The freshly painted rail warning sign on Burringbar Rd alerts motorists to a track with no trains.
The freshly painted rail warning sign on Burringbar Rd alerts motorists to a track with no trains. Scott Powick

Hopes raised for return of trains

IT is enough to raise hopes that the Murwillumbah to Casino train is coming back – although Tweed locals would be forgiven for being sceptical.

Tweed Shire Council workers on Thursday repainted old, faded “RAIL” warning signs on Burringbar Rd in front of two long-disused rail crossings, setting tongues wagging.

The NSW Government stopped trains running on the line seven years ago, but the council paint gang has got locals wondering if the council knows when the train is coming back.

Upper Burringbar resident Simon Thompson said he was stunned on Thursday morning when Tweed Shire Council workers began repainting long-faded signs reading “RAIL” on the bitumen road surface just before the two rail crossings on Burringbar Rd.

“I asked: ‘Why are you doing it?” said Mr Thompson.

“They said it was ‘bureaucracy’.

“Maybe it’s to warn everybody there’s a rail line there and not to trip over it,” he quipped

Tweed Mayor Kevin Skinner was also taken aback by the council work.

“I am a little bit surprised,” Cr Skinner said.

“I don’t know anything about any new rail (service). I question the same thing – why are we doing it?

“I can only ask that question of council officers.”

A council spokeswoman said the council was “required by State Rail to maintain all infrastructure surrounding rail crossings on the Tweed”.

“All other points where roads cross the rail line are similarly maintained, for example Stokers Siding,” she said.

The council’s mainten- ance surprised Tweed National Party MP Geoff Provest, who has supported calls for the re-opening of the line.

Mr Provest quipped: “I’m pleased to see the council support for our rail line which is evidenced by their repainting the signs”.

Vice-president of lobby group Trains On Our Tracks Peter Westheimer said the council maintenance of the rail crossings was good news.

“I’m pleased to see that, because we are feeling somewhat optimistic at the moment because we are going to get a change of government at the coming election,” Mr Westheimer said.

“It will be the first new government since the old government stopped the rail service.

“Don Page (National Party MP for Ballina) has been making the right sounds about the Coalition doing an up-to-date assessment of the line.”

Mr Westheimer said his group hoped a new government would put light rail services on the line and look at extending it from Murwillumbah to Coolangatta.

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