Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • The EDRT is a challenging ~15km walk or cycle beside the Puffing Billy steam railway in the Dandenong Ranges.
  • The trail extends from Clematis through Emerald and Cockatoo to Gembrook.
  • The terrain varies from undulating to hilly on different surfaces (sealed, gravel, dirt) so it is most suitable for hybrid and MTB bikes.
  • The scenery is spectacular, changing regularly along the trail with outstanding forests & lake, farmland and villages.

Attractions

  • The lovely country villages of Emerald, Cockatoo and Gembrook have full facilities available.
  • Emerald Lake, Wright Forest and mountain farms are highlights along the way

Trail Guide

  • This trail follows the Puffing Billy steam railway through the Dandenong Ranges from Clematis/Emerald to Gembrook
  • Whilst only 15km long, this trail offers a full range of experiences for users – hills, forests, farms, rural villages, picnic facilities, heritage railway.
  • It does not follow the follow the railway in some locations and has steeper gradients.

Section Guides

Access Points
* Car Park of Paradise Hotel in Clematis
* Ample on-street parking in Emerald, Cockatoo and Gembrook
* Car Park at Emerald Lake Park (fees applicable)
* Many other parking & access points along the trail

Clematis to Emerald (3km):
* Unofficial start of the trail is at the Paradise Hotel in Clematis
* Trail originates eastern end of the car park
* Pass along a short section of trail before crossing both the railway and Edenmont Road
* Trail follows on the north side of the railway up Emerald Bank (if you’re lucky, you’ll see Puffing Billy working very hard up this climb) and across Pinnocks Road & the railway.
* Trail is interrupted at Belgrave-Gembrook Road – travellers can cross the road to enter Emerald Station Park (south side of railway) or use the road, turn right at the roundabout (Kilvington Drive) to enter the main street of Emerald.
* Note the many shops & eateries including the famous Emerald Village Bakery
* Official start of trail is on Kilvington Drive at the Gemco Theatre, at the far end of Emerald Station Park (on north side of railway).

Emerald to Emerald Lake (3km):
* Follow the blue signs with yellow arrows along the trail
* After a short distance, cross into Pepi’s Land on the south side of railway
* At Beaconsfield-Emerald Road, cross the railway (again) and road, taking care as it can be very busy.
* Follow the trail past the Emerald museum and down to the Nobelius Packing Shed (previously used for flower distribution but now the home of Puffing Billy’s night train dining experience)
* On entry to Emerald Lake Park, the recommended trail is to the left, down a steep zig-zag section and turn right at the T-junction.
* Follow this trail into the western car park of Emerald Lake reserve.
* Continue along the northern bank of Emerald Lake until arrival at the road intersection (Wombat Corner).

Emerald Lake to Cockatoo (5km):
* From Wombat Corner, pass beside the gate onto a beautiful, fern-lined trail that follows Wattle Creek, before crossing a sweeping bridge to arrive at Wright Road.
* Cross Wright Road and follow the trail to the right until the railway is crossed again, this time at the restored Wright Station.
* Pass through the gates to the left and follow the management road, Wright Track, into the Wright Forest
* Stay on Wright Track until a gate – turn left onto Boundary Track before the gate and follow it, past another couple of gates, down the steep incline to Baker Street.
* Turn left at Baker Street, down another steep incline to cross the bridge over Cockatoo Creek.
* Continue on the trail to Cockatoo, arriving at the Ash Wednesday Bushfire Education Centre, after crossing Bailey Road
* Continue on the trail along Bailey Road, across Healesville-Koo Wee Rup Road and the railway to enter the Cockatoo shopping precinct.

