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Glenreagh to Dorrigo Rail Trail

NSW country and ACT

Location: 570 km North of Sydney
Length: 0 km
Surface: Disused railway line
Start / End: Glenreagh to Dorrigo
Public Transport: Bus
Suitable for:
  • NOT YET OPENNOT YET OPEN

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Potential RT
  • Other Trail
  • Former Railway
Trail Potential
View Map
  • Spectacular mountain scenery
  • Dorrigo has many attractions including beautiful public gardens
  • Close to Coffs Harbour and Grafton
  • Accommodation and refreshment options in Dorrigo

Nearby Attractions

  • Dorrigo National Park
  • Spectacular mountain views from various lookouts
  • Dangar Falls, Dorrigo
  • Dorrigo Rainforest Centre including Skywalk Lookout
  • Annual three-day Dorrigo folk and bluegrass festival
  • Coffs Coast nearby

 

Last updated: 12 May 2024

Note: This trail has not been developed and is not open to the public as yet.

In 2023, Tallowood Ventures Ltd, a not-for-profit registered charity,  took over the lower section, (Glenreagh to Ulong), from the “Glenreagh Mountain Railway”, and renamed the corridor “Tallowood Mountain Rail Trail” to reflect the timber history of the area. This organisation is currently clearing sections of the line between Glenreagh and Ulong. restoring the infrastructure, including the steam engine, 1919,  and surveying the complete route to be re-used as a rail trail.

This group is currently looking for both donations and volunteers to help make this rail trail a reality.

If you are able to help, Contact Karen@tallowoodventures.com

For further information on the current development of the rail trail between Glenreagh and Ulong, check out the website, contact Tallowood Ventures Ltd at email: info@tallowoodventures.com or follow them on Facebook

Section Guides

Glenreagh to Lowanna (32 km)

 

Lowanna to Dorrigo (37 km)

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Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Gumbaynggir people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail will be built.

Development and future of the rail trail

In 2023. Tallowood Ventures Ltd, a not-for-profit registered charity,  took over the lower section, (Glenreagh to Ulong), from the “Glenreagh Mountain Railway”, and renamed the corridor “Tallowood Mountain Rail Trail” to reflect the timber history of the area. This organisation is currently clearing sections of the line between Glenreagh and Ulong. restoring the infrastructure, including the steam engine, 1919,  and surveying the complete route to be re-used as a rail trail.

The upper half of the line from Ulong to Dorrigo is managed by the Dorrigo Steam Railway and Museum. This group (whose museum is not open to the public) formerly had plans to run services on the top half of the line.

Rail line history 

This 69 km railway corridor is a spur line through bushland between Dorrigo and Glenreagh, on the North Coast  Railway Line. The line features two tunnels and many bridges. It is uphill from Glenreagh to Dorrigo, a real challenge for steam engine drivers. The line promises spectacular views as you gain altitude toward the Dorrigo Plateau.

Dorrigo station and yard are currently used to store Dorrigo Steam Railway and Museum’s large rolling stock collection. The station has not yet been restored. An impressive viaduct bridge remains about 1 km from Dorrigo and all the railway crossing signposting remains on the road as it criss-crosses the line.

The station at Glenreagh is overgrown and the buildings are in poor condition. The water tank was destroyed by fire, and there remains  some decaying rolling stock.

Glenreagh Mountain Railway built a shed to preserve the 1919 steam engine, a diesel engine and carriages. This infrastructure has been transferred to Tallowood Ventures in 2023 who have been working to restore the engine, and have plans in the future to restore the carriages.

The Dorrigo branch branches off the North Coast Line at Glenreagh, and climbs to the Dorrigo Plateau.

Due to the steep terrain, it was decided to build a railway to allow products to be brought to nearby port towns. Several routes were surveyed, with the route from Glenreagh eventually chosen. The line climbs 664 m over 69km.

The steep terrain and high rainfall made construction and maintenance difficult. Due to the tight curves, a check rail was employed in numerous places. Two tunnels and many bridges were required.

Apart from the end points of Dorrigo and Glenreagh, the stations on this line were very small, often consisting of a short platform with a small shelter. The major traffic on this line was timber.

The line was unprofitable for much of its life and when several washaways occurred in 1972, it was decided to suspend services rather than to repair the damage.

 

 

 

Donations and volunteers sought for progressing the Glenreagh to Dorrigo Rail Trail

Posted: 10/05/24

The newly formed “Tallowwood Mountain Rail Trail” group has been busy in recent months, endeavouring ...

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