Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail

Linking central Victoria via the old railway line

Category Archives: Works

Seek Alternative Route

For local users of the O’Keefe Rail Trail during the week 20 – 24 April, whether commuting or out for some exercise, there will be a section of the trail closed in the East Bendigo area.

That section of trail between Bobs St and Murphy St (adjacent to the railway workshops and the nearby former East Bendigo school), will be impacted by works being carried in that area.

Trail users are asked to observe closure signs, and to choose alternate routes such as Murphy St-Powell St-Bobs St while these works are being conducted by City of Greater Bendigo’s contractor. With significant increasing trail user traffic being currently observed on this rail trail, patience by all will be appreciated.

Stay well, stay safe, enjoy this popular rail trail.

Trail Improvements for User Safety

While out exercising on the O’Keefe Rail Trail during COVID19 restrictions as a local resident, have you experienced the upgraded section of the trail close to Axedale? This aging 27 year old degraded trail section, with several potential hazards for users, has been a concern of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail group for some time. With recent trail works undertaken by the City of Greater Bendigo council and its contractor M. Monigatti (Bendigo), focused on this Axedale section, the outcome has resulted in a significantly safer trail.

Upgraded trail section, Taig Rd Axedale. Mar 2020. Photo G. Long

As well as upgrading the trail’s formation plus the drainage and the trail surface, these works have also provided a greater trail separation from one specific concrete electricity pole, improved the trail approaches to the Hickey Rd crossing, and realignment of the trail’s crossing of a water channel.

Trail improvements – water channel crossing. Axedale Mar 2020. Photo G.Long

The improved outcomes are welcomed and are expected to be enjoyed by regular O’Keefe Rail Trail users and visitors, as well as being appreciated by the Axedale Primary School with it’s bike education program for students.

Railway Wagon Restoration Progresses

The restoration of the O’Keefe Rail Trail’s heritage railway wagon has progressed, under the watchful eye of Bendigo Railway Workshops’ (BRW) Alan Nicolson and Mark Birchmore. Sandblasting of the known areas of metal rust corrosion has revealed that overall the wagon is structurally sound, although with some plate sections being affected by severe rust.

The extent of metal corrosion was not unexpected, due partly to the likes of bulk material such as superphosphate or open to rainwater laying inside these wagons for extended periods while stationary in railway sidings. Then for this wagon, what followed was decades of being stored in Gippsland, unused, until the wagon was allocated by PTV and retrieved from the Kurumburra Station yards.

To date the work has involved sandblasting the severely rusted sections, replacement steel plates welding into the internal floor, as well as the tarp stanchions being straightened under heat.

Inspecting work progress being undertaken by BRW. 18 Dec 2019. Photo: Rob Jarvis

The aim of the project is to restore the wagon to as near as possible to its original design specifications, with components such as the existing wheels being changed out for spoke cast wheels, repainting from the later Hansa Yellow to the original VR Wagon Red colour, and then finally applying the white identifiable VR markings.

O’Keefe Rail Trail – Section Closure

The Lake Eppalock section of the O’Keefe Rail Trail will be closed to the public from Monday 25th November to Friday 8th December, 6am to 6pm daily for track upgrade works.

O’Keefe Rail Trail section to be closed

This work will address the damage caused to the trail in 2016 when the lake’s water level exceeded the 100% full level. At that time, closure of the trail was required until the water level receded and council was able to carry out minor works to then allow safe access for trail users.

As no major repair/upgrade works followed, the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail made a submission to the Council’s 2019-20 budget, to have restoration and upgrading works carried out on the trail’s causeway across Lake Eppalock. As a result of this submission, budget cover was provided enabling this planned work to now take place.

The City of Greater Bendigo council apologizes for any inconvenience that this closure may cause.

New Road Underpasses for Trail

Construction work has begun on building new road underpasses, as part of improving the Bendigo urban off-road trail network. This work will link the Spring Gully Trail to the Bendigo Creek Trail, plus eliminate the hazardous crossing for pedestrians and cyclists on McIvor Road near the historic railway bridge.

Spring Gully Trail extension 2018

Constructing three underpasses for the Spring Gully Trail on Back Crk, Bendigo. 14 Feb 2018

The works will result in one underpass constructed under the Abbott St bridge, one under a narrow pedestrian bridge, another under the McIvor Road bridge, plus also under the communications ducts that cross above Back Creek.

This off-road trail extension will also improve the connection between the Bendigo Railway Station and the O’Keefe Rail Trail, for visiting cycling and walking tourists, with only the link between the station platform and Ewing Park now needing to be formalised.

Bike Bendigo and the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail community groups had sort improvements at this location, and so welcome the efforts of the City of Greater Bendigo in eliminating the ‘at grade’ crossing of McIvor Rd.

Bendigo Urban Trail Network Focus

The popularity of commuting by bike or walking is on the increase in Bendigo. With past development of urban trails and paths in the Bendigo urban area, this has seen many of these pathways isolated so presenting difficulties with cycling and walking. In some cases, this has introduced hazards when needing to cross high traffic roads such as High St, Napier St and the McIvor Highway.

