POLICE are investigating an arson attack on the main rail bridge over the Little Nymboida River.
Members of the Glenreagh Mountain Railway (GMR) group said they and members of the Lowanna and Ulong communities were devastated by the attack, which has put in jeopardy plans to begin public trike rides on the railway line between Lowanna and Glenreagh in October.
Four units from Lowanna and Ulong fire brigades attended the fire on Tuesday morning and spent several hours putting out the blaze, which destroyed an eight-metre section of the 80-year-old hardwood timber bridge.
GMR member David Page said the bridge was valued at $200,000 and the cost of the damage, although not as extensive as feared earlier, was estimated at $80,000.
He said the middle beam on the bridge had been set alight and the fire had spread to the transoms, but the outside bearers had not been burned.
Nearby resident and GMR member Mark Miller discovered the fire at 8.30am on Tuesday after a neighbour said he had seen smoke at the rear of his block.
Mr Page said the height of the bridge fire, 10 metres above the creek, as well as the location under the bearers, meant fire crews worked for several hours before they were satisfied the timber was no longer smouldering.