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Byron Shire
June 2, 2023

Tyre wrecking tacks found on rail trail

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Tweed/Byron police say those responsible may have underestimated the serious nature of the offence. Photo Tweed/Byron Police.

Police from Tweed Byron Police District have commenced an investigation after hundreds of tacks, nails and screws were found on the Northern Rivers Rail Trail at Murwillumbah.

A cocktail of wire, tacks and screws found on the rail trail. Photo Tweed/Byron Police.

The opening of the new rail trail and cycle track has prompted some who would see the return of the trains, getting pretty annoyed at the joy cyclists are getting from accessing the path from Crabbes Creek to Murwillumbah.

Earlier this month, police were notified about the incident on the Northern Rivers Rail Trail between Murwillumbah and Mullumbimby.

Community members and police have since recovered hundreds of tacks, nails and screws, believed to have been deliberately placed on the recently opened track.

The serious nature of the offence

Tweed Byron PD Detective Chief Inspector Matthew Kehoe said those responsible may have underestimated the serious nature of the offence.

Police say people have been injured and children have had to push their bikes a number of kilometres. Photo Tweed/Byron Police.

‘We’ve had several reports of people injured, or children who have needed to push their bikes a number of kilometres, due to flat tyres caused by tacks scattered over the track,’ Det Ch Insp Kehoe said.

‘This dangerous and disgraceful behaviour has impacted many members of our community and I’d urge anyone with information about the incident to contact Murwillumbah Police on (02) 6672 9499 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.’

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  1. its hard to believe this is not from persons who are interested in sabotaging the rail trail proposal because of their misguided interests in re-opening a dud rail line network on the old railway. disgusting behaviour shows these people are selfish, ignorant, and are more interested in stopping progress on a fantastic new facility for the region than anything else. get a life and move on from your ideological beliefs supported by no real scientific evidence.

    • More than likely the vandals in the area. – you know – the ones who deface everything. Why accuse anyone without any evidence whatever.

  2. Well, so much for objective journalism.

    Over the years over 30,000 locals from Casino to Tweed Heads have signed petitions and thousands have attended protest rallies demanding the return of trains on the billion dollar train line. Those people have included many politicians of all persuasions, red, blue and green. The National Party and Geoff Provest promised for many years they would return trains to the line as the ‘social, environmental and cost benefits would be enormous’.

    Without any evidence, not even a photo of objects actually on the track, which of these groups who want to see trains returned is the Echo accusing of ‘getting pretty annoyed’ and placing objects on the track?

    Making such assumptions and claiming a whole group people have deliberately placed objects on the track before police have even completed their investigation, is a disgrace. Rupert would be proud of such journalism. As if the treatment of the whole Northern Rivers community, whose rights and need for public transport have been trashed by untrustworthy politicians isn’t bad enough, the Echo sees fit to slander them all as well. Charming.

    These are the same politicians the Echo has also been critical of in the past for their dishonest behaviour.

    It’s the politicians, the same people who are paid well to provide and maintain public transport and other services, not destroy them, but instead waste eyewatering amounts of our money on rorts and port barreling, that the community holds responsible, not cyclists.

    • There is plenty of evidence. The article includes a photo of some of the objects found on the trail.

      The Echo has even published a letter from an angry rail supporter who suggested that tacks be placed on the trail.

      “The answer to last week’s question re Laurel and Hardy. They spread millions of upholstery tacks over the ground that punctured the native’s bare feet! How simple and how clever!”

      “So, I would believe that we, the people, now have the right to take our own measures to close down the said illegal rail trail.”

    • Settle Louise, the article has not identified any culprits. But you’re a little sensitive. It’s OK is it to attribute the worst of motives to pollies and railtrail proponents but not to suggest that there have been some fairly angry groups/people on the other side?

      And unless my eyes deceive me, there’s a couple of pics here.

    • The rail lobby has conducted a decade long campaign trying to stop the rail trail in myriad ways. Part of the tactic has been to suggest the trail was a corrupt attempt to sell off the corridor =; another to create a myth that there was no consultation about the trail. Nd yet another has been at every opportunity to suggest to the public that there was some possibility of rail services coming back and to suggest that the rail trail might have been built while leaving the rails in place.

      Every professionally done transport study advises rail is not a suitable way to provide public n our region. The engineers involved in the conception, design, approval contract and construction of the rail trail all found an off formation path was not feasible. Now it is built any of us can see why and even Tweed mayor Chris Cherry admits now the topography does not allow an off-formation path.

      The campaign to stop the rail trail based on this misinformation has not worked but it ha generated anger and division in the community. As the miserable election result of prominent candidates with platforms opposing the rail trail in Tweed and Lismore show the opponents are a noisy but tiny minority. But people trialling the rail trail last year were subject to ugly harassment and a letter to the Echo late last year encouraged opponents to take action against the “illegal rail trail”.
      Now the anger opponents of the rail trail have generated has spilled over into this disgusting criminal action.

      It is time for some people to realise the rail trail is built in the Tweed, being built from Casino to Lismore, and councils are planning to complete it and extend it to Ballina and Brunswick Heads. It’s time too for some of its opponents to take some responsibility for the ugly consequences we now see of a relentless campaign of misinformation that questioned the legitimacy of the rail trail and which has fomented division and anger in a minority of the community.

    • What rubbish from someone who is obviously not a cyclist. It isn’t even practical to carry a spare tyre on a bicycle other than the small foldable tyres used on road racing bikes.

      Sue sounds very much like someone who is trying to avert the blame from the vandal.

    • In fact a rail trail should normally be far less prone to the presence of objects that cause punctures. Most of what causes punctures on the roads are objects that fall of trucks. Some are large enough to puncture car tyres but most are pushed to the side by the traffic and accumulate on the shoulders where cyclists are expected to ride.

      Without the trucks dropping the objects, the trail cyclists aught to rarely experience punctures.

      • A couple of rather obvious things stand out here:

        Some of these riders may well have been carrying pumps and repair kits. Regardless repairing a puncture is not an easy or fun experience out on a ride. It would tend to put a bit of a dampener on what a rider could justifiably expect to be a pleasant day out.

        As the police have intimated, a sudden deflation of a tyre, or a swift manoeuvre to avoid an object, can cause falls and serious injuries especially on a heavier e-bike I’d imagine.

        Riders tend to take punctures as part of the deal when they happen by accident. To think somebody would be bitter enough deliberately sabotage their ride would definitely ruin the day.

        There is no justification for anyone to scatter nails, screws etc on the rail trail, especially without knowing who their victims will be.


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