Rail Trail

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The Northern Rivers Rail Trail is proposed to connect Murwillumbah, Byron Bay, Bangalow, Lismore and Casino.

When completed, the trail will be 132-kilometres long and pass through some of the most scenic countryside in New South Wales.

The trail will follow the old North Coast railway line and promises to be a drawcard for walkers, hikers, runners and cyclists. It will offer a new way to explore the region, while helping preserve the area’s history and heritage.


Vegetation clearing works have begun along the rail corridor to allow prospective tenderers for the 'Design and Construct' contract for the Tweed section to gain access to the corridor to assess the condition of the infrastructure and prepare their detailed design proposals as part of their tenders.


The contract to design and construct the Tweed section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is due to be awarded about March 2021.


The timeline for delivery of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail - Tweed section can be viewed in the right-hand column on this page.


Drop-in to Burringbar to learn more and ask questions

Members of the community are invited to drop-in to the School of Arts at Burringbar to learn more about the Tweed section of the proposed Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

The drop-in sessions have been scheduled to assist those people who do not have computer access learn more about the Tweed project, which Council is managing on behalf of the State and Federal governments.

The sessions will be managed in accordance with current Covid-19 personal distancing restrictions. Attendees MUST register on entry to the hall and observe the hall's Covid-19 capacity limit.

The sessions will be held at the School of Arts hall in Burringbar on:

  • Monday 1 March from 1- 4pm, and
  • Thursday 11 March from 2.30-4pm.

Alternatively, catch up by watching a recording of the online Information Session of 11 February 2021 in the Video section in the column on the right on this page.


The Northern Rivers Rail Trail is proposed to connect Murwillumbah, Byron Bay, Bangalow, Lismore and Casino.

When completed, the trail will be 132-kilometres long and pass through some of the most scenic countryside in New South Wales.

The trail will follow the old North Coast railway line and promises to be a drawcard for walkers, hikers, runners and cyclists. It will offer a new way to explore the region, while helping preserve the area’s history and heritage.


Vegetation clearing works have begun along the rail corridor to allow prospective tenderers for the 'Design and Construct' contract for the Tweed section to gain access to the corridor to assess the condition of the infrastructure and prepare their detailed design proposals as part of their tenders.


The contract to design and construct the Tweed section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is due to be awarded about March 2021.


The timeline for delivery of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail - Tweed section can be viewed in the right-hand column on this page.


Drop-in to Burringbar to learn more and ask questions

Members of the community are invited to drop-in to the School of Arts at Burringbar to learn more about the Tweed section of the proposed Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

The drop-in sessions have been scheduled to assist those people who do not have computer access learn more about the Tweed project, which Council is managing on behalf of the State and Federal governments.

The sessions will be managed in accordance with current Covid-19 personal distancing restrictions. Attendees MUST register on entry to the hall and observe the hall's Covid-19 capacity limit.

The sessions will be held at the School of Arts hall in Burringbar on:

  • Monday 1 March from 1- 4pm, and
  • Thursday 11 March from 2.30-4pm.

Alternatively, catch up by watching a recording of the online Information Session of 11 February 2021 in the Video section in the column on the right on this page.


  • Preliminary works begin on Northern Rivers Rail Trail

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    07 Jan 2021

    $14.3m secured to build Tweed section after NSW signs funding deed

    Vegetation clearing along the Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek rail corridor is due to start on Monday (11 January 2021) after the final funds needed to design and build the Tweed section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail were secured.

    NSW Treasury signed a deed providing $7.8 million towards the Tweed section of the rail trail on 17 December 2020, returning it to Tweed Shire Council just before Christmas.

    With the Australian Government executing a funding deed for $6.5 million in 2018 under its Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Package Fund, Council now has $14.3 million to complete the Tweed section of the rail trail. It also has secured a further $600,000 from the NSW Government to cover the cost of promoting, operating and embellishing the Tweed section for the first three years.

    Execution of the NSW deed paves the way for Council to complete the competitive tender process to award a design and construct contract for the Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek section this year.

