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Petition launched to finish 160km Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

Alia Parker's picture
Map of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. Source: BVRT. Cycle Traveller

With a new state government in power, supporters of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) have launched a petition to complete two missing links that would see the BVRT become the longest rail trail in Australia.

The BVRT runs 160km along the old rail formations between Wulkuraka in Ipswich to Yarraman in South Burnett. However, two key sections – 15km between Wulkuraka to Wanora and 30km from Toogoolawah to Moore – are missing, leaving the trail disjointed.

BVRT supporters last year urged the Somerset Regional Council to apply to the Queensland government for a share in a $3.5 million grant set aside for rail trail development in the Royalties to Regions Fund. However, a delay in applying combined with a change of government has left the project hanging.

“In January 2015, Somerset Regional Council responded positively by passing a resolution to apply for the funding subject to the terms and conditions. Unfortunately, they had left it too late as the Queensland State elections were called and there was a change in Government,” said Paul Heymans in the BVRT's Change.org petition.

“It is not yet known what policy the current Labor Queensland Government has towards the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, so we’re rebooting the campaign with a new Petition.”

Cyclists can sign the petition and show their support for the trail on the BVRT's Change.org campaign. 

While much still needs to be done, some headway has been made. Heymans said the Queensland government has advised that planning for the Wulkuraka to Wanora section was “well advanced” and that works had started on 11 May to improve the condition of the trail between Diamantina Street and Lloyds Road. The improvements are slated for completion by the end of June.

“That means it will be possible to access the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail directly from Ipswich,” Heymans said.

Ride the trail

In conjunction with the petition, the group will be holding the ‘Real Brisbane Valley Rail Trail End-to-End Bike Ride’ to raise awareness of the missing sections. Over four weekends starting 16 May 2015, cyclists will ride the entire 160km trail (using the bypass routes in the missing sections).

Heymans said the trail “has the potential to be a fantastic recreational asset for cyclists as well as hikers and horse riders from the whole of South East Queensland and further afield,” adding it could become a magnet for adventure tourists.

“Completion of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail should be a no-brainer – it will provide local employment and training opportunities during the construction phase and revitalise the flagging rural economies of the local government areas it traverses,” he said.

Piece of history

The BVRT runs along the disused Brisbane Valley Railway Line, which was built in stages, reaching Esk in 1886 and Yarraman in 1913. It was an important line for the region, with Linville station once the largest cattle loading point in southeast Queensland.

Over time, demand for the line faded and passenger services stopped in 1967, with freight services winding down between 1988 and 1993.

The BVRT is a coarse gravel trail suitable for mountain bikes or those confident riding touring bikes on roughish to sandy surfaces. There are a number of gates along the trail.

Image: Map of the open and incomplete sections of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. Source: BVRT

Comments

We cycled the BVRT a few years ago and it was deteriorating rapidly. A great trail which goes through some lovely scenery and towns it would be a shame if it is not looked after. We also found the website misleading. It hadn't been updated in a long time and knowledge of the trail at the local information centres was sadly lacking. Such a shame.

Over the last 12 months I have regularly cycled this trail from end to end and have noticed the improvements being carried out by the Trail Ranger. As more people discover the trail more work is put into the overall surface of the trail and operation of gates situated on the trail.
I am hoping that the current petition to get the trail fully completed will be successful so we can have the longest continuous Rail Trail in the southern hemisphere within 40 mins drive (50mins train ride) from Brisbane CBD.

I have cycled many sections of the trail over the last 12 months along with family and friends and would recommend it to all cyclists. Certainly haven't noticed any deterioration in the trials, have always found it to be well maintained and easy to locate and follow. Have enjoyed every moment of riding these trails from the beautiful scenery and wildlife to the small towns you encounter along the way where you can stop and have something to drink and eat. Would definitely recommend Moore to Blackbutt up through the Benarkin State Forest and also the Esk to Coominya leg. Lets hope governments get on board and get this trail fully completed. It is a real asset to the somerset region.

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