BETH SHELLY from the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group (NRAG) wrote to The Weekly on Monday stating that the public has been “misinformed about the cost of rail services on the Casino to Murwillumbah railway line”.
“We are campaigning for a commuter rail service on the line with an extension to the Tweed and then to Coolangatta to connect to the Gold Coast light rail,” she said.
“People in the Tweed area would be able to catch a regular commuter service during the day down to Murwillumbah or Byron Bay as well as to the North”.
While several residents and current councillors believe a rail trail would provide a valuable new addition to the tourism offering in the Tweed Valley, many believe the region could be better served with a commuter train and steam train on weekends.
NRRAG asked the candidates for the Tweed Council election for their support and received the following positive responses:
Katie Milne – Greens candidate
“I wholeheartedly support the return of the rail to Murwillumbah, and a connecting line to the Gold Coast should be thoroughly investigated. The Rail Trail is a threat to our existing rail corridor, particularly as Council advised it cannot be built alongside the track, so all the tracks would have to be ripped up. This is just madness in this age of climate change and traffic congestion, but we are not going to give up. We desperately need a Council that has the public interest at heart.”
Gary Bagnall – Independent Candidate
“I have continually voted against the rail trail and have supported trains on tracks. People need to understand the rail corridor is protected by current legislation and rail trail legislation would remove that protection so the land could be sold off. The Tweed area needs commuter rail services to help people get to work, study, shopping and tourism and get cars and trucks off the roads.”
Dion Williams – Independent Candidate
“I have romanced the idea of a rail system reconnecting Casino to the airport. It could run single carriage shuttles as well as tourist trains, dining trains and theme trains all showing off our awesome region. Not only that, it would help a lot more of those people coming out of the Coolangatta Airport to come here. I do support the idea of getting the line reopened and if elected I would gladly make the necessary inquiries and investigations to get the ball rolling.”
Suzy Hudson – Independent Candidate
“I think the rail all the way to Coolangatta airport would be a great asset both in tourism and economically and have huge benefit for our area.”
Michael McNamara – Independent Candidate
“If elected, I commit to support the reinstatement of the rail lines from Murwillumbah to Casino with the intention to run a commuter service. I also support extending the rail corridor northwards towards the Gold Coast Airport at Coolangatta, using either light or heavy rail.”
Chris Cherry – Independent Candidate
“The rail corridor needs to stay in public hands so that it can be used for rail one day in the future. I believe, for Tweed residents, the priority is to get the light rail link from Murwillumbah and Tweed to the airport and the link to Byron is a natural progression from there.”
Dave Norris – Greens candidate
“I wholeheartedly support the actions proposed by the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group to retain existing railways tracks for future use as a commuter rail service and I do not support covering up these tracks for a bike trail. Increasing railways networks and getting cars off the road is an important part of the solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion.
Michael Hidden – Greens Candidate
“Our region is sorely lacking in major transport infrastructure. A Rail Trail is a nice boutique idea for those who have plenty of time on their hands, have good health, and own a bike.
“It won’t help the elderly or infirm get to the doctor, nor kids who need to get to school. The Gold Coast are planning to build their light rail down to the border. We ought be protecting our rail corridor with a view to meeting up with it.”
YOUR THOUGHTS: Which do you think would be best for the Tweed Valley a train service or rail trail? Send your views to firstname.lastname@example.org