Sun. May 19th, 2024

Another forum on the future of trains north of Armidale will be held tomorrow night at the Armidale City Bowling Club.

The forum is the latest in a series of meetings to be held in Armidale, Guyra, and Tenterfield by Trains North, the successor group to the Northern Railway Defenders Forum. The purpose of the forums is to present ideas about where things are at in the campaign to return trains to the Northern Line and the way forward. 

Siri Gamage from Trains North says the challenges we face today as a result of the pandemic, natural disasters and overseas wars as well as supply chain disruptions have compelled those in the governance of the State and the country, policy makers, transport administrators, freight operators etc. to rethink our vulnerabilities at crisis times and take a fresh look at our regional railway infrastructure.

“Over the decades many residents living in New England have wondered about the tiny prospects about re-opening the great northern railway line to the Queensland border and onto Brisbane.”

“Some had given up hope that it will ever happen and others did their best to communicate with local councils and politicians about what they thought were the right thing to do?”

“They probably got little encouragement either from the councils or the politicians.”

“However, the problems identified by Dr. Kerry Schott in her review of the Inland rail project this year have opened a new space for re-examining the potential of utilising northern railway line again for passenger and freight operations in partnership between the NSW government and the private sector freight companies or other investors,” Mr Gamage said.

A panel of speakers will address topics such as rail as a driver of economic and social growth, better public transport between regional centres and to major cities, strategy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, restoration of passenger trains north of Armidale to Queensland, reviving rail freight and improving road safety and maintenance, opportunities for heritage tourist trains, history of the Main North Line and its current condition, and the value of a railway line on a good foundation free of floods. 

The forum will be held from 5.30pm for a 5.45pm start, tomorrow night Monday August 7, in the Auditorium at the Armidale Bowling Club. All are welcome.

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