    The vegetation clearing along and near the railway line, starting at Wooyung Road near Crabbes Creek and working north to the Murwillumbah Railway Station, will allow the four preferred construction companies to access and inspect the rail infrastructure to prepare their design and costings for the proposed rail trail.

    A small six-tonne excavator with a mulcher / flail mowing head will be used to clear the weeds and vegetation, working from 7am to 5pm Monday to Saturday for about four weeks. Some weed-spraying work will follow across the same cleared area.

    The Northern NSW Branch Line from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek was formally closed on 15 October 2020 when legislation passed its second reading in the NSW Upper House.

    "With the line now formally closed and all the funds we need to get the rail trail designed and built secured, we can deliver this exciting new tourism infrastructure project for the benefit of the community," Council Rail Trail Project Manager Iain Lonsdale said.

    "The rail corridor has remained in the ownership of Transport for NSW, which was important to our elected Councillors who wanted to preserve public ownership of the corridor in case it was needed in the future for a public transport option."

    Mr Lonsdale said Council would hold its first design workshop with its four shortlisted construction companies on Thursday 21 January.

    It also is planning some information sessions for the community to be held around February.

    "By working closely with all prospective tenderers, we expect to achieve a selection of competitive designs that meet the expectations of the community and the needs of the adjoining landowners."

    "We are also pleased that Richmond Valley Council has the grant funding it needs to build its section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail and Lismore City Council is actively seeking grant funding for its section."

  • Parliament formally closes railway line making way for rail trail

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    16 Oct 2020

    Friday 16 October 2020

    Tweed Shire Council has welcomed the passing of legislation through the NSW Parliament to formally close the railway line from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek, making way for the construction of the Tweed’s stage of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

    State Member for Tweed Geoff Provest announced that a Bill to close the railway line passed the Upper House late yesterday, having passed the Lower House on 23 September 2020.

    “Council welcomes the passage of this legislation and thanks Mr Provest and all our current and past members who have steadfastly advocated to secure the way forward for this new tourism enterprise for the Northern Rivers region,” Council General Manager Troy Green said.

    “This news marks a key milestone achievement for Council’s rail trail project and provides the much-needed initiative the certainty our community has been waiting for and on which we can have a clear conversation.

    “It also enables Council to re-engage with our shortlisted design and construction prospective tenderers so that we can work towards a final rail trail design, and clarify during the process our ability to incorporate on and/or off-formation (trail beside the rail) aspects where appropriate that best serve the broader needs and aspirations of our community.

    “This legislation importantly retains the corridor in public ownership and paves the way for Council’s shortlisted tenderers to bring their rail trail concept designs forward in the next phase of Council’s contract procurement.

    “We look forward to having that next level of objective engineering assessment to address the many queries and claims raised about the rail trail design and to assist with alleviating neighbouring landowner concerns.”

    Construction of the 24-kilometre section of the rail trail from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek has been jointly funded by the NSW and Australian governments. Council has been engaged as the project manager to oversee design and construction of this section.

    Council hopes to be in a position to award a Design and Construct contract early next year, with construction to begin around March and the Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek section of the rail trail to be operational by late 2022.

    This first stage of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail has received $6.5 million in funding from the Australian Government under its Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Packages Fund, with the NSW Government providing $7.8 million under its Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

    An additional $600,000 has been secured from the NSW Government to cover the costs of operating and maintaining the section of rail trail for the first three years.

    The Bentley to Casino section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail also was formally closed by the NSW Parliament yesterday.

    This section forms the western end of the proposed 134-kilometre Murwillumbah to Casino Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

    It, too, has received grant funding to design and construct and Richmond Valley Council has been engaged as the project manager to deliver that section of the rail trail.


  • $500 per night: Rail trail to deliver huge boost to economy

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    06 Mar 2020
    supporting image

    FROM elite off-road cyclists wanting to test themselves to families cycling and tour groups using electric bikes, the Northern Rivers Rail Trail will be set to deliver.

    In the region to brief project stakeholders about progress at the Casino to Eltham and Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek stages, Rail Trails for NSW deputy chairman Tim Coen said on top of the physical and mental benefits a rail trail provides. it will also bring a significant economic boost for the region.

