The “Puffing Billy trail” is getting closer to the iconic Victorian steam train’s Belgrave headquarters, even if only incrementally. The Cardinia Shire Council is expecting work to start “within weeks” on an 800m gravel extension to what’s officially known as the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail, from Edenmont Rd, Clematis, to the bottom of Menzies Rd.
The state government’s Growing Suburbs Fund kicked in two-thirds of the $300,000 required for the project, which will upgrade an informal walking track that runs past Clematis Station and the expansive lawns of the Paradise Valley Hotel. Meanwhile, across the other side of Belgrave-Gembrook Rd, the neighbouring Yarra Ranges Shire Council is sealing the 1km Menzies Rd hill, with a shared path to be built subsequently to get trail users into Menzies Creek.
At present only dedicated walkers and mountain bike riders would tackle this hill to reach the narrow-gauge railway station, Menzies Creek Museum or Aura Vale Lake Park. The completion of the two projects will make the largely rail-side path more than 16km long and leave about 7km to Belgrave.