Byron's solar train finally on track after six years

ROLLING SOON: The Byron Bay Railroad Company solar train is nearly ready to roll between Sunrise Beach/the Byron Arts Estate and Byron township.
ROLLING SOON: The Byron Bay Railroad Company solar train is nearly ready to roll between Sunrise Beach/the Byron Arts Estate and Byron township.

FOLLOWING six years of planning, restoration of the train and 3km of railway line, the building of two platforms, a train shed and upcycling to produce the world's first solar train - the two-carriage rail motor will arrive soon in Byron Bay.

Byron Bay Railroad Company is hopeful passenger services will start before Christmas.

Soon after the train arrives, staff training, final test runs and commissioning will begin with the train making runs backwards and forwards between Sunrise Beach/the Byron Arts Estate and Byron township.

"We will keep this pre-service operation between 8am and 10pm with the majority running during normal business hours," said company spokesman Jeremy Holmes.

Safety is a priority for the company and a flyer was recently distributed regarding safety at the Kendall St level crossing on the road into Belongil from Ewingsdale Rd, as well as warning against trespassing on the line itself.

The flyer emphasises that railway level crossings are dangerous and that trains have the right of way.

"We cannot stress enough the need to be mindful of the train's operation," Mr Holmes said.

"At the Kendall St level crossing people in cars, on bicycles, motorbikes and skateboards as well as pedestrians will need to stop and look out for the train.

"There is no boom gate or flashing lights.

"Council have erected stop signs and the train will be travelling at the relatively slow speed of 25km/h as it approaches the crossing.

"It's very important to acknowledge this change and stop, look for the train and listen for the train's whistle."

The flyer also advises that state legislation prohibits trespassing on a railway line and that fines of up to $5500 can be imposed by police and courts.

Byron Bay Railroad Company has also installed "no trespassing" signage along the corridor.

While the vast majority of runs will be under solar power, the coming testing and commissioning period will also include some diesel runs.

One of the two diesel engines has been removed with the other still on board for weight and balance and also to provide an emergency back-up in case of electrical fault.

The remaining diesel engine is not required for normal operation, even in cases of prolonged lack of sunshine.

Topics:  northern rivers transport

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