ADVOCATES for returning trains to the Great Northern Railway have thrown down the gauntlet over a petition to knock down the Armidale viaduct.
The Facebook page ‘Save McLennan Street Viaduct’ was created on July 6, and already has more than 200 likes.
Business owner and railway supporter Don Carruthers said the viaduct needed to stay in tact for the Great Northern railway line open.
“The viaduct has been there since 1883. I owned a business on Bundarra Road and I had trucks but we’ve never had a problem,” he said.
“It’s the start of the Great Northern railway … If they pull out the viaduct and take it away, then there is no way they will replace it for the train line.
“We are looking at saving the Great Northern rail. We believe the Great Northern rail should not be closed.”
Mr Carruthers said the save the Great Northern line group would be looking at holding a rally in support of the reactivating the railway.
Last month, Allingham Removals director Greg Cameron started a petition to see the viaduct removed – days after a truck became wedged under the bridge.
Mr Cameron said he did not oppose the opening of the Great Northern line but community safety needed to be prioritised right now.
He said he believed the viaduct could be replaced in the future, if the railway was activated.
“It’s surprising, there haven’t been more major injuries from the viaduct. I have no problem with the rail coming back but I’m trying to raise safety awareness.”
The petition pushing to remove the viaduct has been distributed to a number of offices around the viaduct.
“It’s costing money and time for businesses to divert around the viaduct,” Mr Cameron said.
He added removing the viaduct would also stop trucks from diverting around the new Armidale Secondary College, which once completed will have1500 students.