- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Possible Rail Trail
- Other Trail
- former Railway
- A mix of farmland and forest scenery alongside easy gradients of trail
- Numerous rail bridges across creeks, rivers and floodplains
- Two historic railway stations (Bowelling and Darkan)
- Wildflower blooms, particularly in late spring
- An overnight camping option at Bowelling Station, with a water tank and bench provided.
- Museum display at Bowelling Station outlining the history of both the Collie-Narrogin Railway and the Collie-Darkan Rail Trail
- Interpretative signage that provides information about the area’s railway history
Shotts River Rd to Dardadine
The trail’s current western trailhead is located at the corner of Shotts River Rd and Coalfields Hwy, and head south along Shotts River Rd to reach Buckingham Siding. From Buckingham Siding, the trail runs parallel to the remnants of the old line before more faithfully following the old rail corridor from Muja siding onwards as it passes alongside idyllic farmland. From Muja, the line remains largely parallel to Coalfields Hwy almost the entire way to Bowelling. East of Cowcher, the trail diverges from the highway as it crosses a large floodplain over Cowcher Bridge and then crosses Coalfields Hwy twice before reaching Bowelling station, which doubles as a museum and overnight stop.
From Bowelling, the trail continues alongside Coalfields Hwy to Darkan and features a higher percentage of forested scenery, as well as a series of smaller rail bridges. Reaching Darkan, the trailhead is located before Darkan’s main park, however the trail continues through the park to the old Darkan railway station. From Darkan Station, the trail extends onwards to Dardadine, stopping short of the location of Dardadine Siding
We acknowledge the Kaniyang and Wiilman people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is constructed.
Development and future of the rail trail
The old rail form between the current western trailhead and Collie is currently the site of a major open cut coal mine. It is the intention that the trail will be extended through to Collie once mine operations cease, or that a cycle trail along Coalfields Hwy will be provided to provide a continuous trail between Collie and Darkan. East of Dardadine, there is also potential to extend the rail trail through to Williams and Narrogin.
Additionally, the Shire of West Arthur has identified the long-term potential of another rail trail between Bowelling and Duranillin and a spur trail to Hillman Nature Reserve.
Rail line history
Construction of the Collie-Narrogin Railway began in 1904 from Narrogin, with construction from Collie commencing two years later. The line was opened from Narrogin to Darkan in September 1906, with the whole line to Collie completed and operational by October 1908.
The line was primary used to transport timber, farm produce, livestock and grain, and also provided a passenger service before cars made the service redundant. The line operated through to 1979, with the railway sleepers removed in the early 1990s.
The Friends of Collie to Darkan Rail Trail Group was formed in 1999 to promote the creation of the trail. Construction of the trail between Buckingham and Darkan began in 2002 and opened in October 2005. It was extended from Darkan to Dardadine in 2017.
Buckingham Totem Marker. Geoff Bunce.
Horse and sulky near Cowcher bridge
Graded section near Darkan. Geoff Bunce.
Bowelling Station is planned as an overnight rest area for trail users
Farmland between Bowelling and Darkan
Cycling the trail just east of Bowelling
Darkan trail head. Geoff Bunce.
No services listed for this rail trail.