Northern Rivers Rail Trail – Lismore to Bentley section

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The Northern Rivers Rail Trail (NRRT) is converting the disused railway line that was abandoned in 2004 into a 132km trail, showcasing the diverse towns, villages and spectacular countryside between Casino and Murwillumbah.



May 2024 Update
Northern Rivers Rail Trail - Lismore to Bentley


Construction of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail, Lismore to Bentley section is moving ahead despite recent wet weather.

Council is pleased the entire gravel trail surface is now complete for the Lismore to Bentley section. Construction crews are now working on bridges and road crossings, with work starting on the construction of the bridge at Bungabee. Progress on groundwork and drainage is also continuing.

The project team is working on the development of interpretive signage along the track and is appealing to the community to share any cultural or historical information and photographs that may be relevant to the Lismore to Bentley section. Please email railtrail@lismore.nsw.gov.au if you have something to share.

Council held two briefing sessions with local businesses, landowners, and community last week to update on the Rail Trail project, and to share business opportunities to leverage off the Rail Trail. The figures continuing to come out of the Tweed section provide further proof that the Rail Trail delivers great economic benefit, attracting almost 3,000 visitors per week to experience the Rail Trail. Lismore businesses are encouraged to get ‘Rail Trail Ready’ with the Lismore section opening latter this year.

If you would like to understand how your business or idea can benefit, please contact business@lismore.nsw.gov.au. Further information, business interviews and marketing tools can be found at https://yoursay.lismore.nsw.gov.au/bentley-lismore-rail-trail

Funding for the Rail Trail project has been provided by the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund.



April 2024 Update

Northern Rivers Rail Trail – Lismore to Bentley

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail is converting disused railway line into a 132 km trail, to draw thousands of visitors each year to explore and discover the natural beauty of the Northern Rivers. Delivered across four stages, the trail runs from Tweed through Mullumbimby and Lismore to Casino.

Construction of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail, Lismore to Bentley section is steadily progressing. There has now been 10kms of the track completed, with two-thirds of the gravel trail surface in place.

Transformation of the old rail tracks into the rail trail has commenced at the Lismore Railway Station, with concrete pouring completed this month. Progress has also been made with the construction of sections of the trail where deviations are required to improve user safety and accessibility.

With these updates, the 16.3km Lismore to Bentley section is on track to be delivered in the latter part of 2024.

To share further detail on construction, and answer your questions, we invite you to join us for an onsite Meet and Greet with the project team at the Lismore Railway Station in South Lismore on:

Thursday, 9 May 2024 from 3.00pm to 4.00pm.

Your RSVP is appreciated, as light refreshments will be provided. Please send your name and best contact to railtrail@lismore.nsw.gov.au, or call 02 6625 0500.

The Richmond Valley Tweed section officially opened on 23 March 2024, and has been receiving strong support, attracting daily visitation to Casino and the trail.

Lismore businesses are encouraged to take part in an upcoming workshop designed to maximise the economic benefits of the Rail Trail opening in Lismore later this year. The workshop will be held on 7 May 2024 from 7.30am - 9.00am for enquiries, please email business@lismore.nsw.gov.au.

To subscribe to the Rail Trail Newsletter for updates, trip and travel inspiration, upcoming events, trail activities and more please visit https://www.northernriversrailtrail.com.au



Background

The project will convert the disused railway line which was abandoned in 2004. To be delivered in four stages, the 132km trail is expected to draw thousands of visitors each year to explore and discover the natural beauty of the Northern Rivers.

Funding has been provided by the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund for Lismore City Council to commence on Stage one. This 16.3km section will connect the former South Lismore railway station with Bentley via some of the most scenic rural landscapes in the Northern Rivers.

It will follow the route of the former rail line and be constructed in four stages as it passes through the local government areas of Tweed Shire, Byron Shire, Lismore City and Richmond Valley Shire. The Tweed section was officially opened in March 2023 with the Casino to Bentley section due to be completed in March 2024.

The trail will be a safe and fun way for locals and visitors alike to explore and connect with the natural beauty of our environment. The project will tap into the rapidly growing hinterland tourism market and create exciting growth opportunities for new and existing businesses that support local jobs.

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail (NRRT) is converting the disused railway line that was abandoned in 2004 into a 132km trail, showcasing the diverse towns, villages and spectacular countryside between Casino and Murwillumbah.