    And he said the 131km trail, which will link Casino to Murwillumbah, could be completed within the next 12 months.

    "Essentially it's just a footpath and councils can cope with these easily," he said.

    Mr Coen said once NSW Minister for Regional Transport, Paul O'Toole introduces an amendment to the transport legislation in parliament this month, councils can access state and federal funding.

    "There's 100 rail trails around the country and the Northern Rivers Rail Trail will be regarded along with the Bahamas, as the best tropical and subtropical rail trails in the world," he said.

    "Bicycle tourists stay longer, spend more, and support smaller businesses, we call them 'wallets on wheels'."

    Visitors could generate $500 per night for an overnight stayer using current visitor infrastructure.

    It's excellent news for commercial trail-based businesses, including cycle guiding services, equipment and passenger transport and equipment hire, creating local jobs and providing opportunities to package and promote regional products to establish destination experiences.

    Lismore-based Richmond River Riders mountain bike club president Chris Irish, said rail trials benefit all cyclists, be they beginners, social or endurance riders training for events.

    "Many of our club members have experienced rail trails throughout NSW and interstate and have seen first-hand the positive effects their activation has had on adjoining communities," Mr Irish said.

    On Wednesday night Mr Coen met with Lismore mayor Isaac Smith and councillors Darlene Cook and Elly Bird to bring them up to speed with the progress of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

    Cr Cook said she was very excited about the Tweed and Casino stages bringing more sporting and general tourism to the region.

    The global bicycle market is projected to grow from US$45 billion in 2016 to US$62 billion by 2024, according to data from the US that was posted on Cycling Queensland's website.


    - reproduced from Byron News


  • Rail Trail landowners invited to make their marks

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    23 Aug 2019

    Council asks landowners to 'tell us what you need'

    Friday 23 August 2019

    Landowners adjoining the rail corridor from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek are being invited to work with Council’s Rail Trail Project Team to ensure all inclusions required in the detailed design of the rail trail are documented and costed.

    Adjoining landowners are being asked to collect a map of their property from Council’s Murwillumbah offices and mark it up with those ‘needs’, which may include sections of fence; the retention of existing vegetation as screening and any business opportunities a landowner may be considering leveraging off the rail trail.

    “This detailed information will help us to better understand the impacts of repurposing the rail corridor as a shared-user path and have the tendering construction companies price in any valid inclusions,” Rail Trail Project Director Iain Lonsdale said.

    “Council is not committing to undertake all or any works requested by landowners but is attempting to identify landowner needs and quantify what it can do to assist them to accommodate the rail trail.”

    Council expects it will call on the six shortlisted companies to tender for the detailed design and construct contract in the next few months given that the State parliamentary process to close the railway line has begun.

    “As yet we do not have clarity around the timing of the final tendering process but know that once the railway is officially closed this project will move quickly and we need to be ready for that,” he said.

    To pick up your property map, please bring photo identification to the Murwillumbah Council offices and ask to speak with either Iain Lonsdale or Brenda Hannigan or call (02) 6670 2400 to make alternative arrangements.


  • You're invited to learn more about Our Railway Heritage

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    29 Jul 2019

    Monday 29 July 2019

    Council is hosting a free public lecture on Tweed’s Living Heritage during Local Government Week this week as part of its celebrations. The main lecture of the night will be on Our Railway Heritage. Attendees will learn about the history of the rail corridor between Murwillumbah and Crabbes Creek.

    The lecture is being held:

    @ The Murwillumbah Civic Centre Auditorium

    on Thursday 1 August

    from 5.30-7.30pm

    The order of the night will be:
    5.30-6pm - Local Area Heritage Fund (presenter to be advised)
    6-7pm - Our Railway Heritage (presentation by Urbis Consulting’s Tina King), and
    7-7.30pm - Our Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (presentation by Strategic Planner Robyn Eisermann)

    Book your ticket online at at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/tweeds-living-heritage-a-public-lecture-tickets-65070357190 or by calling (02) 6670 2400.


  • Landowners invited to join Sharing Group

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    26 Mar 2019

    21 March 2019

    Council is calling on landowners adjoining the rail corridor to join a Landowners Sharing Group to assist the Rail Trail Project team identify and resolve landowner concerns as the project progresses.

