Visit looks at heritage rail proposal

At Guyra Railway Station last week, Peter Hansen, Shadow Minister for Regional Transport David Harris, Cr Debra O’Brien, Cr Margaret O’Conner, Ron Lockyer, David Good and Sam Astle
16th Oct 2019
Janelle Stewart

Shadow Minister for Regional Transport, David Harris MP, spent time in the region last week meeting with advocates of Heritage rail.
Mr Harris was invited by Councillor Debra O’Brien to meet with advocate groups, including New England Train Action Group, Save the Great Northern Rail, Armidale Regional Rate Payers Association and Councillor Margaret O’Connor to discuss their investigations into the possibility of reopening the Great Northern Rail line for a heritage train project.
Mr Harris said that he is aware that there are several proposals in regards the future of the Great Northern Rail line and he was in the area at the invitation of a Heritage Rail bid. He also met with local Aboriginal groups about heritage and tourism opportunities.
“NSW Labor is interested in consulting local communities about the future of disused rail lines and how those lines might be used to promote economic activity in challenging drought conditions,” Mr Harris said.
“Regional jobs are vital in keeping communities viable and tourism is one avenue that needs to be explored,” he said. “These corridors can provide vital economic stimulus to Regional Communities through tourism and governments must properly consider all potential uses.”
“As the Opposition spokesperson on Regional Transport it is important that I visit and listen to local communities in regards to the future use of rail corridors.”
Labor Councillor for Armidale, Debra O’Brien said a proposal by the New England Train Action Group links Armidale and Guyra with a heritage train bringing together the existing heritage tourism of the region. 
Central to the concept is a bicycle carrying compartment to enable recreational and commuter cycling on the existing extensive network of cycle paths in Armidale and Guyra.
“A heritage train service, operating on a regular timetable, would also provide a commuter service for passengers wishing to travel between the two centres for work, shopping, services and recreation,” Ms Obrien said. “There is a pressing need for public transport to connect Armidale with Guyra’s two (soon three) greenhouse tomato farms.”