May 2024 Update
Northern Rivers Rail Trail - Lismore to Bentley


Construction of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail, Lismore to Bentley section is moving ahead despite recent wet weather.

Council is pleased the entire gravel trail surface is now complete for the Lismore to Bentley section. Construction crews are now working on bridges and road crossings, with work starting on the construction of the bridge at Bungabee. Progress on groundwork and drainage is also continuing.

The project team is working on the development of interpretive signage along the track and is appealing to the community to share any cultural or historical information and photographs that may be relevant to the Lismore to Bentley section. Please email railtrail@lismore.nsw.gov.au if you have something to share.

Council held two briefing sessions with local businesses, landowners, and community last week to update on the Rail Trail project, and to share business opportunities to leverage off the Rail Trail. The figures continuing to come out of the Tweed section provide further proof that the Rail Trail delivers great economic benefit, attracting almost 3,000 visitors per week to experience the Rail Trail. Lismore businesses are encouraged to get ‘Rail Trail Ready’ with the Lismore section opening latter this year.

If you would like to understand how your business or idea can benefit, please contact business@lismore.nsw.gov.au. Further information, business interviews and marketing tools can be found at https://yoursay.lismore.nsw.gov.au/bentley-lismore-rail-trail

Funding for the Rail Trail project has been provided by the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund.



April 2024 Update

Northern Rivers Rail Trail – Lismore to Bentley

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail is converting disused railway line into a 132 km trail, to draw thousands of visitors each year to explore and discover the natural beauty of the Northern Rivers. Delivered across four stages, the trail runs from Tweed through Mullumbimby and Lismore to Casino.

Construction of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail, Lismore to Bentley section is steadily progressing. There has now been 10kms of the track completed, with two-thirds of the gravel trail surface in place.

Transformation of the old rail tracks into the rail trail has commenced at the Lismore Railway Station, with concrete pouring completed this month. Progress has also been made with the construction of sections of the trail where deviations are required to improve user safety and accessibility.

With these updates, the 16.3km Lismore to Bentley section is on track to be delivered in the latter part of 2024.

To share further detail on construction, and answer your questions, we invite you to join us for an onsite Meet and Greet with the project team at the Lismore Railway Station in South Lismore on:

Thursday, 9 May 2024 from 3.00pm to 4.00pm.

Your RSVP is appreciated, as light refreshments will be provided. Please send your name and best contact to railtrail@lismore.nsw.gov.au, or call 02 6625 0500.

The Richmond Valley Tweed section officially opened on 23 March 2024, and has been receiving strong support, attracting daily visitation to Casino and the trail.

Lismore businesses are encouraged to take part in an upcoming workshop designed to maximise the economic benefits of the Rail Trail opening in Lismore later this year. The workshop will be held on 7 May 2024 from 7.30am - 9.00am for enquiries, please email business@lismore.nsw.gov.au.

To subscribe to the Rail Trail Newsletter for updates, trip and travel inspiration, upcoming events, trail activities and more please visit https://www.northernriversrailtrail.com.au



Background

The project will convert the disused railway line which was abandoned in 2004. To be delivered in four stages, the 132km trail is expected to draw thousands of visitors each year to explore and discover the natural beauty of the Northern Rivers.

Funding has been provided by the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund for Lismore City Council to commence on Stage one. This 16.3km section will connect the former South Lismore railway station with Bentley via some of the most scenic rural landscapes in the Northern Rivers.

It will follow the route of the former rail line and be constructed in four stages as it passes through the local government areas of Tweed Shire, Byron Shire, Lismore City and Richmond Valley Shire. The Tweed section was officially opened in March 2023 with the Casino to Bentley section due to be completed in March 2024.

The trail will be a safe and fun way for locals and visitors alike to explore and connect with the natural beauty of our environment. The project will tap into the rapidly growing hinterland tourism market and create exciting growth opportunities for new and existing businesses that support local jobs.

  • Northern Rivers Rail Trail Workshop: Business Marketing Opportunities & Tourism Updates

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    Benefiting from the Northern Rivers Rail Trail – Project Update, Tourism Insights and Business Marketing Opportunities

    Are you Rail Trail ready? If the answer is no, then you need to attend this event!

    Construction of the Lismore to Bentley section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is well underway and on track to launch in late 2024. Lismore City Council wants to ensure local businesses understand the opportunities this major tourism asset will bring to the region, by sharing information and marketing insights to get Rail Trail ready.

