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Linking central Victoria via the old railway line
Progress of constructing the extension for O’Keefe Rail Trail has now connected Axedale with the Knowsley Forest, and the township of Knowsley is within eye sight! Work within the Knowsley Forest is nearing completion, as this section of ‘rail trail only’ use utilises a combination of the original railway alignment plus the upgrading of a old forest track.
One planning challenge for City of Greater Bendigo Council staff managing this project, was selecting a trail route due to land use changes since the old railway line closed and was dismantled. The need to bypass the Axedale Golf Course and the Axedale Quarry (a mineral extraction lease), both now sited on the former railway line alignment, meant extra kilometres of trail needing to be built.
The positive outcome of this new ‘off railway’ section has been to add additional point of interests for the trail, like weaving through Axedale township’s historic attractions, the natural Campaspe River Reserve, the ‘Platypus Compass’, the former Quarry Hotel ruins, plus two small sections of rail trail with a gradient that may challenge some cyclists!
While wallabies bound through the Knowsley Forest and kookaburras are heard laughing in the trees, the rail trail construction continues at a pace in number of locations between the Knowsley Forest and Heathcote.