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Efforts to create a tourist rail trail along the former Casino to Murwillumbah train line have failed at the second hurdle.
Earlier this year the New South Wales Government called for Expressions of Interest for pilot projects along the north coast line and the Tumbarumba to Rosewood line in the state's south.
The south coast proposal has been successful and the second stage of developing the 21 kilometre stretch of former rail corridor will now go ahead.
The government said the Tumbarumba Shire Council put forward the best application for a $5,000,000 rail trail proposal.
"The Government feels the Tumbarumba proposal is worthy of further investigation as we progress this pilot process," said the Minister for Regional Development, John Barilaro.
The more costly option on the north coast didn't fare so well. The former Minister for the North Coast and Ballina MP Don Page had estimated the rail trail through his electorate and neighbouring electorates would cost around $ 75,000 000.
There were six expressions of interest in the Northern Rivers line and that seems to have only confused the matter for the Government.
"There was a wide range of proposals for projects along the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line but some differing views as to the best model and a range of views and options for investment," Mr Barilaro said.
"Further work will be necessary before we can progress proposals on that corridor," he said.
Those behind the rail trail say the idea still has merit.
The Northern Rivers Rail Trail Association will meet with Infrastructure NSW and the state's tourism body to discuss why the project didn't get support.
Secretary for the group, Geoff Meers said the group had been very hopeful it would be chosen as the pilot project and there's an element of disappointment.
"We are disappointed that we weren't chosen but we are really excited that rail trails will start in NSW and the south coast pilot will pave the way for others such as ours," Mr Meers said.
He believes there were a number of factors against the north coast proposal.
"It may have been (the cost) and it may have also been there were a number of EOIs and it may be that the Government thought this was all a bit complicated and it needed more time to work out what the best combination of proposals might be for our corridor," Mr Meers said.
On the other side of the track, Basil Cameron, the President of Trains on our Tracks welcomed the news that the trail plan had stalled.
"I've got every hope in the world (that a train will return to the track) ... I think everything is running in favour of rail at the moment," Mr Cameron said.
"It does seem pretty clear that the proposal just failed to get the necessary level of community support among other things," Mr Cameron said.
"I think there were also issues to do with many of the proposals that were track-based, and that was inconsistent with the rail trail proposal which would get rid of the lines," he said.
Mr Cameron said a plan to begin a commuter rail service on the line from North Byron to the town centre was also at odds with the rail trail.
The TOOT group says it isn't against the rail trail and would like to see a model where the trail could co-exist with a train line.
Meanwhile the rail trail's Geoff Meers is not going to stop peddling the issue.
"We're still on our bike, we're still optimistic and I think there's a good chance because I am sure Tumbarumba will be successful and the Government will be keen to invest in further rail trails across New South Wales," Mr Meers said.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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