Canberra to Bombala railway could be rebuilt ‘at a modest cost’, plan says

Bombala Railway Station

Bombala Railway Station

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A concept plan for a railway from Canberra to Eden was released by the Cooma and Monaro Progress Association (CMPA) on Friday, July 6.

The plan by engineer Edwin Michell conceptually finds the disused railway between Canberra and Bombala could be rebuilt to better standards at a modest cost.

The study also found the engineering difficulties of a new route descending the South Coast Range between Bombala and Eden were not insurmountable.

CMPA member Richard Hopkins said a number of improvements to the existing line between Canberra and Bombala would need to be addressed especially some curves between Nimmitabel and Bombala.

“Improvements to the line between Canberra and Cooma would be fairly straight forward largely using the same route although there would have to be bridges where there are now level crossings on the highway,” he said.

In his report, Mr Michell said the extension of the Queanbeyan-Bombala railway to the Port of Eden would realise a century-old dream.

The principal engineering challenge is the need to descend the South Coast Range from an elevation of about 800metres to sea level because there is not an existing rail corridor between Bombala and Eden.

The study states the most promising route is though the Towamba Valley, which is similar to one proposed by government surveyor, Charles Scrivener in 1905, that would depart Bombala, cross the escarpment near Bondi Forest and then proceede downhill through the valleys of the White Rock River and Wog Wog Creek, eventually emerging near the Towamba River and following the river to its mouth near Boydtown and terminating at the Port of Eden.

The study also said electrification of the rail is unlikely to be economically viable, barring a significant rise in the cost of diesel or larger freight volumes than expected.

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