Together we can remove the barriers to rail trails in NSW



The problem

Bike riders are missing out on rail trails to ride in NSW due to government inaction on legislation and local landholder opposition.

Currently, rail trails in NSW are limited to a few short trails in the Blue Mountains and Newcastle.  

  • Many railway lines in NSW are unused and unmaintained – some have been closed since the 1960s. The overwhelming majority of these railway lines will never be used again.

  • Unlike other Australian states, these railway corridors remain unused because an act of NSW parliament is required officially close the line and transform it into a rail trail. 

  • Businesses and local communities are missing out on the tourism and economic benefits rail trails can deliver. 
  • In some cases, opposition from adjacent landowner has put a halt to progress. 

With gentle gradients and lovely views, rail trails are ideal for families and occasional bike riders.

As a result, rail trails are popular tourist attractions and local economies develop around rail trails to service visitors. They also provide a unique healthy space for physical activity connecting regional communities. 

Campaign timeline

Launch of Rail Trails for NSW

State government allocates $110 million for new tourism infrastructure for Regional NSW, in a move that was expected to kick-start the development of rail trails in the state.

Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner, stated one of the first projects likely to be funded is the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

More than 100 angry locals showed up when the rail trail project had a launch at Tumut recently. Farmers in the southern New South Wales region have claimed that bikes will spread footrot through the Gilmore Valley once the new Tumut-Batlow Rail Trail is built, despite that the infection is spread from sheep to sheep.

The construction of NSW’s first rail trail – from Tumbarumba to Rosewood – could begin in 2016, says the NSW government.

Bicycle Network joins the push to transform the disused Cowra to Blayney rail line into a tourism boosting, recreational rail trail.

New South Wales seems finally on track to get its first lengthy rail trail with legislation passed in the NSW Legislative Council allowing access to 21 kilometres of disused, public-owned rail line from Tumbarumba to Rosewood in Southern NSW. 

The line will form part of the first section of the proposed 160 kilometre-long Riverina Highlands Rail Trail.

NSW Government announces a commitment to construct of a section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail between Murwillumbah and Crabbes Creek.

The project requires further community consultation before legislation can be introduced to parliament.

$13 million is committed by federal and state government to form a part of the trail from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek.

At the NSW State election, Bicycle Network called for parties to commit to amending the legislation which would remove barriers to rail trails and establish an annual Rail Trail Fund to support development and construction.

Labor released it’s plan for active transport which included rail trails as part of the development of cycling tourism. 

As part of the Federal Election, both Labor and The Nationals made election commitments to provide funding for a section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail in New South Wales. Read more >

Legislation passed NSW parliament allowing the official closure of the rail line between Casino and Bentley and between Crabbes Creek and Condong.

Vegetation clearing work begun on a section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek, allowing a construction tender process to begin.

The solution

Pass a one-off and all-encompassing Rail Trails Act. 

Bicycle Network has joined forces with Rail Trails For NSW and Rail Trails Australia to make rail trails a reality for the millions of NSW residents who want to have their own healthy places to ride and tourism success stories. 

Once a Rail Trails Act has been achieved, the NSW Government needs to develop a Rail Trails Strategy and establish a permanent rail trail funding program for the state so that construction can begin on priority proposals. 

Latest news

Northern Rivers Rail Trail ready for tender

New South Wales state government funding has allowed preliminary work and a tender process for the Northern Rivers Rail Trail to begin.

Northern River Rail Trail one step closer

A new rail trail in NSW is one step closer after legislation passed last week in the Lower House for the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

NSW rail trails gather momentum

New South Wales rail trails are on the move with four new regional trails ramping up their efforts for funding, planning and construction.

New hope for rail trails in regional NSW

Bush fire affected communities in regional NSW could receive a tourism boost if rail trail projects are included as part of the recovery efforts.

Biking and hiking trails deliver massive benefits

Following the big burn across the nation, further evidence has emerged to support the case for a strong investment pipeline for new trails across Australia.

Monaro Rail Trail feasibility study up for comment

A proposed rail trail between Queanbeyan and Bombala in NSW has the potential to inject more than $24 million in tourism dollars into the local...

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