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Trail Potential

Derwent Valley Rail Trail

Tasmania - South East

4 based on 1 reviews
Location: Derwent Valley, north east of Hobart.
Length: 0 km
Start / End: Westerway to National Park
Public Transport: None
Suitable for:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Potential RT
  • Other Trail
  • Former Railway
Trail Potential
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This proposed rail trail will begin at Westerway, a small town with a primary school, corner shop and several tourist businesses including accommodation and cafes. A successful berry farm has a farmgate shop during summer hours.

Nearby Attractions

This proposed 7km rail trail will traverse the scenic Derwent Valley from the hamlet of Westerway to the gateway of and Mt Field National Park

Last updated: 23 January 2023

This is a potential rail trail, and is not developed or open

The rail trail follows the beautiful Tyenna River and the road, as they wind through the corridor into the World Heritage Area. There are only a couple of road crossings at the National Park end of the trail and for the most part the trail is an uncomplicated and highly accessible path through eucalypt and casurina forests.

At present, the track and sleepers are still in position. This section of the corridor has not been used for up to 20 years, with commercial operations ceasing once the need to cart timber from the valley wound back and transferred to trucks. This section of track has not had any significant maintenance for approximately 40 years.

Do you know of a bike hire or transportation service on this rail trail that should appear here? If so, let us know at admin@railtrails.org.au.

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One review of “Derwent Valley Rail Trail”

I thoroughly support this proposal, but rather than as an end in itself, I believe it should be pursued as stage 1 of a much more ambitious project to connect New Norfolk to National Park using the almost derelict rail corridor. I can see the appeal in reopening the lower section as a tourist train operation, but given the state of the track, I don’t believe this would be feasible. The initial costs would be much higher than converting it to a rail trail, and there would be significant ongoing costs maintaining it to meet safety standards. A rail trail, on the other hand, seems to offer greater benefits for lower cost. An opinion piece I wrote for TAS Times on this topic can be found here: https://tasmaniantimes.com/2021/11/derwent-valley-rail-trail-an-opportunity-overlooked/

Background Information

The branch line up the Derwent Valley reached National Park in 1916 and reached further into the valley at Florentine in 1936.

The line was closed back to New Norfolk in 1995.  The Derwent Valley Railway organisation, based in New Norfolk, used the line further east to Boyer until 2005.

From 2009 Railtrack Riders, based in Maydena, began operating pedal powered rail vehicles in sections between National Park and Florentine

The Derwent Valley Railway organisation is understood to want to reopen the line from Boyer 40km to National Park.

Some community groups believe this entire length is not viable and want to turn the western end into a rail trail which would connect with the Railtrack Riders and a future Derwent Valley Railway.

Rail Trails Australia supports this view and notes examples, particularly in Victoria, where rail trails and heritage railways coexist to the benefit of both.

For examples refer to the Bellarine Rail Trail and the proposed extension of the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail to Yarra Glen.

Derwent Valley Rail Trail Survey

Posted: 12/03/16

(This survey has closed) Tasmania has a very limited number of high standard rail trails.  ...

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