Ever fancied walking or cycling from Canowindra to Cowra and doing it free of the rush and roar, and dangers, of cars, caravans and B-double trucks?
If an organisation called Rail Trails for NSW has its way, we may soon be able to do that via the long-abandoned Eugowra-Canowindra and Canowindra-Cowra railway lines rusting away out there in the sticks, perhaps to Woodstock too or along the line that runs atop the crest of Carcoar.
Rail Trails for NSW is currently lobbying the state government to allow the opening up of disused railways all over the state for hikers and bikers to “enjoy some of the most scenic regional areas in NSW while also learning of the important history of development of this nation.” That, and establish them as vital conservation corridors.
The group is already promoting proposals for rail trails between Dubbo and Molong and on lines around Mudgee, and it’s understood that Cabonne Council would support moves to open other abandoned lines in the shire for recreation use.
“We’re happy and willing to look at any rail trail proposals in this area,” says the council’s information officer Dale Jones.
“Rail trails have become very successful in other areas of Australia, particularly Victoria where there’sover 800km of them, including a highly popular route from Bright to Wangaratta.”
Indeed, more than 40,000 people a year enjoy these trails, each spending an estimated $244 a day for the experience.
Dale Jones says there are obvious hurdles that have to be overcome to reopen Cabonne’s rail tracks. “One is the question of access through properties alongside the lines.”
Says Rail Trails of NSW: “There are so many lines unused, haven’t been used for 40 years.
“Bridges have fallen down, sleepers have had it.”
Nonetheless, the group sees it as a “chance to revitalise those wasted assets.”
By Derek Maitland