- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Possible Rail Trail
- Other Trail
- former Railway
Why we want the Casterton to Branxholme Rail Trail
The 54 km trail will pass through pleasant farmland and forests in far western Victoria. It will feature the Wannon River Bridge, the longest 19-century Victorian railways timber bridge still in existence
The trail will provide another reason for walkers and cyclists to visit the region, complementing the nearby Hamilton to Coleraine Rail Trail.
initial construction is likely to focus on the 4 km Casterton to Sandford section and the 20 km Sandford to Merino section
- Casterton is the home of Australia’s famous kelpie sheepdog. Visit the Australian Kelpie Centre and enjoy the Kelpie Walking Trail
The Casterton-Branxholme Rail Trail will link the townships and localities of Casterton, Sandford, Merino and Branxholme, and will connect the region’s unique landscape, cultural, natural and heritage features. Glenelg Shire Council endorsed a feasibility study in 2020 to build the trail.
Casterton to Sandford (4 km)
Within Casterton the trail will link the Heritage Railway Station precinct with the Kelpie Centre and current and future Casterton trails. It will pass Casterton Saleyards, Racecourse and Victoria’s longest surviving timber railway bridge.
Sandford to Merino (20 km)
A historic English oak tree in front of the town’s old hall will contribute to the trail landscape. The trail will pass through the historic buildings of the Henty area.
Merino to Branxholme (30 km)
Merino is an attractive country town; Branxholme has heritage rail features including a water tower and reservoir. The route will be mostly rural landscape and production forests.
Picturesque Wannon River bridge (Beryl Camillieri)
Sweeping view of Wannon River bridge (Beryl Camillieri)
Showing the relative height of the Wannon River bridge (Beryl Camillieri)
We acknowledge the Gunditjmara people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which the rail trail is built.
Development and future of the rail trail
In 2019 Glenelg Shire engaged a consulting firm to undertake a feasibility study for a rail trail from Casterton to Branxholme as part of its strategy to develop enjoyable, safe walking and cycling opportunities for the Shire.
Council approved the final version in June 2020.
Rail line history
- The line opened from Branxholme to Casterton in 1884 after two years of construction and earthworks. The line closed in 1977
- In February 1883 the line opened to Henty for goods traffic only. At this time, work was still being done to dig out the cutting south of Sandford
- Wannon River bridge a few km east of Casterton. Built in 1884, it has withstood floods in 1893, 1906, 1946 and 2016. The 292 m bridge is the longest surviving example of a Victorian Railways 4.57 m timber-beam bridge still retaining its all-timber integrity. It also has unusual early structural features, particularly the very rare vertical-four-pile piers on the main river channel section. The bridge deck sweeps in a grand curve.