- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Potential Rail Trail
- Other Trail
- Former Railway
- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Potential RT
- Other Trail
- Former Railway
- The 214 km rail line between Queanbeyan, Cooma and Bombala winds through scenic countryside that varies from mountain valleys to the high rolling Monaro plains
- Close to many other rail trails in the region
- Close to Canberra and its 460,000 residents
- Gateway to the NSW Snowy Mountains
- Railway heritage including stations and bridges
- Rail museums at Cooma and Canberra
Last updated: 28 October 2023
This is a possible rail trail only and no sections are open. It is one of 17 potential rail trails in NSW
This trail has enormous potential. The Queanbeyan end will attract locals and Canberrans for day trips to Michelago, where refreshments can be obtained. The next stop would be Bredbo (30 km) and Cooma is a further 35 km. The Nimmitabel and Bombala sections offer rural scenery and facilities for visitors. There is accommodation at Queanbeyan, Cooma and Bombala and cafes/hotels along the way.
Queanbeyan to Tuggeranong (14 km)
Tuggeranong to Michelago (35 km)
Michelago to Colinton Tunnel (20 km)
Colinton Tunnel to Bredbo (10 km)
Bredbo to Chakola (17 km)
Chakola to Cooma (17 km)
Cooma to Coonerang (27 km)
Coonerang to Nimmitabel (12 km)
Nimmitabel to Jincumbilly (37 km)
Jincumbilly to Bombala (25 km)
Queanbeyan where the Bombala line branches off from the Canberra line 
The rail trail will provide a great view of the valley as it winds from Queanbeyan to Royalla .
Royalla station 
The Ingalara Bridge near Michelago 
Michelago station area is well maintained by the community 
Typical scenery between Michelago and Colinton Tunnel 
Looking down from Colinton Tunnel towards Michelago 
The corridor heading down from Colinton Tunnel towards Bredbo 
Old railway ganger sheds are all that remain at Bredbo station 
The impressive Bredbo River bridge [Monaro Rail Trail Inc 2015]
Numeralla River bridges near Chakola 
The scenery between Cooma and Chakola when the heritage rail car was operating in 2009
Cooma station begins just around the bend. 
The Cooma Railway Station area is largely intact with old water tank on the left, sheds and large station building on the right, but not currently accessible to the public 
The corridor as it leaves Cooma for the climb up to Nimmitabel 
The rail line passes through the wide open Monaro between Cooma and Nimmitabel, here around 1000m above sea level 
Nimmitabel railway station is near the crossing of the Great Divide at 1100m above sea level 
Part of the village of Nimmitabel 
The scenery at Maclaughlin is particularly attractive as the corridor winds down the valley from Nimmitabel, and the mystique of a long abandoned abbatoir! 
Descending from Maclaughlin to Holts Flat 
Holts Flat station 
Jincumbilly Station 
Jincumbilly station looking towards Bukalong siding with remains of sheep yards which would have been the majority of outgoing loading [2021
The corridor in the Bukalong Siding Rd area 
Bombala railway station has been well preserved by the community and will be a feature of the rail trail 
The timber overhead pedestrian bridge at Bombala railway station is one of few left in the country. 
Bombala River walk will be the access point for the rail trail at Bombala 
We acknowledge the Ngarigo people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail will be built.
Development and future of the rail trail
A group of locals formed Monaro Rail Trail Inc to work on proposals to use the abandoned rail corridor for a multi-use trail, enabling wider community use by walkers, cyclists and equestrians.
Snowy Monaro Regional Council commissioned a feasibility study of the Trail in 2019.
The Canberra to Port of Eden Rail Feasibility Study, published in 2021, found a return to rail project is not feasible. Snowy Monaro Regional Council has allocated funding for a development plan for southern sections of the rail trail. The Queanbeyan Palarang Council has allocated funding for a development plan for a northern section of the rail trail.
If you are interested, contact us at email@example.com
Rail Line History
The Bombala line extends from near Goulburn in southeast NSW almost to the Victorian border, finishing at Bombala. It travels within a few km of Canberra, then runs to Cooma and Nimmitabel.
Construction of the line began in 1887, reaching Cooma in 1889, and it survived until 1990. The Cooma to Nimmitabel section opened in 1912 and was extended to Bombala in 1921. There is a tunnel at Colinton. From Cooma the line winds through hills to the terminus at Bombala.
This railway was very important and very busy during construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme from the 1950s to 1970s. The Scheme, the largest engineering project so far undertaken in Australia, provided a major source of employment for postwar migrants; 100,000 people worked on the Scheme between 1949 and 1974, two-thirds of them migrants from more than 30 countries.
The Goulburn to Cooma railway line became the lifeline for the Scheme, with passenger trains transporting materials as well as workers and their families to and from Cooma. It was progressively closed past the point where the Canberra line branches off. The Australian Railway Historical Society ACT division had operating rights from Queanbeyan to Michelago, though no trains have run since 2006.
Rail motors which ran between Cooma and Chakola, and the Cooma Monaro Railway operated diesel railcars, known as ‘Tin Hares’ on sections of the line many times a year. While neither now operate, there are rolling stock and/or exhibits at the Historical Society’s Museum behind Canberra station, and at Cooma and Bombala stations.
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