The Proposed Northern Rivers Rail Trail – What it Could Mean for Murwillumbah and the Tweed

 

Old train line, South Murwillumbah

Old train line, South Murwillumbah

What proposed rail trail?

In late August 2013 the Minister for North Coast Larry Page MP announced a feasibility study would be done into converting the old disused Ballina-Murwillumbah train line into a ‘rail trail’ for walking, cycling and general recreational use – rather than face the estimated $900m outlay to restore the track for trains. Fair enough..

The 130km line from Ballina is obviously incredibly scenic and the Tweed Valley section even more so, so generally the idea appears to be a good one.

Click here for a map of the proposed trail, courtesy of railtrails.org.au

Click here for a fuller summary from railtrails.org.au of what the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is.

Rail trail & the Tweed

Mooball, Burringbar and Stokers Siding would all see slow revivals in through pedestrian and cycle traffic, with a subsequent increase in demand for refreshments like fresh local things and so on, accommodation and local attractions.

Mount Warning will likely see substantial increases over and above normal visitor traffic from trail visitors. As cycling up it isn’t feasbale

Rail trail & Murwillumbah

Murwillumbah Train Station would be the start & terminus point at one end of the trail, meaning most trail walkers would pass through the town.

Murwillumbah would also be trail visitors’ link to Mount Warning, etc.

Are rail trails effective? 

Economic benefits of Rail Trails (Vic) http://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/general/bike-futures/92300/

Summary of “Trails and Tourism” presentation at Ontario Trails Council 2004 Annual General Meeting (Canada) http://www.trentu.ca/academic/trailstudies/economicimpacts.html

Economic Benefits of Rail Trail Greenways (US) http://www.needhamrailtrail.org/economic-benefits-of-the-needham-rail-trail-greenway.html

Rail Trail Studies (US) http://www.brucefreemanrailtrail.org/trail_plans/rail_trail_studies.html

Rail trail pumps $12.2m a year into economy (NZ) “”It’s extremely exciting for the towns along the trail and it has been a saviour of some of those smaller communities..” http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/5199383/Rail-trail-pumps-12-2m-a-year-into-economy

What do Rail Trailers require?

  • Bicycle hire
  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Cycling / walking gear
  • Clothes
  • Accommodation
  • Tour and sightseeing opportunities
  • Transfers
  • Fun!

As you can imagine, a Northern Rivers Rail Trail if approved will open up new opportunities for local innovation and enterprise. No word yet of when the feasibility study might be completed, stay tuned.

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About the author

'Mur-bah.com - site for a town with dash' kicked off in 2003. Now Murbah.com.au is an info and blogging site about the Tweed Valley and Murwillumbah by Scott C. PO Box 291 Murwillumbah.

Scott Collingwood
http://www.murbah.com.au
View all articles by Scott

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