A spectacular walk following the route of a former standard gauge private railway, which served kerosene shale mines. The railway branched off the main western line at Newnes Junction, near Lithgow, ascended to an altitude of 1200m before dropping down to Newnes (altitude 530m) in the rugged Wolgan River Valley, all in 50km. The railway passed through two tunnels, the second of which (closest to Newnes) now has a large population of glow worms.
Between Newnes Junction and the first tunnel the former railway is mostly a gravel road. After the first tunnel the road ends at a carpark and from here it is walking only through the glow worm tunnel down to the valley floor.
If riding or driving from Lithgow railway station, head out from the north side of the station, turn right and cycle via bitumen road through Lithgow’s suburbs to the State Mine Heritage Park and Railway. Continue in a northerly direction past this Heritage Park and you will eventually hit a good gravel road (and a short but very steep climb); this is known as Glow Worm Tunnel Road.
At the top of the hill you reach a plateau; from there it is fairly flat/undulating and you continue on the good gravel road through state forest for about 7km-8km, until you will reach a crossroads and the Bungleboori Picnic Area. Continue straight through the crossroads; the good-quality gravel road continues to travel in a north-north-east direction through state forest.
At approx. 10km-15km or so past the crossroads/Bungleboori Picnic Area is Deane’s Siding, where there are some rusty pieces of old railway engines. It is here where the rail-trail proper begins; the road is still a good quality gravel road but it is now obvious that is it running along the former railway. Deane’s Siding also marks the beginning of a long downward section – bliss on a bike!
- Glow worm tunnel to Newnes
- Blue Mountains
- Surface – Coarse gravel
- Terrain – Steep
For more information and a location map please visit RailTrails Australia.