FAQs

The Trail

What is the NRRT Inc.’s policy on Trains?

NRRT Inc is consistent and aligned with Rail Trails Australia. Which is to support viable rail services, over a rail trail.

Also see.
http://www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/northernriversrailtrail

What about Trains?

• Studies have shown that improved bus services are the best way to improve the region transport needs – bus services already replicate the train service
• Patronage demand and population density doesn’t support the investment required for an operational safe rail service
• Existing rail corridor doesn’t connect with major population centres (e.g. Tweed or Ballina)
• Estimated to cost in excess of $900million-to return rail services.
• Would need to be built as one project
Transport for NSW Casino to Murwillumbah Transport Study

Why do NRRT Inc. propose a Rail Trail?

Following the detailed investigation into the transport requirements of the region in 2013, the state government declared that restoration of rail in the medium term was not an option due to costs and changed population centers.
View Transport for NSW Casino ot Murwillumbah transport study LINK
The NRRT Inc. built on the existing community support which proposed an alternative use for the rail corridor as a Rail Trail which would deliver recreation, social and health benefits to its users and economic benefits to the region. It would provide safe opportunities for families, bicycle tourists, mountain bike riders, outdoor education groups, horse riders and walkers to experience a major part of the Northern Rivers landscape. Like other recreation trails, a rail trail would provide opportunities for local businesses such as bed and breakfasts, cafes, restaurants, tour guides, equipment hire and camping.

Economic/Tourism
Rail trails around the world are popular tourist attractions, bringing economic benefits to rural towns and villages which would otherwise be in decline. Rail trail tourists are often high yielding, middle aged, well-educated, cycling enthusiasts…
Numerous examples around the world show rail trails attract millions of dollars in tourist spending and create multiple jobs to service trail users.

Social/Health
A rail trail would increase opportunities for local residents to walk or cycle, for leisure or to commute, and this brings many benefits. Walking to or from work, school, public transport or local shops can provide the 30 minutes of daily physical activity adults need for good health.
Environmental/Heritage
The disused rail corridor is overgrown with weeds, while valuable rail heritage such as bridges and railway stations continues to deteriorate unchecked. Establishing a rail trail would ensure the corridor is maintained.
Weeds would be controlled, bush could be regenerated, stations could be revitalised and possibly transformed into cafes or other uses, and heritage-listed items would be maintained.
View NRRT Inc. Proposal document .

Can the Rail Trail co-exist with trains(multi modal)?

Yes, the Rail Trail can share the corridor with trains. For example, the state government has asked that the rail shuttle service planned to run from Bayshore Drive to Byron Bay Station to ensure the Rail Trail can operate alongside their train. NRRT are working with the rail shuttle proponents to ensure both projects can successfully share the corridor.

In general, where a viable use for the rail line is funded for introduction in the near term, and a reasonable alternative site for the Rail Trail exists within the corridor, the trail will be constructed to allow for use of the formation by rail services.

Private enterprise rail based tourist attractions which require the Rail Trail to be constructed off the existing rail formation would make the Rail Trail more expensive to build. Government funding would not be available for this type of commercial operation. The extra costs to build the Rail Trail off formation would be at the private operator’s expense.

It is more efficient for the Rail Trail to be constructed on the disused rail formation than beside it. The existing sleepers, rails and ballast would be lifted, with the rails to be stockpiled in case rail services return to the corridor. The condition assessment for the Casino to Murwillumbah Transport Study found most of the existing sleepers, ballast and bridges would need to be replaced if train services were ever restored. Removing the existing infrastructure to build a rail trail does not stop the return of train services in the future. Rather, it preserves the formation in better condition than it is now and makes it easier to install new ballast and sleepers, replace the rails and run trains.

Will the Rail Trail protect the corridor from being sold off?

Yes, the Rail Trail will become a ‘Rail Bank’ By using the rail corridor for a Rail Trail it will remain in public ownership in the hands of the State Government. If a change in legislation is required to allow a Rail Trail to use the rail corridor it will not diminish the protection of the corridor (or change the ownership) for a return to rail services should that become viable in the future.

Is the Rail Trail feasible?

• Yes – proven by independent analysis
• Yes – has Government backing
• Yes- Payback period of only 4-5 years
• Benefit cost ratio of in excess of 2.5 (e.g. for every $1 invested there is more than a $2.50 return)
• Can be constructed in stages
• Estimated to cost less than $75.5 million to construct
• Ready -Tweed Council ready to complete 1st stage from Murwillumbah –
Tweed Valley Gallery (pilot study for rest of project) Chance to resolve and investigate all local issues
• Worldwide experience shows rail trails create multiple jobs and attract millions of dollars in spending

Who can use the Rail Trail?

• Everyone – walkers, runners, cyclists, people in wheelchairs or on mobility scooters, and in selected locations horse riders

Will wheelchairs be able to use the trail?

Certainly in places, there will be wheelchair access to the trail. We hope around the towns we will have a good surface for chairs and mobility scooters.

Am I allowed to ride my horse on the trail?

Parts of the trail we expect will be opened to horseback riding. More information soon.

How long is the Trail?

The trail will be 132 Kilometres long from Casino to Murwillumbah.