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Thursday 20 July 2023

New rail trail embraced by cyclists, walkers and runners

Cyclists, walkers and runners have taken to the first stage of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail with huge enthusiasm.

Data released by Tweed Shire Council showed more than 70,500 people have used the first 24km section of the trail since its opening four months ago.

The first stage runs from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek and the project will eventually connect Murwillumbah to Casino.

The figures far exceed initial projections.

Tweed Shire Mayor Chris Cherry said there had been significant interest in the opening success of the NRRT.

“I am really proud to confirm that since its opening on March 1, the Tweed section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail has welcomed approximately 70,550 people, which is an amazing achievement,” he said.

“Our Rail Trail is welcoming an average of 17,638 people per month, which is approximately 4,048 people per week or an average of 578 people per day.

“The original business case for the Tweed section of the NRRT referenced goals of 27,000 people per year. We have absolutely smashed that goal, attracting more than double the anticipated annual number of visitors in our first four months alone.

“We knew the Rail Trail would be extremely popular and there was a lot of interest in this facility but this has blown us away!

“With these impressive patronage numbers has also come confirmation that 87% of trail users have used an associated Rail Trail experience and spent money with a local business, whether it be one of the many caf├ęs, restaurants, accommodation providers or bike-related businesses such as hire, shuttle or transport services.

“Many businesses along the Rail Trail have told us about their successes and we are continually working on trail improvements, addressing some of the impacts the popularity has had on the local villages.”

Surveys show 60% of Rail Trail users start their journey at the Murwillumbah Railway Station and more than 85% of users opt for round trips over a one-way journey.

The path features 26 bridges and two tunnels, including the 500m Burringbar Range tunnel that has micro bats and glow worms

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