Rail study to go full steam ahead

Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT) has welcomed news that the NSW Government will conduct a study into the cost of reinstating the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line, but says the terms of reference should be widened to include the social and economic benefits.

Tenders will be sought next week for experts to work with Transport for NSW staff to evaluate the condition of the 130km line; the costs of restoration and maintenance; the potential for introducing light rail or other commuter services; and the potential to extend the line to connect with Coolangatta Airport and Queensland rail services.

Announcing the study, NSW Minister for the North Coast Don Page said the government was delivering on its election commitment.

"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," Mr Page said.

TOOT president Karen Kolbe said she would like to see a study that looked more broadly at rail as an environmental, economic and socially responsible mode of transport for the future.

"We'd like to see an analysis of having less congestion, particularly in places like Byron Bay," she said. "We'd also like to see the benefits to tourism... We already have 1.5 million tourists looking for transport into and around our region.

"We'd also like to see the environmental benefits, like reduced carbon emissions or better air quality, properly accounted for. And we'd also like to see the savings factored in; with less cars and buses on the road, maintenance costs to councils and the RTA will be reduced."

TOOT has recently stepped up its campaign again after it was announced the Gold Coast will host the Commonwealth Games in 2018. TOOT says now is the time to connect rail services to south-east Queensland to capitalise on the influx of tourists and reduce road congestion.

"Let's seize this opportunity to create the infrastructure that will serve us well for decades."

A week prior to the announcement of the Commonwealth Games, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon called on federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese to re-open the line.

"There has been seven years of buck-passing and dead-end studies on the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line. The decision to close the line was short sighted and must be reversed. Mr Albanese should stand up for his state and prioritise important rail projects such as reopening the North Coast commuter rail service and extending it into Queensland. People are flocking to live on the North Coast and rail should be the backbone to move this growing population," she said.

In her speech she quoted from a government website that predicts interstate freight between Sydney and Brisbane will almost triple by 2029, with 80% of this growth expected to be carried by trucks using the Pacific Highway.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Local artist is telling some of our most poignant stories

 Lennox Head artist Kate McDowell performing part of the piece at La Boite HWY Festival 2016.

The Adventures of Wonderbabe the Terrible

Top 5 events at Tropical Fruits 2016

IT'S ON: Tropical Fruits Festival over New Years.

Festival guide hits the streets this weekend

Weekend remembering the forever young

Weekend to Remember our loved ones killed on the roads.

Local Partners

Exterminate! Exterminate! The Daleks are coming

THE Power of the Daleks is one of the most celebrated Doctor Who adventures, revived in a brand new animation 50 years after it was broadcast in the UK

November will be a big month for NORPA

ARTS: NORPA has added new shows to the Dreamland season from November 23 to December 10.

Peter Garrett, Dreamland and the 2017 Season Launch, among others

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Declan Kelly and the Rising Sun to shine bright at festival

Declan Kelly & The Rising Sun is one of the headlining acts at this year's festival.

Main stage set to pump with radiant reggae and dub vibes

Mariah Carey and James Packer discussing relationship

Mariah Carey and James Packer are discussing how to work things out

January Jones: Take time away from your phone

January Jones needs time away from her phone

Mel C won't return to Spice Girls for daughter

MEL C is adamant she won't reunite with the Spice Girls

60's British rock legends to return to Australia

The Troggs will play a string of dates across Australia in November.  Photo Contributed

We all remember 'Wild Thing' and now you can hear it live.

Depp jumps ship from agency of 25 years

Johnny Depp has signed to CAA after 25 years with the United

Orlando Bloom 'buried' Katy Perry in birthday flowers

Orlando Bloom "buried" Katy Perry in flowers for her birthday

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!