Cockatoo to Gembrook (6km):
* The trail continues along Fairbridge Lane, past the new IGA supermarket, to join the main road, Belgrave-Gembrook Road.
* The trail passes through Cockatoo beside Belgrave-Gembrook Road, past the Cockatoo Primary School and into Old Gembrook Road.
* Continue along the trail until Doonaha Road where the trail meets the railway again, at the restored station, Fielder.
* Cross the often-busy Belgrave-Gembrook Road with care and continue on the trail beside Fielder Road.
* Another crossing of B-G Road is needed at the Mapleridge Local Produce Centre (small market of local produce).
* The trail now follows the Puffing Billy Railway all the way to Gembrook.
* Continue on the trail from Mapleridge with spectacular views over the rich farming country in all directions
* At the top of the hill, just after the crossing at Orchard Road, is the Gembrook Sports Ground and the final trail crossing of railway.
* Continue on the trail and again cross B-G Road at the Gembrook outskirts
* Follow the trail along the southern side of the railway along Station Road where the trail ends at Main Street, Gembrook.
* Note the Eastern terminus of the Puffing Billy Railway, Gembrook Station, on the left of the trail.
* Unfortunately, the Gembrook Hotel burned down recently, but there are many shops & cafes available in Gembrook, all on the main street.

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
The Hume Council have transformed this former railway line into a four hectare open community space and called it "Meadowlink Linear Park".

Attractions

  • The council has installed a 1.3 kilometre long concrete shared pathway 3.3 meters wide, 400 new shade trees, 500 plants, seating and lighting to help with public safety.
  • The Victorian Government contributed over $2 million for design and construction.

Trail Guide

This rail trail runs between Railway Crescent Broadmeadows (near its intersection with King William Street) and the Merlynston Creek.

From this point a shared pathway leads to the historic Will Will Rook Pioneer Cemetery on Camp Road and beyond through the Jack Roper Reserve to the popular shared pathway beside the Western Ring Road.

Background Information

Traditional Owners

We acknowledge the Woiworung people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Railway history

This is the former World War 2 branch line called the “Broadstore Line” that ran for 1.6 kilometres from the main north/ south line at Broadmeadows (a northern suburb of Melbourne) in 1942, in an easterly direction providing services to the Maygar Army Barracks in Cambellfield. These barracks played and important part in housing troops and Army support during WW1 and WW2. The line was un-electrified and closed in 1982 with the lines being lifted in 1991.

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway

Attractions

  •  The trail starts at North geelong Station.
  • The sealed trail runs beside the old railway line.
  • Many of the rails and crossings are still evident.

Background Information

 

The line was conceived by the cement company, who approached the State Government in 1915-16 requesting a rail link to North Geelong. In 1926 the Australian Portland Cement Company opened a private 3’6″ railway  to their quarry. Usage of the line declined by the 1990’s as road haulage took over. The cement plant closed in 2000 and was demolished.

A bike path and linear park was provided beside the tracks in the early 1980s.

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway

Note: Much of the trail is now overgrown and difficult to see on the ground let alone access. As a result we have listed it as zero km open but in actual fact It is 43.5 km in length.

The Powelltown Tramway follows the routes of tramways built in the early 1900s to open up the area for logging. There are a variety of tramway walks from a few hours to a couple of days. The Reids Mill Tramline offers a shorter walk of 6 km, return. The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) developed the trails through state forest in the 1970s following the routes of the tramways. Along the tracks are tree ferns and dark green myrtle beech trees in moist gullies, majestic mountain ash forests on the slopes and brown and messmate stringybark and silvertop forests at lower levels.

Trail Guide

The remnant bridges of the Powelltown tramlines are unsafe. Leave them alone and follow the tracks through the gullies. Be prepared for leeches; wear long trousers or gaiters. Plenty of water is available.

Section Guides

Section 1. Powelltown to The Bump (6.3 km, 1.5–2 hours)

Start at the picnic ground opposite the DSE office in Powelltown. Follow the main road east for 1 km and turn into Blake Street. After 75 metres this street turns east into Surrey Road, built on the old tramline formation. The track then follows the tramline to the far eastern end of Powelltown where it crosses the main road and continues along Mackley Creek Road, mostly following the tramline formation, for 1 km.

The walk then leaves the road and begins to follow the Little Yarra River. The tramway builders took advantage of an unusual geological formation called a natural bridge. The river disappears underground for about 50 metres where the tramline leaves the road. By using this natural bridge to cross the river, the tramway builders saved the expense of a trestle bridge. The line then follows the river for 3.3 km and meets the Powelltown–Noojee road at The Bump.

