Glorified Footpath Bill Passes Lower House

Glorified Footpath Bill Passes Lower House

Tasmania Minister for Infrastructure Rene Hidding

Rail Trails Passes Lower House

Victor P Taffa

The Hodgman Government is pro-actively supporting tourism projects and jobs in regional Tasmania and legislation passed the Lower House last night to enable non-operational rail lines to be used for uses other than rail, Minister for Infrastructure Rene Hidding said.

The Tasmanian Government has adopted a policy of retaining all non-operational rail corridors within the State, a policy known as ‘rail banking’ for the future.

“However, the Government will consider alternative uses of non-operational corridors where there is no foreseeable need for rail services, and where the alternative use has a demonstrated community benefit and does not preclude future rail use.” Mr. Hidding said.

Linear recreational trails, both for pedestrians or bicycles, on disused railway corridors have been successfully introduced in many locations in Australia and overseas, and offer local tourism and economic growth opportunities, as well as community recreation and health benefits.


The State Government has been working closely with the Dorset Council to facilitate the development of the North East Rail Trail project, using the non-operational North East rail corridor.

Dorset Council has secured funding of $1.47 Million from the Federal Government through the National Stronger Regions Fund to develop this project.

The Tasmanian Government has also provided in-principle support to the Burnie City Council and Waratah-Wynyard Council for the development of a coastal cycleway on the Wiltshire Line rail corridor.

Development of these types of projects will always be on the basis that the corridor can be “banked” and reclaimed if required in the future.

New legislation will enable the alternative use of non-operational rail corridors for recreational purposes, and provide a framework for their ongoing management.

Glorified Footpaths

Rail Trails are simply glorified footpaths and rather than be closed, all railway lines should be upgraded and provide modern electric train services on duplicated tracks.

The Chandler Highway in Melbourne operates on what was a part of the Outer Circle Railway Line.

Obviously it is impractical to turn the Chandler Highway back into a Railway Line however many Rail Trails can be modern electrified Railway Lines along with cycleways and footpaths separated by a high fence.

It is also very possible to use part of the old Inner Circle Line that has become a Rail Trail.

Flemington Racecourse Line can be extended to Westgarth via Carlton North that will allow Hurstbridge Line Trains direct access to Flemington Racecourse.

On Melbourne Cup Day and all Racecourse Days this new service will be a great benefit to Melbourne and the rail network generally.

Flemington Racecourse Line Extension:

  • Flemington Racecourse
  • Showgrounds
  • Newmarket
  • Flemington Bridge
  • Royal Park
  • Carlton North (On Old Line)
  • Rushall
  • Westgarth
  • Change at Newmarket for Craigieburn Line
  • Change at Flemington Bridge for Upfield Line
  • Change at Royal Park for Upfield Line
  • Change at Rushall for South Morang Line
  • Change at Westgarth for Hurstbridge Line

Heavy Rail Trains are the only form of transport that bicycles can be taken onboard.

Rail Trails is an old policy forced upon Australia and all States by England.

Passenger Trains have not operated in Tasmania since 1978 and it is a mystery as to why modern passenger electric trains do not operate.