Ladysmith Station at the end of the proposed first section (2011)
Forest Hill near Wagga has the airport and RAAF base and an increasing population 2005)
View from the 'Downfall' between Humula and Rosewood(2009)
Not yet open
THESE TRAILS ARE NOT YET OPEN - AND STILL UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR DEVELOPMENT
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.
Wagga Wagga to Tumbarumba (130km) and
Tumut to Batlow (32km).
In June 2006 the Riverina Regional Development 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
in 2012 Riverina Higlands Rail Trail group was formed to continue the process of getting this rail trail established.
Proposed First Stage
We are supporting the group in proposing the development of an 18km section from the NSW's largest inland city, Wagga Wagga, to the village of Ladysmith. Midway is the growing area of Forest Hill that also has the regional airport and a RAAF base. This could perhaps be seen as a trial for NSW to 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.
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.
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.
Rail Trails Australia - rail trails connecting communities