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Timber tramways were lightly constructed railways used for logging. Tramways were much narrower than railways with steeper curves but still had reasonably gentle grades. Many former tramways are now accessible as walking tracks. Two such tramway trails in the Mansfield area are Mt Samaria and the Plain Creek Track. Both trails are notable for the extent of the tramway remains visible along the trails. Both are suitable for walking only.

Mt Samara

This 3.8 km trail is located in Mt Samaria State Park north of Mansfield. Access if via dirt roads. In wet weather a 4WD is recommended. Allow 2.5 to 3 hours for the return walk.

The trail begins at the site of the Spring Creek Sawmill. Evidence of the mill remains in the form of trenches, foundations and seasoning kilns. There is now a picnic area and camp ground at the site which has toilet facilities. The start of the trail is signposted. Note that Lightning Track also begins here, but crosses the creek immediately while the tramway trail follows the entrance road for some way before curving away to the left.

Sleepers and rails from the wooden track remain along the trail and there are remains of a wooden bridge. Shortly after crossing Butchers Track, the trail ends at the site of the site of the Braking Station. This is located at the top of a steep incline where logs were lowered to Thompson's Mill site and another tramway at the bottom. The concrete foundations still remain. It is possible to continue down the incline to Thompson's Mill however the track here is very steep.

To return via Lightning Track, walk back to Butcher's Track and turn left for 500m. Lightning Track starts on the right (signposted). This track is much steeper, but offers excellent views. It is easy to follow except where it crosses a large rock outcrop and it is necessary to turn right. From here the track is signposted back to the mill site. Another track leads from here to the summit.

There are many other walks in the park. Two other short walks that are well worth doing are the walks to Wild Dog Creek Falls and Mt Samaria summit. Unusually a picnic table is located on the summit itself. These walks can be commenced from the mill site or from carparks further north along the main road.

For more information see our trail description page which includes a location map and short description of the trail, and Parks Victoria's Mt Samaria State Park Visitor Guide available from the Mansfield Tourist Information Centre.

Plain Creek Tramway Trail

Located around 20 km east of Mansfield on the road to Mount Buller, this trail also provides a very attractive walk. The trail starts from the Carters Road Picnic and Camping Reserve on the Delatite River - when driving from Mansfield, turn left just after Sawmill Settlement.

The trail starts on Carters Road at the far end of the picnic area. It is signposted Plain Creek Walking Track. (Note that there is also a Plain Creek 4WD track at the near end of the picnic area.) Follow the trail beside the creek and turn right at the "TRAMWAY >" sign. This leads up to the tramway formation. As with the Mt Samaria Trail, signs of the tramway can be seen in the form of sleepers and wooden rails. After the site of a tramway bridge (of which little now remains), the trail leads down off the tramway formation and crosses the creek.

After a while the trail crosses back over the creek and climbs steeply to rejoin the tramway formation at the site of a second and larger bridge. A substantial amount of this bridge is still standing with stacked timber piles and some rails still in place. The return walk can be made via the 4WD track which the trail meets on the far side of the bridge.

It is planned to include a full description and map of this trail the second edition of Railtrails of Victoria.