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Byron Shire
May 31, 2024

Tweed rail trail now open

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The Rail Trail was officially opened with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony performed by the Biren Cultural Group. Joining them from back left are: NRRT Inc President Pat Grier, NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole, Tweed MP Geoff Provest MP, Tweed Mayor Chris Cherry and Lismore MP Janelle Saffin.

The Tweed section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail opened this morning making 24km of the former rail line open to the public.

The rail trail runs from the heritage-listed Murwillumbah Railway Station to Crabbes Creek and features 26 bridges and two tunnels. 

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

‘The Tweed section of the rail trail meanders gently southwards through the spectacular scenery of the Tweed Valley, connecting the villages of Stokers Siding, Burringbar, Mooball and Crabbes Creek. The path features a 500m Burringbar Range Tunnel, home to tiny micro-bats and glow worms,’ said a spokesperson. 

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin, who represented Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot at the ceremony, said the Northern Rivers Rail Trail would eventually run from Murwillumbah to Casino through the spectacular scenery of the Tweed Valley, Byron Shire, Lismore and Richmond Valley.

The Tweed leg of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail was officially opened today amid much excitement from local walkers, runners, cyclists, school students and trishaw enthusiasts.

The Australian Government’s $6.5-million contribution to this first stage is under the Building our Future Fund and is a strong show of faith in our region which has been through so many challenges in recent years – drought, bushfires, the Covid pandemic and the floods a year ago, Ms Saffin said.

Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon joined Tweed Mayor Chris Cherry and Richmond Valley Mayor Robert Mustow at the opening of the Tweed section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

Like other successful rail trails in Australia and internationally, it will attract more visitors wishing to slow down and soak up an ecotourism experience second to none. They are also likely to explore the many other attractions our region has to offer, boosting local and regional economies.

The trail has seen the restoration of a range of heritage-listed bridges including both the historic Dunbible Creek Rail Bridge and the Burringbar Under Bridge No.1 near Mooball, a bolted plate girder bridge, first opened in 1894. They are two of the largest and most historically significant landmarks on the Rail Trail. 

Dunbible Creek Rail Bridge.

‘These are unique heritage bridges that really add to the look and feel of the area with the 100m timbre bridge at Mooball being restored,’ said Project Director Iain Lonsdale.

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry said she was confident the Rail Trail would be warmly embraced by the local community, providing an exciting new corridor between villages.

This is going to be such an incredible new asset for the community and will provide a safe new link between Murwillumbah and the villages of Stokers Siding, Burringbar, Mooball and Crabbes Creek, Cr Cherry said.

This is going to be a first-class attraction which not only connects us to our community and neighbours but to the wider world.

I’m sure this new attraction will be enthusiastically embraced by the community and will give families a great way to connect with each other via a safe corridor which celebrates the incredible scenery of the Tweed Valley.

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail starts at Murwillumbah Station.

This is the first completed stage of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail, which will eventually stretch 132km from Murwillumbah to Casino, passing through four local government areas including Tweed, Byron, Lismore and Richmond Valley.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest said the Rail Trail would be a game changer for tourism across the region.

The Tweed stage will help drive growth for the regional NSW visitor economy and increase tourism numbers to the Northern Rivers, which is more important than ever, Mr Provest said.

The Tweed Rail Trail is a great example of what the Restart NSW fund is designed to deliver, and I look forward to seeing the benefits it will produce for the region.

Community celebration

A community celebration to mark the opening of the Rail Trail is planned for the weekend of Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 March, with a host of fun, family-friendly activities on offer.

For more information on the Rail Trail, visit https://www.northernriversrailtrail.com.au.


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19 COMMENTS

  1. Absolutely fabulous ride! Gorgeous scenery and not at all difficult. Historic information at all the old stations. Brilliant!! Thanks to all who made it happen. Byron Shire Council should be ashamed for their failure to institute the Byron leg of this wonderful public asset!!

  2. Hooray!!. Now let’s get the track cleared between Crabbes Ck and Billy. From there it’s a relatively safe ride into Brunz and from there you can cycle along the beach to Byron (on a low tide day).

  3. At Long Last, our rail corridor lives again.
    Well, 23.7kms of it does, but with many more kilometers currently in progress.

    It is truly a magnificent addition to our lives, having this stretch of scenery available for many types of personal enjoyment, adventure and discovery, at any time we want, and with whom we want to share it with.

    Well done to the many dedicated visionaries in our communities, that have for over a decade, finally achieved this for us all.

  4. I rode it and my mate ran it from the Murwillumbah Station to Stokers Siding just after the official opening in 32 degree heat , it was spectacular and better than expected. Thank you for such a fantastic asset for mental and physical health activities.

  5. It is a massive shame for the equine community that we have been left out of the planning aside from a 2 km stretch which isn’t worth driving unloading horses.

    • Exactly right , we were never welcome , it was just a carrot to a donkey. This trail is so exclusive it sickens me .

      • Who is being excluded? People of every age and ability are using the trail every day.

        I’ve seen preschoolers on their little bikes riding with their families miles from any access point. Lots of elderly people on their mobility scooters and people pushing wheel chairs. They can do this because the trail was built on the formation with the quality surfaces and minimal gradients that had always been part of the proposal.