The Bump was so named because for many years it barred easy passage from the Little Yarra Valley to the LaTrobe River Valley on the other side. Until 1925 access was via The Bump incline. The log bogies were winched up the final steep section and lowered down the other side by a stationary winch. In July 1925 this system was replaced by a 313-metre-long tunnel which took 13 months to dig and was about 2.8 m wide and 4.0 m high. It was timber-lined and had a vent shaft in the middle through which smoke escaped. The tunnel was closed as a safety measure after World War II. Both entrances are still visible.

Section 2. The Bump to the High Lead carpark (4.2 km; 1.5 hours)

The track winds down from The Bump to the tunnel exit in the LaTrobe Valley. From the exit to the river crossing, the track was built on an earth platform made with debris removed from the tunnel. The track then crosses the LaTrobe River for the first time. Immediately beyond the river is the site of the settlement of Nayook West, the only evidence of which is the mill sawdust heap. In the mid 1920s this settlement had a population of about 150; in 1926, 78 pupils were enrolled at the State School. The settlement had its own shopping centre, and a picture theatre which screened silent films to a packed house on Saturday nights.

The track continues east from Nayook West close to the LaTrobe River, crossing it six times before emerging at the High Lead carpark on the Powelltown–Noojee road.

Section 3. High Lead carpark to Dowey Spur Road (4.6 km; 1.5–2 hours)

From the carpark the track again crosses the LaTrobe River and follows it north for about 1 km then crosses and follows Big Creek north-westwards for 1.4 km to the start of the High Lead incline. There are many fine specimens of myrtle beech along Big Creek.

The High Lead marks the start of the most difficult section of the walk. The track rises 415 metres in 1600 metres, a grade of almost 1:4, to the site of the winch station on top of Dowey Spur. From here it is a short walk down to Dowey Spur Road.

The High Lead is flanked on both sides by regrowth mountain ash forest which resulted from the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires. An intensive salvage operation obtained the maximum volume of saw logs and pulpwood from the stands of fire-killed Mountain Ash.

Section 4. Dowey Spur Road to Starling Gap (8.5 km; 2.25–2.75 hours excluding the two branch walks)

From Dowey Spur Road the track drops straight down to the Ada River following the other side of the High Lead incline. The Ada River flows through a wide, flat area which is very wet for most of the year. Immediately across the river is the Ada No. 2 sawmill. Some relics of the mill remain, including the boiler. This mill was burnt out in the 1939 fires.

Just beyond the mill, the track crosses a small stream and climbs to where the Federal Timber and the Victorian Hardwood Company lines crossed. This is the start of two branch walks from the main track.

  • 2.8 km return to the site of the New Ada sawmill. The New Ada mill track leads north from the tramline junction. A few relics of the old mill can still be seen. Backtrack from the mill to the track junction.
  • 4.3 km return along the Federal line to the New Federal mill. The track winds around the hill on an even grade, crossing one small stream before meeting the Little Ada River. Here is an excellent example of a ‘make-up’ type of bridge, which differs from the trestle bridges encountered elsewhere on the walk. It was built of a series of horizontal layers of logs at right angles to each other which supported the road bed of the tramline, whereas the trestle bridge consisted of vertical piers to support the road bed.

Six hundred metres beyond the bridge is the New Federal mill. Its output was devoted to supplying staves and other barrel timbers for the company’s cask factory in Footscray. From the mill site, return to the tramline junction or continue south-east from the mill site along the Upper Yarra Track.

From the tramline junction, the main track goes north-west up the Ada River valley to Starlings Gap. Along the valley are the remains of what were once fine trestle bridges. The track emerges at the picnic and camp ground at the Gap, on the divide between the LaTrobe and Yarra valleys, 740 m above sea level.

