Tasmania’s North East Rail Trail Extension to Lilydale Re-funded

The extension to the North East Rail Trail is set to go ahead after a key funding component – $1.47 million in federal government support – was re-confirmed.

This is the money needed to build the North East Recreation Trail from Lilydale to Scottsdale, a distance of 30km, in Tasmania’s North East.  Dorset Council (based in Scottsdale) is now expected to lodge a development application to build the project. This will hopefully happen within weeks.

This news is especially pleasing given that the original funding agreement with the Dorset Council had lapsed due to the neccessary additional time needed to consult with the community.

In an excerpt from an article in the North Eastern Advertiser (Wed. 2 September 2020) Mayor Greg Howard said “the development applications are very close to being ready to go… once they have been approved, we will call for tenders.

He also noted “it’s pleasing to note that we have already had interest from a number of companies with the capabilities to dismantle the rail line and reconstruct the cycle trail. The 41 km project is hoped to be underway this summer.”

The council will build the trail along the public land corridor which was formerly the North East railway. The new trail will connect with the existing rail trail that extends 28km north-east from Scottsdale to Billycock Hill, near the small town of Legerwood.

The North East public land rail corridor extends from near Rocherlea, a northern suburb of Launceston, to Scottsdale, a distance of 60km, Regular commercial passenger trains stopped running in the 1970s. The last freight train ran in 2004. The corridor extends about 110km from Launceston’s outskirts to Herrick, a small town near the top of Tasmania. An unfunded heritage rail project has been suggested for a section between Launceston and Lilydale.

You can read an article here from the Tasmanian Times.

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Section between Scottsdale and Tonganah

 

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Final Management Plan for Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail

The Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail Management Committee last month finalised the management plan for the Camperdown to Timboon Rail Trail in Victoria.

Highlights of the plan include the renewal of five bridges. The bridges are between Merretts Road and the Curdies Trestle bridge and work will commence in the next couple of months.

It is anticipated the trail will be closed in this section while works are being done and all work will be completed in the current financial year.

The plan can be found here.

Along with the bridge restoration, Rail Trails Australia strongly supports the option to extend the rail trail from Naroghid back to Camperdown on the original alignment to provide a great connection to this picturesque rail trail.

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Curdies River bridge near Timboon
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New rail trail for Bundaberg region

The Queensland State Government and Bundaberg Council have announced a project that will deliver a rail trail corridor connecting Bundaberg to Gin Gin, linking the existing Sharon Rail Trail and Watawa Trail.

The State Government and Bundaberg Regional Council would each contribute $9.5 million to build the first half of the 46-kilometre trail from Bundaberg to Gin Gin.  The 23-kilometre stretch will run from Bundaberg to Koolboo Road via Sharon.

Bundaberg Council sees the tourism opportunities that this trail would bring and it aligns with the state government funding, which generally requires dollar for dollar investment matching. Bundaberg is quite proactive in this space – there is also an amazing coastal trail as well (part on rail reserve). There are a lot of old cane rail lines that are also being considered.

For further detailed information on this exciting announcement, please see the following items:

 

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Splitters Creek bridge will be a real feature of the first section (Bundaberg Regional Council)

 

 

 

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Coast to Vines Rail Trail – from sandy beaches to cellar doors

Winding along Marino’s magnificent coastal cliffs and through to the foothills of the renowned Southern Vales wine region, the Coast to Vines Rail Trail is the ideal way to explore the diverse attractions of the Fleurieu Peninsula.

The Coast to Vines Rail Trail is approximately 37km in length and commences from the southern end of the Coast Park trail which follows 28km of beaches on the western side of Adelaide. The Mike Turtur Rail Trail connects the Coast Park at Glenelg to the Adelaide CBD.

The trail begins at the Marino Rocks railway station and follows the Seaford railway line, affording magnificent views of the Adelaide Coastline both North and South. The trail then follows the old Willunga rail corridor along creeks and through tree lined cuttings within the suburban area before it turns inland toward the Southern Vales Wine region. The trail passes through many vineyards and cellar doors before arriving in McLaren Vale which is on the door step of many well-known wineries and eateries. The last 8km of the trail extends to Willunga and given the number of wineries near this section of trail, it is appropriately called the Shiraz Rail Trail.

Be warned, once you have experienced the Southern Vales and the Fleurieu Peninsula you may never want to go home.

The Coast to Vines trail follows the Seaford Line at Hallet Cove S10 106 Hallett Cove 2006 09 3614
The Coast to Vines trail follows the Seaford Line at Hallet Cove
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Have your say on Mornington Peninsula’s RideSafe Strategy 2020

The Mornington Peninsula Shire in Victoria is reviewing its bike strategy. Rail Trails Australia was somewhat involved in 2010 when the Council did their last strategic review.

