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Trail Partially open

Pioneer Valley Rail Trail

Queensland - Central

Location: Gargett to Benholme - 50km west of Mackay
Length: 8.5 km
Surface: Coarse gravel
Start / End: Gargett to Benholme
Public Transport: None
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • WalkingWalking

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Potential RT
  • Other Trail
  • Former Railway
Trail Partially open
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The Pioneer Valley Rail Trail will be used for Walking, Cycling and Horse Riding.
The stage 1 trail head is situated in Gargett in the upper Pioneer Valley, west of Mackay, Qld

Last updated: 17 July 2024

Access Points

  • Gargett
  • Benholme

Section Guides

Gargett to Benholme (8.5km)

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Background Information

In 1881, a proposal was put to construct a line to Eton from Mackay via Homebush across to the hollows (present Mirani) and towards Mt. Dalrymple returning via the North Side plantations to Mackay.

Permanent survey of the railway was completed in May 1883 although resumptions of land took another year due to earlier inaccuracies in earlier surveys.

Tenders were called for the erection of a 22 1/2 mile line from Mackay to Eton via Newbury with a 7 1/2 mile branch to Hamilton (Mirani), a total of exactly 30 miles. The tender was given to George Bashford and sons.

Work began on 14 November 1883 and the first sod was officially turned on 20 December 1883.

No heavy earthworks or large bridges were required the largest bridge being of seven 14 feet spans between the wharf and the station at Mackay.

The Mackay Railway was not completed and opened until 10 August 1885, when it was opened quietly with no ceremony, in contrast to the first sod celebrations.

Further representations from Sugar farmers saw the Pioneer Shire Council guaranteeing to build a line from the terminus at Mirani West to McGregor Creek.  Another extension to Cattle Creek was opened for traffic on 7 July 1902.  The terminus was named Pinnacle.  The farmers continued to move westwards opening up land and soon the local farmers were wanting the line extended again.

The new extension to Finch Hatton was opened on 21 September 1904.  The success of the railway led to the development and opening of the Cattle Creek Sugar Mill in 1906.

The line from Finch Hatton was extended to Eungella Range and opened on 31 July 1911.  Eungella Range was renamed Netherdale in 1913

With the closure of the Cattle Creek Mill in 1990 saw the demise of the line from Marian to Netherdale.  Mackay Sugar purchased the line from Queensland Rail and most of the line was ripped up although small sections were used for the Company’s 2 foot gauge line.

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