Rail Trails Australia has been aware of the enormous potential for wonderful recreational paths in NSW for some time. Whilst there are over 800km of functional rail trails in Victoria for example, there are no public rail corridors available as rail trails in NSW. Increasingly, this situation is seen as inappropriate and a wasteful loss of state resource, especially given the ‘tourism gateway’ status of Sydney and NSW. The international boom of cycle-tourism is lost to NSW – a situation that needs to be rectified.
Rail Trails Australia has now embarked on a directed strategy to encourage the government of NSW to allow the development of rail trails on some of its long-disused transport corridors. Partnerships have been established with state organizations like GoAlliance and BiNSW to further the cause.
GoAlliance is an organization focused on facilitating effective transport and mobility solutions. GoAlliance recognizes that effective and accessible transport choices are essential factors to a vibrant community, economy and environment and to sustain personal wellbeing. Clearly, rail trails form a foundation for community benefit – NSW is currently being denied this advantage.
The Bicycle Institute of NSW (BiNSW) is committed to “creating a better environment for cycling” across NSW. Like Rail Trails Australia, BiNSW realize the enormous potential benefit that NSW is currently unable to capitalize on due to the absence of rail trails.
Recently, a substantial meeting was convened in Wagga Wagga in southern NSW. Rail Trails Australia, GoAlliance and state and local trail supporters gathered and discussed the current situation with local, state and federal politicians. The railway from Wagga to Tumbarumba has been disused for decades. The line is broken in a number of places and there are no plans to return rail services along this corridor. A feasibility study confirms the viability of reuse of this state land as a community resource linear park, a rail trail. One consideration is a pilot rail trail on the section from Wagga Wagga to Ladysmith, which could be the start of the first major regional rail trail in NSW!
Many local, rural and regional organizations are also joining Rail Trails Australia to encourage the NSW state government, in particular the Transport Minister, to allow development of multi-user paths on disused railway corridors. More news following some meetings with the government in Sydney in early July. Hopefully, the wheels can be set in motion to encourage community benefit and develop NSW rail trails.
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