Plans to re-open the Murwillumbah rail line

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 07 Apr 2020 16:41
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Looking remotely promising for the line.  It will be mostly beneficial to connect back into Casino to join with the main line to allow passengers to change?

Thoughts?

Plans to re-open the Murwillumbah rail line

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  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Well, there is already a railmotor at Byron that could be utilised more....
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Looking remotely promising for the line.  It will be mostly beneficial to connect back into Casino to join with the main line to allow passengers to change?

Thoughts?

Plans to re-open the Murwillumbah rail line
bevans
I don't think they were focused on extension west to Casino, mostly north which is the more practical as there are a number of communities along their section.

Personal view is that Casino - Lismore should be re-opened following introduction of XPT.
1 x train per day to Graftone
2 x trains per day to Brisbane / Lismore splitting at Casino.

Due to Brisbane curfew it maybe more practical have a mix splitting locations uterlising both Casino and Grafton to minimise waiting time.

The section of track from Lisomore to the coast is unfortunately a lost cause without ALOT of money to not return the line to previous standard, but rather something far more worthy of use. Getting back to Lismore will be a vote winner in the region, low cost and aligning with the Armidale precedent.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Yeah its a pity they never took the line across to Ballina as a Casino-Lismore-Ballina leg would be serving a pretty big catchment
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Yeah its a pity they never took the line across to Ballina as a Casino-Lismore-Ballina leg would be serving a pretty big catchment
james.au

Perhaps this needs to be part of the overall line re-commissioning solution?

There's a really informative video on YouTube I stumbled across on YouTube outlining some of the barriers to a line re-opening, definitely worth a watch.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGdt7-i2P3Q

For mine nostalgically it would be great to see the line re-open - but with all the population growth going on along the coast from Tweed to Ballina, an extension of the QLD rail line from Varsity Lakes would stack up better economically for a rail connection for the region - even as far South as Ballina.

Sure construction and land acquisition would cost much more, but since the line's shut the bulk of the region's population now live along the coast. Add to that seemingly half of Brisbane ventures down to Byron on weekends.  -It could even form the first stage of a VFT for Brisbane - Sydney with a SG alignment.  Lismore unfortunately is in decline due it's tendency to flood amongst other things , Ballina will soon be a bigger population centre according to the ABS.
  303gunner Station Master

$12.6 mil to re-open 15.6Km of relatively flat graded line with a couple of low bridges, and then $950,000 per annum for maintenance when using only a hi-rail bus service, and they are looking for funding options (ie they want someone else to pay for it).

Thoughts?

I say legalise and tax marijuana because the sheer volume they must be consuming in Byron and Mullumbimby will provide more than enough revenue to fund the line.

Or alternatively, $15mil will buy a lot of new road buses to provide a 15 min round trip service for years to come.

And yes, at one time the line did have a branch to Ballina. How many billions to re-lay that?

Any "plans" (not pie-in-the-sky dreams from local councils) will have to reconcile the fact that large sections of the rail corridor have been completely ripped up and the formation removed in places.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
There's a really informative video on YouTube I stumbled across on YouTube outlining some of the barriers to a line re-opening, definitely worth a watch.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGdt7-i2P3Q

For mine nostalgically it would be great to see the line re-open - but with all the population growth going on along the coast from Tweed to Ballina, an extension of the QLD rail line from Varsity Lakes would stack up better economically for a rail connection for the region - even as far South as Ballina.

Sure construction and land acquisition would cost much more, but since the line's shut the bulk of the region's population now live along the coast. Add to that seemingly half of Brisbane ventures down to Byron on weekends.  -It could even form the first stage of a VFT for Brisbane - Sydney with a SG alignment.  Lismore unfortunately is in decline due it's tendency to flood amongst other things , Ballina will soon be a bigger population centre according to the ABS.
"Rail Explorations by JD"


The numbers that head down to Byron is not that much, the place isn't that big. Yes popular on public holidays and NYE, but what about the other 350 days a year?

References to providing an alternative means of transport to reduce road congestion is a joke and #1 way to loose any credibility. There is no congestion.

There will never be a VFT down the SEQ corner, there is a perfectly good Gold Coast line, however for a tiny fraction of the cost of a VFT, drop $1B into improving the alignment of the Beenleigh line section and Quad most of it and you will drop Robina down below 50min from Brisbane city on a 10min timetable post CRR.

