New England Rail Trail back on track

The proposed New England Rail Trail through northern New South Wales is again moving forward, after the local council walked back plans to delay construction.

The Armidale Regional Council voted in early May to put off construction of the rail trail’s first stage.

Running from Armidale Railway Station to Dumaresq Railway Station, this leg would form the first section of the proposed 103km New England Rail Trail along the ridgeline of the New England Ranges.

The Armidale Regional Council was awarded $5.41 million through the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery fund for the project.

At a council meeting on 24 April, however, a motion to move ahead with the works was voted down.

An amended motion was carried to delay commencement until a comprehensive report was delivered on “the total costs to council for the running and maintenance of both the Armidale Railway Station to Dumaresq Trailhead section and the full New England Rail Trail project".

Local supporters and advocates leapt into action, launching a petition calling on the Armidale Regional Council to press ahead with construction using the money secured through the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery.

At an extraordinary council meeting on 13 May, council voted to rescind the earlier resolution and move ahead with the project as planned.

The proposed New England Rail Trail will follow the disused Great Northern Rail Line Corridor, and is projected to attract 15,000 day visits and 14,000 overnight stays to the region each year, and generate around $5.8 million for the local economy.

Check out the fact sheet for more information here.

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