Part of the proposed Northern Rivers Rail Trail.
Part of the proposed Northern Rivers Rail Trail. Digby Hildreth

Don't destroy trains so cyclists can have a joyride: LETTER

WAYNE Brown, of Lismore, says the rail trail is a "backwards” proposal. He wrote this letter to explain why:

YOU'VE been completely misinformed if you think the proposed rail trail (destruction of the rail line for a dirt/gravel bike trail) would "protect” the rail corridor in any way.

If anything it just makes it easier to sell off.

No wonder it is so popular with property developers and real estate agents.

For the rail trail to be built the rail corridor must be formally closed and dissolved via a Parliamentary Act (See: Transport Administration Act 1988, Section 99A).

Only once this occurs can the railway tracks be removed.

Once that happens it's the end of the rail corridor and rail line - no ifs or buts about it. The land will then become Crown Land, which the government can do whatever they want with.

The corridor in beachfront Byron Bay would fetch many millions.

The land in other parts of the region would also be very highly valued.

It would be very disappointing to see such valuable rail infrastructure that boasts an abundance of potential growth and benefit when used by trains destroyed forever just so a handful of cyclists can have a joyride.

It's certainly a very backwards proposal - not something that belongs in the 21st century given our growing population, traffic congestion and close proximity to the Gold Coast and 2018 Commonwealth Games.

It's crazy to suggest this rail trail would be for the community. Nobody in their right mind would use it in the searing heat that we get for most of the year here.

This "community trail” would be merely for the exclusive use of a small handful of cyclists, before it's sold off to developers by a NSW Government that just loves to sell, sell, sell.

I also think it's crazy to be even considering a rail trail plan when it's now more than likely that the existing Gold Coast Light Rail will be extended to Tweed Heads, or Gold Coast Airport at the very least in the near future. Crazy when we have an idle railway line only few km's away that could link thousands as far as Sydney.

I encourage residents of the Northern Rivers to see the bigger picture when it comes to this rail trail.

This region with its 4.6 million annual tourists, growing population and high levels of traffic congestion needs properly timetabled train services to serve the community and tourists, now and into the future.

There will be trains coming back to Byron Bay soon.

There is also a plan to re-open the entire line in Byron Shire.

I'd hate to see such progressive infrastructure and plans destroyed for a mere dirt track for a minority group.

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