Casino to Murwillumbah line to remain closed

 
  Xgentric Chief Commissioner

The proposal does say (page 19): "Subject to patronage demand and operational considerations, the proposed rail shuttle service may be a catalyst for service expansion opportunities to Mullumbimby, Bangalow, or beyond."

It goes on to say: "As a short extension to the proposed rail shuttle service, the Byron Sports and Cultural Facility and associated Car parking could provide an opportunity for a Council Park and Ride facility to help relieve traffic pressure on Ewingsdale Road."


And: "The proposed rail shuttle service and rail trail combined would create a truly unique and marketable tourism offering for the region whilst significantly improving transport options and availability for the whole community."

To extend to Mullum is possibly quite realistic, but probably no further.  After Mullum Station there are a few missing bits, including a small bridge over a rural road.

And maybe in the other direction towards Suffolk Park, but to Bangalow is probably not realistic. The wash-away at St Helena would be a fairly major repair, requiring a lot of expense.

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  boromisa Junior Train Controller

Last time I was subjected to torture on the Michael Costa Coach Service between Casino and Byron I noticed there was a fair bit of local traffic between Lismore and Byron. Perhaps that could be a good section to run a commuter service. However, I make this as a very cautious suggestion since I don't know the state of the line and whether there are any big ticket items i.e. bridges. State of track around Byron is fairly good there are many steel sleepers in place which haven't decayed much.

Also the line passes very close to BB BluesFest and Splendour sites and it could be a huge relief to local roads if some of that congestion could be relieved.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Last time I was subjected to torture on the Michael Costa Coach Service between Casino and Byron I noticed there was a fair bit of local traffic between Lismore and Byron. Perhaps that could be a good section to run a commuter service. However, I make this as a very cautious suggestion since I don't know the state of the line and whether there are any big ticket items i.e. bridges. State of track around Byron is fairly good there are many steel sleepers in place which haven't decayed much.

Also the line passes very close to BB BluesFest and Splendour sites and it could be a huge relief to local roads if some of that congestion could be relieved.
boromisa
The aspect that is lost in the lines other trains demise is that when the old Gold Coast Motorail ran, it did a fair amount of local bookings from quite a few areas along the line (when seats were available) taking locals from the likes of Casino Bangalow & Lismore to Byron for a day out, very popular with surfies as they spent a day at the beach & returned that evening.

While it may not be deemed in some peoples eyes prestige business, at least it put bums on seats, & you can take that whichever way is wanted.

To make the new proposal work especially outside just the opening options, it would require some outside thinking, & could be made to work,
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
The problems along the route lie farther back and concern the condition of the numerous timber trestles on the Casino - Lismore section.

Even if a case could be made for a rail link to Lismore and Byron very significant expenditure would have been needed to have maintained what was there in a safe-to-use condition.  

Traffic levels beyond Byron were so far as I am aware of a level which could never have justified long-term retention of the service when faced with the cost of maintaining the infrastructure.

Travel patterns also dictate what is likely to be used by the paying public.  A majority of all longer trips from the Byron Bay region probably owes more to cross-border destinations than to points southward and Sydney.  Brisbane is by far the nearest capital city.

The history of state-based railways adopting different gauges now means it is unlikely that any cross-border line would be built on the Casino - Murwillumbah route or any part of it.  QR would surely only be willing to come as far south as Tweed Heads (if even that far) and on the narrow gauge.  

My impression is that there had been very buoyant traffic levels to Lismore from the south - Grafton as much as anywhere though some from Sydney - but that the cost of keeping the line open over the even that length has been regarded as prohibitive despite the dissatisfaction that rail abandonment has aroused locally.

My final trip on the branch, which was to have been all the way but was cut short at Lismore due to a heavily delayed XPT being returned from there to Sydney, saw just two passengers making use of Casino station (one on, one off) but more like 50 destined for Lismore.  About that many again were for Byron Bay where our coach also collected three passengers for Brisbane.
  The Man in Blue Deputy Commissioner

Location: Trackside in Baiyin NW China!
Much as I would love to see the line re opened, I predict there will never again be trains running between Lismore & Bangalow. There are too many old timber trestles which are now, 8 years after the last train, too deteriorated to be safe. Millions of dollars IF you can get bridge timbers, one reason the line was abandoned. Bangalow-Suffolk Park has a washaway, but earthmoving is a lot cheaper than timber bridge re construction (there are also 2 trestles on the Byron side of Bangalow.)Bangalow station building is so badly eaten out with white ants and vandalised I am amazed it hasn't been demolished for safety reasons. The recent plan has report on Byron - North and costings. From Byron to Mullumbimby, 10 bridges and the track has a small forest growing out of it in a number of places, but this was one of the best parts of the line speed wise when open, then from mullum to Billinudgel (& Ocean Shores) 3 trestles & 1 steel bridge. and problems in the tunnel.
Then there is the effects of corrosion on the trackwork  in & around Byron. In the photos in the new report you can see deep pitting on the rail surfaces. This is not a problem with abandoned lines inland, but in Byron, an old CF waggon that was left rusted to bits, wheels & all! The pointwork in Byron is now decaying.
The current proposal has the best chance of getting up & going of any I have seen so far, especially as the proposers seem to have money and realise the cost & safety issues involved.
  a6et Minister for Railways

