Rail trail guru tracks proposed Boyne Burnett project
THE president of Rail Trails Australia, Damian McCrowhan, was in Gladstone at the weekend to look at the proposed Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail.
"I'm doing a road trip to look at all the rail trails in northern NSW and Queensland," Mr McCrowhan said.
He visited Monto to look over the disused railway track that runs through the Boyne Valley to Gayndah.
"It's a very long trail but some of the sections I saw were amazing," he said.
He said transforming disused rail corridors into trails for walking, cycling and horse-riding was the best option.
"Rail trails are a very low- cost way of keeping public land, bridges and old stations in public ownership," Mr McCrowhan said.
"A lot of effort goes into interpretive signage so it's one way of maintaining an area's heritage as well."
"It's not feasible to keep every rail line as a tourist railway line.
"They're prohibitively expensive to maintain and run when compared to rail trails."
Mr McCrowhan added there were other benefits as well.
"Rail trails are great for people in small, rural communities," he said.
"Recreational facilities are limited in these areas and they give locals a safe place to walk.
"They're also very popular with elderly people, who ride their mobility vehicles along them."
He added that the biggest benefit to communities along old rail corridors was the influx of tourists.
"For a small town, 20 visitors each weekend makes a big difference to the local economy," Mr McCrowhan said.
"I've heard a lot of objections when a trail is proposed for an area.
"But those concerns melt away when people see all the benefits the rail trail brings."
Mr McCrowhan said it was great news that the feasibility study had commenced.
"All the costs have to be considered, but it's very exciting though," he said.