Barry
Barry "Tubby" Minness has a relax after driving his last train into Grafton after 50 years on the railway. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

14 years since last train, so what happens next?

IT HAS been 14 years since the departure of the last ever train to run on the Casino to Murwillumbah line.

The anniversary passed quietly yesterday.

The then Labor Government was to blame for closing the service in 2004, and the now Coalition Government is to blame for not bringing the train back.

But 14 years on, the Casino to Murwillumbah line remains as dormant as ever and degraded somewhat after several bridges were removed.

Tweed has announced it will build the first section of a rail trail along the line, although discussions since then have shown its going to be far from straightforward to implement.

There seems to be four main options for the disused train track:

1. Leave it the way it is and keep the corridor intact as a reminder of our former train glory.

2. Lobby governments to reinstate some sort of rail service (light or heavy) along the line, or an extension of it.

3. Use the corridor for some other purpose, like a rail trail

4. A clever combination of points 2 and 3.

Byron Shire has at least reinstated a rail service from town to the industrial estate and by all reports it seems to working fine as a tourist attraction.

So anything is possible with enough collective will.

I'm not in favour of doing nothing and sitting, waiting, and hoping some government is going to come along in the future and reinstate the rail service. The numbers simply don't stack up.

The last report written on this costed it at nearly a billion dollars.

On the balance of probability, a rail trail seems the best option, or even a combination of trail and small scale rail in some sections.



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