by S SorrensenMurwillumbah train station was once again filled with train enthusiasts when TOOT (Trains On Our Tracks) held a rally supporting the re-introduction of rail services on the North Coast.The rally was the launch of the TOOT your vote campaign, calling on voters to write the word TOOT on their ballot paper, and to wear red when voting to get the message across.
The NSW leader of the The Nationals Andrew Stoner promised $100 million to re-open the Murwillumbah to Casino line and to re-instate passenger services axed by the NSW Labor government if the Coalition was elected in March. He promised a minimum of six services a day, with the number to rise subject to demand.
But in a statement, the NSW Minister for Transport John Watkins said that the Nationals pledge had no more credibility than it had on previous occassions when such promises were made.
The Nationals keep announcing theyll open Casino-Murwillumbah, but they never get around to explaining how theyll pay, said Mr Watkins. He said that a full, safe restoration of that line would cost $150 million over five years.
But TOOT spokesperson Karin Kolbe rejected the ministers figures claiming he continues to lack credibility with his claims about what a communter train for the Northern Rivers would cost.
We want to send a unified message from the community that we want trains on our tracks, said Ms Kolbe.
Greens candidate for Lismore Andy Gough said that regardless of who formed government after the election, the Greens would continue to lobby for a restoration of train services.