READY to ride. Peter, Lachlan, Abbie and Jacqui McMahon on the old Murwillumbah train line.
READY to ride. Peter, Lachlan, Abbie and Jacqui McMahon on the old Murwillumbah train line.

Former rail line mooted for cycle track

CYCLING enthusiasts would be happy to see the former Murwillumbah-Casino rail line converted into a bicycle track, and the NSW government has not ruled out the possibility. The government would consider converting the line to a cycling track if requests were made by the community, a%spokesman for Lands Minister Tony Kelly said. Similar initiatives in regional Victoria have proven successful, which has led to calls from bike enthusiasts for the same to be done in other states. No calls for the Murwillumbah line to opened up for cycling have yet been made, but the minister’s%spokesman said Mr Kelly liked what he had seen in Victoria. “The minister is a big fan of rail trails, having seen the success of those in Victoria,” he said. “We see this as very possible for regional areas if you get it right. But there needs to be destinations. It’s no use having these rail trails through empty paddocks.” The spokesman said plans were already under way to convert some of the state’s%older rail lines into tracks for cycling or walking. “We are looking at a number of proposals around the south of the state, but what we are dealing with are tracks that have not been used for 50 years, not workable lines,” he said. The spokesman said any%attempts to convert rail lines for bicycle, walking or horse trails were complicated and time-consuming. “It would need considerable thought. If we were approached, we would look at it.” The Murwillumbah Cycle Club said it would support a proposal to convert the rail line to a cycle track, saying it would encourage tourism and promote fitness. “I think it would be an excellent idea,” said club vice president Peter McMahon. Mr McMahon said the idea had not been put forth by the club in the past for fears that most people wanted the train line reinstated. “I think it’s a shame that it has been closed down for the people who did use it, but if it would be ideal for juniors and families and anything that’s going to encourage a healthier society, why not do it?” Trains on our Tracks%spokesman Basil Cameron said his organisation, which continues to campaign for commuter trains to be reinstated on the Murwillumbah line and for the line to be extended to Queensland, would not support any initiative that would see the tracks paved over. He said with the current population growth the railway line would be needed in the near future. – KIRSTY MARTIN



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