Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail

Linking central Victoria via the old railway line

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Seeking New Rail Trails

A new community group is advocating for the development of a Castlemaine – Maryborough Rail Trail in central Victoria.

This group are looking to transform the disused railway corridor between Castlemaine and Maryborough into a recreation rail trail, to enhance active travel and safe recreation, to aid the future prosperity for linked small towns of Guildford, Newstead, and Carisbrook.

With PTV passenger trains regularly servicing Maryborough and Castlemaine, those connections for users to this trail would be made so much easier. Being close to other established off-road trails, this becomes attractive for extended stays by visitors to the area that benefit trail related businesses and employment.

Just like the proposed Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail connected to the O’Keefe Rail Trail, these linked trails would also be serviced by passenger trains and road freeways at Wallan and Bendigo plus other access. Such transport options increases the tourist potential, hence visionary development by Governments to create a network of linked trails to support regional communities and business economies.

A Special Team Effort

On a sunny Bendigo winter’s morning, Peter the ‘Pilot’ and Alan the ‘Stoker’ set out to experience what such a Tuesday had to offer. Yet what were each of them about to do? Was Peter heading to the airport to fly a plane, and was Alan actually a train enthusiast about to fire up a steam loco at Maldon?

They were not heading off as individuals, because importantly they would be as one cycling team due to Alan having a condition, he is vision impaired.

With final checks ensuring that Alan’s off-road tandem bike was in full readiness for the ride, Alan stepped into the rear ‘stokers’ seat and then Peter was into the important ‘pilot’ role at the front. They then set off from Lake Weeroona, with a plan to cycle from Bendigo to Axedale via the O’Keefe Rail Trail and return, a total distance of 44kms.

Alan with the tandem bike, at the trail’s ‘Axedale Railway Station’. Photo: Peter

During the ride at various times, Peter would verbally provide key ride information, while both pedaled and shared in the beauty of being out immersed in the trail’s natural environment whilst in safety away from the highway road traffic. Even though the trail continued on to Heathcote, of course such a ride would not have been complete without a rest stop at their planned half way turn around point, at the Axedale Tavern for coffee and cake.

Alan and Peter enjoy a coffee break at the Coffee House, Axedale Tavern. Photo: Peter

Later, with the ride over and the pair back in Bendigo, they noted that their total moving ride time had been 2hrs 15mins at an average speed of 19.6kph! Upon reflection, Peter described the day as “A fantastic ride, the trail was very well sign posted in both directions, the people we met made us welcome, and the track surface is very good plus wide enough for safe passing.”

“Peter is a skilled rider, and his friendship is much appreciated” stated Alan, with a smile. “The Tavern’s service was excellent, the coffee enjoyed, and the staff were very friendly,” plus Alan also adding, “this ride had me truly feeling alive and I hope that we can do it again soon.”

Trail Towns TV visits Rail Trail

The producers of a new TV series Trail Towns (coming to SBS later in 2020) visited Bendigo to experience what the popular O’Keefe Rail Trail had to offer.

Trail Towns rolls into town!

After visiting some of Bendigo’s querky cafes and laneways, Paul and Deetz were impressed by riding through the rail trail’s historic brick ‘tunnel’ railway underpass. Heading eastwards, after 20kms the riders then took some time off the bikes at Axedale, to check out the amazing charm of the Axedale Tavern.

Following some rehydration for the next 30kms ahead, the riders were then immersed in the natural environment of Campaspe River reserve, before riding onwards towards the trail’s crossing of Lake Eppalock.

Trail destination Heathcote

Cycling through forests and cruising past wineries, the exploring group diverted into Heathcote’s Palling Bros Brewery to end what said to have been a fantastic trail experience. “We’ll definately be back!” said Deetz.

Paul and Deetz at Palling Bros Brewery

Lockington to Kotta Rail Trail Fun Run

**EVENT POSTPONED** Bet you would love to support this community event, the Kotta to Lockington Fun Run (or walk) on Saturday 28 March, 10am start. It should be fun!!

Bicycle Rewards

Its all about timing, targets and tactics in implementing bike infrastructure. This was the message Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards, as guest speaker at the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail AGM 8 October in Bendigo.

