NORTHERN Rivers residents yesterday demonstrated the Murwillumbah-to-Casino rail link was “shovel ready”.
About 50 people, including Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT) members, gathered at Murwillumbah Railway Station dressed in red with a shovel in hand to show Prime Minister Kevin Rudd it is a deserving infrastructure project.
“The Federal Government is looking to stimulate the economy through infrastructure projects that are 'shovel ready'; that is, ready to get going right now,” TOOT president Karin Kolbe said.
“We want to send a message to Kevin Rudd,” she said.
“He's looking for nation-building infrastructure projects, and really should be looking at this one.”
Ms Kolbe said the rail line, which closed in 2004, meets all Mr Rudd's requirements.
“Without too much drama, we could have the line worked on and be providing jobs and transport in the Northern Rivers.
“It doesn't need a lot of money to get it going.
“We're 'shovel ready'.”
Linking the Murwillumbah line to the Gold Coast Airport railway station, planned for 2015, is also vital, Ms Kolbe said.
“It's about 26km from this line, which ends at Condong, to the Gold Coast Airport,” she said.
“One-hundred years ago, when this line was dreamed of, they always planned for it to go to Queensland.
“It would allow tourists to explore the region by rail and enable people to travel to work easier.”
Ms Kolbe said many people at yesterday's demonstration had travelled a long way to be there.
“It shows if we had a train how easy it would be to get around.
“We really need a train.”
Murwillumbah resident Marilyn Gough and her husband Graham donned red shirts to attend the rally.
“A lot of people love train travel,” Mrs Gough said.
“It's great for elderly people.”
Mrs Gough said the rail service would allow her to reduce her carbon footprint when she travels to Lismore to visit her son.
Politicians in attendance at the demonstration were Byron Shire councillors Basil Cameron and Patrick Morrisey, State MPs Geoff Provest and Jenny Gardiner, and Senator Fiona Nash.
Mr Provest said the line would be the perfect project to spend the Federal Government's stimulus money on and would take very little resources to establish.