A rail trail is created when abandoned rail corridors are converted into shared-use paths for walking, bike riding and sometimes horse riding.
Rail trails are a proven generator of business for the bicycle industry with some popular Australian rail trails recording counts of 3,000 cyclists on long weekends.
NSW currently has only 11 rail trails totalling 80km, whilst Victoria has 36 trails totalling 1,055km, about 13 times more trail in a state that’s much smaller. NSW has plenty of potential rail trail routes, but the NSW government has been far more restrictive and less supportive of rail trail development compared to Victoria which has recognised their economic benefits.
In April 2020, NSW will have another rail trail open to explore and enjoy. After nearly two decades of hard work by the Riverina Highlands Rail Trails Inc. team, the 21km Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail will officially be opened on April 3, 2020.
“We need to show the NSW Government that rail trails will be well used by a variety of stakeholders and bring a boost to the local economy. Many people in the area and beyond, can have access to a safe space to walk, run, push a pram, use a wheelchair, or ride, either bike or horse, away from traffic,” commented Kim Lavender, Bicycle NSW Communications Manager.
Some of this article was first published in the Bicycle NSW newsletter.