Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
Linking central Victoria via the old railway line
Have you been out enjoying the O’Keefe Rail Trail recently and wondering where it has gone? What is missing? The historic railway wagon, previously relocated from the Korumburra station and placed at the former Axedale Railway Station site on the O’Keefe Rail Trail in 2018, has been removed.
The company BRW (Bendigo Railway Workshops), which is located at the former Victorian Railways North Bendigo Railway Workshops, is enthusiastic to be working with the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail group to restore this ‘GY’ 4-wheel wagon. The wagon was transported by A2B Move It P/L to BRW this week. The planned work is intended to, as near as possible, return the wagon to its original condition when wagons were manufactured in the former VR railway workshops during the late 1950s.
This wagon’s original ‘spoke’ wheels had previously been replaced by the later ‘full disc’ type. With a set of the ‘spoke’ wheels located, and kindly made available by the Central Victorian Goldfields Railway, these wheels were then transported to BRW and will be installed on this wagon.
Stay tuned for news updates on the restoration of this wagon, which will be returned to Axedale as the only item of historic railway rolling stock on public display in the Greater Bendigo area.
A community grant will help to have an historic railway wagon return to Axedale, where steam loco hauled goods trains were once loaded and unloaded as an important means of transport. Fosterville Gold Mine and Kirkland Lake Gold 2018 Community Grant program has awarded the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail a $2000 grant, which will help the project relocating an original Victorian Railways ‘GY’ 4-wheel wagon to Axedale.
This historic static display area is the location of the original Axedale Railway Station, an additional point of interest for O’Keefe Rail Trail users…and perhaps the cause of a ‘selfie’ or two to be taken! The Friends community group plan to refurbish the wagon for public display, and as an educational location for school students. Kirkland Lake Gold is thanked for supporting this community initiative, another instance of business companies assisting the O’Keefe Rail Trail’s development.
The Bendigo Weekly has published an article in its 23 February edition “Rail Trail Link To Wallan Feasible” reporting on the Wallan to Heathcote Feasibility Study that is to be considered by the Mitchell Shire Council at its 19th March meeting.
This article included comments by a Pyalong resident and business co-owner, relating to concerns about the study consultant’s processes as well as perceived impacts that a rail trail may have in the Pyalong area.
It is understood that the Mitchell Shire Council will make a decision at its March meeting, whether to accept or otherwise the recommendations in the study’s final report. Should a decision be made to accept the report, it has been indicated that such would not automatically commit the Council and its ratepayers to embark on implementing the report’s recommendations in the future, or to expend ratepayers rate revenue for the report’s proposed staged development of the trail.
Should the study be accepted by Council, this could become the basis for attracting significant external grants to the Shire to create employment of local people and contractors, be the basis of local discussions on how such a project could be implemented with the various parties involved including private landholders of the former railway alignment’s land.
When most rail trails are in the planned stage, there is need to consider many factors including detours or bypasses from the original railway’s alignment, whether such is due to road realignments, private land or land use changes i.e buildings, farming practices etc. The outcomes can be about a ‘win win’ for all involved, perhaps the farmer gains new fences/gates/screening trees, or an all weather joint use ‘internal road’ to access paddocks for stock movements, or the sale of a small parcel of unproductive land to add to the farmer’s superannuation fund, the leasing of land, or an upgraded sealed joint use road/trail. All of these examples listed here are what were negotiated by people involved with the recent extension of the O’Keefe Rail Trail between Axedale and Heathcote.
The local Tavern/pub/General Store plus other small businesses continue to have ‘wins’ too. Local communities, rural school students, small walking groups have access their own recreational rail trail facility to help improve their own health and wellbeing, as well as attracting other walking and cycling trail users who bring economic benefits to the small towns involved. ‘Rail trail’ business could make the difference between a local shop or pub closing or not, with such lost affecting local farmers and residents. Rail trails are for the community including farming families, rail trails help support rural business and employment.
Do you have a need to use Public Transport Victoria (PTV) services, with your bike? Perhaps you have tried to place your bike on a V/Line train, only to find that there was insufficient space for your bike as you couldn’t pre book a place for your bike? You would like use a PTV bus service, together with your bike, yet there is no bike space and regulations prevent a bus in Victoria from having an attached external bike carrying rack!
Currently there is a PTV trial project for a bike rack attached to public transport buses on four bus routes in Victoria. One such trail started in April 2016 on bus Route 70: Bendigo Station to Strathfieldsaye, for a 12 month period.
Members of the public have the opportunity to test the usability of such trial buses until April 2017, with the attached front bike rack. Have you? If the trial is determined by PTV as successful, this bike rack arrangement could be extended across the whole PTV network and other private buses. Should such occur, the O’Keefe Rail Trail’s users would have the means of getting to or from a distant trail point (Bendigo, Axedale, or Heathcote) using public transport. Bike racks on buses would therefore solve a current transport need, for certain cycle users of many Victorian trails.
Assistance provided to Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail during 2015 and early 2016 has not gone unnoticed. A number of companies, organisations, and City of Greater Bendigo staff, have all assisted the Friends group to provide O’Keefe Rail Trail user facilities and features.
Individual framed ‘Thank You’ certificates were presented during June-July 2016 to Bendigo RSL Men in Sheds, Mawsons Bendigo Concrete, City of Greater Bendigo Engineering and Open Spaces staff, Lockwood Semi Trailer Sales P/L, City of Greater Bendigo Heathcote Depot staff, and Hanson Axedale Quarry representatives.
The willingness of management and staff to provide services at either no cost or reduced rates, assistance, or approval / acceptance of trail related proposals, have all contributed to some great outcomes that both trail connected communities and trail users are appreciating. Additional trail facilities, funded by various grants and donations are also making the O’Keefe Rail Trail a popular cycling and walking attraction now and will continue to be a Victorian iconic trail into the future.
Not resting on the past, the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail group has more trail user facilities and features already in the planning stages, with continuing external assistance and funding being provided, as well as lobbying for improved local ‘active transport’ facilities. New members are always welcomed into this, a positive contributing community volunteer group.