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18 August 2022

Work on Rail Trail’s new gravel surface starts 

Construction is ramping up with rail trail set to open in early 2023

Rail Trail - Gravel surface

Workers making good progress this week laying down the gravel surface a few kilometres south of Murwillumbah.

Construction work on the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is ramping up with work starting this week on the final gravel surface for the Tweed section of the trail.

After an extended run of dry weather, work to lay down the new compacted gravel surface is starting at several points along the trail including at Burringbar, Stokers Siding and South Murwillumbah.

It will progress at about 300 to 400 metres per day until it is completed later this year.

Project director Iain Lonsdale said he was pleased with progress on the construction of the trail despite the heavy rains and flood event earlier this year.

“Our contractors Hazell Bros are doing a great job and we are very pleased with the progress they have made since the floods,” Mr Lonsdale said.

“Workers have removed almost all of the railway track along the 24km Tweed section of the trail to make way for the new surface so that is a significant milestone.

“Now the focus is shifting to the trail surface itself which will be a compacted gravel surface along the majority of the trail with some asphalt and concrete at the railway stations.

“In January, we laid 2 test sections of the gravel surface and they performed very well during that period of heavy rain and are showing the level of durability we were looking for. We are feeling confident this next phase of works on the trail surface will be a success.”

Construction on the Tweed section of the rail trail scheduled for this month includes:

  • restoration works continuing on steel and timber bridges

  • construction of numerous bypasses and culverts around existing bridges

  • excavation and earthworks

  • laying of pipes and drainage

  • installation of hardwood decking and other surfaces over bridges

  • trail access works.

Mr Lonsdale said the railway track would be recycled and reused in other infrastructure projects including for stabilisation within new building foundations.

“Sustainability has been an important guiding principle for this project and our projections show the recycling of the steel alone will contribute to a fairly significant savings in greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

“We will also reuse the rail sleepers within the rail trail landscape, including seating, benches as well as retaining the best for reuse in future public structures and art works along the trail.”

Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot said: “The rail trail will be a unique opportunity to showcase our beautiful region. It will also provide an important tourism boost for our local economy.”

Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said funding for the rail trail was something he had worked on with Janelle Saffin, the state MP representing Murwillumbah.

"It’s going to be such an important tourism boost for rural communities like Burringbar, Mooball and Crabbes Creek," Mr Provest said.

When completed, the full length of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail will preserve the 132km scenic rail corridor between Murwillumbah and Casino, creating a safe, car-free connection between the villages and towns along the route.

It will be constructed in 4 stages, each delivered separately by local councils, as funding allows.

The Tweed section will be the first to open by early next year and will connect the rural villages of Crabbes Creek, Mooball, Burringbar and Stokers Siding with Murwillumbah. Trains on the former North Coast line ceased running in 2004.

Funding for the Tweed section was provided by the Australian Government, under its Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Package Fund, and the NSW Government under the Restart NSW fund.

For project updates and more information about the Northern Rivers Rail Trail, visit yoursaytweed.com.au/railtrail.

Rail Trail - Timber bridge near Burringbar

Major reconstruction works on a large timber bridge near Burringbar (pictured last week) includes new footings, hardwood decking and balustrades.

Downloads

Photo 1: Rail trail - gravel surface
Caption: Workers making good progress this week laying down the gravel surface a few kilometres south of Murwillumbah.

Photo 2: Rail Trail Bridge near Burringbar
Caption: Major reconstruction works on a large timber bridge near Burringbar (pictured last week) includes new footings, hardwood decking and balustrades.

Connection to Council’s Community Strategic Plan:

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We wish to recognise the generations of the local Aboriginal people of the Bundjalung Nation who have lived in and derived their physical and spiritual needs from these forests, rivers, lakes and streams over many thousands of years as the traditional custodians of these lands.
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