Casino to Murwillumbah line to remain closed

 
  Xgentric Chief Commissioner

The proposal does say (page 19): "Subject to patronage demand and operational considerations, the proposed rail shuttle service may be a catalyst for service expansion opportunities to Mullumbimby, Bangalow, or beyond."

It goes on to say: "As a short extension to the proposed rail shuttle service, the Byron Sports and Cultural Facility and associated Car parking could provide an opportunity for a Council Park and Ride facility to help relieve traffic pressure on Ewingsdale Road."


And: "The proposed rail shuttle service and rail trail combined would create a truly unique and marketable tourism offering for the region whilst significantly improving transport options and availability for the whole community."

To extend to Mullum is possibly quite realistic, but probably no further.  After Mullum Station there are a few missing bits, including a small bridge over a rural road.

And maybe in the other direction towards Suffolk Park, but to Bangalow is probably not realistic. The wash-away at St Helena would be a fairly major repair, requiring a lot of expense.

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  boromisa Junior Train Controller

Last time I was subjected to torture on the Michael Costa Coach Service between Casino and Byron I noticed there was a fair bit of local traffic between Lismore and Byron. Perhaps that could be a good section to run a commuter service. However, I make this as a very cautious suggestion since I don't know the state of the line and whether there are any big ticket items i.e. bridges. State of track around Byron is fairly good there are many steel sleepers in place which haven't decayed much.

Also the line passes very close to BB BluesFest and Splendour sites and it could be a huge relief to local roads if some of that congestion could be relieved.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Last time I was subjected to torture on the Michael Costa Coach Service between Casino and Byron I noticed there was a fair bit of local traffic between Lismore and Byron. Perhaps that could be a good section to run a commuter service. However, I make this as a very cautious suggestion since I don't know the state of the line and whether there are any big ticket items i.e. bridges. State of track around Byron is fairly good there are many steel sleepers in place which haven't decayed much.

Also the line passes very close to BB BluesFest and Splendour sites and it could be a huge relief to local roads if some of that congestion could be relieved.
boromisa
The aspect that is lost in the lines other trains demise is that when the old Gold Coast Motorail ran, it did a fair amount of local bookings from quite a few areas along the line (when seats were available) taking locals from the likes of Casino Bangalow & Lismore to Byron for a day out, very popular with surfies as they spent a day at the beach & returned that evening.

While it may not be deemed in some peoples eyes prestige business, at least it put bums on seats, & you can take that whichever way is wanted.

To make the new proposal work especially outside just the opening options, it would require some outside thinking, & could be made to work,
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
The problems along the route lie farther back and concern the condition of the numerous timber trestles on the Casino - Lismore section.

Even if a case could be made for a rail link to Lismore and Byron very significant expenditure would have been needed to have maintained what was there in a safe-to-use condition.  

Traffic levels beyond Byron were so far as I am aware of a level which could never have justified long-term retention of the service when faced with the cost of maintaining the infrastructure.

Travel patterns also dictate what is likely to be used by the paying public.  A majority of all longer trips from the Byron Bay region probably owes more to cross-border destinations than to points southward and Sydney.  Brisbane is by far the nearest capital city.

The history of state-based railways adopting different gauges now means it is unlikely that any cross-border line would be built on the Casino - Murwillumbah route or any part of it.  QR would surely only be willing to come as far south as Tweed Heads (if even that far) and on the narrow gauge.  

My impression is that there had been very buoyant traffic levels to Lismore from the south - Grafton as much as anywhere though some from Sydney - but that the cost of keeping the line open over the even that length has been regarded as prohibitive despite the dissatisfaction that rail abandonment has aroused locally.

My final trip on the branch, which was to have been all the way but was cut short at Lismore due to a heavily delayed XPT being returned from there to Sydney, saw just two passengers making use of Casino station (one on, one off) but more like 50 destined for Lismore.  About that many again were for Byron Bay where our coach also collected three passengers for Brisbane.