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Riverina Highlands Rail Trail - Trail Description



Riverina Highlands Rail Trail

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Type: Rail trail
Location: Wagga Wagga, Southern NSW, 420km from Sydney
Start/end: Wagga Wagga to Tumbarumba
Status: Possible
Length open: 0km
Terrain: flat to slight incline
Best seasons: spring, summer and autumn
Features: tourist
Contact Region: Country NSW & ACT
Typical scenery on the corridor, here between Rosewood and Tumbarumba (Tumba Rail Trail Steering Group 2013)
Typical scenery on the corridor, here between Rosewood and Tumbarumba (Tumba Rail Trail Steering Group 2013)
Not yet open




This proposed rail trail will provide a wide range of uses and scenery and eventualy be 160km in length.

It will range from the urban environment of NSW's largest inland city of Wagga Wagga, through rich undulating farm land and up to the sub alpine areas of Tumbarumba and Batlow.

The local Tumbarumba Committee recently submitted an application to the NSW Minister for Transport via the local member Greg Aplin.  The application was to get permission to allow a pilot trail to be built between Tumbarumba and Rosewood, a distance of approx 21km.  The application was submitted with over 200 letters of support from community leaders, businesses, organisations and citizens, to demonstrate to the government that there is overwhellming support from the local community for this project.

Another group from Wagga Wagga calling themselves "Wagga Rail Trail Inc" are currently working towards the development of a rail trail between Wagga Wagga and Ladysmith, a distance of approx 21km.  This section of trail goes past a large suburb of Wagga called Forest Hill, approx 10km from Wagga Wagga railway station.  It is envisaged that this section would become a well used commuter path between the two locations.


At this stage, the Riverina Highlands Rail Trails will actually consist of three separate sections.

  • Wagga Wagga to Ladysmith (21km)
  • Tumbarumba to Rosewood (21km)
  • Tumut to Batlow (32km).

The efforts to establish a rail trail on this long disused government corridor are detailed in Background Information below.

In summary, despite a detailed 2006 feasibility study indicating great potential benefit to the health and economiy of the region from the rail trails, and continued lobbying, the NSW state government has refused to allow its construction to begin.

Proposed First Stage

Given the reservations about constructing rail trails in NSW, Rail Trails Australia is suggesting the establishment of one or two shorter "pilot" rail trails.  These could verify the benefits of a rail trail on a long disused government branch line, something all the other states in Australia and many other countries take for granted.

Given the very strong community support around Tumbarumba for a rail trail, we are assisting the local steering committee there and lobbying the government to allow construction of the 18km section from the regional town of Tumbarumba down to the village of Rosewood.  Due to this signficant community support the Tumbarumba Shire Council's formal position is to support the construction of this rail trail.

Background Information

Wagga Wagga to Tumbarumba

This scenic railway branched from the Main South Line at Wagga Wagga, and passes through Tarcutta to the township of Tumbarumba, rising to 800m above sea level. It opened in stages from 1917 to 1921.  Operation beyond Ladysmith ceased in 1974 after significant flooding and all operations ceased in 1987.

Being NSW, services are suspended; the line is not officially closed (which would require an Act of Parliament)!  However nearly 40 years on little infrastructure remains.  The line has been cut by construction of a RAAF base at Forest Hill, near Wagga Wagga, and the Hume Freeway at Tarcutta.  In addition significant sections of track and other infrastructure have been illegally removed.

The only stations remaining on the line are at Ladysmith (which is maintained by the Tumba Rail historical group) and Borambola.

We believe that experience in other states and overseas has shown that the best way to protect the integrity of a disused rail corridor is to once again have it valued by the community, and rail trails are a wonderful way of doing this.

Tumut to Batlow

Tumut is a major regional town on the Tumut River and was connected to the Main South Line at Cootamundra in 1903. It was closed in 1984.  Refer to the Murrumbidgee Rail Trail Proposal.

The line to the famous apple growing area of Batlow actually diverges off the Tumut branch line at Gilmore then climes up throught the very picturesque Gilmore Valley to Batlow. It opened in 1923 and closed in 1984.  It has similar circumstances to the Tumbarumba line though is more intact.  The only station remaining is at Tumut, which appears well maintained, near the visitor information centre.

Rail Trail Development History

The Riverina Highlands Rail Trails Steering Committee was formed in 2004 under the Riverina Regional Development Board to promote the development of two rail trails. In June 2006 the Board adopted the recommendations of the feasibility study to construct the rail trails.

Extensive consultation with local communities saw concerns from some but generally great support for the proposals.  All the four Shire Councils involved also expressed support along with the NSW Lands and Transport Ministry.

Development looked close to starting in 2009.  The federal government provided $220,000 funding for the first section between Tumbarumba and Rosewood, after the then NSW transport minister David Campbell introduced legislation to state parliament to enable the construction of rail trails in NSW.  However the legislation did not get passed and construction could not commence

in 2012, the Riverina Higlands Rail Trail group was formed to continue the process of getting this rail trail established and the Tumbarumba to Rosewood sub--committee were formed in 2013 following significant community support..


Riverina Highlands Rail Trail Inc

Tumbarumba to Rosweood Rail Trail Steering Group

Wagga Wagga to Ladysmith

Tumba Rail, who have plans to operate rail trolleys at Ladysmith.

For further information on the situation in NSW click HERE

Bicycle Network

April 2016

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Federal Government Reaffirms Support for Riverina Highlands Rail Trail

(Posted: 29/04/09)

The Member for Eden Monaro, Mike Kelly says the Federal Government is keeping a promise by spending $220,000 for stage one of this rail trail.


Riverina Highlands Rail Trail (NSW) a step closer

(Posted: 18/07/06)

The Riverina Regional Development Board has adopted the recommendations of a feasibility study to proceed with the rail trail. More...

Riverina Highlands Rail Trail (Southern NSW) Feasiblity Study starts

(Posted: 01/02/06)

Funding has been announced for the study and public meetings are to take place in March 2006.


Riverina Highlands Rail Trail Feasibility Study EOI

(Posted: 14/08/05)

Expressions of Interest in the conduct of a Feasibility Study to address the feasibility of utilising former railway corridors from Tumut to Batlow and Wagga Wagga to Tumbaruba for rail trails are being sought. More...