Report from Trains’n’Timber Festival, Shelley (Vic)

The first Trains’n’Timber Festival was held on 2nd and 3rd November. The festival recongnised the area’s history in both these areas. The railway opened through to Cudgewa in 1921, closing in 1981. Shelley was the highest railway station on the Victorian Railways.

 

Timber plantation tour.
Timber plantation tour. Alexander McCooke

 

The festival featured displays from the area’s timber industry and the Cudgewa railway. Tours were run of the local timber plantations to show how modern timber harvesting is performed.

 

Plantation lookout.
Plantation lookout. Alexander McCooke

 

Timber collection area for plantation.
Timber collection area for plantation. Alexander McCooke

 

The railway platform at Shelley is currently being restored. The area has been cleared and the platform face is currently being rebuilt. Speeches were made at the station site to mark the restoration. Speakers included Russ Ritchie (former divisional Forester) and Lloyd Holmes (railway historian, author of The Branch Line). David Heale from NRE read out a message from Minister Sherryl Garbutt announcing her approval for the creation of a rail trail from Shelley to Keotong.

 

Speeches at Shelley Station.
Speeches at Shelley Station. Alexander McCooke

 

The local group involved in the restoration of Shelley Station.
The local group involved in the restoration of Shelley Station. Alexander McCooke

 

After the speeches, a bike ride was organised along the former railway toward Keotong. The trail is a little rough at present, but when opened will make a fantastic rail trail.

Cycling along the future rail trail.
Cycling along the future rail trail. Alexander McCooke
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Report on the Bicycling Australia Show (Melbourne)

The Bicycling Australia Show was held in Melbourne last month. There was a good Rail trails presence at the show:

  • Railtrails Australia were giving out brochures and selling guide books
  • Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail was well represented and were giving out their latest brochure
  • East Gippsland Rail Trail also had a new brochure
  • Bass Coast Shire had a stand which included information about the Bass Coast Rail Trail
  • Shannon-Lea Lodge were at the show promoting cycling tours to the Otago Central Rail Trail in New Zealand

 

Vince prepares for the opening of the show.
Vince prepares for the opening of the show. Alexander McCooke

 

We talked to a lot of people over six hours, and most people already knew what a rail trail was. Many had been on one or more of the trails around Victoria.

 

This bike was displayed in the Royal Exhibition Buildings in 1888.
This bike was displayed in the Royal Exhibition Buildings in 1888. Alexander McCooke

 

Among the other stands of particular interest at the show was the display of historic bicycles including a machine that had been exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition in the same building 114 years previously. The most unusual bike at the show would have had to be the wave bike – bacically handlebars, seat and pedals mounted on top of a canoe!

Looking for new places to cycle?
Looking for new places to cycle? Alexander McCooke
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Bicycling Australia Show (Melbourne)

Railtrails Australia will have a stand at the Bicycling Australia Show on Saturday 19 October. Come along and say hello. The show is on between 10 am and 5pm at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton.

As well as rail trails you can expect to see the latest and most innovative bicycles, gear and accessories on display and a range of free seminars.

At 3.30pm at the main stage the inaugural Bicycling Achievement Awards will be announced by the Hon. Minister for Ageing Kevin Andrews a very keen bicycle rider.

There is plenty of free and secure bicycle parking inside the Royal Exhibition Building. Enter via the Southern door and look for the bicycle parking signs.

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Victorian Trail Happenings

Murray to the Mountains Opening

The official opening of the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail took place on Friday 13 September. At Everton there was a marquee set up on the station and nearly 200 people enjoyed the perfect weather and a light “gourmet” lunch afterwards. The Victorian Minister for Transport Peter Bachelor performed the opening at the newly completed bridge over Reedy Creek.

Ballarat to Skipton Trail

Information shelters have been erected at station sites along this trail. There have been reports of problems caused by 4WD vehicles and trail bikes illegally using the trail.

Bunny Rail Trail

We have received a report that parts of this trail have been fenced off and are no longer accessible.

Powelltown Area

Logging around Federal Mill has caused the closure of the track from the Mill Site to Ada Tree Car Park. A new route will be marked. A local group is investigating extending Richards Tramway trail, linking it with Big Pats Creek. Information courtesy of VicWalk News.

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Opening of the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail (Vic)

The offical opening of the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail has been set for Friday 13 September.

10:30am Official opening of the Reedy Creek Bridge Bike Path
12:00noon Official opening of the trail at Everton

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Cycling Debate (Melbourne)

The following is not directly rail trail related, but of interest to cyclists:

On Wednesday the 11th of September at 7.30pm to 9.30pm a great debate is being held

“The Bicycle: The Solution to our 21st Century Urban Traffic Problem”

At Monash University Clayton Campus, Melbourne, Building 72 Room E7 see Melway map 70 (G10) and for a map of campus see Melway Map 475 non-car access, the nearest railway station is Huntingdale connecting bus number 630.

Monash University Departments of Geography and Environmental Science, Institute of Transport Systems, the Monash Green Office Program and the Cycling Promotion Fund have been organising this event to foster debate, open up dialogue, raise issues in relation to the bicycle as transport solution in urban environments.

There will be a great panel of speakers

Pro: Charlie Farren, BFA, Harry Barber BV, Mike Hill VLGA

Against: John Stanley, Buss Association Victoria, Dr. Max Lay, RACV, Geoff Rose, Institute of Transport Systems Monash

the Comedian Justin Hamilton will chair the Debate.

After the debate the speakers will form a panel which will answer questions from the Audience.

Please come along, let your members know and join in this interesting debate.

Clubs and Bugs are welcome to bring along information about their organisation to raise their profile and educate and inform the audience.

Students have developed fliers and posters which are available for interested groups for distribution. Let me know if you want some.

There is no cost involved and supper will be provided.

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Queanbeyan to Bombala Rail Trail Project (ACT/NSW)

Since the closure of the railway services between Queanbeyan and Bombala interest has grown among cycling, equestrian, tourism and local government bodies and others in the concept of adapting the corridor for cycling, horse riding and walking – the Monaro Rail Trail.

A team from Canberra cycling group Pedal Power ACT has started planning this project.

More information is available on their web site at www.pedalpower.org.au/events/railstrails.

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Trains’n’Timber Festival, Shelley (Vic)

The first Trains’n’Timber Festival will be held at Shelley Forest Camp on the Wodonga to Cudgewa Rail Trail. on 2nd and 3rd November.

The festival will celebrate the history of:

  • The Wodonga to Cudgewa Railway
  • The establishment and operation of the softwood industry
  • The hardwood and sawmilling industries

For more information contact bragge@bigpond.com or phone 02 6072 7534.

A goods train at Shelley in the later years of the line's operation.
A goods train at Shelley in the later years of the line’s operation. John Robin
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The Second Australian Tracks & Trails Conference

The second Australian Tracks & Trails Conference to be held at Mandurah, near Perth, Western Australia from 14-16 October 2002.

This conference will follow on from the first one held in Mansfield Victoria in May 2000.

Details are available at the conference web page.

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Western Australia’s Trailswest unit to be closed

The WA Department of Sport and Recreation has announced that the Trailswest unit will be shut down, and the responsibilities for trails will be transferred to the Facilities Branch within the Regions and Facilities Division of the Department of Sport and Recreation.

The department has now commenced work on a new paper/plan to be called “Future Directions for Trails in WA”. This will be a rehash of the completed, but not endorsed, State Trails Master Plan (STMP) and is planned to be ready to launch/present at the October conference.

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