New England Rail Trail

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find_bruce
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New England Rail Trail

Postby find_bruce » Sun May 19, 2024 10:17 am

One of the abandoned rail lines proposed to be turned into a rail trail is the New England Rail Trail, 210km between Armidale and Wallangarra on the Queensland border

Armidale council has voted 6-4 to proceed with the first stage of the rail trail. While the SMH Bikes vs rail: Multimillion-dollar cycle tourism plan divides localsHeadline refers to the 103km trail between Armidale & Glen Innes, the work that's actually starting is just 9 km from Armidale and Dumaresq, leaving 97% still to build

Further info on the trail is on the Armidale council's website
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Re: New England Rail Trail

Postby g-boaf » Sun May 19, 2024 11:12 am

But what about heritage rail? Surely this should be retained because people want that, some day… they don’t know exactly when, but someday.

Maybe when 3813 returns to the rails. They can even have it pull commuter trains. Right?

Someday. Don’t know when, but so long as those damn cyclists don’t get somewhere to ride.

Might be a bit of sarcasm in this reply.

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Re: New England Rail Trail

Postby elantra » Sun May 19, 2024 1:15 pm

find_bruce wrote:
Sun May 19, 2024 10:17 am
One of the abandoned rail lines proposed to be turned into a rail trail is the New England Rail Trail, 210km between Armidale and Wallangarra on the Queensland border

Armidale council has voted 6-4 to proceed with the first stage of the rail trail. While the SMH Bikes vs rail: Multimillion-dollar cycle tourism plan divides localsHeadline refers to the 103km trail between Armidale & Glen Innes, the work that's actually starting is just 9 km from Armidale and Dumaresq, leaving 97% still to build

Further info on the trail is on the Armidale council's website
Just a bit of historical context.
The Railway line north from Armidale to the Qld border (Wallangarra) has been closed for about 35 years. (Although I believe the northernmost section between Tenterfield and Wallangarra closed well before that)

The Railway south from Stanthorpe (QLD) to Wallabies closed earlier this year but had not been used for regular passenger services since 1973 !

Originally this Railway corridor linking Sydney with Brisbane (via Armidale, Wallangarra, Stanthorpe, Warwick, Toowoomba) was completed in 1888. (Yes, that’s a very long time ago !)

But obviously it was a very indirect route between Sydney and Brisbane.
So in the 1920’s the governments of Qld and NSW got together and achieved an almost unheard of miracle - they agreed to cooperate to build a much more direct, uniform guage railway line linking Sydney and Brisbane via Grafton, Kyogle and (near) Beaudesert.
This opened in 1932 and shaved “about 250 km” off the old route.

Fast forward to the 1990’s and a number of influential people with vision proposed the construction of a new railway line INLAND from the (by now) mostly closed, obsolete line from Armidale to Toowoomba.

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elantra
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Re: New England Rail Trail

Postby elantra » Sun May 19, 2024 1:29 pm

Apologies, due to the limitations of mobile internet I have a bit more to add to the above..

So the Inland Rail project is now under construction. In fact, much of it is actually operational, especially in NSW.
It obviously does a lot of things that the original 135 year old Rail corridor cannot do, and eventually will run all the way up through Victoria and NSW and into the Greater Brisbane area.

Of course the new Inland Rail has copped a lot of flak from various sources, but it is a happening thing BUT there are holdups which probably derive from the long history of animosity between the QLD government and the NSW government.

Differences that were overcome just over 100 years ago so hopefully they can be overcome in the current era.

So all those Railway proponents out there if you have any commonsense, STOP getting cranky about the repurposing of the 135 yr old corridor and START agitating the QLD government to pull out the proverbial finger and get on board with starting their part of the Inland Rail Project.

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Re: New England Rail Trail

Postby find_bruce » Sun May 19, 2024 2:40 pm

To be fair, the Downs Expolrer heritage railway ran trains from Warwick to Wallangerra until August 2023. In November last year a bushfire took out bridges and track for the last 18km between Ballandean and Wallangerra. The Qld gumnut refused to fund the $20m to rebuild the line, then closed the undamaged 22km between Stanthorpe & Ballandean.

