination of ideas and linkages but better still in NE NSW, shuttle modern light rail between Casino and Byron Bay and Murwillumbah makes great sense and I believe essential to core transport fabric increasingly congested part of NSW, adjoining as it does the Gold Coast.’ Tim Fischer – former Deputy Prime Minister. Northern Star 21 June, 2014, told the Northern Star that, had the cancelled XPT service been replaced with a light rail commuter service a decade ago, the service ‘would be booming by now’.

Light rail planning for extension to South Tweed Heads – so what a debacle, eh! Bike track SOUTH!

Jillian Spring, Billinudgel

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  1. Further to Jillian Spring (The Echo Aug 16), the $5m ‘saving’ was political: the timetable was changed by the Minister to stop the service being popular.
    Roger Seccombe

    • The XPT service was timetabled to fit with the use of trains along the rest of the route to Sydney. It is amazing how some people in this region think the whole world should revolve around them.

      The train was an extravagance for the benefit of a tiny fraction of the regional population, most of the passengers concession holders contributing next to nothing to the real cost. They can still catch a heavily subsidised train to Sydney or Brisbane by taking a short bus trip to Casino. Hardly an unbearable compromise.

      The train on the Murwilumbah branch line has gone and is never coming back. About thirty percent of the track no longer even exists and nobody is going to pay to put it back or repair the rest of the decrepit line. Protestors are wasting the time. No amount of handwringing is going to make the slightest difference to that reality


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