A reason why I said in my first post on this that the only way it could happen is with a lot of public support. I did not mention the money directly but its inferred. Outside of the small trestles you mention, & as mentioned by me previously is the affect of white ants when there is no movement on rail to keep them out of timbers, especially sleepers.  The timber bridges just provide high rise dwellings & dining for them.

A couple of bridges exist on the main road from Bangalow to Lismore, which as John suggested are likely a safety hazard, yet for the moment they do keep high vehicles off the goat track/road.  The biggest impediment to opening to Lismore is the large trestle approaching from the North, lovely looking bridge but I wonder how safe that might be, & how much that also may be eaten out.

Certainly rust is a problem, but depending on the rail weight, & how bad it is, likewise consider any prospective problems with the steel sleepers also, it may well be ok for slow speed running.  

Likewise as I said, a good start & if things work out, then it can be looked at for expansion, I would say again forget MBH, but maybe Mullumbimby could work, but if money comes in the prospect of potential from Lismore may be viable longer term.

The thing is that many are calling for a rail bike trail to go on the line, how much money would be poured into that venture to make it safe for the bike riders, place that alongside what a tourist operator needs to open some or much of the line over a longer term.
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
Billinudgel pub to Lismore and back would be a popular tourist run, oh well, $o much for dreaming.
  ivahri Train Controller

I would love this proposal to happen but I have so many questions that I barely no where to start.

They propose to lease one 2 car set. What if it fails or is not available due to maintenance? Do they have access to spares? Does the maintenance contract with Lithgow include local support?

Is the cost of the service going to fund its operation or will it be cross subsidised through something else?

When someone comes along and puts forward a proposal to make something work when many others have tried elsewhere without success it makes me wary to believe that this is nothing more as a gimmick to help promote a real estate venture.

Cheers


Richard
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
They could work out of Lismore yard with a 44 and some cars,
Im pretty sure their 620 has been rebuilt and is reliable, they are not likely to send up an old clapper, they are only talking 3km at this stage.
  nathanmurphy5 Station Master

Location: Blue Mountains
I'll start believing things when I see it, at the moment I have a feeling the government likes flying!
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
I'll start believing things when I see it, at the moment I have a feeling the government likes flying!
nathanmurphy5

The Government are a disgrace to the taxpayer, how dare they let all this taxpayer funded infrastructure fall into disrepair and ruin?
It was mismanaged and not promoted, all this talk about the Government being run like a corporate business is crap.
Its a shame to see another Ropes Creek on such a large scale.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
The Government are a disgrace to the taxpayer, how dare they let all this taxpayer funded infrastructure fall into disrepair and ruin?
It was mismanaged and not promoted, all this talk about the Government being run like a corporate business is crap.
Its a shame to see another Ropes Creek on such a large scale.
"Junction box"
Because, for long-distance travel like Sydney to Coffs Harbour, flying is the far superior way to travel.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
That argument is valid for longer trips such as Sydney - Coffs Harbour used as an example.

It doesn't hold for regional trips such as Byron Bay - Brisbane or Lismore - Grafton which would be two examples of more common journeys made in that region.  The former could not be done by rail alone of course and both can be done by road.

But for those who drive where is the advantage in taking a road coach compared with the car?  A train is at least more comfortable and is perceived as a better way to travel by some compared with the rubber-tyres option.
  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
It doesn't hold for regional trips such as Byron Bay - Brisbane or Lismore - Grafton which would be two examples of more common journeys made in that region.  The former could not be done by rail alone of course and both can be done by road.
Gwiwer
Although I certainly agree with your point of view; we have done Byron Bay - Brisbane by rail alone but it involved overnight in Casino. South on the arvo Limited, motel in Casino and next morning on the MotoRail to Byron.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
$200m might see  part of this line 'operational'. Unjustified costs and will never happen... time to move on. This line is now in our history books.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
The danger is that history will say the same for Newcastle.  Where do we stop the campaign for a useable and sensible rail system?
  The Man in Blue Deputy Commissioner

Location: Trackside in Baiyin NW China!
Because, for long-distance travel like Sydney to Coffs Harbour, flying is the far superior way to travel.
Watson374
Times,
Sydney-Coffs, XPT over 8 hours
Driving, recent trip, Windsor dep 2PM arrive Coffs 7.40PM (no speeding)
Plane, arr 1 hr prior, 3/4 hr Virgin 1 hr Qantas.
  The Man in Blue Deputy Commissioner