Section 5. Starling Gap to East Warburton (12.5 km; 4–5 hours)

Just beyond Starling Gap is a sawdust heap, all that remains of an old sawmill which operated here until 1942. The line continues down on the northern side of Mortimore Creek valley for 7.3 km to Burns Road, crossing an old fire-line on the way. A short distance before the fire-line, about halfway between Starling Gap and Burns Road, another sawdust heap marks the site of Ezards sawmill.

Between Starlings Gap and Burns Road, the tramway descends evenly at a grade of 1:12, which was fairly steep for tramways, but not for walkers. Coming down from the Gap, the locomotives were coupled to the rear of the train for safety reasons. If the engine or brakes failed, the train of logs would bolt down the hill, and the engine driver had a chance to escape.

Shortly after crossing Burns Road the line meets Big Pats Creek and follows it down to the picnic ground at Big Pats crossing. The tramline section of the track finishes here. Walkers can continue along Big Pats Creek Road for 3.4 km to Riverside Drive; turn right and go on to the Warburton Highway. The walk finishes beside the highway at the picnic ground on the banks of the Yarra, opposite the Riverside Drive junction.

Section 6. Reids Mill Tramline Loop (6 km; 1.5–2.5 hr)

This easily graded trail follows an old timber tramway to the site of Reids Sawmill which was in use from 1920 to 1930. It starts on the Noojee Road, about 500 m east of Powelltown. The trail passes through magnificent tree ferns and tall mountain ash before entering dryer stringy bark forest. Care should be taken when crossing the bridges provided over several small streams. A few relics of the mill can still be seen at the end of the trail.

The return trip may be made via the steeper Big Bertha track. This is a shorter track, but much steeper. It finishes at the picnic area opposite the DSE offices just to the west of the town. A 1½ km walk along the main road completes the circuit.

Background Information

Traditional Owners

We acknowledge the Woiworung people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Railway history

In the early 1900s, the area around Powelltown was opened up by a network of tramways which carried logs from the mountains of the Upper Yarra and LaTrobe Valleys to the Warburton railway. The largest mill in the area, from which Powelltown takes its name, was operated by the Victorian Powell Wood Process Company. The company was formed in 1912 to exploit the new, and ultimately unsuccessful “Powell” method of wood preservation, which involved treating the timber with a mixture of molasses, water and arsenic.

The tramways kept close to creeks so they could maintain an even grade and there were many bridges. Sawn wooden rails were used on the earlier lighter lines, and in one place a tunnel cut though a hill. The forest trees were cut with axes and cross cut saws then winched on to the tramway with big steam winches set up beside the tracks. The tramlines declined in the 1930s depression. The 1939 bushfires devastated this area and meant sawmills were required to relocate to the edge of the forest. This, combined with increased truck traffic, caused the tramways’ demise. The 1983 Ash Wednesday fires again devastated this area.

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • The trail is 100 per cent off-road
  • Excellent cafes at each end of the trail
  • Best in dry weather

Attractions

  • Wineries, galleries, and peaceful rural and sea views combine to make this a great trail for a day trip or weekend visit
  • The section near Merricks is popular with horse riders: part of it does not follow the original alignment so it is steeper than a typical rail trail

Options

  • Start at either end of the Trail, cycle or walk one way or both ways
  • Ride on the roads to visit wineries, galleries or beaches on the way back. Note: take care if you choose not to return on the trail. There are no bike lanes on these roads, some of which roads carry very fast traffic.

Trail Guide

There is a carpark and bike repair station near the corner of Point Leo Rd and Shoreham Rd, at the Red Hill Station Reserve behind shops. Story boards tell the history of the area. It is a downhill ride to Merricks: about 200 m along the trail, look for the plaque at the former station site, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the railway opening.

