All across the
world, people are discovering the benefits of rail-trails--from the recreational
opportunities they provide to the promotion of tourism and more dynamic
Down in the
southern hemisphere, Australia
has developed an especially active rail-trail development program. Here's a
snapshot of what's happening around rail-trails on the (literally) other side
of the world!
Central Highlands Rail TrailCommunities
across the Macedon Ranges in the southern state of Victoria have joined forces to campaign for
a 45-kilometer rail-trail from Daylesford to Woodend. According to the Macedon
Ranges Leader, an online petition and map of the route is also attracting
hundreds of backers from across Bicycle Victoria's
Arlen Keen, Bicycle
Victoria recreation and rail-trail manager, says
the trail would be among the most popular in Australia. "It would pay dividends
from expanding the tourism base in an area loved by many regular visitors."
The Central Highlands Rail Trail Working Group has estimated the rail-trail
will cost between $4.5 and $5 million to develop.
Gippsland Plains Rail TrailAlso in Victoria, the
long-awaited Gippsland Plains Rail Trail could be completed soon.
Latrobe Valley Express
tells us that the Latrobe City Council has applied for AU$2.3 million in
funding under the Federal Government's Regional Development Australia program.
Alliance Secretary Tracey Anton says an AU$800,000 state government grant had
given the project the boost it needed to get more funding. Anton says the price
of steel had driven up the cost of building the necessary bridges, particularly
one large bridge to go across the Latrobe
Plains Rail Trail is the only rail-trail in the state that has an operating
railway station at each end. When completed, cycling enthusiasts would be able
to catch a train from Melbourne
to their preferred starting point, ride the trail and then return by train to
their starting point.
Grand Ridge Rail TrailMore than two
years after bushfires devastated the Strzelecki Ranges in southern Victoria,
destroying 44 houses, a key local tourist attraction is one big step closer to
reopening, with two 66-meter bridges--"mini Sydney Harbour style"--recently installed
on the Grand Ridge Rail Trail.
According to The
Melbourne Age, if the weather stays fine for a few weeks and drainage,
earthmoving and resurfacing work can be completed, project organizers hope to
open the popular bush trail by the end of August.
spans of the final bridge were lifted into place at the Bair Creek crossing by
giant cranes last week. Residents welcomed the progress and are keen for the
13-kilometer trail to be reopened, saying it is popular with cyclists, walkers
and horse riders and is a crucial link between Mirboo North and Boolarra. They
say the trail brings visitors from the Latrobe
Valley, South Gippsland and as far
afield as Melbourne
fire recovery project is funded by the Victorian bushfire reconstruction
authority and the state's Department of Sustainability and Environment.Photos: Gippsland Plains Rail Trail, courtesy of Gippsland Plains Rail Trail Committee, and the Grand Ridge Rail Trail, courtesy of the Grand Ridge Rail Trail Committee.
Lemme know when it's paved! We'll be there to skate it!
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