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Riverina Highlands (Tumbarumba to Rosewood) Rail Trail - Trail Description



Riverina Highlands (Tumbarumba to Rosewood) Rail Trail

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Type: Rail trail
Location: Wagga Wagga, Southern NSW, 420km from Sydney. Stage 1: Tumbarumba to Rosewood will open on 3 April 2020.
Start/end: Wagga Wagga to Tumbarumba
Status: Possible
Length open: 0km
Terrain: flat to slight incline
Best seasons: spring, summer and autumn
Features: tourist
Contact Region: Country NSW & ACT
Typical scenery on the rail trail between Rosewood and Tumbarumba (Tumbarumba Rail Trail Committee 2020)
Typical scenery on the rail trail between Rosewood and Tumbarumba (Tumbarumba Rail Trail Committee 2020)
Not yet open



THESE TRAILS ARE NOT YET OPEN -  Stage 1 will open on 3 April 2020. Details below. 

This rail trail, stage 1 of which is now almost completed, will provide a wide range of uses and scenery and eventually be 160km in length. 

It will range from the urban environment of NSW's largest inland city of Wagga Wagga, running from there through rich undulating farmland and up to the sub-alpine towns of Tumbarumba and Batlow.

Construction is well advanced on stage 1 from Tumbarumba to Rosewood. This section will be formally opened on 3 April 2020, with a full day of celebrations planned on 4 April 2020. This is NSW's first rail trail on a government-owned rail corridor, and its opening is regarded as a landmark event for rail trail development in NSW. 

For more details of the opening days' programs, please refer to the Snowy Valleys Council website:  Tumbarumba Opening


At this stage, the Riverina Highlands Rail Trails will actually consist of three separate sections.

  • Tumbarumba to Rosewood (21km) - Stage 1
  • Wagga Wagga to Ladysmith (21km)
  • Tumut to Batlow (32km).

The efforts to establish a rail trail on this long disused government corridor are detailed in Background Information below.

First Stage

Construction started in April 2019 for the 21km Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail.

The Friends of the Rail Trail Group and local history group are well prepared with interpretive signs already manufactured and work going on with adjacent facilities.

Tumbarumba is a small town but has quite a few facilities for visitors, including several cafes. A "Pump Track" has just been constructed which is popular with younger riders.

Rosewood is a small village with a general store.

Background Information

Wagga Wagga to Tumbarumba

This scenic railway branched from the Main South Line at Wagga Wagga, and passes through Tarcutta to the township of Tumbarumba, rising to 800m above sea level. It opened in stages from 1917 to 1921.  Operation beyond Ladysmith ceased in 1974 after significant flooding and all operations ceased in 1987.

Being NSW, services are suspended; most of the line is not officially closed (which requires an Act of Parliament) but 45 years on little infrastructure remains.  The line has been cut by construction of a RAAF base at Forest Hill, near Wagga Wagga, and the Hume Freeway at Tarcutta.  In addition significant sections of track and other infrastructure have been illegally removed.

The only stations remaining on the line are at Ladysmith (which is maintained by the Tumba Rail historical group) and Borambola.

We believe that experience in other states and overseas has shown that the best way to protect the integrity of a disused rail corridor is to once again have it valued by the community, and rail trails are a wonderful way of doing this.

Tumut to Batlow

Tumut is a major regional town on the Tumut River and was connected to the Main South Line at Cootamundra in 1903. It was closed in 1984.  Refer to the Murrumbidgee Rail Trail Proposal.

The line to the famous apple growing area of Batlow actually diverges off the Tumut branch line at Gilmore then climes up throught the very picturesque Gilmore Valley to Batlow. It opened in 1923 and closed in 1984.  It has similar circumstances to the Tumbarumba line though is more intact.  The only station remaining is at Tumut, which is well maintained, near the visitor information centre.

Rail Trail Development History

The Riverina Highlands Rail Trails Steering Committee was formed in 2004 under the Riverina Regional Development Board to promote the development of two rail trails. In June 2006 the Board adopted the recommendations of the feasibility study to construct the rail trails.

Extensive consultation with local communities saw concerns from some but generally great support for the proposals.  All the four Shire Councils involved also expressed support along with the NSW Lands and Transport Ministry.

Development looked close to starting in 2009 with $220,000 of federal government funding but legislation to close the line did not get passed.

in 2012, the Riverina Higlands Rail Trail group was formed to continue the process of getting this rail trail established.

Given the reservations about constructing rail trails in NSW, Rail Trails Australia suggested the establishment of one or two shorter "pilot" rail trails.  These could verify the benefits of a rail trail on a long disused government branch line, something all the other states in Australia and many other countries take for granted.

The Tumbarumba to Rosewood sub--committee was formed in 2013 following significant community support which led to the support of the then Tumbarumba Shire Council.

This resulted in support from the new state government and finally in June 2017 the Tumbarumba to Rosewood section of the railway was officially closed! Former local MP Greg Aplin was instrumental in obtaining $5.7m in funding to construct this pilot rail trail.

"Wagga Rail Trail Inc" are working towards the development of a rail trail between Wagga Wagga and Ladysmith, a distance of approx 21km.  It is envisaged that this section would become a well used commuter path between the city centre and Forest Hill, approx 10km from Wagga Wagga once the pilot rail trail is proven.


Snowy Valleys Council

Is responsible for the construction and management of the first section from Tumbarumba to Rosewood.

Download a map and gradient profile of the rail trail (5MB).

Riverina Highlands Rail Trail Inc

Tumbarumba to Rosweood Rail Trail Steering Group

Wagga Wagga to Ladysmith

Tumba Rail, who have plans to operate rail trolleys at Ladysmith.

For further information on the situation in NSW click HERE.

February 2020

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1 comment

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03 February , 2020 by wow01

Stage 1 of this trail, from Tumbarumba to Rosewood, is set to open on 3 April 2020. This will be the first rail trail in NSW constructed on abandoned ex-government tracks. Look out for Jolly Berries, 247 Tumbarumba Road, adjacent to the trail! Excellent blueberries.

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Cancelled - Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail Opening 3rd April

(Posted: 04/03/20)

Be part of history at the opening of NSW's first rail trail on a government corridor. 


Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail Still on Track

(Posted: 06/02/20)

The Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail is still on track to be completed in time for the official opening on Friday 3 April this year, despite the horrendous bush fires that raced through the district.


Construction Starts on NSW's Tumbarumba Rail Trail

(Posted: 25/04/19)

The rail trail from Tumbarumba to Rosewood will be the first one in NSW on the formation of a former government railway


Federal Government Reaffirms Support for Riverina Highlands Rail Trail

(Posted: 29/04/09)

The Member for Eden Monaro, Mike Kelly says the Federal Government is keeping a promise by spending $220,000 for stage one of this rail trail.


Riverina Highlands Rail Trail (NSW) a step closer

(Posted: 18/07/06)

The Riverina Regional Development Board has adopted the recommendations of a feasibility study to proceed with the rail trail. More...

Riverina Highlands Rail Trail (Southern NSW) Feasiblity Study starts

(Posted: 01/02/06)

Funding has been announced for the study and public meetings are to take place in March 2006.


Riverina Highlands Rail Trail Feasibility Study EOI

(Posted: 14/08/05)

Expressions of Interest in the conduct of a Feasibility Study to address the feasibility of utilising former railway corridors from Tumut to Batlow and Wagga Wagga to Tumbaruba for rail trails are being sought. More...