The only line that will ever cross the border is an extension of the GC line assuming NSW will pay for it, however even then the extension beyond Muwillumbah is unlikely in our life times due to lack of demand for what would be a very low density regional area not justifying more than single track, no OH on steel sleepers, however such proposal for a new line will simply run down the coast and terminate at Kingscliff.

Of  the  current corridor/line that actually goes through civilisation, Byron to Ocean Shores is about it, 23km.  
- North of this and its basically 30km of hinterland of nothing to Muwullumibah away from the coast sprawl
- West of this and its basically 50km of rural farm land to Lismore, another 25km to Casino.
Ok for a long distance service, hopeless for a local service.

To connect to Ballina, its another 20km of track west of Byron Bay and construct 30km of almost green field railway to Ballina, which will not be viable for many many many years, but if running new line from the Gold Coast, makes sense as the natural terminus of any such line.

The cost of reopening the line has always been contested to by the pro-line group, however the proof is in the pudding when the solar train spent $300k/km to do so.  If the Govt was serious about return the XPT/XPT replacement to the ~100km corridor you could had another "0" after that number to bring the whole corridor up to scratch suited for regular use with a practical speed by a modern train with 250 people on board.

Why extend the XPT back to Lismore? Because it has the University and no airport. Think Armidale.


So yes, if there was a very organised local group, with proven history of raising funds, not such a wish list. I would support the NSW Govt handing over both the asset and some cash to restart the line from Byron Bay to Ocean Shores, only! It would likely prove attractive for tourists and locals to some degree if run as "rustic" but also practical means of transport such as the current solar DMU they have now along with additional revenue raises such as track quads. The fall back steam shouldn't even be part of the business plan.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Yeah its a pity they never took the line across to Ballina as a Casino-Lismore-Ballina leg would be serving a pretty big catchment
"james.au"


Yeah, this may have actually seen the line remain in service today.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

With the majority of regular day commuters in the Tweed and the Northern Rivers moving towards the Queensland Border - the Gold Coast and Brisbane (at least until a week ago) - the focus on rail connectivity in the region has to be either connecting with the QR heavy rail network and regauging southwards to a logical location, or, and perhaps at a signficantly lower cost, connecting with the Gold Coast's lightrail system. No regauging necessary, less need for alignment changes. Transport really has to go in the direction people want to go now, not in the direction previously dictated by historical decisions that no longer reflect any connection with reality.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Why extend the XPT back to Lismore? Because it has the University and no airport. Think Armidale.
RTT_Rules
The other thing here would be an SG Brisbane-Casino-Lismore service which would provide some interesting connections too.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
With the majority of regular day commuters in the Tweed and the Northern Rivers moving towards the Queensland Border - the Gold Coast and Brisbane (at least until a week ago) - the focus on rail connectivity in the region has to be either connecting with the QR heavy rail network and regauging southwards to a logical location, or, and perhaps at a signficantly lower cost, connecting with the Gold Coast's lightrail system. No regauging necessary, less need for alignment changes. Transport really has to go in the direction people want to go now, not in the direction previously dictated by historical decisions that no longer reflect any connection with reality.
"Sulla1"


Mostly agree.
LR is now the focus of the Qld govt to extend progressively down the coastal strip at around $100m/km for 18km, 6.5km has been approved and funded to proceed. So the Airport connection is likely 5-10 years beyond completion of Stage 3A (funded by three levels of govt).

A further extension through into Tweed Heads (3km) or Tweed Heads South (5km) is complex but likely do able and will require an interesting funding arrangement even if the local councils are not part of the equation, look at the Coolangatta by-pass highway funding fiasco. Extension further south is not likely to be feasible for decades.

While the Qld govt of the 2000's was focused on extension of the HR to Coolangatta airport, another 12 or so km, this now appears to have been abandoned for the next decade unless someone else pays for it. Realistically extension of the HR NG line south towards the airport and into NSW down to say Kingscliff area as the most likely viable option for many decades to come.

The 25km gap between Kingscliff and Ocean Shores is full of mostly the  4 C's  is sugar cane, cane toads, cows and Canagaroo's with some trees spaced in between.