    On Wednesday 20 March, some 35 landowners attended the first of a series of conversations about the rail trail where they were invited to voice their concerns to both councillors and the project team.

    Rail Trail Project Director Iain Lonsdale said Council was delivering this significant regional recreation and tourist product for the Northern Rivers region with funding support from both the state and federal governments.

    “While we do not have all the answers to the specific questions landowners have, we accept that their concerns around their properties, businesses and lifestyles are legitimate and we are keen to work with them to safeguard their interests,” Mr Lonsdale said.

    The Landowners Sharing Group will work collaboratively to identify solutions to issues such as fencing, trespass and weed management.

    Council has shortlisted four companies (with two in reserve) to proceed to tender for the Design and Construct contract for the rail trail.

    “It’s important that these companies are aware of individual landowner concerns so they can incorporate and cost solutions in the detailed design of the rail trail where possible.”

    Landowners adjoining the rail corridor are invited to join the Landowners Sharing Group by emailing RailTrail@tweed.nsw.gov.au or phoning the Rail Trail hotline on 1800 826 267.

    The Rail Trail Project is on track for construction to start around July this year.



  • RSVP adjoining landowner conversation

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    15 Mar 2019

    15 March 2019

    Landowners adjoining the rail corridor are invited to a Rail Trail Conversation on Wednesday 20 March from 5.30pm-7.30pm at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre Auditorium on Tumbulgum Road, Murwillumbah.

    Invitations to this event were mailed to all adjoining landowners but the link to rsvp via Eventbrite was not working. We have now fixed the link and extended the rsvp deadline to 3pm on Wednesday 20 March.

    Please rsvp via the below links (note: no password is required) or phone Council direct on 6670 2400.

    https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/rail-trail-landowner-conversation-tickets-58833601887

    https://railtrail.eventbrite.com.au


    This conversation is for adjoining landowners only and on the night we will discuss the following:

    · Role of Commonwealth, State and Local governments

    · Current status of the project

    · Future ownership and management of the trail

    · Possible impacts, risks and benefits

    · Misinformation v facts and evidence

    · Biosecurity – national, state and local

    · Environmental assessment

    · Planning and Heritage approvals

    · Relevant legislation and statutory rules

    · Future trail stages

    · Extent of assets to be part of the rail trail operation

    · Tendering for a company to Design and Construct

    · Opportunities and risks going forward

    · Engagement with landowners, public and stakeholders

    On the night, landowners will be invited to nominate to join a Landowner Consultation Group to have a voice on the project going forward.


  • Northern Rivers Rail Trail will be amazing

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    27 Nov 2018

    Published in Echo NetDaily on 26 November 2018

    Paul Heymans, president, Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Users Association.

    A couple of years ago I had occasion to visit the Northern Rivers region and crossed over the old railway line several times. I thought to myself then, what a stunning rail trail that could be.

    I just wanted to congratulate Tweed Shire Council and the Northern Rivers Rail Trail supporters for bringing it all together.

    Every rail trail has its naysayers, but when an old railway corridor is repurposed as a rail trail it brings nothing but good to the region.

    I can speak from experience, having fought a long and often difficult campaign to get the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail here in Queensland completed.

    Many of our landowners who were concerned about biosecurity have come to realise the risk is negligible. There has been no outbreak in crime recorded by the police, apart from occasional illegal motorbikes on the trail.

    An old railway corridor is never going to repurposed as a light railway because it would cost billions of dollars to bring the corridor and all those bridges and tunnels up to modern safety standards. In any case, light railway will soon be superseded by new transport technologies that don’t even use rails as we move away from fossil fuels.

    By contrast, a rail trail brings in millions of tourism dollars and encourages a more active lifestyle that saves millions of dollars in health costs.

    What could be a better use for a disused old railway corridor than giving so much enjoyment and pleasure to so many people?

    The Northern Rivers Rail Trail (Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek) will be one of the most scenic in the country.

    It will be an amazing asset for your region. I can’t wait to come and give it a go when it’s completed.


