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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 849

Mr ZIMMERMAN (North Sydney) (16:18): Twenty-five years ago, Sydney's well-known 'red rattlers' were decommissioned from service following a final journey across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. They were single-deck ageing trains without air conditioning. Some of the rolling stock entered service in the 1930s. Yet they held a special place in the hearts of many Sydneysiders. Yesterday, the red rattler returned to North Sydney and, for the first time in many years, residents were able to travel along the historic Lavender Bay Railway line.

The event was, however, about more than just our rail heritage. It was an opportunity for residents to see a rail track that many of us hope will one day become Sydney's very own high line, based on the success of those that have been created in New York and Paris. This rail line could be one of Sydney's great harbourside walks. Linking, as it does, Milsons Point with Waverton through the historic McMahons Point tunnel, it provides incredible views of our harbour. It would also provide new access to places like Wendy's Garden, that marvellous creation of Wendy Whiteley, along with Sawmillers and Balls Head reserves. I am confident it would become one of Sydney's great tourist attractions.

Heritage train events are a great first start. What I hope will follow will be the opening of the line to pedestrians, perhaps even shared with the rail line while it is needed for operational purposes. There is certainly room to do so. With some vision for the future, this incredible legacy of our transport past could become one of our city's great public spaces, enjoyed by people from near and far.