This Sunday, 16 May 2010 marks six years since a train has run on the Casino-Murwillumbah line.
“For six years the train line has been a political football to gain votes” said Karin Kolbe from TOOT (Trains on our tracks), “yet nothing concrete has happened”.
A proposal for a local light rail service between Casino and Murwillumbah, making frequent runs and stops along the way, has gained widespread support from business, young people and regional leaders.
“Now more than ever we need to seriously look at re-opening the Casino to Murwillumbah rain line, this is a precious piece of infrastructure that must not be abandoned” said Martin Brook, founder and Director of Brookfarm.
“I fail to see why our politicians cannot see the real benefits of rail. It’s the solution to so many of our 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. Many of our workforce make the daily commute from the inland areas including Lismore. Opening a station near the new 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.”
On Tuesday 29 June a Rail Forum involving government representatives and community leaders is being held to address the realities of such a service.
Trains in Bairnsdale Victoria stopped for eleven years, now they have six services daily. Queensland’s railway line from Brisbane to Tweed Heads was pulled up and now, forty years later, is being relayed at a cost of tens of millions.
“Six years is long enough” said Paul Spooner, General Manager Byron Community and Cultural Centre. “For the safety and future of our young people and the Northern Rivers economy, let alone our carbon footprint, we need to bring our train home”.