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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:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Potential Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • Former Railway
  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Potential RT
  • Other Trail
  • Former Railway
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: 21 November 2022

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

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 and signal frame survive, along with some decaying rolling stock.

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

As of June 2021 there is no active committee trying to lobby for the construction of a rail trail on this disused corridor.  Rail Trails Australia views this as a viable potential rail trail.  However the whole railway corridor is now privately owned, and the future of a rail trail is uncertain at this stage.

If you are interested, contact us at nsw@railtrails.org.au

Rail line history 

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.

Two preservation groups have taken over the line. The Glenreagh Mountain Railway has taken over the lower section, from Glenreagh to Ulong. The organisation was restoring the infrastructure and re-sleepering the line with the aim of introducing tourist services using rail trikes and their steam locomotive, No 1919.

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.

Trail descriptions are maintained by volunteers. Please consider a donation to help improve this website. Rail Trails Australia gets no government funding.

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New England Rail Trail

480 km North of Sydney


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