Melbourne, Yarra Valley, Geelong, Bellarine & Mornington Peninsulas
Site of the former Roystead station near Canterbury Rd and typical signage (2007)
Urban Forest near East Malvern (2007)
The trail near Alamein Station. (2012)
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.
You can cycle from Kew to Elsternwick by combining the Outer Circle and Rosstown rail trails. Total distance: 25km.
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.
Hughesdale to East Malvern (2km)
The trail begins in Boyd Park near Hughesdale Station. Follow a back street along the train line towards the city from Poath Road, on the north side. The trail continues through popular Boyd Park until Dandenong Road. Be careful around blind corners.
At Dandenong Road, it is safest to follow the service lane to your left for 200m to cross at the lights. Then turn right 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 Canterbury (5km)
Crossing the pedestrian and cyclist overpass, the trail runs through Malvern Valley Public Golf Course. Stick carefully to the trail as it loops to your right then left again. Once a long rail bridge crossed Gardiners Creek at this point. Now, take the newly built (early 2012) Solway St Bridge to cross the creek.
The trail is now known as the Anniversary Trail. You can see the remants of electrical wires overhead. It's easy to follow and has good visibility. At several intersections, cars must give way to pedestrians and cyclists - but keep a look out anyway. Just before Alamein Station, the Gardiners Creek Trail separates off to your right, running all the way to Blackburn. From Alamein Station, the trail runs alongside the Alamein Line.
The shops at High Street are a good place to stop for a coffee. Soon after is a big hill, 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 Riversdale Rd, it runs briefly down Spencer Road. Turn right at Prospect Hill Road, then pick up the trail again on your left. Here it winds around a hockey club, before passing under the Belgrave/Lilydale Line, and turning left into Boorondara Park.
Canterbury to Kew (6km)
The trail is now "proper" rail trail again, following the route of the now defunct train line. As you head north, you pass into a deep cutting - a somewhat hidden gem of tranquility buried in the eastern suburbs. At High St, cross at the lights to your right, to get through busy Harp Village junction. From here, it's a big descent down to Chandler Highway, where the trail ends at the Eastern Freeway.
North of this point, the old rail route has now become the Chandler Highway. It is possible, but not very pleasant, to follow this route by bike, over the Eastern Freeway, then over the Yarra River. This is one of Melbourne's most congested roads, as the narrow rail bridge only allows two lanes of traffic. In places you can ride on the footpath, and there are bike lanes, but it is definitely not recommended for families.
North of Heidelberg Road, you can see the rail corridor curve to the west. It has not been developed, and remains as an overgrown piece of vacant land. There is a short section of path to Fairfield Station.
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.