William Williams on a railway jigger, rabbit hunting in Otago in New Zealand c. 1900. Plans are underway to have similar rail handcars installed along the Casino to Murwillumbah rail trail. Photo National Library of New Zealand
William Williams on a railway jigger, rabbit hunting in Otago in New Zealand c. 1900. Plans are underway to have similar rail handcars installed along the Casino to Murwillumbah rail trail. Photo National Library of New Zealand National Library of New Zealand

Handcars and rail bikes could make trail appearance

SIGHTSEERS could work up a sweat on machines straight from the set of Blazing Saddles, with plans underway to install "rail jigger" handcars along the Casino to Murwillumbah rail trail.

North Coast Destination Network co-chairman Cameron Arnold said applications were being drawn up to have certain sections of railway tracks maintained along the trail - not for trains, but for the hand-powered handcars often seen in old Western comedies.

Work is also in progress to include rail bikes in the plan - pedal-powered contraptions that hook onto the tracks.

"There are a lot of ideas coming out. Some of them have been around for a while, like opening new mountain bike tracks (near Kyogle) and horse riding opportunities," Mr Arnold said.

"Then there's the idea to have rail jiggers near Casino and rail bikes or 'rail explorers'.

"They are open bikes that can fit up to four people on them."

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail Association is preparing submissions ahead of the March 31 cut-off date for expressions of interest.

An announcement on what projects have been approved for funding is expected on May 31.

Mr Arnold said small bed and breakfasts beside the trail were ideally poised to cash-in on the project.

"There are already a few around in places like Uki and Burringbar - some are only about 200m off the track," he said.

"Then there are 18 small villages along the train that will be re-invigorated with little cafes and beautiful pubs for visitors.

"There is a misconception the rail trail is just a bike track. It's much more than that.

"That's why the rail trail group is looking for other projects to enhance the experience."

-APN NEWSDESK


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