New framework to speed up delivery of NSW rail trails

The delivery of rail trails across New South Wales may be faster and more effective, under an important new framework released by the state government.

The NSW Government Rail Trails Framework aims to smooth out rail trail planning and development by clearly outlining the proposal and approval processes, the criteria for determining the suitability of new trails, and the guidelines for operation and maintenance.

In the framework, the NSW Government recognises the numerous values of rail trails, which include tourism advancement, local active travel options, social cohesion, and preserving environmental and community heritage assets.

Overall, it’s a win for budding rail trail users. The increased clarity and transparency around rail trail planning and development means there will be fewer buckled rails along the path to completion. The report will also act as an easy-to-follow resource for individuals and community groups who want to bring a new rail trail idea to the table.

As well as being important heritage sites, rail trails offer people the opportunity to explore regional communities in a safe off-road environment and whilst getting active.

Victoria currently holds over 90 per cent of Australia’s rail trails, which together comprises a whopping 1100 kilometres of rideable track. Many of these rail trails are relics of the gold rush era.

New South Wales contains just over 80 kilometres of rideable rail trails, the largest of which are the Parramatta to Liverpool Railside Trail and the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Trail in the Riverina Highlands.

Rails Trails Australia have highlighted a swathe of exciting rail trail prospects in New South Wales. With the help of this recent framework, we may see approval and expedited delivery of these trails.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.

Image credit: NSW Government