Rail trail legislation in NSW

 
  beanzs27 Assistant Commissioner

I'm in Tumbarumba at the moment and there is front page news about legislation being changed in NSW parliament to allow railtrails to be developed in NSW like there are in Victoria. With Tumbarumba to Rosewood being a candidate for the first one.

Being a rail fan, cyclist and a Victorian, I say NSW should just get on with as many railtrails as they can.

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  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Have you got a link this newspaper?

And when you say being changed, do you mean the bill has passed to get rid of the AOP that officially closes rail lines, or hasn't been passed?
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
I'm in Tumbarumba at the moment and there is front page news about legislation being changed in NSW parliament to allow railtrails to be developed in NSW like there are in Victoria. With Tumbarumba to Rosewood being a candidate for the first one.

Being a rail fan, cyclist and a Victorian, I say NSW should just get on with as many railtrails as they can.
beanzs27

There is no 'change' as the Bill was not passed.
The Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Trails) Bill was introduced by the former State Labor Government in 2009. It went past its first reading by the then Minister for Transport David Campbell.

The bill had a number of issues and was withdrawn in 2010. The main issue for withdrawl is the Goverment did not want to quickly write-off disused rail lines. They wanted the ability to recall the land back to a working line if need be.

A change to the current law about closing railway lines was not one of the issues, it was actually addressed to be changed with the introduction with the proposed bill including:

"Closure of railway lines on case by case basis:
The new provisions allow the Minister for Transport to authorise the closure of a disused railway line on a case by case basis, following public consultation. A special Act of Parliament will no longer be required.The Minister may authorise the closure of a disused railway line only after giving public notice of the proposal to close the railway line. The notice must invite submissions from the public in relation to the proposal. The Minister must have regard to submissions received during the submission period in deciding whether or not to authorise the closure of the railway line concerned"

The Latest News which would have hit the Tumby news was that on the 26th March 2014, there was a presentation at State Parliament in NSW where the Minister's for Environment, Minister for Transport and Minister for Local Government were all present.
At that presentation, the biggest push was the Tumbarumba to Rosewood to be the first project to be approved by the Government. It had a very positive outcome from the Government to go ahead and maybe re-introduce a a modified Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Trails) Bill which is expected to be up before the next election.


Keep an eye on this website for any updates: http://www.railtrails.org.au/ra-nsw or
http://www.railtrailsnsw.com.au/
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Has this bill for 2014 been passed or not passed?
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

There is no 'change' as the Bill was not passed.
The Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Trails) Bill was introduced by the former State Labor Government in 2009. It went past its first reading by the then Minister for Transport David Campbell.
Jim K

I find it interesting we have seen so many rail trail articles appearing in local rags around the state in recent weeks.  And the ministers being on hand for a selfie and to accept this proposal in person is "interesting" to say the least.

I suspect they may be going to have another crack at this legislation, and thjey are laying the ground-work to make it look like it's in response to a growing public demand.  

The main reason the legislation failed last time was opposition from TOOT and other green/anti-development groups who didn't want to see rail formations handed over to developers.  But the government *needs* that legislation - or something similar - to enable their plans for the Newcastle line closure.
  Jim K Train Controller

Location: Well west of the Great Divide in NSW but not as far as South Australia
Has this bill for 2014 been passed or not passed?
Newcastle Express

No. All talk on the 26th March gives an indication of a good chance it will be in place before the next State Election but it is different to the 2009 proposed Bill, mainly because of the former concerns such as privatisation concerns raised by the TOOT, the ability of return the trail back to a working line if needed which was raised by the then opposition and a few other matters which I can not exactly recall, but it would be in Hansard.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
The main reason the legislation failed last time was opposition from TOOT and other green/anti-development groups who didn't want to see rail formations handed over to developers. But the government *needs* that legislation - or something similar - to enable their plans for the Newcastle line closure.
djf01

I would have thought the construction of the light rail would probably trigger a requirement for legislation in some way anyway (for example, legislation has already been enacted towards the CSELR, even though it is still at design stage).  If so, wouldn't it be easier to just slot in a single paragraph closing the branch as part of that?

