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.


Q&A

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    I attended the public meeting on 21 Jan where Mayor Cherry assured us that the Council favours the retention of the RR tracks with the rail trail alongside, allowing for the future of public transport with either train or light rail. Why does the announcement of further discussion not encourage discussion of this dual possibility? It seems yet again a blocking of full community consultation.

    Sube43 asked about 1 month ago

    The current round of information sessions are to inform the community of the project in relation to the scope, the current stage of the project, future stages and proposed start and completion dates for construction. 

    In regards to the off formation option Council at its meeting of 15 February resolved as follows. 

    In the tender process for this project the specification is for an on-formation construction and that Council will allow for alternatives to be submitted based on the trail being constructed primarily in the off-the-track formation and to retain the tracks in-situ. 

    Council has commenced the tendering process with the 4 Tenderers and are actively pursuing the on formation as well as encouraging an off formation design.  Once tenders are received and prior to making a selection of the preferred tender Council will be in a better position to inform the community of the proposal and to receive feedback.

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    work is supposed to be started by now what is happening

    Richard.Ey asked over 1 year ago

    Council is still working with both State and Federal government departments around a number of key decisions. We hope to have those matters resolved by the end of the year. At this stage, we are expecting to be able to start construction around April or May in 2020. 

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    Why have a rail trail for the few when we can have a train for many I have asked this question since day 1 but never get an answer it would bring less accidents on the roads because the elderly & the young like my grandchildren who live in Lismore they could visit more often or we could see them at their place as well it would be so much easier all round. to me it is so selfish on the minority to be listened to as usual instead of the Majority. SO DISAPPOINTED

    ronbar asked over 1 year ago

    Council has heard this criticism a number of times but is not in a position to respond or debate your point as we are not the relevant authority or decision maker for such matters. 

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    What an absolute waste of money. How many people are going to use it? Who is going to pay for the upkeep of this when you can't even keep up with maintenance of roads and footpaths. I walk a 10 km circuit around town and bray park and have to say the footpaths are disgraceful. I would hate to be in a wheelchair or mobility scooter or walker having to negotiate all the rises and dips in the footpath. Come on council fix what we have and what is needed not some pie in the sky trail and few people are going to use.

    asked over 1 year ago

    The proposed Rail Trail is being funded jointly by the State and Federal Governments, not Council. The evidence from around the world shows that many thousands of people use rail trails every day.  When it is built, the Tweed section of the proposed Northern Rivers Rail Trail will provide you with an even walking track, which will also be good for mobility scooters and / or wheelchairs on those sections that are suitable for those mobility aides. To discuss footpaths or report a problem with a footpath, please call Council's Customer Service team on 02 6670 2400.

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    The survey is very skewed towards the building of the rail trail. It does not give the option of objecting to the the trail.

    taleswood asked over 2 years ago

    The survey was a means of recording general sentiment with the added benefit that many individuals imparted invaluable views about the type of design finishes they prefer, the kind of associated businesses or attractions that are of interest to them and where they had experienced rail trails previously.  While it provided valuable feedback, it was not designed as a means of public engagement about whether the rail trail should proceed and it was discontinued because some individuals began to misuse its existence to advance their ideological views about the former and future use of the corridor for rail car services, which was beyond its purpose.


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    it seems so any people want to see the train back, if not now then in the near future. my understanding is that the rail trail can be beside the tracks as in other states so that legislation does not need to change-as there will be no impact on the existing tracks. This would be great so at least the corridor is being used until the train does return. there must be so much development between Gold Coast and Byron Bay-and such a beautiful area. it would be great if we could use trains as they do in NZ and British Columbia Canada to show off our hinterland. I can certainly appreciate council does not want to lose their grant money. but building the rail trail beside the track seems a good way to keep everyone happy, with future realistic plans of providing better rail transport. I personally would love to see my kids go to Uni at Lismore or get on the plane at the Gold Coast, or go easily to Brisbane-rather than see them moving away for easy access to these facilities. No doubt they'd enjoy the rail trail as well, but most of the rest of us would not access so readily. Question is, if this is the option that would suit the majority of people and allow the grant to be used, why isnt this being promoted as the best solution to the tenderers. thankyou for this opportunity,

    brose asked over 2 years ago

    It might be the case that a shared-user path can be constructed next to the existing railway line in some areas but it will be impractical or undesirable in others – and very unlikely in the case of the 524m Burringbar tunnel, which cannot be bypassed with a useable shared-path.  We do not have the benefit of a legal opinion addressing the question of law about whether an off-track shared-user path would necessitate a change in legislation and nor do we have a design that demonstrates there would be no interference with the railway track and related infrastructure.  Similarly, without a design fitting that description it is impossible to say whether such a design would be acceptable, particularly as it would place the shared-user path closer to private properties and directly interfere with existing farming and commercial activities / leases within the railway corridor, as well as potentially reducing the access and inclusiveness of the trail for people with disabilities owing to significant variation in elevation change, among other reasons.  It may also be noteworthy that the model of governance being pursued is a vesting of the land in the Department of Primary Industries – Crown Lands, a concurrent reservation of the land for community recreation and the appointment of Tweed Shire Council as the Statutory Land Manager.  Neither of those entities are rail infrastructure owners and that may bear on the State Government’s decision to close the railway.


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    21st February was the date given for the award of tender for construction. Has this happened ?

    Eric Wheeler asked about 2 years ago

    No, a contract has not been awarded.  Council resolved on a short list of companies to take forward into an early tender involvement (ETI) process at its meeting of 7 March and we expect that to commence by June 2019.


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    When is the rail trail going to open its first stage? We are keen to cycle it.

    Jennifer asked over 2 years ago

    At this stage, the section of rail trail from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek is scheduled to be opened by September 2020.