A Rail Trail feasibility study was endorsed by Council at the 24 October 2018 Council Meeting held in Guyra. The study will give you an insight into the potential opportunities for tourism growth in the New England Region.
The New England Rail Trail plan presented options for a full 103km trail from Armidale to Glen Innes and a shorter trail between Ben Lomond and Black Mountain. It says both options could conservatively be expected the pay off their projected costs – construction and maintenance – in around six years, based on the corridor’s scenic beauty and historic features and the user numbers experienced by existing comparable rail trails.
The report estimated the full Armidale to Glen Innes trail would cost $24 million, including around $13 million for the section within the Armidale Region, and based on conservative projections could generate $4.5 million each year in tourism and local patronage.
A Ben Lomond to Black Mountain trail was estimated to cost $6.5 million and inject about $1.2 million into the local economy annually.
While further steps must be taken before Council can fully commit to establishing the rail trail, investigations so far indicate the project would be a great way to utilise a corridor that has sat unused and idle for approximately three decades.
New England Rail Trail Plan (PDF 10MB)
New England Rail Trail Business Case (PDF 3.7MB)