Old rail sheds up for lease
THE old sheds have stood vacant for years and are an eyesore at the gateway to Murwillumbah. But campaigners for a return of trains to Murwillumbah Railway Station are horrified the state government wants to lease out the old "banana sheds" which were once an important part of rail operations. "It's not a positive development," said Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT) president Karin Kolbe yesterday. "Little bits and pieces of land along the line have been sold or given long-term%leases. It's a little bit here, a little bit there. "It doesn't bode well. Where there is land, we would like them to keep it for future commuter or freight interchanges. "This is incredibly short-sighted when there are pressing needs for both commuter and freight rail services." TOOT vice-president Basil Cameron, inspecting the sheds yesterday, echoed those concerns. "We think the strategy is to pick off infra-structure bit by bit," he said. President of the Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber Phil Youngblutt said unfortunately trains would not return to the track while the state Labor government was in power and at least the sheds were not being sold. The Australian Rail Track Corporation, which has responsibility for management of the closed Murwillumbah-to-Casino rail line and officially owned by the NSW Rail Infrastructure Corporation (RIC), has called for "expressions of interest to lease surplus land and/or premises at Murwillumbah for commercial/light industrial or community purposes". An advertisement placed with the Daily News says "expressions will be considered for overall development of the land". Those interested would be "required to nominate proposed usage, provide evidence of financial capacity, provide evidence of%relevant experience and indicate the extent of any return to RIC".