Wolgan valley railway formation plans for rail trail

 
  The Man in Blue Deputy Commissioner

Location: Trackside in Baiyin NW China!
A group has been formed "Friends"of the Wolgan ValleyRailway, (they have renamed it  by adding "wilderness"to the title,) have plans to restrict access (quote from their facebook page)"We are proposing to open the whole 51 kilometers of the former railway line from Newnes Junction to Wolgan as a walking and cycling track".

This will put an end to vehicle access that makes a journey to the old tunnels possible as an enjoyable day trip by car from Sydney. At the moment, EVERYONE can enjoy the area, people are free to walk, ride or drive in a car. How selfish to make access  impossible to older and less able people and family groups with children who need to drive to within a reasonable distance of their final picnic spot/destination. The present arrangements have worked well since the line closed. Vehicles can get to the parking area between tunnels 1&2. If this goes ahead you will need to walk in from Clarence! I have no problem with them  improving walking/cycling access along the section between Newnes and No2 tunnel. Go for it!

Sponsored advertisement

  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

Hmmmm!
First I have heard of that plan (there have been many over the years).
It will be interesting to see how they will restrict access to (and through) the sand mine at Newnes Junction.
  The Man in Blue Deputy Commissioner

Location: Trackside in Baiyin NW China!
A group has been formed "Friends"of the Wolgan ValleyRailway, (they have renamed it  by adding "wilderness"to the title,) have plans to restrict access (quote from their facebook page)"We are proposing to open the whole 51 kilometers of the former railway line from Newnes Junction to Wolgan as a walking and cycling track".

This will put an end to vehicle access that makes a journey to the old tunnels possible as an enjoyable day trip by car from Sydney. At the moment, EVERYONE can enjoy the area, people are free to walk, ride or drive in a car. How selfish to make access  impossible to older and less able people and family groups with children who need to drive to within a reasonable distance of their final picnic spot/destination. The present arrangements have worked well since the line closed. Vehicles can get to the parking area between tunnels 1&2. If this goes ahead you will need to walk in from Clarence! I have no problem with them  improving walking/cycling access along the section between Newnes and No2 tunnel. Go for it!
The Man in Blue
After asking for a direct answer about car access, the "friends"claim they aren't going to change road access as it is now, but to improve access to pedestrians and cycles on the parts that are closed to vehicles.
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

OK, so it isn't the "whole" Wolgan Valley Railway formation that they are intending to restrict access to.

While I am not normally into responding to posts that are nothing more than 'wishful thinking', and as good as the intentions are, posts (either facebook or RP) that originate from people who do not even understand (or research) the current land ownership (or lease therof) of the former railway formation that is their cherished dream of saving for either one purpose or other, are hardly likely to be able to even manage collecting enough like minded people to support or form even the most basic of organisations of any kind of credibility to achieve those aims.

To "The man in Blue", while I recognise that you are 'the messenger', and applaud your reporting of this facebook entry here on RP, the substance of many of these schemes is very thin, and while I agree that an access dedicated to walkers and cyclists is a great idea, the practicality just isn't there.

If there is anything that 'should' be done, however, it would be to manage more safely the vast amount of recreational vehicular and two wheel bike traffic that uses the Newnes road, especially on weekends. From 4WD groups, right down to trail bike riders, every weekend our carpark at Clarence is full of recreational off-road users as they prepare their favourite machine for a days adventure, and all too often we see ambulances heading down after them some hours later (last Sunday was a case in point).

I have been organising track work weekends at Clarence once per month for most of this year, and while we are doing our level best to meet the demands of our Rail Safety legislation and its implementation by the rail regulator, the irony of all this is that the sheer volume of chaos and accidents on this neighbouring 'recreational' road and the frequency of its ambulance visitations on weekends is more frightening to us than any risk we are managing.

David H
  johnboy Chief Commissioner

Location: Up the road from Gulgong
The main concern of 'rail trail' people is not the current road from Newnes Junction to the tunnels, it is that pushbikes are not permitted from the carpark at the end of the road through to the 2nd tunnel and then down the mountain.

NPWS have good reason... The formation has a number of wash outs, the main one before the tunnel is more than a simple replacement of dirt, it is a hugh wash out and would require either hundreds of tonnes of fill and complete reconstruction and/or a bridge to be built.

Tunnel two is totally blacked out 1/2 way through, hence glow worms live in a abundance. The surface is pretty rough within the tunnel.

To upgrade to accept bikes on the formation and to level the service within the tunnel would be millions. Plus NPWS state any works done inside the tunnel could disturb the glow worm population.

Then after tunnel 2 there is heaps of wash outs and missing bridges down the side of the cliff to the bottom.
Yes, would be a nice rail trail, but needs heaps of investment to get it up NPWS standard to let pushbikes go down.... and I can't see that happening.

(as for the dirt bikes racing around the forest...that is irrelevant to the old railway, happens in many places with State forests such as Oberon plateau and Southern Highlands. Newnes plateau is just nice and close the population of western Sydney who want to take their dirt bikes out... illegally.
  Zig Zag Reporter Locomotive Fireman

Thanks johnboy
That puts the issue into a better perspective.

regards
David H
  allambee Chief Train Controller

The main concern of 'rail trail' people is not the current road from Newnes Junction to the tunnels, it is that pushbikes are not permitted from the carpark at the end of the road through to the 2nd tunnel and then down the mountain.
johnboy

I've seen people lift their mountain bikes over the rail track fence at the 2nd tunnel car park. So determined bike riders must carry their bikes over the rough bits like all those stairs at the wash out and tunnel.
I consider the the big wash out steps and foot bridge a safety risk - especially for children and older people. Consideration needs to be put into constructing a low cost bailey style foot bridge over the wash out. An elevated walkway thru number 2 tunnel would improve safety.
Rather than blocking pedal power, the NPWS and police need to enforce the speed limit on the whole road to the 2nd tunnel carpark.
Some 4WD users think this road is not subject to a 60km speed limit. Weekends and public holidays are the worst time to see speeding landcruisers.

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: wurx

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.