World’s First Solar-Powered Train is Coming to Bryon Bay
Byron Bay soon will become famous, not only for its excellent surfing, but also because the world’s first solar-powered train will operate here. Not that it should be any surprise since Byron Bay is known the world over for its environmentally-friendly culture.
The Byron Bay Railroad Company is retro-fitting a heritage rail motor with solar panels, electric engines and a large battery bank. The train will operate using the battery bank with energy stored from the sun through the solar panels on the top of the train, as well as on the storage shed.
In addition, one Diesel engine will remain as an emergency back-up. It will run on the fully repaired historic 3km of train tracks that goes from Northbeach Station in Sunrise Beach and the Byron Beach platform next to the Shirley Street level crossing.
According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on July 7, 2017, “The Byron Bay Railroad Company, operated by mining executive Brian Flannery, expects to have its two-carriage heritage train running before Christmas, said Jeremy Holmes, a spokesman for the company.”
The company website also says service will commence soon on the train — but that first the retro-fitting must be finished, then testing and commissioning before the company can begin carrying passengers.
Service Hours and More
Once service commences, the train will run from 8 am to 10 pm (last train leaves the Byron Bay station at 10 pm). The train’s interior can seat 100 passengers as well as additional standing passengers, disabled seating and luggage space for bikes, prams and even surfboards (all free of charge to bring on board).
Both platforms (Byron Beach and Northbeach) will have disabled access, seating, shelter and bicycle racks. The Northbeach station also will have a disabled access toilet. The Byron Beach station is next to the Shirley Street level crossing in Byron Bay proper while the Northbeach platform is next to Bayshore Drive in between the Sunrise Beach residential estate and the Elements of Byron resort. There is plenty of parking near both locations. There are two public car parks within 100 metres of the Byron Beach platform, and a recent upgrade of Bayshore Drive included 100 car spaces next to the Northbeach platform.
One-way fares are set now as free for children up to age 5, $2 for kids aged 6-13 and $3 for anyone over the age of 14.
The two-carriage train that will be used on the Byron Bay service was built at the Chullora Railway Workshops in Sydney in 1949, according to the Byron Bay Railroad Company website. It continues, “From around 1942 – 1945 the Chullora Workshops were used to build Beaufort aircraft bombers during the Second World War. Following the war and with the massive influx of European immigrants, transporting people around the state was critical. So the Workshops innovatively used aluminium aircraft technology from their war efforts to produce high performance yet lightweight trains.”
This particular set is believed to be the only one that remains in use. The train (661 and 726) was withdrawn from service between 1991 and 1994 and from 1995 sat in yards at Lithgow State Mine Railway until 2013 when Byron Bay Railroad Company entered into a contract with Lithgow to restore the set.
Come stay at Broken Head and Be Among First to Ride the New Train
Once passenger service commences on this new solar-powered train, we suspect that there will be a high demand for spots on the train. Local and regional residents as well as tourists will want to check out this new public transportation option. So watch for updates, and then plan to book your stay at Broken Head Holiday Park to join in all the excitement for this first solar-powered train in the world — right here in Byron Bay!