The Fernleigh Track is a multi-use rail trail near Belmont in New South Wales. The track was constructed in the way of the former Belmont railway line. The project is a joint venture between Newcastle City Council and City of Lake Macquarie. The track extends from Adamstown to Belmont over an approximate distance of 15.5 km (10 mi). The former railway closed in December 1991. The first section between Adamstown and Burwood Road opened in 2003. Construction has continued in stages with the final section between Jewells and Belmont completed in March 2011.
The abandoned Belmont railway line was a coal haulage and passenger rail line from Adamstown to Belmont. In 1880 a rail line was built to Redhead with the line being extended to Belmont in 1916. At one stage there was talk of extending the line to Swansea.
A feature of the conversion of the former railway to a multi-use trail is the retention of many industrial heritage features. The trail passes through the brick-lined Fernleigh Tunnel under the Pacific Highway.
At the site of the former Kahibah station, the cycleway is crossed by the Great North Walk, a 250 km (155 mi) walking trail connecting Newcastle and Sydney. The track also passes through the centre of the Glenrock Lagoon catchment.
- Adamstown: (0)
- Fernleigh: (2.816 km (1.75 mi))
- Kahibah: (3.782 km (2.35 mi))
- Dudley Junction: (4.587 km (2.85 mi))
- Burwood Platform: (5.09 km (3.16 mi))
- Whitebridge: (5.774 km (3.588 mi))
- Redhead: (9.274 km (5.763 mi))
- Redhead South: (10.561 km (6.562 mi))
- Jewells: (12.130 km (7.537 mi))
- John Darling Platform: (12.392 km (7.7 mi))
- Belmont: (15.51 km (9.637 mi))
- Level crossings, 5
- Tunnels, 1 (curved - 181 m (594 ft))
- Over Bridges, 2
- Drive through culvert, 1 (Little Flaggy Creek)
- Stations or Platforms, 10
- Signal Boxes, 4
- Major colliers served, 5
- Maximum gradient, 1 in 40
- Minimum elevation, 5 m (16 ft) (nr Belmont Station)
- Maximum elevation, 88 m (289 ft) (on main line)
- Length of Line, 15.51 km (10 mi)
History of the line
- 1880 - Rail line opened to Redhead
- December 1916 - Rail line extended to Belmont
- 12 October 1922 - Special train left Newcastle for the opening of "Soldiers' Memorial Hall" at Kahibah.
- January 1925 - Redhead Loop name changed to Fernleigh Loop
- 1967 - Last passenger steam train to Belmont
- 8 April 1971 - At 17:10 the last rail passenger train to Belmont via Kahibah left Newcastle Station.
- 19 December 1991 - Rail line closed
- 2 February 2003 - Adamstown to Kahibah Station stage of the Fernleigh Track (cycleway) opened
- August 2004 - Dudley Junction to Whitebridge Station section of Fernleigh Track completed
- 7 May 2005 - Kahibah Station to Whitebridge Station section officially opened.
- November 2009 - Whitebridge Station to Redhead Station section of Fernleigh Track completed
- November 2010 - Redhead Station to Jewels section of Fernleigh Track completed
- 12 March 2011 - Fernleigh Track fully completed.
- Rail Trails Australia
- Newcastle Cycleways Movement
- Lake Macquarie City Council
- Premiers Council for Active Living
- Kahibah Public School's Fernleigh Track site
- NSWRail.net diagram of Belmont line
- Curve and gradient data including the Belmont line