Rail BankingThanks to Rail Trails Australia for supplied images

Rail corridor protection for transport use if required in the future.

Disused rail corridors used as rail trail have full protection to be reused as transport corridors if required in the future under USA law with Rail banking legislation.

The concept of railbanking was established in the United States in the early 1980s when it became part of the National Trails System Act. It is a (legal) strategy to preserve for future rail use abandoned railway lines through interim conversion to a trail (Rails-to-Trails, 2013). It works under the evidence that if a public asset is not used, it is eventually lost.

For heavy/light rail to be introduced, an effective base formation needs to be provided:

  • Clear re-growth and repair landslips;
  • Repair bridges, culverts;
  • Lift the rails and steel sleepers and retain them;
  • Remove old wooden sleepers and ballast.

The new line can then be constructed with new ballast/sleepers and replacement of steel sleepers and rails.

However the corridor and formation need to be preserved to allow easier and more economical introduction of rail transport at some time in the future. The disused rail corridor provides an opportunity to develop a bicycle/pedestrian trail which consequently provides an effective base formation for the return and economical reintroduction of rail transport.

  • Regrowth will be cleared;
  • Culverts will be repaired and bridges/landslips repaired where economically viable;
  • Rails and steel sleepers will be lifted and retained;
  • Old wooden sleepers and ballast will be removed.