Reference to Re-gauging the existing SG line would imply there is a viable SG line in place, even if the same ROW was to be used they would bull doze the whole thing and start again wit the only reusable piece being the real estate, no re gauging is necessary.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
The HR focus is likely being refocussed given the National Faster Rail agency (LD mght be there with Rhonda btw).

https://www.nfra.gov.au/projects

Brisbane-Sunshine Coast and Brisbane-Gold Coast are mentioned as projects.  NSW should be tacking onto the Brisbane-Gold Coast project to get some investment southbound.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Why extend the XPT back to Lismore? Because it has the University and no airport. Think Armidale.
RTT_Rules
The other thing here would be an SG Brisbane-Casino-Lismore service which would provide some interesting connections too.
"james.au"


I've stated many times in the past that I believe there would be a viable a daily service from Grafton to Brisbane, arrival around 9am and departure around 5pm, like the Bundaberg tilt train, Albury V/line etc and the only reason there isn't is because of the dotted line on teh map 100km south of Brisbane. But yes maybe Lismore instead of Grafton? Had the line be built Lismore direct to Ballina and then north and still open to Ballina then yes Bris - Cas - Lis - Ballina would likely be very viable and popular.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
because of the dotted line on teh map 100km south of Brisbane
RTT_Rules
All the $$ spent on the freeways and highways going south of Brisbane might have been different if that dotted line wasn't there...
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
because of the dotted line on teh map 100km south of Brisbane
RTT_Rules
All the $$ spent on the freeways and highways going south of Brisbane might have been different if that dotted line wasn't there...
"james.au"


Those roads were and are needed. The highway across the border was a joke until the airport/Tugan by-pass was built.

I suspect had the border not been there the roads would have been built sooner along with a passenger rail service from Brisbane on the SG to the Northern Rivers.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

My thoughts are that the Byron solar train is running and could be extended north to ocean shores with some financial assistance. So why not put the funds towards the solar train which is already operating instead of interfering with an operation that is already working.

As RTT said the bit from Lismore to Byron is never going to re open but Casino to Lismore is somewhat more viable although still unlikely since the road trip is not that long. I don't think the New regional train splitting is viable for such a short distance but maybe with the Xplorers and Endeavours that will be available post the new regional train you could get some frequent shuttles operating between these 2 towns with the older rolling stock.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
My thoughts are that the Byron solar train is running and could be extended north to ocean shores with some financial assistance. So my thought is why not put the funds towards the solar train which is already operating instead of interfering with an operation that is already working.

As RTT said the bit from Lismore to Byron is never going to re open but Casino to Lismore is somewhat more viable although still unlikely since the road trip is not that long. I don't think the New regional train splitting is viable for such a short distance but maybe with the Xplorers and Endeavours that will be available post the New region Train you could get some frequent shuttles operating between these 2 towns with the older rolling stock.
simstrain
Is there someone with some timetabling nous that could work out how a BNE-Casino-Lismore train might interact with the Sydney-Brisbane train to offer a connection instead of splitting the train?
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

With the majority of regular day commuters in the Tweed and the Northern Rivers moving towards the Queensland Border - the Gold Coast and Brisbane (at least until a week ago) - the focus on rail connectivity in the region has to be either connecting with the QR heavy rail network and regauging southwards to a logical location, or, and perhaps at a signficantly lower cost, connecting with the Gold Coast's lightrail system. No regauging necessary, less need for alignment changes. Transport really has to go in the direction people want to go now, not in the direction previously dictated by historical decisions that no longer reflect any connection with reality.
Sulla1

Connecting the the QR NG is not going to happen. Connecting to the SG GC light rail is the more likely out come.
  cityrail-rulez Chief Train Controller

It will never happen full stop!

In my opinion, the only way the Murwillumbah branch could be reopened unless extending the line to Tweed Heads and building a freight terminal for exporting goods "This would cover the cost of the branch line to stay open for year's to come" but nobody in government would certainly put up their hand and get it done, so therefore the line is going to remain closed and continuously discussed reopening for year's to come

Lets also put in in another term, all countrylink services are cheap! For example Pensioner's discount is $2.50 for everywhere outside of the metro borders "Goulburn, Dungog, Scone, Bathurst or Lithgow" from there the prices raises slightly for pensioners entering or leaving the metro region to get to their destination - for the Murwillumbah branch to be reopned prices need to be raised

The government will never reopen the line, there will be a lot of bridges, level crossings, points, relaying of track in some places, deviations if needed are considered a waste of time and money unless there was a freight terminal at Tweed Heads and the line was extended to Tweed Heads "As it supposed to have been"

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