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A COUPLE of years ago I visited the Northern Rivers region and crossed over the old railway line several times. I thought to myself then, what a stunning rail trail that could be.
I just wanted to congratulate Tweed Shire Council and the Northern Rivers Rail Trail supporters for bringing it all together.
Every rail trail has its naysayers but when an old railway corridor is re-purposed it brings nothing but good to the region. I can speak from experience, having fought a long and often difficult campaign to get the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail here in Queensland completed.
Many of our landowners who were concerned about biosecurity have come to realise the risk is negligible. There has been no outbreak in crime recorded by the police, apart from occasional illegal motorbikes on the trail.
An old railway corridor is never going to re-purposed as a light railway because it would cost billions of dollars to bring the corridor and all those bridges and tunnels up to modern safety standards.
Light railway will soon be superseded by new transport technologies that don't even use rails as we move away from fossil fuels.
A rail trail brings in millions of tourism dollars and encourages a more active lifestyle, saving in health costs.
Paul Heymans President, Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Users Association
Welcome mini bus
THE welcome recent announcement by Ben Franklin of a service of "on-demand” mini buses to Goonellabah and Alstonville is in line with the integrated public transport plan that Northern Rivers Railway Action Group has been promoting.
Mini buses would be a complementary addition to the introduction of rail services again onto the Casino-Murwillumbah line, picking up from trains and dropping passengers off to outlying areas.
They have been trialling this on-demand service in Sydney recently, to great success.
The only logical option, for social, environmental and economic reasons, is to reintroduce rail transport on our line, which is in better condition than many believe.
The structure of the rails are still in very good condition and we will have a survey completed soon by an accredited rail maintenance manager, who attests to its overall good condition apart from some much-needed bridge work.
The cost of refurbishment is nowhere near what has been promoted by the questionable "study” by Arup, which has since been discredited and fined for their dodgy numbers on another project.
We firmly believe a regular commuter rail service with a once-a-day freight component would bring enormous benefits to our whole region. In the coming elections please vote for those candidates who support the return of rail to our very special but disadvantaged region.
This article first appeared on www.echonews.com.au
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