Waranga News

Renewed push for Rail Trail

2020-06-04

Renewed push for Rail Trail image

The ‘Vision’ from 2007

  • To transform the disused railway land into a multifunctional trail.
  • To develop an important environmental corridor which will benefit our precious and unique native flora and fauna.
  • To increase awareness regarding the flora and fauna of the district, including the vulnerability of many of the species within the box ironbark forest.
  • To provide educational opportunities.
  • To revegetate the trail, which will not only prevent erosion and therefore improve runoff water quality, but it will also enhance the Basin foreshore and views.
  • To provide information on historical areas of significance along the trail.
  • To create a safe alternative route between Murchison and Rushworth that can be utilised by both pedestrians and cyclists alike.
  • To improve the health of the general population who will benefit by using the trail.
  • To provide economic benefit to the local community.

The much anticipated walking and cycling trail planned between Rushworth Murchison has once again attracted a new burst of enthusiasm amongst Rushworth residents and the creation of a ‘Rushworth Rail Trail Friends’ Facebook group.

Long term project

The rail trail project has been on the agenda since a public meeting held in Rushworth in 2007, at which 80 people attended to hear proposals for the disused railway corridor.

In 2009 Waranga News reported that the Shire of Campaspe was successful in its application, to control the lease of the railway land on which the Rushworth – Murchison Rail trail will be constructed. Victrack was responsible for the leasing of railway land in Victoria.

It was noted then that in the two years since the original idea was suggested, extensive engineering reports had been made using an Engineer appointed by the shire for that purpose.

Over following years a number of negotiations with VicTrack, DELWP, Parks Victoria and other bodies ensued, as well as feasibility studies and cost analyses for the project.

In 2016 Campaspe Council endorsed the signing of land management agreements in order to progress external funding negotiations.

While the proposed Waranga Trail included the rail trail from Murchison to Rushworth and a connecting trail through to Heathcote, separate scoping and estimates for each section were carried out. An interim costing at the time predicted the Rushworth to Murchison link would cost approximately $1.2 million.

Local action

Rushworth resident Graeme Hanigan recently created the Facebook group ‘Rushworth Rail Trail Friends’ in response to a post asking about the project.

“In the space of just one week it has gained 180 members, which in my experience with Facebook groups is quite remarkable and I believe reveals a genuine need within the community,” Mr Hanigan said.

Followers of the page were encouraged to make a submission supporting the rail trail project to the to the Shire’s draft budge process which closed last Friday.

The Waranga Trail was identified as a key Shire of Campaspe project in the Regional Development Australia prospectus.

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