In any case we are starting to get off topic. We don't hate bike trails it is just that to get to some of these bike trails is not exactly an easy trip. They also tend to be quite steep vs trails in Victoria which are flat as pancakes and due to Victoria's small size, easy to get to.You bet we're off topic, and dead right that rail trails in Vic are not only very different to here, but also have another working railway close by.
Take a working railway away here to turn into a rail trail and the nearest one would be the same distance away as from Melbourne to Albury...at the closest.
Yay! Back on topic! The freight discussion is interesting, more my thing actually, but is OT.
Good to hear that we don't hate rail trails! I quite enjoy them and find its a great way to discover the tracks of old. I often snatch a couple of hours on the w/e and pootle around Newcastle, using the various rail trails and links to explore the old coal history that we have here. I'd love to be able to ride out to Hexham, jump on a revived 10 class, travel up a refurbished SMR line to Kurri and generally enjoy my day. Alas, it is but a pipedream. The next best option is to be able to ride the full length of the SMR, checking out the tunnels, embankments and bridges.
I don't understand the comment about turning a working rail line into a rail trail. The very premise of rail trails, is that they are on non working lines?
I think there is a massive information gap with regards to RTs. They cater more for walkers and passive recreational activities rather than the lycra types. Its also ironic, that all I know about rail trails, I've learnt on a Railpage Australia™! Clearly there must be some synchronicity!
Rail trails are merely another form of a community link. We have many. Road networks, rail networks, communications networks, power networks, maritime networks and so on. We are connected in many ways. It is the natural way of communities and people, and their demand for connectivity and accessibility. A purely human function! Networks function with varying degrees of effectiveness and naturally change over time as the demands of a community change. Network links grow and die off continuously, in an almost organic manner, reflecting the changing behaviour of the network users. Of course we all have examples of poorly planned network links - Sydney's Cross City Tunnel and Airport rail link too name a couple. There are some cracking examples in the water and power space too!
For a rail trail to be effective, it simply has to meet the requirements of the surrounding road/rail/pedestrian networks. The shining examples in Victoria are identical to the very few examples in NSW. To suggest that NSW is somehow different is simply to misunderstand what network links are about. NSW is different alright, but that is more to do with politics and a complete lack of innovation than anything to do with heritage rail and these new fangled bikeways!