Is a light rail line a rail line?  Was the former goods line that is now operating as a light rail service ever closed?
  TCoen Beginner

Location: Sydney, Australia
Has this bill for 2014 been passed or not passed?
Newcastle Express

Not passsed. It's a private members bil and is only at second reading.  Importantly it does not include any provision for rail corridors to be sold off, and focusses on letting corridors that are idle and have been so for 15 years (probably to be amended to 10 years) to be 're-purposed' as a rail trail., ie a shared use pedestrian path on the old foundation.
  TCoen Beginner

Location: Sydney, Australia
I find it interesting we have seen so many rail trail articles appearing in local rags around the state in recent weeks. And the ministers being on hand for a selfie and to accept this proposal in person is "interesting" to say the least.

I suspect they may be going to have another crack at this legislation, and thjey are laying the ground-work to make it look like it's in response to a growing public demand.

The main reason the legislation failed last time was opposition from TOOT and other green/anti-development groups who didn't want to see rail formations handed over to developers. But the government *needs* that legislation - or something similar - to enable their plans for the Newcastle line closure.
djf01

There have been so many articles because I and a few of my colleagues from a group called RAIL TRAILS FOR NSW have been issuing press releases.  There is no Government or politicial 'conspriacy' here.  Go to the Rail Trails for NSW web site, affiliated with Rail Trails Australia (a National non-profit group that's been around for 21 years). This is a grass root campaign by ordinary folk throughout NSW to revitalise regional communities by using already publicly owned assets that are otherwise lying idle.

We are pushing for a change to NSW legislation, which has been a big part of why NSW is 20 years behind other states and NZ.  There are over 10,000 miles of rail trails in the U.S.A., where this idea started back in the 60's and 70's.

A key plank of the Rail Trails for NSW campaign is that rail corridors BE KEPT IN PUBLIC OWNERSHIP, so that if changes in population or technology make a line feasible in the future, it can be revived for rail BUT in the meantime, it can be used as a shared path for pedestrians, wheelchairs, strollers, bicycles and sometimes even horse riding... and bring much needed tourism, economic and health benefits to the community.  

NSW is missing out on on this growing 'grey nomad' dominated tourism sector. Locals, even if they don't use the Rail Trail, will still benefit from the jobs a rail trail can contribute to a community.  Also if the line is being used for SOMETHING, then there is less chance that a bean counter in Macquarie St Sydney can argue that the line should be sold off.  

And as a train buff you know that most disused lines in NSW have been idle for so long that if they are to be used for trains, the rotten sleepers and old, under spec and rusting rails have to be replaced anyway. So why not remove just SOME of them now on JUST SOME SEGMENTS of line suitable for rail trails?  

It is only be a very small part of the many hundreds if not thousands of klms of idle rail tracks in NSW.  Only SOME of it is suitable for rail trails.  And Rail Trails would complement any tourist trains. One would provide users for the other. Check out some of the NZ rail trails on YouTube..

The NSW Ministers (4 of them, Transport, Tourism, Environment & Heritage and Local Govt & North Coast) were at the 26th March launch of RT for NSW because we invited them. The Ministers and many local members came mainly because many Councillors and Mayors from around the State attended, because we invited them and because they weant to build a Rail Trail in their local community.

At last count there were 14 Rail Trail proposals from around the state. All 'Rail Trails for NSW' is doing is getting them together to have a united voice in Parliament House in Sydney. We are pushing the pollies to act.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

There have been so many articles because I and a few of my colleagues from a group called RAIL TRAILS FOR NSW have been issuing press releases. There is no Government or politicial 'conspriacy' here. Go to the Rail Trails for NSW web site, affiliated with Rail Trails Australia (a National non-profit group that's been around for 21 years). This is a grass root campaign by ordinary folk throughout NSW to revitalise regional communities by using already publicly owned assets that are otherwise lying idle.
TCoen



In an historic event, the team for "Rail Trails for NSW" launched it's campaign to have rail trails built on old government railway corridors in NSW. The campaign Co-ordinator John Moore, opened the proceedings by speaking passionately about rail trails, before introducing Robyn Parker. The campaign launch was opened by the Hon. Robyn Parker MP, who is the minister for Heritage and the Environment. The launch occured in the Fountain Court of the NSW Parliament House at 1.30pm. The assembled audience consisted of members of the RT for NSW team, representatives from Rail Trails Australia, State MPs, Mayors and Council staff from various rural locations, as well as committeee members of various proposed rail trails in NSW.


