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The Snowy Monaro Regional Council is considering the viability of rebuilding the defunct railway line from Queanbeyan to Bombala - with the possibility of continuing the line through to the Port of Eden.
Development of the Port of Eden and the Canberra International Airport - underpinned by growth in the business and tourism sectors - has been the catalyst in prompting SMRC to look at the benefits of rail to regional development.
SMRC planning manager Mark Adams said a lot of factors had changed since the state government closed the rail line to Bombala in the 1980s, adding that it was now time to revisit the idea.
“We are also exploring the possibility of continuing the line through to the Port of Eden, so we are putting the idea out there to see what happens,” Mr Adams said.
Eden Chamber of Commerce president Jenny Robb said it would be "a wonderful development if the funding could be found".
"Tourism links through the Monaro and on to Canberra have been under discussion for some time with Sapphire Coast Tourism and Visit Canberra, especially now that international flights are coming into Canberra Airport," Ms Robb said.
"Research shows many international tourists love the idea of a road trip so I'm sure a rail link would also be welcome.
"The challenge will be logistics – it has to come down Brown Mountain somehow.
"But all good things start with the seed of an idea, so who knows?" she said.
The Bombala Line opened in 1921 with plans to connect it to the Victorian network.
SMRC administrator Dean Lynch said the state government decided to close the line in the 1980s.
“The government of the day obviously saw that it was running at a loss and to cut costs they closed the railway,” Mr Lynch said.
Mr Lynch said his council had already been approached by major investors whose plans required access to a rail network.
“It is important to be able to get people and freight in and out for a region to grow,” he said.
Secretary of the Friends of the Bombala Railway Fay Simpson said they were thrilled at the thought of having trains back in Bombala.
“We would welcome any trains back to Bombala, even though they might all be freight trains, it wouldn’t be long before tourist steam trains followed," she said.
This article first appeared on www.edenmagnet.com.au
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