The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is a recreational trail that follows the route of the former Brisbane Valley railway line, which connected Ipswich to Yarraman. The railway line was built between 1884 and 1913 to transport timber, coal, dairy products, and passengers along the upper Brisbane River valley. The line was known for its winding and hilly course, which required many bridges, tunnels and cuttings to overcome the terrain. The line also played a role in World War II when it was used to transport troops and supplies to the Lowood airfield.
The railway line was gradually closed down from the 1960s to the 1990s, as road transport became more efficient and economical. The last passenger train ran in 1989 and the last freight train in 1993. The railway corridor was then transferred to the Queensland State Government, which decided to develop it into a recreational trail for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders.
The development of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail began in 2003, when the former Esk Shire Council opened the first section between Fernvale and Lowood. The Nanango Shire Council followed suit by opening the section from Linville to Blackbutt in 2006 and extending it to Moore in 2007. The Department of Infrastructure and Planning then established a steering committee in 2008 to oversee the completion of the trail under the SEQ Regional Recreation Trails Program. The trail was progressively opened in sections until 2018, when it reached its full length of 161 km.
The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is now Australia’s longest rail trail and a popular attraction for locals and visitors alike. It offers a variety of experiences, from scenic views of farmlands, mountains and forests, to historic towns and heritage sites such as the Harlin Rail Bridge and the Yimbun Tunnel. The trail also hosts several events throughout the year, such as fun runs, bike rides and festivals.
The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is a testament to the history and culture of the region, as well as a showcase of its natural beauty and diversity. It is a trail that invites people to explore, enjoy and connect with the land and its stories.