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Byron Shire
July 23, 2024

Rail trails

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Having ridden both local rail trails I can only say what a pleasure they bring. No cars or traffic noise (mostly), birds, beautiful plants, etc. The grass trees on the Bentley to Casino trail are fantastic. 

When will Byron Council really get moving on their parts? How spectacular will the Byron to Bangalow part be to ride?

PS thanks to Byron Council workers for fixing the lighthouse walking path.

Wally Hueneke, Byron Bay

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  1. Byron Council has voted to proceed with the trail. The process is underway to prepare the funding applications and they are working together with Lismore on the section between Byron Bay and Lismore.

    BTW The vote was 6-3 in favour of proceeding and all three who voted against are not standing for reelection in September so the decision is very unlikely to be overturned by any new council.

  2. If the Tweed trail has been such a wonderful thing for the community and business an independent study should be done before another inch of the rail line is destroyed and more millions of taxpayers’ dollars is spent.

    Tweed Council has been calling for expressions of interest from businesses to set up on Murwillumbah station since December 2022. So far or there’s no sign one new business starting up on the station or anywhere else along the trail. Perhaps that’s due to the trail being empty for most of the week and during the prolonged wet weather. So much for the economic, transport and traffic reducing benefits we were told the trail would bring have not eventuated to justify the $22 million spent so far.

    One person’s anecdotal report of the supposed wonders of the trail, which many locals and businesses question, is not evidence enough to justify spending another $600,000 plus per kilometer, perhaps as much as $900,000 in Byron Shire to destroy the line, much more than it would cost to restore the line for trains. This is taxpayer funded criminal vandalism in an area desperate for, and been promised for so many years, traffic busting, sustainable commuter train services which run rain, hail or shine. People could still enjoy the views from a trail beside the train line and be able to get to the trail by train and leave their filthy, planet destroying gas guzzlers at home. WIN WIN WIN for all.

    • The endless stream of repetitive misinformation from Louise impresses nobody. She is one of the very few rail advocates still persisting with this nonsense. Most have given up because they know their lies could no longer be sustained once parts of the trail opened. The trail is incredibly popular and everyone knows it.

      Indeed, one person’s anecdotal report would be worthless, especially when that person, Louise, has never even seen the trail. Only those who have not been on the trail would claim there is nobody using it. The trail is not empty during the week nor even during moderately wet weather. It is used by thousands of visitors every week.

      New businesses have opened. There are multiple bike hire businesses for a start, two of them on the Murwillumbah platform and several others nearby. All the available spaces on the Murwillumbah platform have been let. There are bikes parked outside cafes, at least one new business at Stokers Siding and the Mooball pub has never before seen such high patronage. Burringbar is thriving from the trail users.

      A comprehensive report into the entire trail, including a review of the economic benefits seen in the Tweed section, is being prepared by the Northern Rivers Joint Organisation.

      Multiple professional engineering reports have stated that the trail cannot be built off the formation. This is obvious to anyone who has been on the Tweed section. So many people will no longer need to drive to the trail when the trail reaches them, instead of having to drive from Byron Bay or Lismore to Crabbes Creek or Bentley.

      The railway is not coming back. Nobody with any credibility has been promising trains. The only promise is to complete the whole trail. The decisions have been made at the State and all local government areas. It is time to accept that reality.

    • An independent study has been done on the completion of the rail trail, commissioned by the Northern Rivers Joint Organisation (NRJO – not NOROC). The NRJO represents all six councils in our region . It has been chaired by Byron Shire which has been keen to pursue multi use of the corridor and at the behest of Byron Cost the costs of leaving the tracks in place was examined. The NRJO has no “vested interest” except that of any council in wanting to improve the amenities and economy of its LGA and the region, and their attractiveness for visitors and for theskilled and professionals workers we need. It is difficult to see what organisation would satisfy you it could a more independent view – Trains on Our Tracks?
      The study will show a very high rate of return on completing the trail and a good return on building a link to it from Ballina. Another study was done for Byron Council – which had proposed building the rail trail beside the the lines found that it was not feasible on the two parts examined , West of Bangalow and North of Mullumbimby. The NRJO study will show similarly – it is much more expensive to build the rail trail off the formation and it will diminish its amenity.
      There is no study that shows any significant environmental, social economic benefits of spending a large sum of transport infrastructure and operational spending to a rail service. As the Legislative Council Inquiry that you refer to was advised in 2004 it would simply reinstate the inequities in transport access for the greater population of older public transport dependent people living away form the rail corridor, a inequities identified thirty years ago in the Kearney Sinclair Knight Report.
      Also our statement is not correct. Only short lengths of the NRRT have been built off the formation.

  3. Most of the above is completely inaccurate if not downright dishonest. If there are economic and social benefits to justify spending so many millions of taxpayers’ money an INDEPENDENT study will identify those benefits. That’s just the professional thing to do before any more public money is spent. A study undertaken by a vested interest-Northern Regional Organisation of Councils (NOROC)- or the same people spending taxpayers’ money and spruiking the questionable benefits of the trail-is not independent or credible. Regardless of what they find they’re never going to admit there’s little or no benefits and whoops-they’ve wasted our money.

    Large sections of the Tweed and Bentley trail have been built off formation. Most locals know that the state government stated it would cost $88 million over ten years to catch up on repairs to the line for the heavy XPT which 140,000 people per year paid to use. They also know that the study commissioned by the National Party in 2004 reported the line could be repaired for less than $30 million for the commuter train we need and were promised for many years to get millions of gas guzzlers out of our towns and save billions on road works for more gridlock. ALL WELL DOCUMENTED. Provided there’s no blow outs in costs, which would be a miracle, the FREE trail is costing taxpayers at least $79 million, plus ongoing maintenance for little economic or social benefit.

    Extensive research has been done on the costs and benefits of a commuter train service on the billion $ train line, and the information has been well documented regardless of people with little credibility repeating the same unsubstantiated nonsense and claiming black is white over and over.

    Trains will be more cost effective, provide more social and environmental benefits. They’ll provide accessible public transport for locals and millions of tourists. Just like the Gold Coast trains, they’ll be used rail hail or shine seven days a week, not just weekends, and cyclists can take their bikes on them as well.

    • The continuing delusional ravings of Louise.

      Once again Greg Clitheroe has refuted your nonsensical mutterings with provable facts. To let your mutterings stand unopposed is what you are desperately hoping but once again Greg directs a strong burst of reality, dismantling your ramblings with the greatest of ease and thank goodness for that.

      Dear Louise why don’t you take a walk or a ride on any section of the rail trail and enjoy yourself for a change, everyone else has known it for decades and you obviously know it too, the trains aren’t coming back!

    • Every one of Louise’s sentences contains a lie. Her repetitive dishonesty and blatant misinformation has been refuted over and over again and is becoming very boring.

      The train is not coming back and her nonsense serves only to mislead people and cause pointless conflict.


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