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8. How will rail trails operate?

The approach proposed for NSW involves transferring, on a case by case basis, disused railway lines to the Lands Administration Ministerial Corporation within the Land and Property Management Authority who would then work with community groups to develop the corridors as rail trails or for other community purposes. This is similar to the very successful rail trails model in Victoria.

It is anticipated that Lands and Property Management would pass the care, control and management of the corridor to a reserve trust manager, such as a council.

9. How will the Bill affect the NSW grain line network?

The arrangements to enable rail trail development will have no impact on the grain line network.

Rail trails are only being considered for disused corridors where there is virtually nil likelihood of services being reintroduced. Such corridors would have been disused for many years. Of the eight proposals for rail trails in NSW, most have been disused for well over fifteen years.

10. What consultation will be undertaken on rail trails/or for use of rail corridors for other community purposes ?

Prior to approaching the Minister for Transport to transfer a corridor, the Lands and Property Management Authority would facilitate consultation on the proposal for its use. This consultation would involve key stakeholders, including adjoining landholders such as farmers, about the purpose to which the corridor would be put and to address any legitimate concerns.

The Lands and Property Management Authority would be looking to satisfy itself that there was broad community support for the proposal before approaching the Minister for Transport.

That said, the Minister for Lands may choose to apply for a transfer of a corridor where it is considered the project benefits outweigh any residual neighbouring landowners objections.

In advising on requests for transfer of corridors, NSW Transport and Infrastructure would inform the Minister for Transport of the consultation undertaken by the Lands and Property Management Authority on the proposal for its use. This advice would be a key consideration in determining if the corridor should be transferred and any terms and conditions that should apply to its management on transfer to the administration of Land and Property Management Authority.

11. Will the rail corridors used for rail trails or other community purposes remain in public hands?

Any rail corridor transferred to the Lands and Property Management Authority will remain in public hands. It would not be able to be sold or disposed of and may revert to transport use as required by the Minister for Transport.

12. What happens if, after a rail trail has been established, the corridor is needed again for trains or other public transport?

The new Bill allows the Minister for Transport at some future point to require that a corridor revert back for use as a transport corridor, if needed. This would be decided on case by case basis as corridors are transferred to the Lands and Property Management Authority. It would be a condition of the transfer and would need to be reflected in any subsequent lease of other arrangement entered into by the Land and Property Management Authority with the entity responsible for the corridor.

13. What will happen if train services resume on a disused rail line if the old rail track and other structures have been removed and sold?

The track and other structures on most disused lines is in a very bad state of repair and so would need to be replaced if train services were to resume. We are much better off clearing the corridors of this remnant infrastructure and raising whatever revenue we can, either to go back to transport agencies or for use in developing the corridors transferred to the administration of the land and Property Management Authority - this would be decided on a case by case basis.

14. Won’t closure and sale of rail corridors be opposed by most in the community?

Part of considering proposals for closure and sale would be gauging the views of the community. The Bill requires that we call for submissions from locals through an ad in the local paper and on the NSWTI website, providing at least 30 days to respond. The Minister will need to have regard to the submissions in making his/her decision.

15. How will lines for closure and sale be identified?

In some cases, people may come forward expressing an interest in purchasing a disused corridor or part thereof. In others, the Rail Infrastructure Corporation or another transport agency may nominate a line for closure. We are not however proposing an active program of divestment of the corridors - the provision giving the Minister the power to authorise closure of a line is principally to streamline the process in the event of a justifiable case for closure and sale.

The proposed legislation can be viewed HERE (PDF)