New bridge at water crossing on Kilkivan to Kingaroy

Gympie Regional Council has advised that the low level bridge over a perennial water crossing on the Kilkivan to Kingaroy Rail Trail at Wide Bay Creek (some 225 NW of Brisbane) has now been completed. Council obtained matching funding from the Queensland State Government for a total of $283,500 to design and call tenders for construction of the bridge. Construction commenced in July and was completed by the end of September. This crossing had presented a major obstacle on the trail about six kilometres out from the trailhead at Kilkivan. Water levels constantly fluctuate at this point, varying from dry to waist deep, depending on rainfall.

The design of the bridge has caused concern from Rail Trails Australia and rail trail users over the use of steps and a steep ramp. Gympie Regional Council has responded to enquiries of the design by stating that the bridge is designed to be inundated during rainfall events and is for the use of walkers and mountain bikers. Horse riders are expected to walk their steeds through the crossing beside the bridge.

A Council Planning Officer has acknowledged concerns over the design with a statement (29/09/2021) saying “Council is presently considering suitable solutions to improve the usability of this bridge, most specifically relating to the access ramps and stairs of the bridge where they meet the gravel trail.” RTA looks forward to these concerns being addressed.

Wide Bay Creek crossing prior to bridge construction (Fraser and Marianne Creese 2018)
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Funding announced for Bentley to Lismore Section of Northern Rivers Rail Trail

LIsmore Station will once again become a part of community life.

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail is growing bigger with the announcement today from the Federal MP Kevin Hogan of the allocation of $9.9 Million Funding to build the Bentley to Lismore section of the rail trail. This will connect the rail trail to the already proposed and nearing construction stage of the Casino to Bentley Rail Trail. This will be a massive tourist boast to city of Lismore and outlying villages and creating an attraction for locals and visitors alike.

This will add another 13.5 kms to the Casino to Bentley’s 16.3 kms, making it close to a 30 km section.  Along with the Tweed Valley Rail Trail section of 24 kms, this will see close to 54 kms of rail trail developed on the disused Murwillumbah to Casino Branch Line.

Rail Trails Australia wishes to congratulate the Lismore Council on moving this project ahead and joining the Tweed Shire Council and the Richmond Valley Council in progressing this important infrastructure project. Hopefully Byron Council will change its direction so that the dream of the 130 km Northern Rivers Rail Trail will become a reality and take its place as truly one of the great rail trails in the world today.

You can see Kevin Hogan MP’s Facebook announcement here.

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Tiger Rail Trail Feasibility Study Update

In 2014 the Colac Otway Shire completed investigations into the feasibility and construction of the ‘Tiger Rail Trail from Forrest to Birregurra” which would follow the alignment of the former Cape Otway Forrest Railway line which opened in 1891. The railway line route had a number of stations along the journey including Forrest, Yaugher, Gerangamete, Barwon Downs, Murroon, Deans Marsh, Whoorel and Birregurra. The proposed trail’s “Tiger” name comes from the days when trains stopped running between the towns and a converted Dodge sedan, painted black and yellow, ferried passengers instead.

Due to the complexity of establishing an agreed alignment for the proposed ‘Tiger Rail Trail’ and following a detailed analysis of the issues and opportunities for the proposed shared trail, Council determined not to carry out the feasibility study for the originally proposed construction of a rail trail between Forrest and Birregurra, and instead directed that a limited feasibility study for the extension of the existing Forrest shared trail to Barwon Downs be undertaken.

Consultancy firm Transplan Pty Ltd examined the feasibility of extending the existing Forrest shared trail through to Barwon Downs. Due to the private ownership of the former railway alignment and limited support from private landowners for the trail, it was recommended that Council does not undertake any further work in extending the Tiger Rail Trail from Forrest to Barwon Downs. Colac Otway Shire at the time considered the feasibility report and as at October 2021 has no future plans to implement an extension of the trail from the finish of the existing shared path through to Barwon Downs.

The only constructed section of the Tiger Rail Trail (shared trail) is that around the Forrest township which extends 6km north of Forrest, ending just beyond Yaugher Road.

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Boyne Burnett Rail Trail – Opening the Dawes Range Section

The opening of the Dawes Range section of the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail in Central Queensland on 11 September 2021 saw over 400 people gather at Barrimoon Siding, near Kalpowar, to enjoy the beginnings of a great new trail.