    Come and hear how construction is progressing and how businesses can leverage off the Rail Trail.

    Destination North Coast General Manager, Michael Thurston, will provide insight into how big this generational opportunity is for increased visitation from the Rail Trail, and the economic opportunities for businesses across the region.

    Tweed Shire Council’s Program Leader – Destination and Industry Development, Nicole Manderson will share how your business can establish a fruitful connection with the Northern Rivers Rail Trail. Learn about the Connect Marketing Program and how your business can tap into signage programs, Rail Trail passes for commercial operators, and marketing opportunities for businesses and experiences along the trail and more broadly across the region.

    Lismore City Council’s Senior Project Manager for the Rail Trail, Matt Arnett, will provide a construction update and outline some of the exciting features to be found along the Lismore to Bently section of the Rail Trail.

    This is a free event with breakfast provided so registrations are essential. Please provide any dietary requirements on your registration form.

    We look forward to seeing you for a morning of networking, insights, and support opportunities for your business.

    Date: 7 May 2024

    Time: 7:30am - 9.00am

    Location: Lismore Children’s Library: Upstairs at Lismore Central Shopping Centre, 44 Carrington Street, Lismore. Free parking underneath the shopping centre.

    Cost: Free (registrations essential)

    Link to register for the free workshop: https://lismore-events.bookable.net.au/#!/event-detail/ev_66bcbd5401054ea2949315589d4ac715

    For further information phone or email Wil Polson:

    Email: business@lismore.nsw.gov.au

    Phone: 6625 0500

  • Media Release: Rail Trail workshop aims to boost local business opportunities

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    Construction on the Lismore to Bentley section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

    Lismore City Council is stepping up efforts to empower local businesses as construction progresses on the Lismore to Bentley section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail (NRRT).

    Council hosted a workshop this week designed to guide local operators on ways to capitalise on the potential marketing and sales opportunities the trail will provide, through the anticipated surge in tourism.

    The 16.3km stretch from Lismore to Bentley has seen significant development since its commencement in January, with substantial strides including the removal of railway infrastructure, finalisation of designs, and completion of approximately 5kms of track.

    Council is on track to deliver the Lismore section in late 2024. This section will connect with the Casino to Bentley section, which opens on Saturday, 23 March.

    Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg emphasised the workshop's significance as part of a series designed to equip local businesses with insights into the diverse demographics of Rail Trail users and their preferred visitor experiences.

    “In the first four months, the Tweed section of the Rail Trail attracted more than 70,500 people, smashing expectations of 27,000 people a year,” he said.

    With the impending influx of tourists, the council is urging local businesses to gear up for the economic boom and ensure the delivery of top-notch experiences. Simultaneously, the council remains dedicated to leveraging the Rail Trail as a catalyst for economic growth within the community.

    Mayor Krieg also hinted at the exciting prospects the Rail Trail holds for the Lismore community.

    “The Lismore to Bentley section promises to substantially benefit the entire community by providing a fun and safe accessible pathway for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and people using mobility aids to enjoy and connect to our natural environment, as well as more job opportunities,” he said.

    Lismore City Council Manager Destination and Economy Tina Irish echoed the sentiment, calling the Trail a game changer for the region.

    “With insights gleaned from the Tweed section's successful launch, we can maximise our preparation”, she said.

    “We know that over 94% of Northern Rivers Rail Trail visitors expressed a desire to return to the trail, we know the most popular days of the week, times of the day and how visitors like to experience the trail.

    “We want to share this with our business community to help make the Lismore to Bentley section the best experience it can be so are working on some exciting new business initiatives with our community as part of Lismore’s Rail Trail offerings.”

    The Lismore to Bentley leg of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail is funded by the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions program and is poised to unlock a wealth of opportunities for local businesses and communities alike.

    To stay up to date on the Lismore to Bentley section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail or to enquire about workshops and business development support, go to https://yoursay.lismore.nsw.gov.au/bentley-lismore-rail-trail.

  • Business Education Workshop - Northern Rivers Rail Trail Cycling Economy

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    Lismore City Council, in partnership with Richmond Valley Council, is pleased to offer local businesses the opportunity to learn how to leverage the upcoming Lismore to Bentley section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail for marketing opportunities and to bolster sales.

    The workshop will provide participants with insights into the types of people coming to enjoy the new Rail Trail and the experiences they are seeking.