That was a happy co-incidence.

You'll have to excuse my extreme cynicism here but I find any suggestion the current government is at all interested in rail trails very hard to swallow.  How many of them supported the 2009 bill again?

As I'm sure you know, the 2009 bill failed essentially because it gave the executive arm the ability to dispose of rail land for re-development, not just for rail trails.  Rightly or wrongly it was seen as a trojan horse for the privatisation of public land.  The LNP have this is a clear policy objective in Newcastle - indeed the NSW cabinet have already decided to head in this direction - though without yet presenting any such enabling legislation before parliament.   For them to suddenly change position on this issue - when they have a clear interest in seeing the transport act changed for the very reason it was opposed in 2009 - is suspicious to say the very least.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner
  beanzs27 Assistant Commissioner

I was talking to a Rosewood local in the local general store about the rail trail, he seemed not to know much about rail trails but did know a bit about where the railway line went and also that there had been meetings with some farmers not happy about having to give back crown land they have been using for free, for a cycle path.

I followed the line from Tumbarumba to Taracutta in my car looks like it would be okay for a rail trail but I think the Batlow/Tumut lines would be even more spectacular to cycle. Would love it if both became rail trails would make a good loop from Cootamundra to Wagga.

When the XPTs are eventually updated would it be possible to create room so you could roll a bicycle onto the train rather than box it like you currently have to. GSR, Vline and some WA trains let you just roll on. I don't mind paying extra just hate having to find a bicycle box and disassemble my bicycle.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Due to this news on the front page: http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/2409729/the-mid-western-region-has-a-potential-rail-trail-in-its-backyard/?cs=1485

For the first time ever the NSW Government has committed funding for the creation of Rail Trails – converting disused rail lines into pathways for walkers and cyclists

Due to the government now committing funding, does that mean that this bill has now passed, and got rid of the Act of Parliament about officially closing rail lines?
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Due to this news on the front page: http://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/2409729/the-mid-western-region-has-a-potential-rail-trail-in-its-backyard/?cs=1485


Due to the government now committing funding, does that mean that this bill has now passed, and got rid of the Act of Parliament about officially closing rail lines?
Newcastle Express


This particular bill - like most private member's bills from the NSW upper house - has not progressed at all.  In any case, it does not give the NSW government the right to dispose of rail lines as proposed with Newcastle.  

I don't know why the government would decide to allocate funding to Rail Trails without the legislative authority to implement them.  But then, they've made the same decision with the Newcastle rail line.  Hopefully ICAC will (eventually) do a better job of sorting them out than they did with Obeid.

It would seem to me that a legal challenge (though who would want to fund it?) could still prevent the disposal of the Newcastle Line Corridor.

If there has been any legislative changes, they may try and slip them in through the budget papers, which might be why there is $110mil allocated for Rail Trails.
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

This particular bill - like most private member's bills from the NSW upper house - has not progressed at all. In any case, it does not give the NSW government the right to dispose of rail lines as proposed with Newcastle.
djf01
This was not about the Newcastle Rail Line, it's about all NSW rail lines in general.

So if it hasn't been passed, I wonder why the NSW has committed funding to them?? (Oh wait, we are talking about the NSW government!!)
  Newcastle Express Chief Commissioner

Has anyone got any updated information about this please?
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Has anyone got any updated information about this please?
Newcastle Express

As far as I can tell, nothing has changed.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

According to this: http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11379548.htm the Mick Veitich Bill was defeated in the upper house.  The LNP voted against it.

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