This part of the trail extends over thirty-two kilometres from Kalpowar down to Builyan, and is a feature section of the yet to be opened complete trail from Taragoola to Gayndah.

Picture L to R: Mayor Matt Burnett (GRC) Minister Glenn Butcher (Minister for Water, Regional Development & Manufacturing) Mark McLachlan (President of BBIRT) Councillor Desley O’Grady, Mayor Rachel Chambers (NBRC)

The trail has five tunnels in the first 1.6 kilometres from the top of the range at Barrimoon, with the sixth and longest about a further 1.7 kilometres down.

It has wonderful views across some quite wild eucalypt and hoop pine scrub country and features a magnificent steel and concrete bridge along with several wooden bridges. All in all, a world class tourist attraction.

Rail trail development in Queensland is usually done as a joint exercise between the state and local governments. This one has been led by a community organisation, Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail Inc. (BBIRT). Gladstone and North Burnett Regional Councils have provided support and the State has funded the feasibility study, concept design planning and recently matched $80,000 funding from BBIRT for future works.

Australia’s trails are well on the way to being major international tourism attractions which combined with strong domestic touristism will drive economic growth in unlikely places.

The volunteers who put in over one-thousand-man hours in the weeks leading up to the opening and the businesses and individuals who have donated to the project stand proud and happy with the result, especially with the continued usage since the opening.

With the help of the Dept. of Transport and Main Roads, BBIRT now holds a licence to operate a rail trail on this section and we are pushing on with getting the rest open. (Mark McLachlan, president BBIRT).

View from the rail trail near the top of the Dawes Range, between tunnels

 

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Extension proposed for Port Fairy Rail Trail

Moyne Shire has released a draft bicycle strategy for Port Fairy in Victoria’s western district.  The strategy proposes to extend the Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail, so that it continues through Railway Place and towards the port.  Currently the rail trail ends in Regent Street.

Feedback on the strategy can be provided through Moyne Shire’s feedback form.

The Shire is also holding an information session via Zoom on Thursday 16 September at 5.30pm.

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New Rail Trails Australia Website

Rail Trails Australia is proud to announce the launch of our new dynamic website. We have been diligently working on this for a year – we hope you like it.

The new website offers a greatly improved experience on your computer, tablet or mobile phone. You’ll find enhanced rail trail mapping; the extent of our amazing rail trail network is clearly visible now and there is an option to follow your progress as you travel your favourite rail trails.

Look at the features in adjacent image. Note you have to be logged in to access these features (and please make sure you allow www.railtrails.org.au to access your location when prompted by your browser).

You can now manage your account including your paid membership amongst many other benefits.

After 10 years of the old website, there are a few things we need supporters to do on our new website.  Importantly you will need to reset your password the first time you visit the website.

We have put everyone on our old site into the new site and so are sending this email to all of you. We appreciate your understanding about this major change to our systems.

Make the most of our new website to help you enjoy our wonderful rail trails!

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Hardcopy 2021 Rail Trails of Victoria Guidebook is now available again

Rail Trails Australia is very pleased to announce that after 14 years the spiral bound, hardcopy “Rail Trails of Victoria Guidebook” is now once again available.

This 2021 edition is your indispensable guide and companion to Victoria’s 27 rail trails. Written by people who know and love rail trails, it’s all you need for a day trip, a weekend adventure or a week-long expedition exploring trails!

It features

  • Easy-to-follow route notes and maps
  • Information on each railway line’s history
  • Tips to help you plan and enjoy your walk or ride

Since the current print edition of the Rail Trails of Victoria guidebook was published way back in 2007, a few new trails have been opened including:

  • The Port Fairy – Warrnambool Rail Trail
  • The Great Victorian Rail Trail from Tallarook to Mansfield

Significant improvements and extension have been made to existing trails including:

  • The High Country Rail Trail up to Shelley
  • The O’Keefe Rail Trail to Heathcote
  • The Great Southern Rail trail to Welshpool
  • An expanded Gippsland Plains Rail Trail

This Guidebook is a great gift consideration to get more people out enjoying our rail trails. It can be purchased at railtrails.org.au

Proceeds go towards assisting rail trail development.

