The DPC have released its consultation report on the controversial railway corridor north of Armidale

The future of the disused railway corridor is chugging along, with the release of a consultation report from the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The DPC hosted community engagement workshops in Tenterfield and Guyra in December, to gauge support on the proposed closure of the rail corridor between Armidale and Wallangarra. 

Two community groups have been locked in controversy about the future of 214 kilometre railway corridor running along the Queensland border.

The DPC received the 166 written submissions with 100 were against closing the railway and 64 om support of a rail trail. 

Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party Northern Tablelands candidate David Good has welcomed the results. 

The candidate has retaining the railway at the top of his campaign agenda.

“The report clearly demonstrates there is not overwhelming support for a rail trail in the New England region,” Mr Good said. 

”The number one criteria for the government is overwhelming community support and that’s obviously not there. 

“The DPC acknowledge there is a strong feeling in the people who responded that trains should be on the line.

“From my point of view, I will be campaigning for the railway to reopened and reused. I am not content to let it sit there and not be used.”

A proposal to the state government, backed by the Guyra-based New England Rail Trail (NERT), calls for the conversion of a 34 kilometre section from Black Mountain to Ben Lomond.

But on the other side of the fence, supporters of the Passenger Trains North of Armidale campaign are pushing to reinstate the disused corridor.

In February, Armidale Regional Council voted unanimously to undertake a study to determine the costs and benefits of the tourist attraction.

But, Mr Good said the business case study shouldn’t go ahead.

“Further, council should immediately cease utilising ratepayer resources to further prosecute the rail trail proposal,” Mr Good said. 

But Armidale Regional Council mayor Simon Murray said the case study was important in determining the benefits and costs of a rail trail before taking it to the community. 

“We are definitely doing the business case study,” Cr Murray said. 

“We, as a council, did a telephone survey in Guyra and it was a clear cut 50-50 result. We have to do this study so we can investigate the benefits and costs because at the moment, it’s all hearsay.”

The timeline and cost of the business case study is currently unknown.