What are Rail Trails?
Rail trails are shared-use paths recycled from abandoned railway corridors. They can be used for walking, cycling and horse riding.
Rail trails built on disused or abandoned rail corridors offer people of all ages a uniquely quiet, safe and easily graded path to enjoy. By opening up these corridors, visitors and residents alike can enjoy some of the most scenic regional areas in NSW while also learning of the important history of these areas and the rail lines that contributed to the development of this nation. They also act as conservation corridors.
Remnants of the railway line such as old cuttings and bridges remain to add to the experience of using the rail trail. Wineries and other attractions are near many rail trails as well as B&Bs and other great places to stay.
Where are they?
Rail trails have been successfully developed in all other states of Australia and are well established in New Zealand, Europe and America. Victoria has over 800km of high standard rail trails.
Who uses them?
Locals use rail trails the most, to walk the dog or as a safe and pleasant ride with the kids. Visitors come, about 40,000 people visit north east Victoria’s rail trails each year, and each visitor spends on average $244 a day according to a La Trobe University study.
What are they like?
Most trails have a gravel or dirt surface suitable for walking, mountain bikes and horses. Some are sealed and are great for touring bikes too.
Following the route of the railways, they cut through hills, under roads, over embankments and across gullies and creeks. Apart from being great places to walk, cycle or horse ride, rail trails are linear conservation corridors protecting native plants and animals. They often link remnant vegetation in farming areas and contain valuable flora and fauna habitat. Wineries and other attractions are near many trails as well as B&B’s and other great places to stay.
Are the rails still there?
The rails are usually removed when a railway is closed, but remnants of the past such as railway cuttings and bridges still remain.
How do they protect rail corridors?
Some of the unused rail corridors in NSW have already been cut by freeways and other developments; all are generally neglected and undervalued. Rail trails will protect these corridors, making them highly valued assets of the communities they pass through. Rail trails keep corridors intact for the public use and available for future transport needs.
In many ways rail trails are like exotic versions of our Greenways in Wamboin and Bywong that have been managed by the community for over 22 years at almost zero cost to Council.