Darwin Rail Trail

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.


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Background Information

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 new standard gauge Alice Springs - Darwin railway opened in 2004 and parts of the new railway were placed on the old North Australia Railway alignment. However some parts of the old line were bypassed, including that in the Darwin area allowing construction of this rail trail.

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