Rail trail wouldn't stop return of trains to Northern Rivers

NORTHERN Rivers Rail Trail spokeswoman Marie Lawton said it was "a myth" that removing the tracks would prevent train services coming back on the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line, because re-instating a rail service would require a whole new track.

North Coast train lobby group TOOT (Trains On Our Tracks) recently commented on Facebook that Ballina MP Don Page was planning to "rip up our rail line and turn it into a bike path".

But Ms Lawton pointed out the re-instatement of rail services would require a new track anyway.

"Having a rail trail there won't prevent the train from coming back," Ms Lawton said.

"What's preventing the train coming back is the cost of re-instating rail.

"The rail trail is a positive because it's going to prevent the corridor from being sold off.

"It's a way that we can use it in the meantime."

The rail trail would provide a track for walking and riding bikes and/or horses along the existing rail corridor, providing a safe and scenic route without steep hills between Northern Rivers towns.

Ms Lawton said because rail wasn't a viable option at present, a rail trail would help "babysit" the corridor.

"The rail trail will be sustainable; it will support itself," she said.

She predicted it was unlikely the government would even use the old corridor if it ever decided to start trains again, but build an entirely new line incorporating Ballina and Tweed.

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