Darwin Rail Trail follows the path of the first section of the
narrow gauge North Australia Railway from Darwin to Pine Creek opened
in 1888. It was extended south to Katherine in 1926 and finally
Larrimah in 1929, which was as far south as it got, never linking up to
the Adelaide to Alice Springs railway. Never the less it played a vital
role in the development of the Northern Territory and Australia during
the second world war. However once the war was over improving roads and
its isolation resulted in the railway being closed in 1976.
The trail is in two sections:
1. Darwin to Yarrawonga (20 km) with access points at McMinns St or
Day/Harvey St intersection, Darwin CBD, and Berrimah - Vanderlin Drive
link to Casuarina. Older parts of the trail are now well shaded by
trees after an extensive tree planting program. In 2006 the Friends of
the North Australia Railway restored a 700m section of the original
track at The Narrows in Darwin and have re-sleepered the old bridge
(with assistance from Darwin City Council). The Rail Trail runs
alongside this historic section.
2. Yarrawonga to Howard Springs (5.3 km) with access over the shared
pedestrian/cycle bridge off Roystonea Ave (near the Tiger Brennan
Interchange at Yarrawonga) (Palmerston), Tulagi Rd. Yarrawonga
(Palmerston) and Whitewwood Rd. Howard Springs. The cycle path has
retained original railway embankments, hand-excavated cuttings,
culverts and four remnant bridges as heritage features. By conforming
to the railway corridor there has been minimal disruption to bordering
eucalypt woodland and riparian habitats.
An interpretative shelter built at Yarrawonga and Howard Springs
includes displays of local and railway history. Path-mounted
solar-powered lights have been installed selectively.