  • Workshop for Rail Trail landowners to voice concerns

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    27 Nov 2018

    Friday 23 November 2018

    Council will hold a workshop with landowners adjacent to the rail corridor between Murwillumbah and Crabbes Creek to advise them of progress and hear any concerns they have about the proposed Rail Trail.

    Mayor of Tweed Cr Katie Milne moved the motion for a landowner workshop at the 15 November Council meeting, where it passed 5:1, with one councillor absent.

    The workshop with councillors will be held early in 2019.

    An agenda for the workshop is being developed and all landowners along the corridor will be invited to attend.

    Following the workshop, two reference groups will be established to help the project team resolve landowner issues in the design phase of the project and drive the economic and social benefits of the rail trail.

    A Landowner Consultation Group will provide a platform for landowners to share their concerns, ideas and suggestions among themselves and with the project team.

    “By inviting the landowners into the project we will be able to collaborate on solutions to both individual landowner issues and group issues as a collective,” Rail Trail Project Director Iain Lonsdale said.

    “It will encourage innovation and lead to common rather than bespoke solutions, with the possibility of mitigating any landowner distress in these early stages of design.

    “These landowners are our priority stakeholders and we acknowledge that the rail trail will directly affect their lifestyles and, in many cases, their livelihoods.”

    The second reference group will be a Rail Trail Sharing Group, comprising representatives from the community, business and industry, chambers of commerce, tourism operators, user groups and others to share ideas and work collectively to drive the economic and social benefits around the rail trail.

    Already the Rail Trail Project Team has recorded 14 adjacent landowners seeking business opportunities from the Rail Trail, from cafes and accommodation to development of an interconnecting mountain bike track.

    This Sharing Group would work with individuals and businesses to harness and leverage the benefits and opportunities provided by the rail trail now and into the future.

    Nominations for membership to both groups will be advertised early in 2019, together with the terms of reference for each. Councillor representatives will be nominated for each of the groups.


  • Rail Trail workshop attracts 19 prospective tenderers

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    16 Nov 2018

    15 November 2018

    Twenty-seven representatives from 19 construction and consultancy companies and one vegetation management company today attended a Council workshop to learn more about the proposed first stage of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek.

    At the workshop, Council released a short video Experience Our Heritage showcasing the route and scenery along the way. Watch it at www.yoursaytweed.com.au/RailTrail/videos/5593.

    The workshop provided context around the proposed rail trail, plus highlighted some of the design and construction challenges presented by the current poor condition of the rail corridor.

    Council has called for Expressions of Interest to design and construct the rail trail, with proposals for both on-rail and off-rail formations invited.

    The construction companies now have until 12 December to respond to the Expression of Interest, which is designed to assess design and construction capability and experience, including workplace health and safety and environmental management credentials. Around February 2019, three to four companies will be short-listed to work closely with Council to tender for the Design and Construct contract for the rail trail. That contract will be awarded around May next year, with construction to start about June 2019 for completion by September 2020.

    “We were very pleased with the diversity and depth of construction expertise that today’s workshop attracted, with obvious rail bridge and civil engineering expertise in the room,” Rail Trail Project Director Iain Lonsdale said.

    “The questions from the floor demonstrated a keen desire of prospective tenderers to understand the detailed design and construction challenges of the project, explore on-rail and off-rail formation opportunities and to manage community expectations and adjacent landowner needs throughout.”

    Prospective tenderers got a bird’s eye view of the condition of the corridor via video detailing the major design and construction challenges, such as: difficult topography; significant grades; flood-prone land; landslips and scours; numerous creek crossings; historic bridges with spans missing; and, overgrown vegetation.

    The Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek rail trail is 24-kilometres long, winding through the villages of Stokers Siding, Burringbar and Crabbes Creek. It features two tunnels, one 523-metres long with ecological values that need to be managed during design and construction; 27 bridges, of which 18 are significant in size or construction method; and, several heritage items.

    The Northern Rivers Rail Trail, stage 1 from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek, is fully funded by the federal and state governments and supported by Tweed Shire Council.

    The $13 million trail is being built to provide business and growth opportunities in the Tweed villages and economic and social benefits for the community.