Section Guides

  • From Merricks it is all uphill (except for a short 100 m downhill) to Red Hill. Park at Merricks Station Ground (look for the mobile phone tower at the entrance) on the Frankston-Flinders road, close to Stoniers Winery, about 150 m from Merricks General Store. There are public toilets here.
  • Look for the ‘TRAIL’ sign on the cyclone fence, near the mobile phone tower. The narrow track runs beside the fence in the reserve to the start of the trail proper.
  • Turn left and climb steadily for 2 km, with good views over Western Port to Phillip Island. After a sharp right turn the trail continues down the steep hill (with grapevines on the left) and through a horse jump where it meets the end of Tonkins Rd. The trail continues to the left and is now on the original rail easement. It ascends gently to Red Hill, first through pine trees (look for colourful fungi in autumn), then two small cuttings.
  • The trail continues to Point Leo Rd behind Red Hill shops. Explore the shops, café or bakery and either return via the trail or other local roads.
  • The trail is shared with walkers and horses and is very narrow in parts. It can also be muddy, and is unsuitable for road bikes in winter.
  • There are excellent cafes at each end of the Trail, and Stonier Winery at the Merricks end.

Background Information

Traditional Owners

We acknowledge the Bunurong people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Rail Line History

The line to Red Hill was built after a long campaign by local people, beginning in the 1880s. Opened in 1912 as a branch from Bittern on the Stony Point line, it mainly carried fruit such as apples, pears and strawberries to market in Melbourne. Six hundred people gathered to greet the first steam train climbing the steep 1 in 30 gradient to Red Hill.

As roads improved the train timetable was reduced to one train a week and the line closed in 1953 after only 32 years of operation. The rest of the former railway land between Bittern and Merricks is now in private ownership.

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Red Hill Rail Trail (VIC) Seeking Feedback on Station Reserves

Posted: 25/05/14

Anyone who has ridden the Red Hill Rail Trail (Mornington Peninsula, VIC) and gone through ...

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • On-road and along a bike path through a linear park
  • A pleasant ride past Hawthorn’s pretty houses and gardens

Trail Guide

This short trail follows a branch line from Hawthorn to Kew.

On road and bike path through linear park.

Background Information

Traditional owners

We acknowledge the Woiworung people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Rail line history 

This short trail follows a branch line from Hawthorn to Kew that opened in 1887 and closed in 1957.

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
Mainly one for those interested in history. The trail is a marked on- and off-road heritage route following a private railway that ran just one train in 1888.    

Attractions

The council has installed quite ornate interpretive signs along the route in the footpaths.

Background Information

Traditional Owners

We acknowledge the Woiworung people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Railway history

The Rosstown Rail Trail charts the original course of the private line which was the life long dream of William Murray Ross.  He built the line with the intention of transporting sugar beet to his sugar beet mill, and the refined product to the Port of Melbourne. From start to finish, the railway line was plagued with problems ranging from a lack of funds to construction delays.  When the mill failed to begin production, the line fell into disrepair without being used, and it was eventually dismantled, with the land being sold.

However we observe the contribution of one entrepreneur who made the City and its surrounds what it is today.

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Map Legend:

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Possible Rail Trail
  • Other Trail
  • former Railway
  • A high standard rail trail with detailed history boards at former station site, which winds through a variety of suburbs and urban parkland.
  • Between East Camberwell and Alamein it runs beside the Alamein railway line. There are many busy road crossings, but most have lights.
  • It is possible to access many sections of the rail trail with public transport.

Attractions

  • A well developed trail with informative history boards at most former station sites, winds through a variety of suburbs and urban parkland.
  • From Kew to East Malvern it is also known as the Anniversary Trail.

Trail Guide

This is a well developed trail with detailed history boards, which winds through a variety of suburbs and urban parkland. From Fairfield to East Malvern it is known as the Anniversary Trail. Between East Camberwell and Alamein it runs beside the Alamein railway line. There are many busy road crossings, but most have lights.

Options

You can cycle from Kew to Elsternwick by combining the Outer Circle and Rosstown rail trails. Total distance: 25k

Section Guides

This description describes the trail heading south to north.

From East Malvern to Kew it is also known as the Anniversary Trail.

Hughesdale to East Malvern (2km)

The trail begins at the impressive Hughesdale Station on the Dandenong railway line and the Djerring Track beneath the “Sky Rail”. You can also join in nearby Boyd Park, very popular.