    Topics covered will help businesses adapt and appeal to new markets, and how to identify new business opportunities. The workshop is open to all businesses across the Local Government area, not just those within proximity of the Trail.

    Date: Monday 4 March, 2024

    Time: 7.30am – 9.00am

    Location: Gordon Pavilion, Oakes Oval, 144 Magellan Street, Lismore

    RSVP: REGISTER HERE

    Breakfast provided.

  • Building Business Success with the Northern Rivers Rail Trail

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    Lismore City Council, Richmond Valley Council and Tweed Shire Council are collaborating to deliver a program to help businesses leverage opportunities for the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

    The program will be delivered by Meredith Wray, a leading regional tourism expert.

    The program will help businesses to understand the economic opportunities surrounding the Trail and how they can capitalise on the new regional asset. It will include insights from ambassadors from the Tweed section of the Rail Trail, updates on project construction at Casino and Lismore, and knowledge sharing to support business growth and diversification.

    LISMORE

    Date: Thursday 16 November

    Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm

    Venue: Two Mates Brewing

    RSVP: REGISTER HERE

    CASINO

    Date: Thursday 9 November

    Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm

    Venue: Casino Golf Club

    RSVP: REGISTER HERE

  • Concept design available for feedback

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    supporting image

    Design has commenced on the Rail Trail linking Lismore to Bentley with the Concept design now available for comment.

    The project will transform 16.5km of the disused rail corridor into a destination for residents and visitors to enjoy. This section joins the Casino to Bentley section currently under construction by Richmond Valley Council, opening up a 29.5km route from Lismore to Casino.

    The project team has been meeting with adjoining landowners during May and June to ensure existing property amenity and operations are adequately safeguarded. The landowners have been overwhelmingly positive about the opportunities the Rail Trail will bring to our region. Interest in this project has peaked following the successful opening of the Tweed to Crabbes Creek section.

    We now have the concept design and are starting to engage with the wider Lismore community. There will be further opportunities to provide feedback before construction starts in late 2023.

    The $9.9 million project is funded by Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund to boost recreation opportunities, tourism, and local economies.

    Review the concept design HERE.

  • Landowner Design Meetings in May 2023

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    If your property borders the proposed rail trail between South Lismore and Bentley we want to consult with you to ensure we get the best outcomes for everyone.

    We invite you to book in a 1:1 time with the project team so we can ensure your views or concerns are heard and taken onboard when designing the Lismore to Bentley section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

    These detailed design meetings will ensure your existing property amenity and operations are adequately safeguarded.

    The 30 min design meetings will be taking place during May 2023.

    Please use the booking link below to book in a time for your design meeting. If the times available are unsuitable please get in touch so we an find an alternative time.

    BOOKING LINK: https://calendly.com/rail-trail/landowner-design

  • Landholder contact details sought ahead of rail trail design

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    The first step towards delivering the Bentley to Lismore rail trail will get underway soon.

    Lismore City Council wants landholder input on the project, which is 100% funded by the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund.

    The project will convert 16.3km of the old rail corridor between Bentley and Lismore to a trail for recreational use to boost tourism, recreation opportunities and local economies. It will link onto the Casino to Bentley section currently being completed by Richmond Valley Council.

    Extensive planning and research underpin the development of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail. Please refer the attached fact sheet for further details on the project.

    Get involved and let us know what’s needed

    If your property borders the proposed rail trail we want to consult with you to ensure we get the best outcomes for everyone.

    Please provide your contact details (Name, Address, Phone, Email) using one of the methods below by Wednesday 11 January 2023. Any residents that we don’t hear from will be followed up with door knocking between Thursday 12 January and Friday 20 January 2023.

    Enter landholder contact details here

  • Trail Information

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    The Northern Rivers Rail Trail is a proposed 132-kilometre recreational shared-user pathway from Murwillumbah to Casino.

    Staying within the railway corridor of the former Casino to Murwillumbah branch line of the North Coast Rail Line, the trail's route is proposed to meander through the Northern Rivers countryside, passing through the major towns of Casino, Lismore, Byron Bay and Murwillumbah.

    The trail will be constructed in four stages, each delivered separately by each of the four local Councils as funding allows.

    On 8 October 2021, the Federal Government announced a $9.9 million grant to construct the 16.3km Bentley to Lismore section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

    Both the Casino to Bentley section in the Richmond Valley Council area and the Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek section in the Tweed Shire Council area have already been funded and are at varying stage of construction/design work.

