TOOT continues train battle
The Casino to Murwillumbah rail line at Byron Bay last Friday carried its first ‘train’ six years after the last XPT rolled out of the town. But it didn’t go too far.
The dummy train was put on the tracks at the Bayshore Drive crossing by members of TOOT – Trains On Our Tracks – as part of the ongoing campaign to get real trains running again.
TOOT spokesperson, Karin Kolbe, said the line had been used for six years as a political football to gain votes, but nothing had happened.
Ms Kolbe said there was widespread support for a local light rail service between Casino and Murwillumbah.
She said trains at Bairnsdale in Victoria had stopped for 11 years, but now had six services daily.
The line from Brisbane to Tweed Heads had been pulled up, but now 40 years later, was being re-laid at a cost of tens of millions of dollars, she said.
Founder and director of Brookfarm and TOOT supporter, Martin Brook, said the rail line was a ‘precious’ piece of infrastructure that must not be abandoned.
Mr Brook said he failed to see why politicians couldn’t see the real benefits of rail, the solution to so many 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,” he said.
“Many of our workforce make the daily commute from the inland areas including Lismore.
“Opening a station near the new (Ewingsdale Road) sports fields next to the industrial estate would be a huge plus for the businesses in our area and in turn create more job opportunities.”
An invitation-only community-organised rail forum will be held at Byron Bay on Tuesday, June 29 to look at the ‘realities’ of bringing trains back to the track.