Frequently Asked Questions


Is the proposed Monaro Rail Trail viable? Yes. A feasibility study funded by Snowy Monaro Regional Council in 2019 concluded that the 213km Monaro Rail Trail would bring economic and social health benefits to the region. It estimated construction costs to be $65m and that the towns and villages along the corridor would directly benefit by $24m annually. An economic analysis expects benefits to be more than four times the costs over the lifetime of the rail trail.
Could a viable train service be reinstated on the Queanbeyan -Bombala railway line? No. A feasibility study by NSW Transport in 2019 concluded that returning freight and passenger services to the disused Monaro railway line and extending it from Queanbeyan to Canberra Airport and from Bombala to the Port of Eden was not viable. The study estimated construction costs to be greater than $6.3bn and concluded that the economic costs exceeded the benefits.
What benefits would the Monaro Rail Trail bring to the Monaro? Rail trails in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the USA have shown how benefits accrue. In summary these are: Economic: They are popular tourism destinations that draw high numbers of tourists into the smallest of towns and villages to use the hospitality services. Health: Users will enjoy improved mental and physical health. Environment and History: Monaro rail history will be preserved as rail infrastructure (such as the timber bridges) is enhanced for use in the rail trail. Landcare groups will be invited to monitor and assist with weed control and revegetation.
How does the NSW government assess rail trail proposals? In 2022 Regional NSW released a framework outlining how to prepare rail trail proposals for approval and funding. The three key areas are: community consultation and support, financial viability and environmental impact including biosecurity.
How will the Monaro Rail Trail be constructed? The 30-40m wide corridor is surveyed and, where appropriate, fenced on both sides. Rails and sleepers are removed, and the rock ballast graded to prepare a surface that is either sealed or compacted gravel. Where the trail passes through farmland, stock and vehicle crossings will be installed after landholder consultation.


Who is Monaro Rail Trail Inc.? MRT Inc is a not-for-profit association registered in 2015 with the NSW Dept of Fair Trading. It proposes using the disused rail corridor as a multipurpose recreation trail that would boost the local tourism economy and provide for safe off-road recreation for locals and tourists. Committee members represent the communities along the rail corridor from Queanbeyan to Bombala.
Who will own the rail corridor? The NSW Government has passed legislation that provides for rail corridors to remain in NSW Government ownership while up to 30-year leases are granted to the rail trail management body. At the end of the lease the corridor will revert to the NSW Government.
Who will manage the Monaro Rail Trail? Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council and Snowy Monaro Regional Council will be the head leaseholders taking primary responsibility for the rail trail’s management through a joint governance arrangement in which community groups (such as those representing Aboriginal peoples, history and farmers, as well as Monaro Rail Trail Inc) will have a voice in management.
Who pays for trail maintenance? Monaro Rail Trail Inc has looked at income generation schemes used successfully on New Zealand trails. Tour operators collect fees from their clients, cycle hire operators collect fees, business partners donate, and trail users donate. Grants are also a source of maintenance funding. These and other income sources will cover a large proportion of the maintenance costs. Any shortfall will be covered by the councils holding the lease.
Who consults with landholders adjoining the rail corridor? The NSW Rail Trails Framework encourages Councils proposing a rail trail to develop a consultation plan which identifies impacted stakeholders and consults them. This will include one-on-one meetings on the adjoining property and a process allowing confidential discussions to ensure the landholders’ concerns are addressed. The Consultation Plan for the Monaro Rail Trail is well-progressed.
Who funds construction costs? Funding for construction will be sought from both the NSW and Federal governments and obtained via competitive grant applications.


Who uses rail trails? Primary users are cyclists, walkers and runners. In urban areas users will include parents with prams and people with mobility devices such as wheelchairs. Rail trails are for locals and attract many regional, interstate and international tourists.
Why would people be attracted to the Monaro Rail Trail? The major attraction is safe offroad recreation. The trail gradient does not exceed 3% and suits users of all abilities. The Monaro has impressive landscapes and lots of rail history by way of bridges and heritage listed station buildings that add to the visitor experience.
Could the rail corridor be used as both rail trail and train service? Yes, it is possible to run a rail trail and a tourist train side by side on some sections. However, embankments, bridges, and cuttings that restrict rail corridor width can limit shared use.
Could local Monaro roads be used instead of the rail corridor? Local country roads do not offer the same degree of safety or utility as a rail trail, and rough and undulating road surfaces exclude many users. They do not offer direct routes between the towns and villages and this is essential to allow users to reach accommodation each night. A rail trail is a cycle tourism magnet.