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15 October, 2021

A rail trail from Westbrook to Wyreema?

A Feasibility Study that had been commissioned by Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) to determine the feasibility of building a 5.5km rail trail from Westbrook to Wyreema has been released.

A section of the railway alongside Fisher Road in Wyreema will need a path built next to it for safety reasons if the rail trail proceeds.

The Feasibility Study was undertaken by Mike Halliburton Associates, who are specialist trail consultants.

In response to the Feasibility Study, TRC officers found
that in comparison to the Oakey to Cecil Plains Rail Trail proposal the Westbrook to Wyreema Rail Trail has “the lowest overall construction and ongoing maintenance costs and is likely to provide a mostly local benefit in this area of growing population.”

The same officers recommended that “in the event Council is successful in securing grant funding for detailed design, consideration be given to the inclusion of an appropriate budget allocation for the Westbrook to Wyreema Rail Trail and/or the Oakey to Cecil Plains Rail Trail.”

The estimated construction cost is $1.472 million, including  trail surfacing ($467,500), building two new bridges ($390,000) and double fencing ($138,000).

The Feasibility Study itself concluded the project is technically feasible and worthwhile.

“The limited number of issues raised during consultation can be overcome with good design,” it said.

The issues identified through consultation were:

  • Spraying potential drift and interruption of farmers’ spraying regimes.
  • Weeds will be an ongoing issue. No new risk but rail trail does provide a bed for weeds to grow.
  • Fence installation would require farmers to change their current practices but would prevent stock from straying, unauthorised use, encroachment, trespass, liability, etc.
  • Bridges are an attraction and one of the costliest items in rail trail development.
  • Darling Downs black soil may create difficulties in trail construction and may also be an issue for creating a bridle trail alongside the rail trail should it be built.
  • The railway corridor does not run through particularly attractive scenery.

      Responses to overcome these issues were identified.

In October 2020, TRC obtained grant funding of $30,000 through the Queensland Government towards commissioning the Feasibility Study of the Westbrook to Wyreema Rail Trail.

A community consultation session was held in March this year in Wyreema.

There are over 100 established rail trails in Australia.

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