Even though there are not many rail trails on the Peninsula, they are fragmented. The links between Baxter-Somerville, Moorooduc-Mornington and Balnarring-Merricks must be completed. If they were to be joined, the cycling structure would take enormous leaps forward.

It would be really helpful to promote rail trails in this area for several reasons, including improving community connectivity, reducing motorised vehicular traffic, enhancing population health quality & outcomes, providing economic benefit to the local communities(eg. overnight stays), and enabling development of other activities (eg. retail services and other cycling/walking activities such as MTB park, walking trails).

You can find further information in this Background Paper.

If you would like to have your say, please provide a submission here.

NOTE: Closing date is 11 September 2020.

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Red Hill Rail Trail between Red Hill and Merricks
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Next stage in development of the Richmond Vale Rail Trail near Newcastle

The proposed Richmond Vale Rail Trail (RVRT) near Newcastle NSW would be a wonderful rail trail. The Trail is a long disused colliery railway from the coastal city of Newcastle across Hexham Wetlands, through bush and farmland, through three beautiful brick-lined tunnels, numerous cuttings and over several bridges to reach the town of Kurri Kurri, which is on the doorstep of the Lower Hunter wine region.This trail and its connections would ultimately stretch over 32km. Further potential has also been identified in the many disused colliery rail lines west of Kurri Kurri.

Newcastle City Council (NCC) has lodged a Development Application (DA) for their section of the Trail, which stretches from Hexham to Lenaghan. Their section includes a substantial access trail along a water pipeline from Shortland ultimately to Tarro.

The RVRT has long been recognised as a fantastic opportunity for locals and visitors alike, for recreation, commuting and tourism. Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes recently described it as “a truly iconic infrastructure project”.

Rail Trails Australia members and supporters can support the proposed works by sending a response to mail@ncc.nsw.gov.au or by mail to City of Newcastle, PO Box 489 Newcastle 2300. Submissions should quote DA2020/00641 in the title of the submission, include the submitter’s name, address and daytime contact number and, if possible, an email address.

Submissions could for example include comments such as:

‘I support development of the Richmond Vale Rail Trail (RVRT). The RVRT would be an enormously valuable asset for the Lower Hunter. It would attract walkers and cyclists for active recreation, commuting and tourism and so would be valuable for both locals and tourists. The RVRT has enormous benefits and almost universal community support. The community has been waiting many years for the trail to be developed.’

You could also mention applicable points such as:
•  I live near the proposed RVRT and would use it regularly
•  I use the Fernleigh Track or Tramway Track (Wallsend to Glendale) (mention how often) and would love to also be able to use the RVRT
•  I have used other rail trails (specify) in the past and stayed multiple days etc as applicable

Submissions are due by 5pm Wednesday 2 September.

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Towards the Richmond Vale Rail Trail (Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment, University of Newcastle)
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The Logan Village to Yarrabilba Rail Trail (Qld) detailed design and feasibility study has been completed

The 3.5km trail will be built on a disused rail spur line, which was transferred to Council as road reserve. It is flanked mostly by natural bushland. This rail trail is attached to the Bethania to Beaudesert Rail Trail.

Delivery of the rail trail was a key priority project identified from the Logan Village Forum hosted by Council in March 2018. In April last year, a further $200,000 funding grant was secured through the State Government’s Rail Trail Local Government Grants (RTLGG) program to finalise the feasibility study and detailed design of the trail. If funding is secured construction on the trail can commence towards the end of 2020 and will be completed within 6 months.

Council will now undertake final detailed design (90%DD) and tender documentation with the aim to commence construction once additional funding is secured. It is proposed that the 3.5km trail be developed with a durable surface, which will consist of either bitumen or concrete. Where the trail interfaces with the existing footpath network in Yarrabilba and Logan Village proposed concrete surface will seamlessly tie in with the existing infrastructure. At this stage it is proposed that the trailheads for the Logan Village to Yarrabilba Rail Trail will be situated at Buxton Park in Yarrabilba and at the Logan Village Green. The trail design includes two watercourse crossings, to provide flood free access for people along the trail.

The Feasibility Study identified a number of benefits:
• economic benefits to the places where the trail starts and finishes resulting in a boost to businesses associated with the trail;
• social and physical health benefits; and
• a range of environmental and cultural benefits.

It is estimated that the trail will attract local users and day-trippers and will develop stronger physical connections between Logan Village and Yarrabilba, is a critical off-road link, providing recreation and active transport opportunities for school children and workers.

The benefit of the new trail is that it provides an opportunity for a significant number of local users who are looking less for a unique opportunity than for an easily accessible recreation opportunity. The primary benefits come in providing a safe off-road cycling and walking opportunity for local residents.

Council has also submitted an EOI for funding under the State Government’s Rail Trail Local Government Grants (RTLGG) program for funding of the design and feasibility of the Rail Trail along the Bethania – Logan Village (approximately 10.5km) section of the Bethania to Beaudesert railway line. The outcome for this funding has not yet been finalised however if successful the design will enable a link to the Logan Village to Yarrabilba Rail Trail and open up more opportunities to attract visitation.