        We didn’t build the steep inaccessible fail trail goat track that railway advocates insisted could have been built beside the formation, which would have excluded a large proportion of potential users.

  6. Many of us didn’t want to lose our rail corridor to be leased or sold off and still don’t. The rail trail has made it very clear via Chris Cherry that this is the intention as the trail cannot self fund the 600k per year to maintain itself . Given that horses are not welcome this isn’t an inclusive trail but a footpath for a select few . We need our public transport, more tourists on our roads that can’t use public transport… NO THANKS
    There’s a very valid reason so many didn’t want it , we aren’t for sale and don’t care for our public transport infrastructure to be sold off to benefit a greedy few .

    • Yes, Dr Green, the majority of North Coast residents don’t want lose the $billion rail corridor. They’ve been campaigning for Tarins On Our tracks for twenty years. 30,000 local people have signed petitions for trains which the state governments and local politicians have ignored. So much for democracy.

      Bike tracks are an important part of public transport, BUT THEY CANNOT REPLACE THE ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL OR COST BENEFITS of a publicly run rail system which will reconnect the majority of fast growing North Coast population centres, at the same time providing sustainable transport for millions of tourists, and reduce emissions and CLIMATE DISASTERS!! It will cost little more to get the trains running than the cost of this expensive bike track.

      The state government is using trainloads of taxpayers’ money to fund this disaster without any mandate to do so, they promised Trains On Our Tracks. They MUST be held accountable for this destruction. If the Labor Party are being honest in their claim that they don’t support privatisation of public assets, they will stop this destruction. The state election is on the 25th March.

      The NORTH COAST COMMUNITY HAVE SUFFERED ENOUGH!!!

    • There is no intention of selling the corridor. It is protected from being disposed of by legislation. The corridor can be taken back for any public transport use at any time by the Minister for Transport regardless of any leases.

      Rail advocates are a noisy minority who claim to have the support of the community but they have no evidence for this. Prominent rail advocate and long time president of TooT ran in the last local government election on the platform of stopping the trail being built on the formation. His team received a little over two percent of the vote despite drawing Group A and receiving the benefit of the donkey vote.

      Tiny numbers have protested about the loss of the railway. The largest rally during the trail construction saw thirty protesters brought in from all over the Northern Rivers Region. Typically their rallies attract less than ten people, mostly or entirely the organisers. Trivial numbers.

      This weekend saw thousands of people using the Tweed Valley Rail Trail. That is community support and a clear endorsement of the trail project. The train was never going to return. Nobody was going to pay the huge costs. The trail is providing the public with access to the corridor that belongs to us.

      • Some people just keep making stuff up. They can’t even do simple on-line research to find articles and film of the thousands of outraged locals , including the Nationals and many high profile Labor Party members, protesting the closure of the rail service and demanding Trains On Our Tracks which MP for Tweed Geoff Provest and the National Party promised for many years. It’s all been well document. People making things up won’t change anything.

        The day of reckoning is coming.

        • Lousie’s claims are all about ancient history from two decades ago. Yes people did protest at first. I even signed a petition back then, based on the information presented by the core protest group at their street stall in Lismore.

          I, politicians and many others subsequently reconsidered our stance when better informed. The numbers of people demanding a return of the rail have since dwindled to trivial. The fact remains that both sides of parliament agreed way back in 2013 that the railway would not be reinstated. End of story.

        • Rail advocates like Louise have been making up stuff for years, still persisting with the ridiculous myth that the whole trail is a cover for selling the corridor by removing the protective legislation which has not happened.

          The corridor is still fully protected from being passed to any owner other than a public body. Tweed Valley Rail Trail is currently owned by Tweed Shire Council. Subsequent trail legislation leaves the trail ownership in the hands of the state government and only permits a 30 year least for trails. That is the legislation that will be use between Yelgun and Bentley.

          In both cases the Minister for Transport can take back the corridor for any public transport purpose with the stoke of a pen. The legislation states that no compensation would be payable on termination of the lease.

  7. I walked from Burringbar to Mooball and back on Sunday 5th, I saw so may people cycling and walking, kids of all ages including little ones enjoying quality time with their parents, an Elder on a mobility scooter with a huge grin on his face, I counted 47 bicycles at rest in Burringbar whilst their riders were having picnics and resting in the shady park, I saw many people like me, so in need of some uplifting activity for physical and mental health, we are not the “greedy few”.

  8. Why do NRRAG and TOOTS administrators keep pushing the old slow meandering rail route when Tweed Shire and the Cross Border Transport Taskforce are wanting modern trains on modern alignments?
    Keeping workers in cars is easy with the nostalgic romantic slow train push by NRRAG and TOOTs .
    Check the Tweed Shire Transport Strategy Document 2009 on its website .

  9. This rail trail is just the best. We are now riding it every weekend instead of driving to Tweed, Coolangatta or Kingscliff. The carpark at Murwillumbah on any given day is packed by 9.30am. I went for a 6km walk at 6.30 in the morning last week and again the carpark was half full. A lot of businesses are all seeing increase in turnover all along the trail. Such a win for our community.

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