Save Rail Corridor, but Not the Trains

The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia), October 19, 2009 | Go to article overview

Save Rail Corridor, but Not the Trains


NOTING the futile, yet ongoing, campaign to restore trains on the Casino/Murwillumbah corridor, it astounds me that so many train supporters have not done their homework.

Perhaps they have relied too much on the fine eloquence and enthusiasm of the TOOT group, overlooking the many flaws in their propositions.

The question is - who would use a train service? Not you or me, but those people out there. Among the rubbery figures put forward in the TOOT power point presentation was the claim that their community survey revealed that 92 per cent - yes 92 per cent - of the community would use the trains.

Just imagine trying to slot into a train service which ran even an unlikely three times a day. You drive to the rail station and park your car; you wait for the train; you hire a taxi at the other end or walk distances. Then you repeat the process on the return journey - if there is a timetable to suit your needs.

In past years, a mere 300/350 persons used sections of the train line daily - with an 89pc subsidy rate for travellers costing the taxpayer $107 per head.

No freight has been carried for years, bearing in mind that freight was the reason for the line being built in the first place.

Regarding freight, a rail service would not take a single B-double off the Pacific Highway. Road transport is faster, cheaper, and more convenient.

Be realistic about the matter - why would there be enormously increased numbers of train users over the next 20 years?

We love our cars too much - and don't forget that within 15 years all electric cars will begin to play their part on the environmental aspects.

Forget the imaginary connection with Queensland rail - the Queensland Government has expressed complete disinterest.

It has nothing to gain, thus the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to resume expensive real estate for the Murwillumbah/Coolangatta connection (plus a rather costly bridge over the Tweed River) seems rather good reason for such disinterest.

As a member of the steering committee set up to consider uses for the rail corridor, it seems to me that the logical move would be to accept the NSW Government's offer to encourage the creation of a rail-trail for use by thousands of cyclists, walkers, and equestrians.

Thus dedicated, should a benevolent government of the distant future decide to restore trains, the corridor would still be available, in total or in sections.

Finally, having had much contact with the NSW Government, I believe that it will strongly support a rail-trail and strike this corridor off the list of railway properties now considered for sale in other parts of the state.

Let's do a deal now and save the corridor.

Thank you

MY family and I would like to say a very sincere thank you to the very kind people at Farmer Charlies in Lismore.

Thanks for helping a blind pensioner. A special thanks to Darrel, the manager of the Lismore store, who has been most kind and helpful in supporting my health program.

It is refreshing to see such local generosity and support, given the current and most difficult economic climate. …

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