Sign rail study becoming a reality

THE NSW Government has called for tenders for an economic study on re-opening the Casino-to-Murwillumbah rail line and extending it to Coolangatta.

Advertising in the Daily News indicates Transport NSW is seeking the services of a suitable firm to undertake the study.

The work would "identify the scope and cost of the engineering works and rolling stock needed to restore the disused line to operating condition" and also investigate potential rail corridors to south-east Queensland.

The move fulfils an election promise by Tweed MP Geoff Provest and according to Minister for the North Coast Don Page follows the setting aside of $2 million in the recent NSW Budget for the study.

"The NSW Government is serious about addressing the transport needs of regional NSW, including the North Coast," Mr Page said.

"We are getting on with the job of taking a comprehensive look at what would be required to restore this line and maintain it for passenger services.

"Transport for NSW will seek experts who will evaluate the likely restoration and ongoing maintenance costs and look at potential rail connections through to south-east Queensland."

The study is due to be completed by October next year.

"The NSW Government is committed to providing the right mix of transport services for customers on the North Coast and these investigations are the start of that process," Mr Page said.

"Local councils will be consulted and the results of this study will feed into the transport masterplan, which is being developed by the NSW Government."

But Karin Kolbe, president of the lobby group Trains On Our Tracks, said the study narrowly focused on costs and not the benefits of a rail service.

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