Crookwell Heritage Railway road test pedal-powered rail bikes

The Crookwell Heritage Railway group is testing a rail bike that, if successful, could take passengers by the end of the year.

Secretary Peter Simpson says the timing is perfect.

Full-steam ahead: Crookwell Heritage Railway's Lenny Stewart and Peter Simpson testing the pedal-powered railway bike. Photo: Clare McCabe

Full-steam ahead: Crookwell Heritage Railway's Lenny Stewart and Peter Simpson testing the pedal-powered railway bike. Photo: Clare McCabe

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"We can see the market and see the potential," he said.

The pedal-powered vehicle rides on railway tracks. In Crookwell, the adventure would begin close to the heritage-listed railway station, then follow the restored track to a turntable near Harley Road bridge before returning to the start.

The self-propelled bike trip is about 1200 metres. It would start out confined to the yard but, longer term, Mr Simpson would like to reach McAlister: "The next step is to go to the second crossing of Harley Road."

Mr Simpson found the special bike by chance at the Nevada Southern Railway Museum in Boulder City, in the United States.

"There were people sitting on the platform for a ride ... four miles down the trail to a picnic spot and there was interaction with the museum. Then there was a train ride back to the start with the bikes hooked on the back [of the historic trains]. It was a two-hour adventure."

He hoped the bike could be ridden between Crookwell and other locations along 3500 kilometres of disused railway track in NSW.

"Rail Explorers [the manufacturer], they've taken over 60,000 people in four years. They operate on the east coast during the American summer and in winter, when that's snowbound, they head to Nevada."

The group is developing procedures, including safety, to submit to the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator. They are currently accredited to operate within the railway precinct but will require a variation to their permit to allow the carriage of the public. They have the full support of Rail Explorers.

The costs are $10,000 for a tandem bike, and $15,000 for a quad. The rail bike trail would retain the current track, which is important to the group.

"We would support [a bike trail] provided the bike path is next to the rail and retains the railway," Mr Simpson said.