Just in case you didn’t know, the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail is set to be the next BIG thing in cycling in NSW. I kid you not!!
You heard it here first!
In fact I’ve been bleating on about this Rail Trail project for years, maybe you just haven’t heard me. For fun I did a search on the term ‘rail trail’ on my blog and even I was surprised at the number of times I’ve posted about it!
What is a Rail Trail?
Rail trails are shared paths on abandoned/disused railway corridors. They are still publicly owned tracts of land despite being abandoned by the transport industry many years ago. The tracks are usually removed and replaced with road base, gravel or a sealed surface, so that the smooth gradient facilitated by the embankments, bridges and tunnels can be used by cyclists and walkers of all ages and abilities.
They are used in other states and around the world for safe walking and riding, by people in wheelchairs, or those pushing a pram. The easy gradients, with no steep hills, and the gentle curves designed for trains, work well.
Rail trails are scenic, usually very quiet and safe because of the great visibility ahead and behind and due to a lack of sharp bends and blind corners. No motorised transport (apart from mobility scooters and occasional maintenance and emergency vehicles) are permitted to use the trails.
A short history of my posts on the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail
Back in December 2013 I wrote this passionate post about how I was disappointed and offended after attending a community meeting – Riding along on my pushbike This must be one of my only posts that doesn’t have any photos – and although I could go back and fix that, I’m not keen to, as my words were the most important thing to me at the time. The project had already been underway for many years before this time.
In 2014 we attended Parliament House with other Rail Trail enthusiasts to Launch Rail Trails for NSW and I even bought an appropriate dress to wear – that’s me looking absurdly smiley, with the bike on my dress!! I’m sure Gladys (then transport minister, now Premier) was impressed 🙂
In November 2015 I wrote this one featuring a dumped refrigerator, as opponents to the Rail Trail had commented in a public meeting, that the number of fridges and TVs that would be found dumped along the trail would increase. Fridge anyone?
Because we all manage to cycle with a fridge on our bikes ready to dump in an out of the way spot 🙂 Yeah right!
In September 2016 I wrote about our ongoing quest for a Rail Trail in this post The Quest for a Rail Trail, although it had been approved and funded by this time, not much was happening!
Then in June 2017 I wrote about the transient nature of transport – alluding to how trains had fallen by the wayside and change should be embraced. How the transient nature of transport has turned and this post held some good news that the necessary legislation had passed.
Well I can finally write that, as of yesterday, the required legislation was passed in NSW Parliament to officially close the railway line and the project can now be started. The funding was given to the local council a few years ago and this last act of parliament was what was required to move things to the next level. Oh happy days!Deb’s World 2017
In May 2018 we had great news with the last hurdle overcome, actually changing the legislation and transferring the corridor from Transport NSW to Crown Lands and to Snowy Valleys Council so that work could finally begin. It looked unlikely until today, with construction able to start anytime soon.
This was the last hurdle before we could start work to deliver a vibrant, revitalised corridor with great tourism and recreation benefits.Official Press release from Greg Aplin May 4 2018
“The Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail will give locals a new space to enjoy and encourage new visitors to the area.
It’s finally happening NOW!!!!
It’s now March 2019 and guess what? Construction finally started a few days ago and I couldn’t be happier. Although I’ll probably be even happier when we can actually ride on the rail trail!! Not much longer to wait, it’s only been years to get to this point 🙂
Here’s a sneak peek from Phil Stone and his drone, taken on Tuesday 26 March 2019. This is just a small section of the rail trail from Figures Street to Hyne Mill but it shows how beautiful our countryside is and how lovely it will be to ride along the trail.
Please note that I have no pecuniary interest in this project, it is purely for the love of cycling and the belief in the benefits to our town. It’s mostly been a group of volunteers who have got the project to where it is now and I am proud to among them. Just one of many!
I am so happy to share this news with you. It’s been years in the making but now it’s finally happening. Many thanks to the dogged determination of good people in our community who haven’t given into the negativity or despair. Some of our friends have been working on this project for well over 10 years and we owe them a great deal for their insights and inspiration. To those who have rallied around us at the hard times, we say thank you.
Keeping history alive
The Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail will be the first Rail Trail on public land in NSW and is a pilot project for the State Government. We’ll also be keeping the rail history alive through interpretative signage and the old crew barracks restored and onsite. We are fortunate to work closely with the Tumbarumba Historical Society in order to preserve the history and educate future riders about this wonderful part of Tumbarumba’s history.
Hopefully other areas keen for a rail trail using disused corridors like ours, will get the green light to go ahead soon.
Some opponents have come up with various reasons for resisting this development and, destroying history, is a big one. My answer to this is that the way it stands, the rail corridor would be lost under a mountain of regrowth, blackberries and rubbish if it was just left to sit unused. Much of the rail, sleepers and infrastructure have already been removed (by persons unknown) since the trains stopped running in the 70s.
This way we are helping to keep the history alive and sharing some beautiful sights that were once only available to those whose property included the railway line. Collaboration with all stakeholders is essential in these types projects, as has been shown by the success of rail trails in other states, such as Victoria, just over the border from us. Thankfully we have good people working on this project and listening and taking all sides into account, all aiming for a successful outcome.
To my mind it’s a great way of opening up and showcasing the ingenuity and magnificent engineering of the designers and workers who built the line, in previous decades.
Please note these are only my thoughts and views and I am not speaking on behalf of any particular group – just showing my support for a fabulous project in my own way!
I hope you’re smiling along with me 🙂
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