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Guide Banner 4 2015

Members of the Railtrails Australia Committee, Vince Aitkin and Frank Kinnersley, were assisted by NSW member and Sydney resident Jim Hope in running a stand at the Bicycling Australia Show which was held over the weekend of 22 and 23 October at the Dome in Sydney Showground.

Railtrails Australia knows that a significant number of people who use rail trails are cyclists and we consider our attendance at national cycle shows is a valuable opportunity to present rail trails to show attendees. As there is presently a drought of Rail Trails throughout New South Wales we were delighted to talk with so many people about the vision of RT's and how valuable they are to the community as recreational, car free and safe places to enjoy healthy recreation. A frequent comment made to us by cyclists over the two days was that they could not understand why there were so few Rail Trails in NSW which they considered the most populated and wealthiest of the Nations States. Many people were amazed at how many Rail Trails were available for community use throughout Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. Many cyclists told us that they took vacations to Victoria to cycle rail trails particularly the Murray to the Mountains RT (Wangaratta/Bright) and the Gippsland RT's.

There were some 100 entities who maintained stands etc at the show including a number of Sydney Bicycle User Groups and the Munda Biddi Trail Foundation from Western Australia. Their iconic trail (presently open from Mundaring to Collie ) uses Rail Trails for approx one third of its 370 klm distance and when finished through to Albany will incorporate many more abandoned Rail Lines along its route. We spoke to a tour company who operate cycling tours (among others) on this trail.

We had the opportunity to talk with people who are pushing for various rural Rail Trails throughout southern and central parts of NSW. There are negotiations underway in the Monaro, Goulburn/Crookwell, Bungendore/Captains Flat, Culcairn/Corowa, Riverina, Cowra/Eugowra, Molong/Yeoval and the Tarana/Oberon areas. But in the end it needs people power to push for these projects to be funded and completed. Contact details of groups in these areas are available from Railtrails Australia - just email our Secretary.

For Railtrails Australia the show was a great success. We handed out thousands of brochures and made many people aware of our work and about the availibility of our two guide books covering Rail trails in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. We look forward to participating in future Bicycle Shows throughout the Nation.