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Richmond Vale Rail Trail a step closer

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The Richmond Vale Rail Trail is on a pathway to become a reality.

The landmark project recently reached an important approval milestone, with future work set to rejuvenate the historic railway line as a new regional shared path for the community and visitors. 

The overall proposal between City of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Cessnock city councils will feature a 32-kilometre cycling and walking track along the former Richmond Vale rail line between Kurri Kurri and Hexham, along the former Chichester to Newcastle water pipeline between Shortland and Tarro, and through the Hunter Wetlands National Park.

The shared pathway will also provide a link between Kurri Kurri, Tarro, Minmi and Shortland.

It’s understood users could avoid travelling on the Pacific Motorway, Hunter Expressway or New England Highway, too.

The Development Application (DA) for the design and construction of City of Newcastle’s section of the Richmond Vale Rail Trail was approved on Monday 6 December by the Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel.

Approximately 13 kilometres of the path located within the Newcastle Local Government Area (LGA) was given the green light.

Another two kilometres of the trail, which passes through the Hunter Wetlands National Park, will undergo further assessment in the new year.  

City of Newcastle’s Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the approval represented a major step forward for what would be a regionally-significant recreational and tourism attraction.

It might even rival the popular Fernleigh Track, she claimed.

“The project will offer a great active choice for locals and visitors, passing through old railway tunnels and over bridges, among wildlife habitats and linking to the Hunter Wetlands National Park,” Cr Nelmes said.  

“Significant work went into preparing this DA and I want to congratulate everyone who played their part. 

“This is an important milestone.

“So, I’m excited and very optimistic about the future of the Richmond Vale Rail Trail.”

City of Newcastle will also seek approval of the two-kilometre section through the Hunter Wetlands National Park next year to ultimately move the project towards construction, as funding permits. 

To find out more about the development, visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/works

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