At six-lane Dandenong Road, it is safest to follow the service lane to the west for 200m to cross at the lights. Then turn north again, and enter the Urban Forest, once the site of the Waverley Road Station. This is a beautiful native bushland park with several trails running in parallel. Follow any of these to arrive at Waverley Road. This is the only unsealed section of the trail. Cross the road, and pass through East Malvern Station carpark. The trail meets the Scotchman’s Creek Trail here, which you could follow to your right all the way to Jells Park.

East Malvern to East Camberwell / Canterbury (7km)

Use the pedestrian and cyclist overpass bridge to cross the Glen Waverly Railway line and the Monash freeway. The trail runs through Malvern Valley Public Golf Course.

Stick carefully to the trail and at the golfing tee-offs, head north to cross Gardiners Creek and get back on the original alignment (the Gardiners Creek Trail keeps heading west). Once a long timber rail bridge crossed Gardiners Creek at this point.

The trail is now known as the Anniversary Trail and very picturesque until Alamein railway station. There are the old railway catenary poles still carrying electrical wires overhead although there were never any electric trains in this section!

From Alamein station the trail is beside the Alamein railway line. At several intersections, cars must give way to pedestrians and cyclists – but keep a look out anyway.

The shops at High Street are a good place to stop for a coffee. Soon after is a steady climb, with the trail running up the side of the train line’s cutting. The next crossing, Toorak Road, can be very busy, and has an extremely steep (but fortunately short) hill on the far side. Things then get easier as the trail winds its way past the Hartwell, Willison and Riversdale stations. After Hartwell station the trail moves off the rail alignment and at Prospect Hill Road it winds around a hockey club, before passing under the Belgrave/Lilydale Line at East Camberwell station and turning northwest into Boorondara Park.

Canterbury to Kew (8km)

The trail is now a “proper” rail trail again, on the formation of the former railway. Shortly after passing under Canterbury Rd the trail is in a deep cutting for several kilometres – a somewhat hidden gem of tranquility buried in the eastern suburbs. This section is particularly busy before and after school so don’t expect tranquility at these times.

At High St. Kew, cross at the lights to your right, to get through busy Harp Village junction. From here, it’s a long descent down to Chandler Highway with the former formation to the left.

The formation and Anniversary Trail ends at the Eastern Freeway but there is a bike path to continue over the freeway on to the Yarra River, albeit narrow and noisy.

It is worth it though as this is the connection with the Main Yarra Trail and the Yarra River bridge which is a real feature. The railway bridge was converted to a two land road bridge when the railway closed and was one of Melbourne’s most congested roads until 2020 when a new six lane road bridge opened to the south and the former railway bridge became the rail trail bridge with many interesting features including portholes to the river below.

Between the Yarra River and Heidleberg Road is the former Australian Paper Mills site where a lot of urban renewal development is underway so the view here will change regularly.

North of Heidelberg Road, the rail corridor curve to the west. It has not been developed, and remains as vacant land. There is a short section of path to Fairfield Station on the Hurstbridge Line.

Background Information

Traditional Owners

We acknowledge the Woiworung people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.

Railway history

In the late 1880s land boom, a railway line was built through the then outer eastern suburbs. It was also supposed to link the Gippsland line with Spencer Street (now Southern Cross) station prior to the construction of the viaduct between Flinders and Spencer Street stations.

The line was opened in 1890. It operated in its entirety for only three years, being closed in stages between 1893 and 1895 as a result of the depression. The southern section was reopened as far as Ashburton in 1898 and was extended to Alamein in 1948. The section from East Camberwell to East Kew was reopened in 1900. The passenger service on this section was known as the Deepdene Dasher and was provided by a steam locomotive and two carriages. It was withdrawn in 1943.

The City of Boroondara offers a very comprehensive history of the Outer Circle Railway here.

A more recent history of this railway is in a City of Glen Eira news item (Nov 2020).

No services listed for this rail trail.

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Pedestrian Bridge Over Gardiner’s Creek Re-opened

Posted: 24/06/07

The pedestrian bridge across Gardiner's Creek on the Outer Circle Rail Trail has been closed ...

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