Passenger Trains North of Armidale push for railway to reopen

The noise of passenger trains chugging along the railway tracks was once a common sound in the New England region.

Now the tracks lay bare with the popularity of the services decreased by the introduction of cars, buses and planes. 

But a community group believes the region and its people would benefit from the reintroduction of the rail service. 

Spokesman David Good said Passenger Trains North of Armidale are calling on New England residents to sign a petition to support the reintroduction of the service. 

“The message to the community about the rail trail debate is there is an alternative,” Mr Good said.

“There is a third option, which we believe would be more feasible, and that is the reintroduction of passenger trains.”

The deserted train station at Glen Innes.

The deserted train station at Glen Innes.

“We want to get as many signatures as possible.”

The controversial issue has divided the community with groups advocating and challenging the future of the railway tracks, including the destruction of railway corridors to build a bike track. 

PTNA are pushing for the reintroduction of passenger train services on the Great Northern Railway between Armidale and Wallangarra.

“We believe it would be very well patronised,” Mr Good said. 

“The population of the New England has aged and increased, and we think that would have an impact on the demand for these services.”

End of the line..Sally Morris and Michelle Summers, both 6, play on the disused railway tracks after the last train departed Tenterfield in 1989.

End of the line..Sally Morris and Michelle Summers, both 6, play on the disused railway tracks after the last train departed Tenterfield in 1989.

The petition has more than 1300 signatures.

It will be delivered to the state government.

Mr Good said the collective is the efforts of Save the Great Northern Rail Group Incorporated, New England Railway Incorporated, Northern Tablelands branch of the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party and other concerned community members.

Mr Good said the group had seen an influx in support for the petition. 

“We would love to hear from shop owners who are interested in having the the petition in their shop,” Mr Good said.

”We have quite a strong amount of support in Glen Innes which is right in the middle of the line.”​

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