A concept plan for a Canberra to Eden rail link has identified potential routes through the Bega Valley.
The paper published by the Cooma and Monaro Progress Association was written by engineer Edwin Michell and promotes the idea of a rail link from Canberra which “would enable the Port of Eden to emerge as a first-rate intermodal transport facility”.
It is something that has been raised by the Canberra Region Joint Organisation which includes Bega Valley Shire Council as well as a number of other councils.
Council’s general manager Leanne Barnes said they had been looking at a range of freight options and freight strategies.
Ms Barnes said that it was about “big picture thinking” and having “a vision for what could happen into the future” and getting that on the agenda.
“We have to have these discussions now. This is about connectivity in this south eastern corner. We have a railway that finishes at Nowra and doesn’t start again until Bairnsdale,” Ms Barnes said.
The report on the Canberra to Eden proposal states that freight customers are looking for alternatives and that Twofold Bay has long been recognised as one of the finest natural deep-water anchorages in Australia.
“Canberra Airport could position itself as the gateway of choice for both air-freight and passenger travel, for virtually the entirety of southern regional New South Wales, and perhaps much of eastern Victoria,” Mr Michell says in his report.
The report says the most promising route between Bombala and Eden is through the Towamba Valley, downhill through the valleys of the White Rock River and Wog Wog Creek, eventually emerging into the Towamba River near Burragate following the river to its mouth near Boydtown and terminating at the Port of Eden.
However there are two alternative routes to consider, Mr Michell said, one through the Bega Valley, and one encompassing the small township of Wyndham.
It would proceed through Cathcart and once on the Bega Valley bottom, it would pass close to the townships of Candelo, Wolumla, and Pambula, using the surveyed but unbuilt Bega-Eden Railway.
The second would proceed due east from Bombala through Coolangubra State Forest, descending the spurs surrounding Rocky Hall, then through the townships of Wyndham and Lochiel to Pambula, using the surveyed Bega-Eden railway.