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What are Rail Trails?

Rail trails built on disused or abandoned rail corridors offer people of all ages a uniquely quiet, safe and easily graded path to enjoy. By opening up these corridors, visitors and residents alike can enjoy some of the most scenic regional areas in NSW while also learning of the important history of these areas and the rail lines that contributed to the development of this nation. They also act as conservation corridors.

Where are they?

Rail trails have been successfully developed in all other states of Australia and are well established in Europe and America. Victoria has over 800km of high standard rail trails.

Who uses them?

Locals use rail trails the most: to walk the dog or as a safe and pleasant ride with the kids. Visitors come: about 40,000 people visit north east Victoria’s rail trails each year, and each visitor spends on average $244 a day according to a La Trobe University study.

How do they protect rail corridors?

Some of the unused rail corridors in NSW have already been cut by freeways and other developments; all are generally neglected and undervalued. Rail trails will protect these corridors, making them highly valued assets of the communities they pass through. Rail trails keep corridors intact for the public use and available for future transport needs.

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Walking and riding in safety while enjoying the regional towns and beautiful countryside of New South Wales: rail trails offer this possibility ... but are mostly a dream at the moment on NSW’s many disused government rail corridors.

NSW is missing out

All the images on this page are from rail trails on government rail corridors in other states.

The people and regional businesses of NSW are missing out on the economic and health benefits that rail trails can deliver.

Overseas and in all other states of Australia rail trails attract both local and widespread use, help bind communities and are destinations for tourists.

Why so few rail trails in NSW?

Until April 2020 there have been no true rail trails on NSW government corridors primarily due to complex issues unique to NSW, including the requirement for an Act of Parliament to enable a rail trail to be constructed.  At times there have been concerns from some adjacent landholders, concerns addressed or unfounded on established interstate rail trails.

The Fernleigh Track Rail Trail, on a former Newcastle private coal line, is a popular local resource and convincingly demonstrates that the people of NSW will enthusiastically adopt and use rail trails in NSW.

The Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail (21km) opened in April 2020 and is part of the proposed Riverina Highlands Rail Trail, the first pilot rail trail to prove they will be a success.

Short term goal: let’s get started

The current situation is summarised in our NSW Rail Trails map.

NSW 2020 v3 web

Feasibility studies undertaken for rail trails in several areas already provide convincing arguments for the benefits trails will bring. The NSW government has promised to establish two other pilot rail trails to conclusively demonstrate the benefits of regional rail trails here in NSW. However progress is still very slow.

Northern Rivers Rail Trail (132km)

This is between Casino and Murwillumbah in Northern NSW. Construction of 23km between Murwillumbah and Crabbs Creek will hopefully commence in 2020 with an opening of the trail in 2021. Despite $15m in funding the government has still not passed legislation to enable construction. The 13.4km Casino to Bentley section is Stage 2 of the project and has received Federal funding of $7.5m.

New England Rail Trail (210km)

Stage 1 from Black Mountain to Ben Lomond, a distance of 34km, is in the early stages of development.

Not needing legislation but government support is:

Richmond Vale Rail Trail (28km)

Former colliery rail line connecting Newcastle to lower Hunter wineries. This is still under development.

There are several other rail trail proposals that are in the advanced stage of planning but lacking NSW government support.

Show support for rail trails

Given that some work has already commenced, please write to your local state member and ask for rail trails to be established throughout NSW.

You can find NSW parliamentarians’ contact details here

The Ministers to contact are:

Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Minister for Tourism, Stuart Ayres, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Minister for Regional Development, John Barilaro, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Shadow ministers to contact are:

Mick Veitch MLC, Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, who introduced the rail trails bill, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Make sure you are registered to receive our news emails to receive notice of specific activities.

More information

See descriptions of the the many potential trails around New South Wales.


The Rail Trails for NSW team is also dedicated to getting rail trails established in NSW. Also refer to their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/railtrailsnsw

NSW logo RTforNSW

 

NSW V13-120 Lilydale Maroondah Hwy Bridge 2011-08 DSC 0625 FAMILY

NSW V13-288 Killara 2008-04 5169 HORSE

NSW V41-407 Porepunkah Rail Trail Cafe 2012-06 ECONOMY P1030230

NSW V63-359 Dinmont 2011-11 5340