I have heard many times that a new Railway should be built on the Freeway corridor. While this may seem a good idea, there are problems running a train along this route.
Trains require a reasonably level track. This is why the existing corridor is so vital.
The existing track is mostly flat, there are tunnels under the ridges.
The freeway may not appear hilly in a car, but for a train it definitely is.
Trains could NOT run in the freeway corridor due to the hills, especially south of Byron Bay.
The freeway is not walking distance from any population centre. Every passenger using this train would need to arrive by bus. The existing North Coast Branch runs into the centre of the established towns and villages and people in these towns can simply walk to the train.
People originally settled along the railway for this reason. And the railway followed this route because it is flat.
All population centres have been considered, future extensions of the railway to the Gold Coast Airport will bring it into the west of Kingscliff and then will be within walking distance for this community, as well as Chinderah, Fingal and West Tweed. The Coastal strip has obstacle’s for Rail, the Cudgen Plateau, the coastal estuaries, and the lack of a vacant corridor, but utilising short bus routes, and for some, cycle-ways, passengers can be delivered from Salt, Casuarina, Cabarita and Pottsville to the Railway corridor stations at Kingscliff in the future, and Mooball on the existing corridor. Ocean shores and Brunswick heads, to Billinudgel station, which will then connect people to most of the major centres, the NSW & National networks, and in the future to the ‘Gold Coast to Brisbane’ network and the Gold Coast Light Rail.
We (The Greens) must embrace low emissions public transport to combat climate change.
Too often in the past, oil companies have discredited and shelved electric drive and battery technologies.
I support the expansion of cycle-ways throughout our region, as well as the introduction of zero emissions trains, battery powered and solar charged, the technology is advancing rapidly. Tesla has recently introduced a battery powered truck, which Musk claims to have a range of 800 kms. If it can be done with a truck, it can be done with a train. Steel wheeled Trains require one tenth of the energy to move an equivalent weight as rubber tyred vehicles.
As our region rapidly becomes more populated, we will really need this public transport option. This may sound merely visionary, but we should learn the mistakes of the past, and maintain this vital public transport corridor for Trains for the future.