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Box Vale Tramway Trail - Trail Description



Box Vale Tramway Trail

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Type: Tramway trail
Location: Near Mittagong, Southern Highlands, South of Sydney
Start/end: Mittagong to 
Status: Open
Length open: 4.5km
Surface: Compacted earth
Terrain: flat to slight incline
Public transport: Train
Contact Region: Country NSW & ACT
Approaching the tunnel (Feb 2018)
Approaching the tunnel (Feb 2018)
Suitable for walking Suitable for cycling mountain bikes



Visit this former railway line used to transport coal from the Natti Region to the main southern line at Mittagong.


Travelling from the north (Sydney) by road, turn left off the F6 Hume Freeway at  Mittagong (in Southern Highlands some 111 km south of Sydney), drive through the township of Mittagong, bear right along the old Hume Highway in middle of the township, follow it until it crosses the new Hume Freeway at Welby. Turn right almost immediately along a dirt roadway.  After 100 meters bear left at a small roadway entrance marked Box Vale Walking Track or similar. You will now enter a well defined car parking area  at the trail head in what is known as the Mt Alexander Reserve.

Travelling from the south, turn off the F6  Hume Freeway at the Mittagong sign.  This will exit you onto the old Hume Highway at Welby.   Directly opposite this intersection proceed along a dirt road. After 100 meters bear left at a small roadway entrance marked  Box Vale Walking Track or similar. You will now enter a well defined car parking area at the trail head and be in what is known as the Mt Alexander Reserve.

In June 2011 there was no toilet or water provided at this trail head. The Trail commences downhill at a location interprative sign. Take your own water on this journey.

Located in State Forest, the Box Vale track was a narrow gauge tramway created to service a coal mine in Box Vale Creek. The tramway and its bridges are long gone but the cuttings, embankments and an 84m-long tunnel remain. The trail is located in the scenic Nattai River Valley and features cuttings,a tunnel, passes an old dam.

Much of these original railway formations have been overrun by Mother Nature but it remains an easy 4.5km one-way walk or cycle (beware: mountain bikes for experienced users only). The track was constructed for and is best suited for walking. At the end of the track are some picnic tables and a superb lookout over the Nattai River. Return is via the same path. Suitable all seasons but best in spring.

Background Information

The line, of standard gauge, was built in 1888 to carry coal mined in Nattai Gorge the seven klms to the main southern Line at Mittagong. The line passes through several cuttings and a tunnel 84 metres in length. It ends at the "incline", by which coal was brought up from the gorge. The Colliery probably had its heyday in 1888, when 100 tons of coal per week were shipped to Melbourne during a coal strike. The Colliery was closed in 1896 and the tramway (railway) abandoned. The last part of the line was opened as a walking track in 1996. Design and finance were by Nowra Lands Office. The construction was done by wards of the State from Toombong School, the Mount Alexandra Committee and people employed under the Community Employment Programme.


Macarthur Bushwalkers & BUG

June 2009

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1 comment

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11 February , 2015 by cascho

I was on this trail this morning (Wednesday 11th 2015) – firstly it is walking trail for hikers. You can mountain bike it – but the first section to actually get to the tramway is not suited to anyone who isn’t an excellent mountain bike rider with a lot of experience. The trail is actually one of the most interesting rail trails I have been on, because of the cuttings and tunnel you pass through – so far none of the other trails I have done come close to depth of the cuttings and the tunnel. The view at the end is reasonable, but the trail is almost over grown in parts and sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the overgrown trail from the dirt roads where they cross. If you go early morning before anyone else, watch out for spider webs.

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