The 2021 version printable PDF guidebook is also now available to purchase on our website. Select “Rail Trails of Victoria Guide – downloadable electronic pdf” from our online store.

If you have previously purchased the PDF guidebook you may be able to download the new version by logging in to our website and going to “My Account”. This is valid until the 31 August 2021.

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Official Opening of the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail

One of the six tunnels on the new rail trail

The Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail Inc Group are excited to invite you to the Official Opening of the Kalpowar to Builyan section of the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail (BBIRT) on Saturday, 11 September 2021.

This very scenic section through the Dawes Range features six tunnels.

Click HERE for more details regarding the invitation.

Please RSVP to desleyogrady@boyneburnettinlandrailtrail.org.au or 0437 837 148 before 3 September.

This is a significant milestone in the development of a major rail trail in Central Queensland.

Additional information to the RTA website can be found on the BBIRT website or on its Facebook page.

Covid 19 restrictions permitting, the BBIRT Group and Rail Trails Australia hope you can join in the celebrations of the opening of this historic section of the rail trail.

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Wagga Wagga City Council votes to support rail trails

Wagga Wagga City Council voted unanimously on 26 July to give in-principle support for the development of rail trails in the Wagga Wagga area. This positive outcome paves the way for further planning work to take place, including the section of disused line between Wagga Wagga and Ladysmith. The next stage will be community consultation and a detailed report to Council in April 2022.

Rail Trails Australia acknowledges the work of the local advocacy group Wagga Rail Trail over many years in support of the development of the Wagga Wagga to Ladysmith Rail Trail. Wagga Wagga is NSW’s largest inland city, and the construction of the Ladysmith trail would create many new tourism and community benefits across the region.

When built, the Wagga Wagga to Ladysmith rail trail would also link with the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail which has been very successful since opening in April 2020, to make an attractive multi-day tourism experience across the Riverina highlands of NSW. Rail Trails Australia supports the further construction of all rail trail sections on the disused rail line from Ladysmith to Tarcutta and Rosewood.

Forest Hill area of the proposed rail trail
Ladysmith station
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NSW Rail Trails Forum

Rail Trails supporters and representatives from across Australia met in Tumbarumba on 9 April 2021 to discuss how to make faster progress on rail trail development in New South Wales. Over 70 people attended the forum, coming from all parts of NSW and interstate with the lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions. The forum coincided with the official opening of the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail (TRRT) on 10 April, 12 months since its online launch due to Covid-19 restrictions at the time.

The NSW Rail Trails Forum was organised by Dr Dennis Puniard, Vice President of the Molonglo Rail Trail group in collaboration with Rail Trail Australia, with sponsorship from Snowy Valleys Council.

Speakers included Cr James Hayes (Mayor of Snowy Valleys Council), the Hon Justin Clancy (NSW MLA for Albury) and Greg Aplin (former NSW MLA for Albury and a key figure in supporting and approving the TRRT).

Local groups then detailed the construction of the rail trail finishing with Ron Frew from the Tumbarumba Historical Society linking the railway (opened in 1921) to the present day, including conclusive evidence that cycling was as popular then as it is now!

The Forum heard updates from rail trail advocacy groups around NSW, and importantly from Richie Robinson (Manager, Tourism Programs for the NSW Department of Regional NSW) who confirmed that the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail will be evaluated in the next 3-4 months against the economic and community acceptance targets that were set when the project was approved.

2021 04 presentationRTA has complied all the presentation material as lots of valuable information, contacts, and interesting photos. It can be freely downloaded at this link (86MB).

 

 

The Forum was the venue for the launch of our video showcasing business people from Tumbarumba and Rosewood talking about the positive impact that the TRRT has had, including some of the 11 new businesses that have opened in the town in the last 12 months due entirely to the rail trail’s success in attracting visitors and users.

A very successful day which ended with a dinner in the Tumbarumba Bowling Club which was the venue for the Forum.

2021 04 09 094509 NSW Rail Trail Forum Mayor James Hayes
Snowy Valleys Council mayor James Hayes opening the Forum

 

2021 04 09 172613 NSW Rail Trail Forum
Panel discussion ended the Forum: L to R are Tim Coen (RT for NSW), Richie Robinson (Dept of Regional NSW), Owen Fitzgerald (Chairman TRRT), and Damian McCrohan (Rail Trails Australia)

 

 

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