As a result of the increasing trail usage, there is currently a renewed focus to build safer connections between a number of these existing off-road urban paths and trails. How will this happen, is there a plan, and what outcomes have already been achieved?

Brett Martini, City of Greater Bendigo Council’s Manager for Infrastructure and Open Spaces recently shared some of the plans and progress for networking these trails, when interviewed on O’Keefe Rail Trail TV (episode 9). Brett also highlighted the Council’s future plans to improve urban pathway connections with the O’Keefe Rail Trail, such as an off-road path linking to the Bendigo railway station, the extension of the Spring Gully Trail, and improving the linked Bendigo Bushland Trail.

Three plus One!

What do these three fellas have in common?

Ken, Richard and Lindsay testing out the new table-seat on O'Keefe Rail Trail. 16 Dec 2015 Photo: Les Lewis

Ken, Richard and Lindsay out on the O’Keefe Rail Trail. 16 Dec 2015. Photo: Les Lewis

 

Too difficult to answer?

  1. All are members of the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail
  2. All have contributed many volunteer hours to projects associated with the O’Keefe Rail Trail
  3. All are wearing a hat, on a hot summer day!!
  4. All have just helped installed another table-seat unit on the O’Keefe Rail Trail

This new table-seat unit and bike hoop racks were purchased and installed by the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail, with grant funding provided by Strathfieldsaye and Districts Community Enterprise. The location is just off Wilkie Road Junortoun, at the site of the former Strathfieldsaye Railway Station. What a great contribution by the local community, and another trail user facility for the O’Keefe Rail Trail as it adds to the list of Victoria’s premier rail trails.

Underpass improves access to trail

Road underpass connection works near completion. Photo: City of Greater Bendigo

Works to bypass Weeroona Avenue Bendigo, for trail users, near completion. Photo: City of Greater Bendigo

Works are nearing completion on a new pedestrian/bicycle underpass at Weeroona Avenue Bendigo. The path uses the existing concrete creek floor with an entry/exit point midway along Lake Weeroona and joins the Bendigo Creek Trail on the north side of Weeroona Avenue, near the connection point with the O’Keefe Rail Trail.

Passing beneath one of General Sir John Monash’s ‘monier arch’ bridges, one of the six remaining built in Bendigo between 1901 and 1902. This particular bridge, named ‘Kings Bridge’, has added history which can be read on a plaque erected nearby by ‘Engineering Australia’ in 2014.

The new road underpass will greatly improve trail users safety, by eliminating the need to cross Weeroona Avenue at street level. These City of Greater Bendigo council works are estimated to cost $98,000.

The Latest News!

While the current O’Keefe Rail Trail upgrade and extension project continues for the Axedale – Heathcote extension, the Knowsley area and Mt Ida Creek-Lake Eppalock sections are both currently CLOSED to the public.

Knowsley area and Mt Ida Creek-Lake Eppalock sections currently closed to the public.

The Knowsley area and Mt Ida Creek-Lake Eppalock sections are both currently closed to the public.

The City of Greater Bendigo Council project’s construction work is expected to have these two closed sections opened for public use later in May 2015.

Regularly checking of the O’Keefe Rail Trail Notes page can provide news on the trail’s status, as well as other points of interest for this trail.

Rail Trail Improvements Continue

Soil erosion, collapsed culverts, loss of gravel surface, retained stormwater, exposed rock reefs were just some of what O’Keefe Rail Trail users have endured over a number of years. Yet that situation, in the Bendigo-Axedale section, has seen positive changes occurring!

Those experiences are becoming a thing of the past, with the efforts of the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail to improve this trail. The City of Greater Bendigo Council has also listened to community and trail user feedback. Over the past 2-3 years, the Council has embarked on a maintenance program to address many of the worst sections of the trail.

Machinery at work upgrading the rail trail. Photo: Garry Long

Machinery at work upgrading the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Photo: Garry Long

Maintenance work is currently occurring on the rail trail in the Junortoun area, an outer rural suburb of Bendigo, by a Council contractor. This work is upgrading the trail’s drainage, reconstructing the trail’s profile, and applying a new gravel surface.

New storm water drainage under construction. Photo: Garry Long

New storm water drainage under construction. Photo: Garry Long

Trail users do need to take care in this area, observe warning signs and directives given by Council’s contractor, with machinery presently working in the Wilkie Rd – Somerset Park Rd – Bennetts Rd sections of the trail. For further information regarding these works, trail users can contact the City of Greater Bendigo Council on (03) 54346000.

Feedback received from trail users who may not have been on the trail for many years, and then travelled on those completed sections, have expressed their pleasant surprise at the various improvements made to the trail.

Note: For updates on the O’Keefe Rail Trail’s new extension (Axedale to Heathcote), and gaining an understanding of the trail sections closed to the general public, be informed by reading the Trail Route Notes page.