Vice President of Rail Trails Australia, Steven Kaye, recognised great opportunities for a rail trail in the Northern Rivers when he toured sections of the disused railway on the weekend.
Rail Trails Australia is a not-for-profit organisation which works for the development and promotion of a rail trail network Australia-wide, so that disused rail corridors are turned into shared-use paths which can be enjoyed by cyclists, walkers and horse riders.
“The disused Northern Rivers railway is an unbelievable opportunity, it could be a brilliant rail trail,” Mr Kaye said.
“You’ve got everything here; you’ve got the beautiful small towns and you’ve got the tourism.” Mr Kaye said.
Mr Kaye toured a section of the 132 km Casino to Murwillumbah railway line between Murwillumbah and Bangalow with Secretary of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail Inc (NRRT) Secretary, Steve Martin.
“Given Steven’s knowledge of rail trails around Australia, the Northern Rivers Rail Trail Inc is delighted that he can also see the incredible opportunity we have to create a world-class tourist attraction that will benefit the whole community in terms of increased jobs and active transport.” Mr Martin said.
The tour included a visit to the site of the 2.5km pilot rail trail project between Murwillumbah Station and the Tweed River Art Gallery with Tweed Shire Councillor Phil Youngblutt and Director of Engineering and Operations of the Tweed Shire Council and NRRT member, Patrick Knight.
“The Tweed Shire’s rail trail will be the first length of the track to be opened up for use by the community and tourists – the Tweed River Art Gallery will no doubt be a jewel in the crown of the Northern Rivers rail trail.” Mr Martin said.
The vision for a Northern Rivers rail trail includes converting existing railway stations into service points such as amenities, bike hire, bike repair, cafes and tour operators.
“We are building strong community support for a rail trail in our region because people want to keep the rail corridor as a usable community asset.” Mr Martin said.