Location: Trackside in Baiyin NW China!
They could work out of Lismore yard with a 44 and some cars,
Junction box
Yes, if they went towards Casino. You're dreaming about re opening Lismore-Bangalow. You've obviously never seen the massively long Woodlawn trestle, let alone the 100+ other bridges between Bangalow & Lismore, ALL rotten.
  Junction box Chief Commissioner

Location: newy
I was only speculating, it's ok for the Government to spend millions on roads but they don't have any budget to maintain a main rail line, maybe the line could of been truncated at Byron Bay instead of being left to rot.
Lets hope the proposal includes lobying the Minister for funds
  a6et Minister for Railways

Because, for long-distance travel like Sydney to Coffs Harbour, flying is the far superior way to travel.
Watson374
Sadly true but with news that another NSW regional airline has bitten the dust leaving several country towns without air connections, one place Mudgee are quite concerned as the medical specialists who service the town all used the airline so they have to look at options, & driving seemingly is not one of them.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Brindabella Airlines had a NSW Govt monopoly on the right to service most of the towns such as Mudgee, with only Cooma being excluded.
Theres no reason now that Mudgee, or indeed any of the other towns which Brindabella served cant be served by someone else, Rex for example.
Depends a lot on who buys the planes or indeed the business as to what happens next.
  ivahri Train Controller

I was only speculating, it's ok for the Government to spend millions on roads but they don't have any budget to maintain a main rail line, maybe the line could of been truncated at Byron Bay instead of being left to rot.
Lets hope the proposal includes lobying the Minister for funds
Junction box
Why Byron Bay? It simply had no economic use at all... There are lines such as Demondrille to Blayney that deserve to have funds spent to bring the line to a condition where it could bring traffic off the roads. Unfortunately for the economic pixies around Byron they want the rest of us tax payers to restore a line to service just for it to sit there unused again. Yes they can spend money on roads- because they are used... and the government deserves to be congratulated for (too slowly) bringing the Pacific Highway to a point where for most of its length it doesn't resemble a goat track anymore. I can only scratch my head how some rail enthusiasts would begrudge that and instead want money spent on their irrational whim.

Cheers


Richard
  a6et Minister for Railways

Brindabella Airlines had a NSW Govt monopoly on the right to service most of the towns such as Mudgee, with only Cooma being excluded.
Theres no reason now that Mudgee, or indeed any of the other towns which Brindabella served cant be served by someone else, Rex for example.
Depends a lot on who buys the planes or indeed the business as to what happens next.
MD
True, but the situation in the meantime has affected towns concerned, & Mudgee was the primary one mentioned in the news.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Why Byron Bay? It simply had no economic use at all... There are lines such as Demondrille to Blayney that deserve to have funds spent to bring the line to a condition where it could bring traffic off the roads. Unfortunately for the economic pixies around Byron they want the rest of us tax payers to restore a line to service just for it to sit there unused again. Yes they can spend money on roads- because they are used... and the government deserves to be congratulated for (too slowly) bringing the Pacific Highway to a point where for most of its length it doesn't resemble a goat track anymore. I can only scratch my head how some rail enthusiasts would begrudge that and instead want money spent on their irrational whim.

Cheers


Richard
ivahri
Unless I have missed something, I do not see this mob asking for government assistance other than perhaps approval to use the 3K's in the submission.  The remainder is speculation entirely, & maybe a result of the possibility that if the venture goes ahead & is a success then it could be extended further.  

This included to MBH, however, as I mentioned there really was no population base there that would make it viable, likewise it was a difficult section of the line, it could be viable to extend to Mullumbimby if, & that is the issue, IF there was support for it. To go to Lismore really was the only place along the line that had a decent population base but, the obstacle is the amount of work needed, especially the main trestle at Lismore itself.

I certainly agree that the Cowra line has more prospects, yet it too would need the support of businesses in the area as well as farmers etc. Also it would need a rail operator that was prepared to look for business beyond the bulk arena as well. That was the primary downfall of the line & many others over the years as none were willing to take up on that sort of business after the privatisation of the system, which had been turned away by the powers when in government control.

Which incidently is the same thing that took place on the MBH line, when the railways under government control turned away all the traffic they had in the freight arena, leaving only the fly ash & other to the cement works at MBH, until PN turned it away, leaving only the passenger train on the line.
  Watson374 Chief Commissioner

Location: Fully reclined at the pointy end.
But for those who drive where is the advantage in taking a road coach compared with the car?  A train is at least more comfortable and is perceived as a better way to travel by some compared with the rubber-tyres option.
"Gwiwer
Perceptions mean nothing when the cost to the government to provide this supposedly superior form of transport is expected to be tens of millions more than the road-based option.

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