Survey Assesses Sentiment on Castlemaine Rail Trail

Castlemaine, Victoria

Community feedback is invited to help prepare a feasibility study for a proposed rail trail between Castlemaine and Maryborough, in central Victoria.

Mt Alexander Shire Council is conducting a survey until 23rd June, partnering with Central Goldfields Shire Council, as part of investigations into the 55km Castlemaine Maryborough Rail Trail.

The council says the survey will evaluate a business case for the trail, while assessing community attitudes and expectations.

“It will also assist in planning the trail alignment, design and possible management model,” it said.

Welcome To Country sign
The Welcome To Country sign at the Murwillumbah end of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail. Photo credit: Tweed Shire Council.

National Heritage Award for Tweed Trail

A prestigious National Trust Heritage Award has been presented to one of Australia’s newest rail trails, stage one of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail (NRRT), which topped the awards’ conversation-landscape category this month.

The award recognised the project’s dedication and success in preserving and showcasing the rail, natural and cultural heritage along its 24km route in Tweed Shire, in northeastern NSW.

That includes the restoration of two tunnels and many of the route’s 26 bridges. A total of 16 bridges were restored for rail trail users to traverse, while the other 10 were bypassed and retained for their inherent heritage value.

One of the tunnels, the Burringbar Range Tunnel, is 524 metres long and showcases its habitat for microbats and glowworms.

The project also had a strong commitment to the indigenous heritage of the trail, villages and region, by integrating a range of Aboriginal stories along the trail and Welcome to Country statements at each end.

The NRRT was one of 17 projects acknowledged at the awards – an annual celebration of exceptional heritage conservation practices – during a ceremony in Sydney on 12th May.

Future NRRT Stages

Three more stages are proposed for the NRRT, which would then cover a total of 132km from Murwillumbah to Casino.

A series of one-on-one meetings with adjacent landholders has been held throughout May for the section between Lismore and Bentley.

Art installation on the Great Victorian Rail Trail.
One of the installations on the Great Victorian Rail Trail’s new Arts Trail. Photo credit: Rail Trails Australia.

Art Trail

User experience on the Great Victorian Rail Trail has been enhanced by a recently launched Art Trail.

The $1.2 million project features seven art installations along the trail’s 134km from Tallaraook to Mansfield.

It also incorporates 20 smaller works and scar trees carved by Taungurung artist Mick Harding.

The art trail is a joint venture of the Murrundindi, Mitchell and Mansfield councils, and was financed through the Victorian Government’s Regional Tourism Investment Fund.

It was officially launched last week by the Victorian Attorney General, Minister for Emergency Services, and Member for Northern Victoria, Jaclyn Symes.

Art installation on the Great Victorian Rail Trail.
This art installation creates a memorable arch for riders along the Great Victorian Rail Trail. Photo credit: Rail Trails Australia.

Extension for SA Coast to Vines Trail

South Australia’s Coast to Vines Rail Trail will be extended by a new shared path incorporated into the reconstruction of Main South Road from Seaford to Sellicks Beach.

The 16km off-road shared use path will connect to the rail trail, as part of a 27km circuit trail linking the townships of Willunga, Aldinga and McLaren Vale.

Restoring Landmark Bridge

A multi-million-dollar project is underway to restore Victoria’s longest timber railway bridge, the 770-metre-long historic Orbost Railway Bridge, as a new feature on the East Gippsland Rail Trail.

A public-information session was held on 10th May for community members to view and discuss the plans for restoration, which is supported by a $3.5 million Tourism Infrastructure Program grant from the Victorian Government and a $1.065 million Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grant from the Federal Government.

The bridge was built in 1915 and its restoration is expected to begin later this year, with completion scheduled for June 2024.

More rail trails news is available on the Rail Trails Australia website.

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