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Monaro Rail Trail - Trail Description



Monaro Rail Trail

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Type: Rail trail
Location: Hinterland of the Snowy Mountains Cooma region
Start/end: Cooma/Bombala to Cooma/Queenbeyan
Status: Possible
Length open: 0km
Contact Region: Country NSW & ACT
Michelago Station (Oct 2015)
Michelago Station (Oct 2015)
Not yet open



This is a possible rail trail only and no sections are open.  It is one of 17 potential rail trails in NSW

The 214 kilometre rail line between Queanbeyan, Cooma and Bombala winds its way through some scenic countryside that varies from the rolling Monaro plain to hilly.

The Australian Railway Historical Society (ACT Division) once had operating rights from Queanbeyan to Michelago, though no trains have run since 2006. The Cooma Monaro Railway has rail motors which it ran between Cooma and Chakola.

A group of locals formed Monaro Rail Trail Inc to work on proposals to use the abandoned rail corridor for a multi-use trail, enabling wider community use by walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. 

An updated Monaro Rail Trail Feasibility Study was published in October 2019. 


Background Information

The Bombala line extends from near Goulburn in the south-east of NSW south almost to the Victorian border, finishing at the town of Bombala. On the way, it travels within a few km of the national capital Canberra, and then on to Cooma and Nimmitabel.

Construction of the line commenced over a hundred years ago, and it survived intact until 1990. The Cooma to Nimmitabel section was opened in 1912, and was extended to Bombala in 1921. There is a tunnel at Colinton. From Cooma onwards the territory becomes very hilly, and the line winds its way through the hills to the terminus at Bombala.

It was progressively closed down to a point where the Canberra line branches off. The Australian Railway Historic Society, ACT division and the Cooma Monaro Railway used to operate diesel railcars, known as ‘Tin Hares’ on sections of the line many times a year. While neither operate on the line now, there are rolling stock and/or exhibits to see at the Historical Society’s Museum behind Canberra railway station, and at the Cooma and Bombala railway stations.

Re-opening of the line has been proposed a few times, but a number of bridges and railway crossings would need to be re-instated first. A feasibility study of a Canberra to Eden railway line is being conducted by the NSW State government. The results of the study were due in June 2019, but to date (March 2020) no information is available. 


For further information  you can contact the 'Monaro Rail Trail Inc' on monarorailtrail@gmail,com

See also: 

Pedal Power ACT

Cooma Monaro Railway

The Monaro Rail Trail Project Website

March 2020

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05 January , 2020 by Louise

This has enormous potential and, if started at the Queanbeyan end, will get immediate usage from a large capital city population centre. The distances between Queanbeyan and Michelago is ideal for an out and back trip, with refreshments at Michelago. The next stop would be Bredbo (30 km) and a further 35 km to Cooma. It will be a big task, but will result in a wonderful asset and tourism feature for the area.

26 August , 2017 by peterb666

Hope this becomes a reality - at the moment, farmers have fenced over the permanent way which should never have been permitted. Very little of the rail corridor is currently accessible.

16 June , 2016 by horobin

Find us on Facebook. Friends of Monaro Rail Trail has an active FB page with 15 videos. Most are interviews of local landholders with properties through which the trail will pass. richard.

21 November , 2015 by Macca 1

railway trail for the Monaro should be view as a resource for job creation for the Monaro people both young and old Monaro rail trail does have unique landscape with biggest colourful sunsets anywhere in the world. why not share it with the world?

09 November , 2015 by Jenny

Would like to see more information about the consultative process with landowners adjoining the railway line, particularly in the Cooma area of this proposed trail. To allow it to be used as public road will affect landowners adjacent to the trail.

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