Celebrating first anniversary of Rail Trail opening

1 March 2024

Tweed Shire Council today announced its collaboration with volunteer organisation Cycling Without Age as part of celebrations to mark the first anniversary of the opening of the popular Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

More than 140,000 people have used the 24 km Tweed section of the Rail Trail since its opening on 1 March 2023 – establishing it as one of the most popular visitor attractions on the Northern Rivers.

To mark the first anniversary, Council today announced its collaboration with Cycling Without Age, a not-for-profit charity that connects the elderly and people with a disability with the outdoors, by offering free rides on trishaw e-bikes, piloted by trained volunteer cyclists.

The collaboration will see the establishment of a permanent chapter of Cycling Without Age to operate on the Rail Trail out of Burringbar. Volunteers are now invited to join this initiative, to help bring the joy of Cycling Without Age to the community.

The announcement comes just weeks before the opening of the second stage of the NRRT – the 13.4 km section from Bentley to Casino which is managed and maintained by Richmond Valley Council. The Casino section is due to officially open on 23 – 24 March 2024.

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry said residents and visitors had overwhelmingly embraced the Rail Trail since opening 12 months ago, creating a positive impact on tourism, community wellbeing and economic growth in the Tweed.

“At the outset of this project, Council strongly believed the Rail Trail would prove to be a popular drawcard for the Tweed but its overwhelming popularity has well and truly exceeded our expectations,” Cr Cherry said.

“The Rail Trail provides an opportunity to reconnect with nature, breathe in fresh air and soak in the stunning beauty of the Tweed alongside the charming village life at our seven rest stops – we are so proud of what we have achieved.

“It is important we continue to do what we can to ensure as many people as possible – no matter their age or ability – can access the Rail Trail and we are so pleased to announce our collaboration with Cycling Without Age today.

“It’s a wonderful addition to the Rail Trail experience – we can’t wait until the service is up and running in the next few months.”

Cycling Without Age Community Captain Wayne Sticher said he was excited to see the Burringbar Chapter of the volunteer organisation one step closer to opening.

“We’re excited to introduce Cycling Without Age to the Northern Rivers Rail Trail,” Mr Sticher said.

“What a thrill to begin a journey of reconnection with community and the environment for our seniors and people with reduced mobility. This initiative brings substantial value to the community, enriching the experiences of both participants and volunteers alike.”

The organisation is now calling for anyone interested in volunteering with the group to come forward, with training and equipment provided.

“We’ve already had a great response with more than 20 volunteers signing up to help establish the Burringbar chapter on the Rail Trail but we would love to hear from more people interested in joining us,” he said.

Corporate sponsorship to support the group to purchase trishaws is also being sought.

The group plans to operate from the Burringbar stop on the Rail Trail on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 am to 12.30 pm, with operations to begin in coming months. Until then, training is already underway to ensure volunteer riders are ready to go at opening.

Find out more about Cycling Without Age Burringbar on their Facebook page.

Celebrate the Rail Trail’s first anniversary

Council invites the community to celebrate the Rail Trail’s first anniversary today and tomorrow (1 and 2 March) with some fun activities and giveaways along the Rail Trail and at the historic Murwillumbah Railway Station precinct.

Activities include a live performance by Birren from 10 am to 12 pm on Saturday as well as some free surprises from friendly faces – from icy, tasty treats to cool you down to fun branded merchandise.

Highlights of the Rail Trail’s first year of operation include:

  • Winner Best Regional Project in NSW by the Australian Institute of Project Management
  • Winner in the Conservation – Landscape category National Trust Heritage Awards
  • 4.8-star rating on Google from more than 300 reviews
  • Established business support program, including appointment of 3 new business tenants at Murwillumbah Railway Station.

Richmond Valley Council will officially open the second section of the NRRT, a 13.4 km stretch travelling from Casino to Bentley, on 23 – 24 March 2024. The first stage of the Lismore section, from Eltham to Bentley, is expected to open by the end of this year.

When completed, the Rail Trail will eventually be 132 km in length, traversing from Casino through Byron, Lismore, and connecting with the Tweed. For more information, visit northernriversrailtrail.com.au


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