Preliminary works begin on Northern Rivers Rail Trail

$14.3m secured to build Tweed section after NSW signs funding deed

Thursday 7 January, 2021

Vegetation clearing along the Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek rail corridor is due to start on Monday (11 January 2021) after the final funds needed to design and build the Tweed section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail were secured.

NSW Treasury signed a deed providing $7.8 million towards the Tweed section of the rail trail on 17 December 2020, returning it to Tweed Shire Council just before Christmas.

With the Australian Government executing a funding deed for $6.5 million in 2018 under its Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Package Fund, Council now has $14.3 million to complete the Tweed section of the rail trail. It also has secured a further $600,000 from the NSW Government to cover the cost of promoting, operating and embellishing the Tweed section for the first three years.

Execution of the NSW deed paves the way for Council to complete the competitive tender process to award a design and construct contract for the Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek section this year. 

The vegetation clearing along and near the railway line, starting at Wooyung Road near Crabbes Creek and working north to the Murwillumbah Railway Station, will allow the four preferred construction companies to access and inspect the rail infrastructure to prepare their design and costings for the proposed rail trail. 

A small six-tonne excavator with a mulcher / flail mowing head will be used to clear the weeds and vegetation, working from 7am to 5pm Monday to Saturday for about four weeks. Some weed-spraying work will follow across the same cleared area.

The Northern NSW Branch Line from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek was formally closed on 15 October 2020 when legislation passed its second reading in the NSW Upper House. 

"With the line now formally closed and all the funds we need to get the rail trail designed and built secured, we can deliver this exciting new tourism infrastructure project for the benefit of the community," Council Rail Trail Project Manager Iain Lonsdale said.

"The rail corridor has remained in the ownership of Transport for NSW, which was important to our elected Councillors who wanted to preserve public ownership of the corridor in case it was needed in the future for a public transport option."

Mr Lonsdale said Council would hold its first design workshop with its four shortlisted construction companies on Thursday 21 January.

It also is planning some information sessions for the community to be held around February. 

"By working closely with all prospective tenderers, we expect to achieve a selection of competitive designs that meet the expectations of the community and the needs of the adjoining landowners."

"We are also pleased that Richmond Valley Council has the grant funding it needs to build its section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail and Lismore City Council is actively seeking grant funding for its section."

For more information on the rail trail, visit www.yoursaytweed.com.au/RailTrail