The rail trail opening you have when you’re not having an opening (due to a pandemic)

Let’s have some good news!

It’s a positive story amongst all the bad news.

A dream that was started 18 years ago, has finally been realised!

The Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail has been officially opened without people or much fanfare. It’s probably the first rail trail ever to be opened ‘virtually’ and we couldn’t be happier.

It’s been a hectic time for the group of volunteers trying to organise an opening without any people able to be present.

We have had various plans during the past few weeks, as conditions and government guidelines kept changing, yet we were determined to have an opening of sorts. We came up with the idea of having a ‘virtual’ opening and with only a few days to get it sorted we had work to do! And guess what? We did it!

We managed to get our event organiser involved, made some videos, sorted photos, took some go-pro footage and had it all put together into a package to share on our Facebook page at the original date and time of the opening, 11.30am on Friday 3 April 2020. Nothing was going to stop us!

The Mathematician and I haven’t been involved the whole 18 years, but friends of ours have been, and it’s definitely been a labour of love for all involved – a frustrating journey at times which has required patience, persistence, belief and resilience. That has all now been rewarded and the rail trail is officially open.

With the recent bushfires in our town the upcoming Easter break was to be the ideal time for people to visit the area and ride the newly opened rail trail. But with the government regulations not allowing non-essential domestic travel, we can’t welcome anyone from outside the area just yet. But one day soon we will!

Leading the Way Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail
Leading the Way – Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail

The official Media Release on 2 April 2020:

Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail to Officially Open

After nearly two decades of hard work by the Riverina Highlands Rail Trails Inc team and the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail Committee, the 21km Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail will officially open tomorrow, Friday, April 3 2020 – the first government funded Rail Trail in NSW.

With the region in the early stages of healing from the recent bushfires earlier this year and now Covid-19, it is a credit to the passionate members of the Riverina Highlands Rail Trails Inc and Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail Committee who have worked so hard for so long to make this a reality.

Both groups are extremely excited to present the Official Opening of the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail via Facebook tomorrow. They have been working on this project for the past 18 years planning, advocating and assisting Council to firstly secure funding and then on the development of the trail.

“This is the culmination of an enormous amount of work by a great group of people including our local parliamentary representatives, formerly Greg Aplin and currently Justin Clancy, the former Tumbarumba Shire and now Snowy Valleys Council representatives, contractors and the local community” said Owen Fitzgerald, Chair Riverina Highlands Rail Trails Inc.

“The community have been unbelievably supportive of this project” said Owen, “We are looking forward to welcoming visitors to the trail once the domestic travel ban has been lifted”.

The trail has been designed to be enjoyed by walkers, runners, and cyclists, with the sealed surface also allowing access for prams, wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

“It’s been a long, hard but satisfying journey to get to this stage and we are excited to see our vision for the rail trail come to fruition. We are proud of our efforts and we see this as one that others around NSW and Australia will aspire to.” Grant Harris, Chair Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail Committee.

With the trail set to be a huge drawcard for cyclists, walkers, families and any rail enthusiast, there is no doubt that visitors will be flocking to the beautiful trail once the Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted.

I am very proud to have been involved in this project, just one of many, and despite all the stresses and frustrations, it’s a good feeling to be a part of something so important, beneficial and rewarding.

May all who ride/walk/run/push prams along the newly opened trail, be happy and healthy!

It started life as a railway line in 1921, was closed in 1974 and then left to rot, disused and forgotten.

It has now been rejuvenated into a shared pathway for many to use and the history and countryside has been opened for all to use and enjoy.

One day after this pandemic crisis is over we will welcome you all to our special neck of the woods to ride with us!

In the meantime watch our video of our ‘virtual’ opening and you can pretend you’re here with us riding along!

Can you spot me in the video??

Life will be a bit different for a while now, without all the meetings, worry, sending emails, phone calls, planning but then I’m reminded that we still have the postponed Family Fun Day, (it was to be Saturday 4 April after the opening day), to organise. We’ve set a tentative date of 26 September 2020 which will hopefully be a huge celebration. Goodness knows we will deserve it.

My unreserved thanks go to everyone who has played any part in this project, we couldn’t have done it without you! watch the video for a whole lot more thanks.

Yours truly

Deb xx

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Other rail trail posts I’ve written leading up to this day can be found here

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35 Replies to “The rail trail opening you have when you’re not having an opening (due to a pandemic)”

  1. Well done Deb to you and everybody involved. It will be a little while before the tourism benefits come through, but they surely will.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done. An old railway line between Bristol and Bath was converted into a cycle track a few years ago and is much loved and used.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How wonderful to be involved in a community project like that which will make such a big difference to everyone. Hope the Fun Day can be organised and goes as plans, difficult to imagine it in these tough days but the world will return to normal soon I hope. Trail looks fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations Deb! Nice work. We are learning to adapt, aren’t we? I think the virtual opening was the perfect solution. Take care and stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Janis, it’s been a huge part of our lives for so long we will probably have withdrawals now that it’s almost done! Volunteering for these types of community projects is a lot of hard work but fun too.


  5. Debbie although it must be disappointing to have the opening done virtually what a massive accomplishment. Congratulations to you, Grant and everyone involved in the 18 year labour of love. It looks beautiful. I hope one day we can cycle it ourselves. Take care and stay well. XO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much Sue, it’s certainly an accomplishment after all this time and we couldn’t be prouder! It’s been a massive effort by so many community minded people and we’re proud to be have played some small part. We hope you can meet us here and ride it with us one day too! Take care x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Debbie, this sounds like a wonderful project to have been involved in. Congrats on the opening. It will all be there waiting for everyone when COVID19 is behind us. Love the idea of using an old railroad track for a designated walking area. We saw this concept some years back on a visit to Jerusalem in Israel. They created a green corridor/ for walking and biking through the city and beyond where there had been tracks.

    Love your first photograph That’s a beaut. And as well, your other photos on traveltalesoflife blog where we both contributed to Sue’s latest post on coping with COVID19.

    Peta & Ben

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Peta and Ben, it was so lovely to meet you through Sue’s post today! Your story is incredible! The rail trail has kept us going for years and now we can start riding on it so we’re very happy. Thanks for the comments on my photos, it’s a fun way to record moments to share.


  7. When I finally get to have that cup of coffee in your sunroom, you can take me out for a ride afterwards (to burn off the calories from the scones I’m sure you’ll have provided to go with the cuppa!) It looks fantastic and is such a testament to the hard work and care of those (like yourself) who invested so much into getting it up and running (riding). Well done and nice to read a positive story in amongst all the COVID-19 stuff. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like a great plan Leanne! I make a mean batch of scones by the way :). It’s been a huge effort from lots of people but it’s the volunteers who made it all happen with their determination to keep the council on track. I agree it’s a good news story among the other COVID-19 news! x


  8. Congratulations… It’s a beautiful feeling when a dream is fully actualized and completed, well done👏. something the community will benefit from.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So wonderful it’s finally open, I remember reading all your other posts about the Tumbarumba Rail to Trail work being done. Soon enough it will be filled with people thankful for all the work that was put into it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been such a huge effort from so many people Jennifer and we’re thrilled to have it opened despite the weird circumstances. At least it’s been memorable! I’ve been out today for a 30km ride and loved it!


  10. Thank you for sharing the story of the virtual opening and the completion of such a huge act of love. The accomplishment is almost metaphorical for much of life, including our current situation. Blessings! Michele

    Liked by 1 person

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