 

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At the site of the proposed Logan Village to Yarrabilba Rail trail
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Jigsaw Puzzles from Rail Trails Australia. SOLD OUT

Rail Trails Australia has now introduced a new solution for lovers of rail trails with some time on their hands — jigsaw puzzles!  SOLD OUT – WILL ADVISE WHEN NEXT AVAILABLE

Yes, you can now order these very special jigsaw puzzles that have images of some iconic rail trails.

You have a choice of 500 piece puzzles and, if you like a bigger challenge, you can go for the 1,000 piece puzzles.

Click on this link to see large images of each jigsaw.

Go to the RTA Online Store now to select and order your puzzle(s) online.

The jigsaws are high quality products produced in Australia.

500 pieces: 500 mm x 450 mm  Price:$40
1,000 pieces: 715 mm x 530 mm Price: $60

Prices include packing and postage anywhere in Australia. For postage costs outside Australia please email admin@railtrails.org.au

Order by Sunday 16th August 2020 for delivery by approximately 4th September 2020.

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The High Country Rail Trail trestle bridge – one of the iconic images from the set of jigsaw puzzles

 

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The fabulous Great Southern Rail Trail in South Gippsland is to be extended!

After lots of work over a few years the extension of the Great Southern Rail Trail has been approved and funded by a combination of South Gippsland Shire Council and grant funding. The extension will be from Leongatha to Nyora, a distance of 35km. The 107km trail, when completed, will start in Nyora and finish at the newly reconstructed Long Jetty at Port Welshpool over the waters of Quiet Corner with wonderful views of Wilsons Promontory National Park.

What a wonderful extension to our existing Great Southern Rail Trail this will be! With many towns along the way, great scenery, fresh locally grown produce, craft breweries, cideries, wines, art galleries and old fashioned pubs set in quirky country towns to visit. Eventually the trail will continue from Welshpool to Alberton where the traveller can continue to Yarram or take a side trip to Port Albert. But this is not expected for a few years.

The Great Southern Rail Trail extension between Leongatha and Korumburra 14km is forecast to be completed by 30 June 2021 with grants from the Victorian State Government of $1.3M and funding from the South Gippsland Shire $1.5M. $100k is also set aside for the Leongatha Station precinct upgrade. The 21km Korumburra to Nyora section has been funded at $3M with $800K from the Victorian Government’s 2020/21 Local Sports Infrastructure Fund.

Rail removal works for the Leongatha to Korumburra section are completed in preparation for the trail. The trail construction and associated bridge works are set to proceed in the next 12 months.

The corridor is obviously not accessible to the public while construction is underway.

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The railway line has just been removed between Leongatha and Korumburra

 

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Jeetho Hall between Korumburra and Nyora (Australian Cycling Holidays)

 

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Rails have also been removed at Jeetho (Australian Cycling Holidays)
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Great Victorian Rail Trail benefits from multiple revegetation efforts

The Great Victorian Rail Trail (GVRT) has recently benefited from the efforts of two Landcare Groups who have undertaken revegetation work to take advantage of ideal planting conditions. At Old Fawcett Road, near Alexandra, two groups of enthusiastic volunteers with the UT Creek Landcare Group planted 280 native seedlings along the trail alignment while complying with COVID-19 guidelines for outdoor activities.

Funding for these seedlings was provided by the Seedling Bank grants, a National Tree Day initiative, with stakes and guards provided by Murrindindi Shire Council.

“In addition to being great places to walk, cycle or horse ride, rail trails contain important vegetation which needs to be protected and enhanced” says Cat Thomas, Upper Goulburn Landcare Network (UGLN) facilitator. “The rail trail provides an important corridor linking landscapes along its path”.

The Yea River Catchment Landcare (YRCL) Group also planted over 200 seedlings at Limestone near Henderside Road, Yea. This site was chosen with the aim of revegetating and linking up a large gap in the remnant vegetation along the trail to assist in the movement of wildlife including the rare brown treecreeper, striped legless lizards and the brush-tailed phascogale.

Both projects were facilitated by Chris Cobern, Landcare Coordinator with UGLN in Yea. Chris assisted with site selections and planning, along with pre planting preparation, while the supply of seedlings was made possible through funding provided by VicTrack, the original manager of the rail reserve.

The importance of open spaces to exercise has become even more apparent during the COVID-19 restrictions, and its these important revegetation works the trail passes through that will further enhance the visitor experience.

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Lack of remnant vegetation along the GVRT at Limestone has benefited from the planting of over 200 seedling by YRCL Group. Photo: Cat Thomas
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Some of the 280 seedlings planted by the UT Creek Landcare Group along the GVRT between Alexandra and Old Fawcett Road. Photo: Cat Thomas
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