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Byron Shire
June 2, 2023

Frustration and disappointment as Tweed rail trail damaged

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Damage to bollard in front of the tunnel. Photo Murwillumbah Matters

Damage to the Tweed section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail by a 4WD vehicle overnight earlier this week has left both the community and Tweed Council ‘disappointed’. The damage follows an incident at the end of March when hundreds of tacks, nails and screws were found on the Northern Rivers Rail Trail at Murwillumbah.

Damage to rail trail the tunnel. Photo Murwillumbah Matters

Locals reported the 4WD damage to the rail trail on the Murwillumbah Matters social media page on 5 April.

‘Idiots [have] been on the trail through the night in a 4 x 4. Driven through the tunnel & smashed the locked bollard. Damaged the edge of the trail. Let’s hope the police cameras catch them,’ said the social media post.

Tiffany Stodart, Manager Destination, Communications and Customer Experience told The Echo that they were ‘bitterly disappointed to learn of such reckless and dangerous activity on the Rail Trail.

Considering there may have been walkers or cyclists on the trail at night – and particularly in the 524m-long tunnel – the chances of causing serious harm or injury are real and we are relieved no-one was hurt in this incident.

‘We will continue to work with police around any reports of vandalism and dangerous behaviour such as this.’

The rail trail has been repaired following the vehicle.

‘Our team has repaired the damage caused by this incident and measures are underway to try to prevent such activity from occurring again,’ said Ms Stodart.

Damage to bollard in front of the tunnel. Photo Murwillumbah Matters

No cars allowed on track

‘The rules of the Rail Trail are clear and expressly state any cars, trailbikes, motorcycles, e-scooters, petrol-powered bicycles or similar are not allowed,’ she explained.

‘The Rail Trail’s safety rules and tips have been carefully devised to ensure all users are able to enjoy this incredible recreation and nature asset at their own pace.

‘Our team has repaired the damage caused by this incident and measures are underway to try to prevent such activity from occurring again.

‘We encourage anyone who experiences any incident on the Rail Trail to report the problem as soon as possible through our website at https://www.northernriversrailtrail.com.au/contact/report-problem-incident.’

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  1. It is indeed lamentable that this wonderful new community asset appears to need 24 hour hidden surveillance equipment installed with police monitoring capability.

    It’s a sad state of our times.

    Hopefully the culprits have just enough brain matter to realise their utterly antisocial past.
    They could attempt to imagine their very own kids getting horrendous feet injuries or vehicular impact consequences, at the very least, in order to wake up and evolve.

  2. Penalties should include forfeiting of the vehicle and automatic license disqualification for a very long time.

  3. Well they could have spent 1 or 2 billion dollars to bring the trains back rather then waste billions on more metros in sydney.
    I can see it now the local rate payers will be left with a massive bill to keep on fixing the trail as the numbers wont be there long term.

    • There is no proposal for ratepayers to fund maintenance on any part 9f the rail trail
      Thus was explicitly stated when Lismore Council agreed to accept funding. Other comparable rail trails in QLD and Victoria have continued to grow in popularity, in some cases decades after they were established. The first stage of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is as good as any I have ridden and passes through one if Australia’s most attractive destinations, so I see no reason to doubt its continuing popularity.

    • Railways in the Sydney basin provide transport for more than eighty percent of the state’s population and normally carry more than a million passengers each day. Spending billions on luxury public transport for a tiny proportion of our small regional population that happen to live near and want to travel to destinations near the old railway corridor makes absolutely zero sense.

      Rail trails become increasingly popular over time. The patronage already seen on the Tweed Valley Rail Trail suggests that the full Northern Rivers Rail Trail will quickly become Australia’s most popular rail trail.

      Without even considering the substantial income from the leases, the projected cost of maintaining the Tweed Valley Rail Trail amounts to less than one thousandth of the Tweed Shire Council budget. Fifteen times as much is spent maintaining the swimming pools on top of the entrance charges levies on patrons.


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