It was a somewhat strange opening today for the new $5.7 million Tumbarumba To Rosewood Rail Trail when it was officially opened by online video.
Member for Albury Justin Clancy joined Snowy Valleys Council Mayor James Hayes, Councillor Julia Ham, the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail committee including Owen Fitzgerald and others to officially open 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. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors to the trail once the domestic travel ban has been lifted.”
Due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements and the bans on non-essential travel the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail committee have worked with Council and Mr Clancy’s office to ‘virtually’ celebrate the completion of construction on the first Government funded rail trail for NSW.
“This moment truly belongs to all those here who have worked so hard for so long to make this day a reality,” said Mr Clancy. “I am pleased to represent the Premier of NSW, the Hon Gladys Berejiklian, who has been a strong supporter of the project.
A pilot for the State and a working model for future rail trails, the approximately 22 kilometre walking and cycling trail runs through a non-operational railway corridor between Albury Street, Tumbarumba and McEachern Lane, Rosewood.
The new trail which has been 18 years in the making will be a tremendous asset to the town of Tumbarumba, and the Snowy Valley region.
It will just be some time before many visitors can ride the picturesque trail.
The scenic ride has four restored timber trestle bridges.
Snowy Valleys Council received funding of $5,700,000 for the project under the State Government’s Restart NSW Regional Tourism Infrastructure fund and Round Two of the NSW Government’s Stronger Communities grants.
“I’d like to acknowledge and thank everyone who has worked so hard for so long to make this project a reality,” said Snowy Valleys Council Mayor James Hayes.
“The recent bushfires, floods and now the COVID-19 restrictions could have been major setbacks for the build; but our team, and the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail Committee and Historical Society remained dedicated and the trail has been delivered on time, and on budget, which is a fantastic achievement.
“This rail trail will significantly enhance the Snowy Valleys as a cycling destination and complements existing and future cycling developments across the region including our mountain bike trails and roadside cycling.”
The Tumbarumbra to Rosewood Rail Trail is a multipurpose sealed trail with interpretative and informative signage installed along the trail to guide visitors, as well as seating for rest and recovery. The trail has been designed to be suitable for prams, wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
This photo taken prior to current restrictions. Photo: Peter McDade
“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.
The ride is expected to be an exciting adventure with much history visible along the route. The bridge contractors Timber Restoration Systems have been working extensively on restoring four timber trestle bridges and the route has seven stock overpass crossings. With only a small elevation rise of 150m the trail will be suitable for all levels.
Volunteers have also been working on historic information to be placed along the route for riders to stop and absorb the history including six recovered and restored railway gates. There will be memorabilia rail items added.
Many in the region will now turn their attention to trying to establish the Batlow to Tumut rail trail which has been in discussion for many years.
Visitors to Tumbarumba have multiple options besides the rail trail and can stay at the Tumbarumba Motel which also have the best restaurant in town. The region is also highly acclaimed for its vineyards and award winning winery cellar doors. The Boggy Creek Show is a highly recommended show for the whole family plus the picturesque Paddys River Falls.
You can follow the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail on Facebook, and visit the Snowy Valleys website for more information.
Currently there are travel restrictions in place for non essential travel, so pout this one on your bucket list for the future.
Cyclists can ride the 22km trail. Photo: Peter McDade