Members of TOOT at Byron Bay want commuter trains back on Northern Rivers rail tracks.
Members of TOOT at Byron Bay want commuter trains back on Northern Rivers rail tracks. Digby Hildreth

Protest for return of train line

CAMPAIGNERS for a restored train service in the Northern Rivers marked a sad anniversary with a colourful protest yesterday.

About 30 of them gathered on the train line at Sunrise, just north of Byron Bay, in the morning.

It will be six years tomorrow since a train ran on the Casino-Murwillumbah line – a loss that Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT) says is unacceptable.

Spokeswoman Karin Kolbe said the train issue had become a political football, used to try to get votes.

“Yet nothing concrete has happened,” she said.

A proposal for a local light rail service between the two centres, with frequent stops along the way, has widespread support from business, young people and regional leaders, TOOT claims.

Martin Brook, fhe founder of Brookfarm which makes macadamia products, was at the protest.

“Now more than ever we need to seriously look at reopening the Casino to Murwillumbah rain line. This is a precious piece of infrastructure that must not be abandoned,” Mr Brook said.

“I fail to see why our politicians cannot see the real benefits of rail.

“It’s the solution to so many of our urban pressures. The whole world is putting in rail systems yet we, in this region of villages who most need connectivity, have a track we don’t use.”

Byron Shire councillor Richard Staples said: “I think it’s an incredibly important issue.

“Over the next 10 years we must get back not only passenger services but freight services as well.

“The idea of doubling our road transport capacity is just foolish,” Cr Staples said.

A forum of government representatives and community leaders is being held to look at the realities of the service next month.



Can you afford to rent on the Northern Rivers?

premium_icon Can you afford to rent on the Northern Rivers?

Renting in some Northern Rivers towns now unaffordable

Priest had sexual 'predilection' for boys, court told

premium_icon Priest had sexual 'predilection' for boys, court told

Catholic priest has denied all charges

Preschoolers sing for rain to come

premium_icon Preschoolers sing for rain to come

Bentley preschoolers sing their very own rain song.

Local Partners