Rail lines in disrepair in the Eltham area.
Rail lines in disrepair in the Eltham area.

Survey says: Give us back our train

UPDATE 1.40pm: NEARLY a decade after then Transport Minister Michael Costa pulled the XPT from the Casino to Murwillumbah line, the Northern Rivers still wants its train back.

At least, most of the ones who have so far filled out the poll attached to this story have, anyway.

Ballina MP Don Page yesterday tabled a 1400-signature petition in the NSW Parliament calling for the rail corridor to be transformed into a rail trail.

Have your say: Rail trail or train?

Read the original report

Gallery: Northern Rivers rail

Proponents of the rail trail argue it would be a big asset for tourism on the Northern Rivers, providing an easy walking and cycling track connecting towns and villages and showing off beautiful parts of the region that are otherwise inaccessible.

However, that line isn't washing with the readers who have so far taken part in the poll we have posted on the issue.

As of 1pm today, 189 people had taken part in the poll with the overwhelming majority saying they would rather have the train back than a rail trail.

A total 29% of readers have so far said they'd like to see a rail trail in the corridor. Another 33% have said they want a commuter train put on the line immediately, while 36% have said they'd like a commuter train, but only if the line was extended from Murwillumbah to Queensland.

While the survey is not scientific and cannot be taken as a true measure of feeling for the issue on the Northern Rivers, it is worth noting a 2007 survey by Southern Cross University claimed 70% of its respondents said they would use a commuter train in the existing Casino-Murwillumbah corridor at least once a month.

That figure grew to an impressive 90% when people were asked if they would use the train if the line were extended to Queensland.

A State Government report released last year put the bill for repairing the existing line at $900 million.

What would be better for the Northern Rivers? Commuter trains or a rail trail?

This poll ended on 28 February 2014.

Current Results

A rail trail from Casino to Murwillumbah would be best.

29%

Put a commuter train on our tracks - NOW!

39%

A commuter train, but only if the line is extended from Murwillumbah to Queensland.

31%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The Pineapple Rail Trail at Rockhampton. A petition pushing for the Casino to Murwillumbah line to be converted into a rail trail has been tabled in the NSW Parliament.
The Pineapple Rail Trail at Rockhampton. A petition pushing for the Casino to Murwillumbah line to be converted into a rail trail has been tabled in the NSW Parliament. Contributed

4.44am: A PETITION supporting the use of the Casino to Murwillumbah rail line as a rail trail has been tabled in parliament.

Minister for the North Coast Don Page tabled the petition yesterday. It had been signed by more than 1400 people.

The petition states that "it would be economically attractive and socially beneficial to convert the railway corridor into a world-class rail trail to create jobs, attract tourist revenue and enhance the well-being of communities along the 132km corridor."


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