    The entire project is designed to attract the rapidly growing hinterland tourism market, as well as locals - creating business and job opportunities and boosting the local economy.

    Next Steps

    Following the Government’s October announcement, Lismore City Council will now begin detailed design work for the Bentley to Lismore section.

    This 16.3km section will start at Bentley’s Back Creek Bridge and finish at the Lismore Railway Station, South Lismore. As the rail trail passes through South Lismore it will provide important connections to the existing local network of pathways.

    The section has 29 railway bridges, some of which have structural timber elements that are in poor to unserviceable condition. This will be further investigated during the design stage.

    At this time, we envisage that significant railway infrastructure and sections of duplicate railway track near the Lismore Railway Station will be preserved and improved for users to appreciate the historical railway origins of the Rail Trail.

    Once the design work is finalised and construction begins, it is expected it will be completed within two years, weather permitting.

  • Northern Rivers Rail Trail Media Release: NORTHERN RIVERS RAIL TRAIL SET TO TAKE SHAPE!

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    This year will be a big one for the Northern Rivers Rail Trail, with 54km of the planned 130km set to become a reality.

    Not for profit community group the Northern Rivers Rail Trail Supporters has been working closely with councils and communities to revitalise the neglected and abandoned rail corridor from Murwillumbah to Casino.

    A car-free pedestrian connection for locals and tourists alike, the Rail Trail will be used for all active eco transport and recreation, including walking, running, bikes, riding, mobility scooters, prams, and multi-day adventures.

    With support from all levels of government, three sections of the Rail Trail are fully funded and ready for construction. These are Tweed to Crabbes Creek, Casino to Bentley and Bentley to Lismore.

    “The significance of this project from a community and visitor perspective will be felt for generations to come,” Northern Rivers Rail Trail vice president Cameron Arnold said. “Reinvigorating the disused corridor for all to use, whilst ensuring it remains in public ownership, is a huge win.”

    The cycling community injected $16.8 billion into the Australian economy last year, according to the Australian Cycling Economy 2021 Report by We Ride Australia. The Northern Rivers Rail Trail will draw such dollars inland, creating supplemental profit, every day of the week, for local businesses and beyond.

    Rail trails have been a huge success in many other parts of the world, including New Zealand and Victoria. The Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail in the NSW Snowy Valley, which opened in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, has seen several new businesses opening and many existing businesses thriving, due to its ongoing popularity as a tourist drawcard.

    “That is overwhelmingly the case in every country, in every state where a Rail Trail has been built,” Cameron said.

    Cafes and hospitality venues, bike hire and repair, accommodation and experience-based businesses will all have access to new customers.

    Eltham Hotel owner/operator Matt Rabbidge said the Rail Trail offered an exciting opportunity for small towns that are outside of the regional hubs. “It’s a really good way for small businesses to encourage new eyes on the place, be that people stopping through walking or riding on their bikes — to stop in and support the businesses,” he said.

    The 24km Tweed section, which runs from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek, is full steam ahead, with a 200m test section currently under construction. “Murwillumbah locals may have seen the main site office set up at the Murwillumbah Station and people may start to see crews preparing for the first construction works,” project director Iain Lonsdale said. The 24km Tweed section is on track to be completed by December 2022.

    Casino to Bentley (16.3km), which is managed by Richmond Valley Council, has begun vegetation clearing, while detailed design work is beginning on Bentley to Lismore (13.5km), which is managed by Lismore City Council.

    “We believe these sections will be an overwhelming success, which will then further strengthen the support for the completion of the rest of the trail,” Cameron said.

    The Northern Rivers Rail Trail Supporters believe the Byron Bay section, which is still being debated, would provide huge benefits — especially as the small town battles issues including overtourism, visitor management and traffic bottlenecks. The Rail Trail project would provide an alternative car-free path for low impact tourism, inject additional profit for local businesses, and entice visitors to travel out to other scenic villages in the hinterland.

    The Northern Rivers Rail Trail Supporters believe that, once completed, the Northern Rivers Rail Trail will be something very special. It will be the longest in NSW, and the third longest in Australia*, linking 12 schools, villages and towns, beaches, native bushland and working farms. It will help create deeper connections between the region’s unique smaller communities, business and tourism opportunities, health and wellness, and eco conservation and historical elements.

Page last updated: 21 May 2024, 02:36 PM