THE Riverina's first rail trail and NSW's first on an ex-government train corridor has been officially opened across a 120-kilometre distance.
Member for Albury Justin Clancy had the honour of unveiling the Tumbarumba to Rosewood rail trail, but due to COVID-19 restrictions he could not be on site.
Instead on Friday morning a video was uploaded to Facebook with Mr Clancy virtually opening the tourism drawcard while standing in his driveway at Table Top.
"Despite the bushfires, despite COVID, despite all of the challenges here it is, or rather there it is in Tumbarumba, NSW's first rail trail," he said.
The 21-kilometre sealed trail sits on a pathway that saw its last passenger train in 1974 and follows the Fernleigh Track being set up along an old private railway south of Newcastle.
Riverina Highlands Rail Trail chair Owen Fitzgerald devised Tumbarumba's project 18 years ago after a mate returned from New Zealand with VHS footage of the Otago Central Rail Trail.
"Detractors said we'll never open and never get it done on time and it's opening at the time we were going to do it before coronavirus," he said.
"We just want something that gives a bit of enjoyment to the world at present and this fits in that category."
IN OTHER NEWS:
While restrictions mean only locals are encouraged to use it now, a major celebration is planned for September 26.
The track has been formed over the past 12 months with $5.7 million in NSW government funding.
It features three trestle bridges, 40-metre overpass, and there are plans for a restaurant to open halfway along in a former tasting room that was once part of Mannus Wines.