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Inner Circle Rail Trail

Victoria - Melbourne region

4.5 based on 2 reviews
Location: Inner suburbs, 5 km from the CBD
Length: 4.8 km
Surface: Asphalt, Concrete
Start / End: Royal Park to Rushall Station
Public Transport: Bus, Train, Tram
Suitable for:
  • Cycling – Mountain BikesCycling – Mountain Bikes
  • Cycling – Touring and Hybrid BikesCycling – Touring and Hybrid Bikes
  • PramsPrams
  • Scooters and Inline SkatesScooters and Inline Skates
  • WalkingWalking
  • WheelchairsWheelchairs

  • Rail Trail
  • On Road
  • Potential RT
  • Other Trail
  • Former Railway
View Map
  • Part of the Capital City Trail that runs around the Central Business District
  • There are lots of cafes nearby, as well as Edinburgh Gardens, which is a popular picnic spot
  • All major road crossings have traffic signals and some others have priority crossings
  • A great commuting route for local cyclists and handy for visitors
  • Significant remnants of railway infrastructure

Nearby Attractions

  • Merri Creek Trail
  • Melbourne Zoo
  • Royal Park walking tracks
  • The restored railway station at North Carlton
  • Cafes, pubs and eateries

Last updated: 3 May 2024

This shared path, which replaced a railway line running between Royal Park and Rushall stations, is a wonderful introduction to rail trails for the whole family, with easy gradients and parks, play equipment and cafes to break the journey. The remaining railway infrastructure is a great talking point for first-time visitors.

Access Points

  • Royal Park: Tram and train services to here, with parking on Poplar Rd
  • North Carlton: On-street parking in Park St, toilets next to former station
  • Rushall: Trains and buses, plus some parking at station
  • Fitzroy: On-street parking and toilets at Edinburgh Gardens

For public transport options go to ‘GET AROUND’ below and click on ‘SHOW MORE’

 

Section Guides

Royal Park to North Carlton (1.4km)

  • Being off the railway corridor, the asphalt trail climbs quite steeply to Poplar Oval before descending into the Inner Circle cutting as it passes the Upfield railside trail on the left. There are two underpasses before you reach Princes Park and cross Bowen Cres.
  • Watch for runners on the crushed-granite park path before crossing Bowen Cres, and for the level-crossing gatekeeper’s cottage on the left after crossing it. The path becomes concrete at this point and you’ll soon be going past the former North Richmond station, which is now a community house with public toilets and community garden.

North Carlton to Rushall (2.4km)

  • Heading through North Carlton, you’ll come to a cafe and bicycle shop on the left before crossing Nicholson St and climbing onto the former North Fitzroy station platform. After Rae St, you’ll see an intriguing Victorian building on the left that once served as a substation for the railway but, these days, provides accommodation for families with children in hospital. Before St Georges Rd there’s an obvious former branch line to your right but there’s no pedestrian crossing at this point (see below). If you don’t want to check out the branch line continue on to the end of the trail at Rushall Station.

North Carlton to Fitzroy (1km)

  • After crossing St Georges Rd at the pedestrian crossing heading east, look for “City Bike Route” and Apperley St signs on right. Follow Apperley to where it meets the section of the rail trail to the site of Fitzroy station and its goods yard. This is now Edinburgh Gardens, which houses a skate park, toilets and many other facilities.

Public Transport

The start of the trail in Parkville is near Metro’s Royal Park Station on the Upfield train line, which has regular services. At the other end is Rushall Station in Fitzroy North, on the Mernda line. If travelling with a bicycle, the middle or rear of the train is the preferred location.

Refer to the PTV web page for map and timetables, or the navigation program of your choice.

Do you know of a bike hire or transportation service on this rail trail that should appear here? If so, let us know at admin@railtrails.org.au.

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3 reviews of “Inner Circle Rail Trail”

An oldie that keeps getting better. Now 3m wide concrete most of the way, separated walking and cycling lanes on busy crossings, more trees, more conveniences.The local councils keep coming up with things to improve the Inner Circle. Expect some disruption when they start building Sky Rail north of Royal Park.

17/27. As part of the Capital City loop, we smashed out another old favourite last week, the Inner Circle Rail trail. We did it from from Royal Park to Rushall train stations. It is a straight line, with the only real hill up from Royal Park for a short distance.
At one point on the trail, near Velo Cycles in Carlton North, there is an electronic counter that had registered over 500000 bikes since Jan 1 this year, so they are well on track to record over a million in the full year.
17 trails now completed, only 10 to go for my 2019 challenge is to ride every rail trail in Victoria this calendar year to promote organ donation. You can follow my rail trail exploits on FB Warwick Duncan – The 2nd Chance Man or Insta @warwick_rides.

I was on this trail this morning (Saturday 21st March 2015), from Rushall to Royal Park and back. This is a popular trail for cyclists and walkers – going through great inner suburbs of Melbourne. I’m glad they kept the old train easement a park, as it adds to the attractiveness of the surrounding area. The path is sealed the entire length and there is only one slight hill as you enter Royal Park. Being part of the Capital City Trail there are plenty of bike paths leading off to all parts of Melbourne. There are a lot of activities happening along and off the trail most weekends – as well as plenty of cafe/food options with the nearby streets. The only issue is to watch out for cars as you cross some of the streets, especially towards the Rushall end because there aren’t pedestrian crossing lights.

Background Information

Traditional Owners

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

Railway history

The Inner Circle was opened in 1888 with three stations: North Carlton and North Fitzroy on the main line, and Fitzroy at the end of a short branch line leading south through Edinburgh Gardens from a junction near North Fitzroy Station.  The Inner Circle Line was a steam-era suburban loop that was later electrified.

In 1948, the Inner Circle Line was closed to passenger traffic, and was used exclusively for freight trains. It was officially closed in 1981. Shortly after the rails were removed and the area became a linear park which is part of the Capital City Trail for cyclists and walkers, connecting the Merri Creek Trail to the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail in the network of shared-user paths. Some signals and parts of level-crossing gates survive, with remaining overhead stanchions still carrying high-voltage cables between the Upfield and Mernda lines.

Trail descriptions are maintained by volunteers. Please consider a donation to help improve this website. Rail Trails Australia gets no government funding.
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