For railway enthusiasts, it's a refusal to accept their dream is dead - while they talk of running goods trains to Brisbane, they have never explained how they could economically deal with the break of gauge at the border
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Re: New England Rail Trail

Postby elantra » Sun May 19, 2024 9:11 pm

find_bruce wrote:
Sun May 19, 2024 2:40 pm
To be fair, the Downs Expolrer heritage railway ran trains from Warwick to Wallangerra until August 2023. In November last year a bushfire took out bridges and track for the last 18km between Ballandean and Wallangerra. The Qld gumnut refused to fund the $20m to rebuild the line, then closed the undamaged 22km between Stanthorpe & Ballandean.

For railway enthusiasts, it's a refusal to accept their dream is dead - while they talk of running goods trains to Brisbane, they have never explained how they could economically deal with the break of gauge at the border
Yes, I have experienced that Steam train experience between Stanthorpe and Wallangarra, it was a lot of fun !

On another occasion about a decade ago, a “race” was staged between the Steam tourist train and a group of local cyclists - 22 km from Dalveen (locality) to Stanthorpe Railway station.
It was a huge amount of fun !
The train beat most of the cyclists but had a rolling start at Dalveen whereas we started from rest :lol:

I didn’t realise that the bushfire damage was restricted to the very last section of track between Ballandean and Wallangarra.
Makes it a rather questionable decision then to forever close the line between Stanthorpe and Ballandean.

As there is already a Cycle Trail (of sorts) from Stanthorpe to Ballandean so the closure of THIS section can’t be linked to much potential future benefit to Cyclists or Pedestrians.

What I do know is that towns like Stanthorpe and Tenterfield have a lot to offer in terms of Cycle tourism attractions, and a Railtrail on the long-deceased corridor SOUTH of Wallangarra (into NSW) would be a boost to visitor numbers to these towns and surrounding areas.

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Re: New England Rail Trail

Postby tez001 » Sun May 26, 2024 12:51 pm

Be good to get it to connect up to Ballandean too as there is a trail from Stanthorpe to Ballandean currently.

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elantra
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Re: New England Rail Trail

Postby elantra » Sun May 26, 2024 10:18 pm

tez001 wrote:
Sun May 26, 2024 12:51 pm
Be good to get it to connect up to Ballandean too as there is a trail from Stanthorpe to Ballandean currently.
Yes, the possibilities are staggering and inspiring.

But don’t hold your breath.
We live in the Social Media era where misinformation spreads faster than common sense.

Basically, Armidale to Wallangarra has the potential to be an Australian equivalent of the Camino de Santiago Trail, suitable for walkers and cyclists.

Plus it’s only 18 km from Wallangarra to Ballandean, from whence there is a rural roads trail to Stanthorpe.

Halfway between Wallangarra and Ballandean is the locality of Wyberba. The “old Highway” links them and is no longer a through road for motor vehicles because the Bridge over Accomodation Creek is missing much of its roadway.
But last time I was up that way you could still walk a bicycle over it with suitable caution.
There are a few nice Cellar door vineyards at Wyberba, and of course Girraween National Park is just down the road (or more accurately speaking, up the road)

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elantra
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Re: New England Rail Trail

Postby elantra » Tue Jun 18, 2024 6:40 pm

I think that today is the last day that you can sign the Petition in support of the New England Rail Trail. !

So please consider adding a few more signatures to lend support to this objective.

It should come as no surprise that there is concerted opposition to the establishment of a Railtrail north from Armidale, despite the fact that the trains stopped running north from Armidale 35 years ago and the 19th century infrastructure is derelict.

Ironically, once the Railtrail eventually happens it will likely be a stimulus for the NSW Government to persevere with the current Rail service from Sydney TO Armidale.
Because obviously there are about 5 million people living in the Greater Sydney area and if there was an attractive Railtrail then one of the obvious ways to get there would be to use the Rail service…

https://www.change.org/p/support-the-ne ... 5g_fry9DMg

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Re: New England Rail Trail

Postby ldrcycles » Wed Jun 19, 2024 9:37 am

The "Trains back to Guyra and Glen Innes campaign" group staged something of a demonstration at the Glen Innes station a few days ago, with people gathering on the platform with suitcases as though they were waiting for a train.

It was inadvertently a great advertisement for the rail trail, because they mustered a grand total of 12 people. And it should be noted none of them looked to be under 50, young people have no interest in a train service which would in all likelihood be slower and more expensive than catching a bus.

Compare that to the nearly 6,800 signatures on the trail petition so far and the future is crystal clear.
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