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Linking central Victoria via the old railway line
Well before the O’Keefe Rail Trail was even thought about, there was the Wandong, Heathcote, Sandhurst (Bendigo) Railway. Today many people may not realise what such a railway meant for those early communities of Heathcote, Argyle, Tooborac, Pyalong, High Camp, Moranding, Willowmavin, Kilmore, Bylands, Derrinal, Knowsley, Axedale, Longlea. While others may not appreciate that there was ever a railway that serviced this part of central Victoria.
This vision is a glimpse of the last special passenger train excursion that ran from Melbourne along this cross country ‘Wallan to Heathcote railway’ in Nov 1968 (as the Heathcote to Bendigo section had been closed 10 years earlier) with steam locomotives D3 639 and K184 double heading the train. Captured on 8mm film by Graeme Reid, this is a great snap shot of the last days that this cross country railway, a line built about 80 years previous as part of the Victorian Railways network! For a more detailed account of the history of this line, go to the ‘Railway History’ page of this web site.
It is hoped in the future, that all these towns and communities will once again be linked together by that original (as much as possible) railway alignment. Yet this time it may be as a continuous rail trail, to bring economic benefits as well as improvements to the health and wellbeing of those communities.