THERE has not been a train pull into Corowa since 1988 and a regular passenger service last ran in the 1970s, yet the rail corridor is still owned by the state rather than Federation Council.
It is a situation that has left the council's director of engineering services Steve Carmichael frustrated and wanting a change to the status of the old rail reserve which adjoins Betterment Parade and John Street in central Corowa and continues north-east parallel to the Riverina Highway.
"It may be worth council at some stage making representations to the minister to see if we can at least get that railway closed," Mr Carmichael told the newly-elected council at its first meeting.
"My option would be to get it closed from probably Hopefield Road into town....then the Hopefield Road crossing, which is ours, could be worked on.
"The Riverina Highway has still got the rails under it as far as I know, a number of these streets in town still have the railway and the sleepers underneath them and that's where we get into trouble with them.
"They won't let you take them out because it's still an active railway line.
"I'd like to see a train go along it, it would be interesting."
UGL this month takes over from John Holland as the company responsible for maintaining the country rail network in NSW.
Mr Carmichael said it had been difficult to deal with John Holland in relation to maintenance.
He was speaking about the railway reserve in the context of drainage upgrade works along John Street.
Federation mayor Pat Bourke told The Border Mail there were various concerns linked to the old railway route, including flooding and access to public toilets in the former station precinct.
He said the council would look to raise the issue of land ownership of the rail reserve with member for Albury and government representative Justin Clancy.
The railway originally ran from the main line at Culcairn to Corowa via Walla, Burrumbuttock, Brocklesby and Balldale.
Since train services ended, nearly 100 years after starting in 1892, the line has been largely neglected with trees growing between sleepers and sections falling away.
Former Federation councillor Fred Longmire said he understood it had reached a stalemate with frustration from landholders along the route at a perceived lack of consultation.
He said a major issue in the southern Riverina was the movement of grain and the damage being done to council roads by hauling it by truck rather than train.
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