$100,000 could re-open rail line
THE Murwillumbah-to-Casino railway line could be re-opened in a matter of weeks for only $100,000 if the NSW Government came to the party, according to Tweed Mayor Warren Polglase. Cr Polglase said Northern Rivers mayors were recently briefed on the findings of a feasibility study, which concluded that the line could be immediately re-opened, with speed restrictions, at a minimal cost. The PricewaterhouseCoopers study, funded by a $50,000 Federal Government grant, will be officially released next week. The study estimated the cost of upgrading the track to fix most of the temporary speed restriction sections such as old timber bridges, to be $6 million and take two years to complete. It also estimated the cost of upgrading the line to a reasonable operational standard for passenger services to be about $25 million and take six years. Cr Polglase said North Coast mayors had written to NSW Transport Minister Michael Costa urging talks be reconvened on the issue, but they had not received a reply yesterday. "The State Government will probably suggest we don't know what we're talking about, but I can assure you that 85 per cent of the information in the report came from State Government sources," he said. "So the State Government was giving us information which it was probably well aware of before they made the decision ... we have now given Mr Costa the chance to reconsider his position on this. "As far as we're concerned the State Government really doesn't want anything to do with the railway line till after the federal election. "It's really become a strong political football because the money talked about by the Federal Opposition is way in excess of what's needed," he said. The Federal Opposition had offered $150 million over 10 years, while the Federal Government had offered $30 million over two years to entice the NSW Government to re-open the line.