Craig painted the picture of the challenges plus the rewards of getting more people on bikes, yet also highlighted some key things that can also lead to a project’s ‘crash’!


L-R: Kevin Thiele (past VP), Colin Campbell, Craig Richards, Colin Scott, Garry Long at the AGM

The Friends group’s President Garry Long reflected on the past 12 months achievements of the active community group. The group was formed 10 years ago, initially focussed on improving and extending the O’Keefe Rail Trail, yet has included in its objectives a broader focus on creating more local cycling and walking opportunities.

The group’s elected 2019-20 Executive is President Garry Long, Vice President Colin Scott, Secretary Paul Ferguson, and Treasurer Colin Campbell.

Watering Plants for the Future

Seasonal changes have seen lower than average rainfalls occurring in central Victoria. This environmental challenge is also impacting on Bendigo’s recent National Tree Day site of plants on the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Attempting to give the 3000 new plants a chance of survival, as summer approaches, Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail members gathered to do a watering.

With the assistance of City of Greater Bendigo council’s Parks and Natural Reserves staff, a Friends working bee saw all plants given a much needed watering this week. Survival and growth of these plants is expected to improve this section of the trail’s natural environment, for the future enjoyment of trail users and the local community.

Ride4Seniors Week

Will the 2019 Seniors Week in Bendigo be special, be memorable, maybe life changing for you and your friends?

Wednesday 9th October will see a free bicycle ride activity held on a short section of the O’Keefe Rail Trail in Bendigo. This off-road trail has a low gradient, a good surface, so making this ride available to all abilities.

Prepare now, check your bike or borrow a bike. Of course definately a cafe coffee chat will happen upon completion! Check out further details via this link.

This bicycle ride is an opportunity to meet people, make new friends, or learn new skills. The Friends members look forward to sharing the morning with you.

Did you ride?

What was different about Wednesday 14th Oct 2015 in your city, town or workplace? For the city of Bendigo (Victoria) and many of its off-road trails, streets and workplaces, that morning saw a marked increase in people riding bikes in public places for Ride2Work Day 2015.

The O’Keefe Rail Trail was publicised as one of Bendigo’s Ride2Work Day official routes for commuting into the city centre. The Hargraves Mall became the meeting place, for a free breakfast, cycle related information, and of course a chat!

Can you spot the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail’s teardrop banner and participating Friends members in the same coloured jersey tops in this YouTube video by the City of Greater Bendigo?

Whistle posts return!

What is a ‘whistle post‘ you may ask!

The Victorian Railways installed specific posts to alert engine drivers that they were approaching a ‘PCR’ (Public Carriage Roadway) level crossing. The driver was required to sound the train’s whistle at such a distance back from the crossing, to give ample warning of the approaching train. A ‘whistle post’ was installed on the driver’s side of the line, at a specific distance from each side of the crossing.

Within the new O’Keefe Rail Trail section crossing Lake Eppalock, there was originally a railway level crossing of the Derrinal-Crosbie Road. This section of road was flooded by the lake’s construction in the early 1960s, as too was the railway. The new O’Keefe trail now crosses that exact location of the former road crossing point, so the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail’s Project Team decided to identify the location. How? By installing two replica whistle posts.

Member Ken Hanson sprung into action, sourced materials and manufactured the two posts. With the assistance of the Friend’s Project Team members, the two posts have been recently installed on the O’Keefe Rail Trail’s new Lake Eppalock Causeway (note: the causeway is not currently open to the public, until construction is completed). These posts highlight the former road crossing, which otherwise is not easily recognised or even identify depending on the lake’s water level. Another Friends’ volunteer project completed, to provide future trail users with a link to the past.


riends members installing replica whistle posts, Lake Eppalock Causeway, Derrinal

Friends members installing replica whistle posts, Lake Eppalock Causeway, Derrinal

As can also be noted on the photo, a replica 79 mile marker post has been installed by the Friends, adjacent to its original location near the former Derrinal-Crosbie Road level crossing.

Did you know?

Have you been out enjoying the upgraded and extending O’Keefe Rail Trail lately? Seen those white concrete posts with black numbers to the side of the trail, and wondered what do they mean…why are they there?

These are railway marker posts or sometimes known as railway mile posts. Like to know more, then read about these in an article on the history pages