NSW is getting closer to having another rail trail

The NSW Government Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has announced a $75,000 funding boost towards the Richmond Vale Rail Trail Project, west of Newcastle in NSW.

The money will go to Cessnock City Council to assist it in progressing a Development Application and other documentation for the project covering the Cessnock and Lake Macquarie sections. With designs for the City of Newcastle council area section already finalised, the new funding will allow concept designs and associated reports to be completed for the whole trail.

Cessnock City Council General Manager Lotta Jackson thanked the NSW Government for their support. “This project is identified under the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan as a high priority. This funding will allow Council to engage a specialist consultant to undertake a series of tasks that will be crucial to the success of the project overall.”

The 32-kilometre Richmond Vale Rail Trail is proposed to run along the former Richmond Vale rail line between Kurri Kurri and Hexham, and along the former Chichester to Newcastle water pipeline between Shortland and Tarro. The shared pathway would provide a link for cyclists between Kurri Kurri, Tarro, Minmi and Shortland that would enable them to undertake journeys without having to ride on the Pacific Motorway, Hunter Expressway or New England Highway.

The line was originally a private railway developed to transport coal from the Hunter Valley’s mines. It closed in 1987. Like the other major Newcastle rail trail, the Fernleigh Track, which was also previously a private coal line, the Richmond Vale line does not require an Act of Parliament to enable it to be turned into a rail trail. (Act of Parliaments are required to officially close a public railway in NSW and open it up for rail trail conversion.)

N23 305 Richmond Vale Railway P1030248 2013

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