Multi Use Byron Shire Rail Corridor

Byron multi use rail corridor

In late 2016, a Council Mayoral Minute resolved to support an investigation into the feasibility of reactivating the rail corridor from Bangalow to Yelgun for multi-use rail transport applications.

Following an Expression of Interest and Request for Tender, Council engaged Arcadis Australia Pacific Pty Ltd (Arcadis) to undertake a feasibility study.

The study looked at the reactivation of the rail corridor from Bangalow to Yelgun, with a focus on three key components:

  • Engineering Assessment
  • Economic Impact Assessment
  • Social Impact Assessment.

Arcadis’s investigations concluded there is both community support and positive economic impacts for the Byron Shire.

The engineering assessment highlighted that the corridor is in ‘reasonable’ condition and has the capacity to support very light rail vehicles (less than 10 tonne axles or less, at speeds equal to or less than less than 60 kilometres per hour).

The final report was delivered and noted by Councillors in the Council Meeting of 27 June 2019.

Publicly-available reports are attached in the related information section on this page. 

As per resolution 19-335 and 20-127 Council has continued work on the re-activation of the Rail Corridor, firstly between Byron Bay and Mullumbimby (Stage 1). Funding opportunities are being sought via both State and Federal Governments.

September 2019

Staff from the following councils met to begin collaboration into reactivating the missing links in the Northern Rivers Rail Trail, namely the Lismore and Byron Shire rail corridors.

  • Byron Shire Council.
  • Tweed Shire Council.
  • Lismore City Council.
  • Richmond Valley Council.

November 2019

  • Council staff and Councillors met with the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads on Tuesday 19 November 2019 to discuss key issues with reactivating the rail corridor.
  • On 28 November 2019, Council resolved to undertake further steps to reactivate the Byron Shire section of the rail corridor.

February 2020

A meeting of Councillors and staff was held with NSW government representatives on 17 February 2020 to further discuss Byron Shire Council’s desire to establish a rail link. It was noted that there are two key areas that require further investigation:

  1. The government is in the process of changing the legislation to close the rail corridor.
  2. There is currently no funding available for a Rail with Trail.  Also, Byron Shire Council would need to provide a robust business case to secure funding should it be available.

March 2020

On 26 March 2020, Council resolved to undertake detailed investigative works, including an engineering assessment of the rail infrastructure. This will inform an accurate business case for a rail transport link between Byron Bay and Mullumbimby as an initial stage.

Laser scan technology has been used to trial an engineering assessment of a single rail bridge within the corridor. The outcome of this trial will inform the next steps and will be reported to Council in September.

September 2020

Work has continued on the re-activation of the Byron Shire Rail Corridor “Rail with Trail” project, as per 19-335 and 20-127.

Council has been working with consultants on a digital methodology to undertake the structural assessment of the rail infrastructure between Mullumbimby and Byron Bay. This approach maximises the use of technology to collect the data on the structure (point cloud scanning) and applies digital processing to interpret and develop as constructed drawings which provide the dimensional details to assess the bridge/s existing capacity to deliver the required level of service.

 A key constraint to undertaking the condition assessment of the rail infrastructure within the rail corridor is the heavy vegetation growing on and off the embankment.

 Council is investigating funding opportunities to assist with this activity.