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PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE.
MURWILLUMBAH-TWEED HEADS RAIL
An inquiry into tho expediency of constructing a line of railway from Murwillumbah to the Tweed Heads was opened by the Public Works Committee yesterday, Mr J McFarlane MLA, presiding.
Mr H Deane (Railway Engineer-in-Chief) read a report dealing with the proposed line. The length was 14 miles 3I chains, and the estimated cost £207,442, exclusive of land and compensation This was at the rate of £14,450 per mile It would join the existing Lismore Murwillumbah line at 143 miles from Grafton and proceed north- easterly on the eastern side of both the Tweed River and the main road of Tumbulgum. After pass
ing through that township it would cross the Tweed River and bear north-by-east to the south eastern bank of Durobie Creek, which it would follow down to Terranora Broadwater. The line would then prooecd north-easterly about two miles west of Chinderah and onwards to the crossing of Terranora Creek, about one and a quarter mile beyond which if it would join with the extension of the Brisbane to Nerang railway. The railway grade was one in 50 and the sharpest curve 12 chains radius. The works would
be light for the first four and a half miles, but beyond that they would be heavy and would include a steel bridge over the Tweed and a tunnel about 850 yards in length. The land to be passed through was nearly all cultivated.
It was adapted for sugar cultivation and dairying,
and at the present time was largely developed. In the adjacent State of Queensland a line was being constructed from Nerang to the Tweed Heads, the object being to link the Tweed and Richmond dis- tricts with the Queensland capital. The country through which the Queensland extension is us being made was of the most inferior character, and there would be practically no exchange of products between Queensland and this State as a result of its construc- tion. The proposed line would net contribute to the development of the country through which it would pass. It was not in the interest of this State thal the line should be constructed, as the chief result of it would be to enable Queensland to compete with New South Wales for the general merchandise business of the Tweed and Richmond districts. The maintenance, traffic, and locomotive expenses were estimated at £2,031 which, together with interest at 3 1/2 per cent, on the cost of construction would amount £9291
On the revenue side merchandise and live stock were expected to yield £ 1,000 a year, and passengers, parcels and mails £1,762. For some time past the Queensland Government, owing to the near com- pletion of their line from Nerang, had been pressing for permission to enter this State's territory and occupy a site for a changing station Their request has been approved bv the Cabinet, and steps were now being taken to resume the land required under the provisions uf the Public Works Act. The property would then be vested in the New South Wales Commissioners, who would make arrangements with the Queensland railway authorities for the occupation of a site for the purpose indicated.
Undtn examination, Mr Deane said that no promise had been made to the Queensland Govern- ment regarding the construction of the line. Instead of an open bridge across the Tweed at the Heads, he would prefer to see the line cross the river at Mur- willumbah. The difficulty was that the latter proposal would affect the navigation of the river.
The Committee adjourned until 2pm to-day.