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Momentum is building for the development of rail trails in the Central West.
Rail trails are disused train routes that can be used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
There are currently rail trails on lines that were publicly operated and only a few around Newcastle on lines that were privately used by coal companies.
A Parliamentary Inquiry has just recommended the government allow disused rail corridors in New South Wales to be opened up for such use.
Liberal MLC, Natasha Maclaren-Jones, who chaired the inquiry says the committee believes rail trails have tourism potential but its now up to the Government to consider the recommendation.
"The process is that the Government has up to six months to respond to the recommendation," she said.
In that recommendation we are actually suggesting that they allow it. Obviously they will need to look at the feasibility and the opportunities of where that can occur and then they'll report back."
The Co-ordinator of Rail Trails for New South Wales, John Moore, says rail trails are popular interstate and overseas attracting travellers who on average spend $250 (AUS) a day locally.
He says there are proposals for rail trails between Dubbo and Molong, Goulburn and Crookwell and several around Mudgee.
"This is not if you like the limit of the potential of rail trails there are so many lines unused, haven't been used for 40 years, bridges have fallen down, sleepers have had it, he said.
So it's really a chance to revitalise those wasted assets."
There are so many lines unused, haven't been used for 40 years, bridges have fallen down, sleepers have had it so it's really a chance to revitalise those wasted assets
John Moore from Rail Trails for NSW
He has denied efforts to establish rail trails will conflict with bids to re-open Central West grain lines
The Councils of Cowra, Weddin, Blayney, Young and Harden have been working for years to try to get the Blayney to Demondrille track re-opened.
A tender process will open before the end of the month for companies to apply to run the freight line.
Mr Moore says priority should be given to re-open lines that can be re-started, but many haven't operated for decades.
"It would have no conflict because there are plenty of other options than ones that might have the potential for grain trains."
The Rail Trails for New South Wales group will next week launch its campaign to push for the opening up of disused rail lines.
Mr Moore says some politicians have agreed to attend the Parliament House launch including the Member for Orange, Andrew Gee.
He says there's also growing interest from a range of groups, including those wanting accessible options for people with disabilities.
"All of the ones that I've ridden they're all suitable for wheelchairs," he said.
They have either very fine crushed gravel, see they're not set up for mountain bikes, they're set up for hybrid bikes, or in the case of a very popular one in Victoria that runs to Bright it's sealed most of the way."
Disused rail corridors being considered for rail trails include the 54 kilometre line from Goulburn to Crookwell which opened in 1902 and last carried trains in 1985.
Another is a 129 km route from Molong to Dubbo that opened in 1925 and basically paralleled the main Orange - Dubbo railway.
Operations ceased in 1991 except for 2 km at Molong that is used for a passing siding on the main western line to Broken Hill.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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