The extension of Murray to Mountains rail trail will bring approximately 31km of family friendly trail through pristine bush land and open spaces taking in ancient aboriginal sites, local farm gate produce, gold mining history and magnificent views.
The Beechworth to Yackandandah rail trail will be a world class cycling adventure for cyclists and visitors to the Southern Hemisphere’s premier Rail Trail in North East Victoria. It will link two much-loved and frequently visited heritage towns and be a draw card for locals and visitors alike.
The project is a result of the North East Victoria Cycling Optimisation Masterplan(PDF, 5MB), which aims to optimise cycling opportunities throughout the region to drive growth to the local visitor economy.
The Beechworth to Yackandandah rail trail is a $6.2 million project, which includes $1 million from Indigo Shire Council and $5.2 million from the Victorian State Government through Regional Development Victoria.
Where does the trail start and finish?
The trail starts at Billson Street, in Beechworth, at the end of the existing rail trail, and will extend to the Osbornes Flat Primary School.
Why isn’t the trail on the old railway alignment?
Most of the old railway corridor has been sold and is now privately owned. The route will predominately use existing road reserves or Crown land.
How was the proposed alignment selected?
The alignment was chosen based on the quality of the user experience and available land. The rail trail will be off-road where practical, linking with places of interest and villages and townships.
A number of alignments were scoped in the planning phases, including routes from Beechworth via Beechworth-Wodonga Road, Greenwattle Road and Kibell Lane. Large sections of the original railway corridor had been sold by the State Government so in some instances it was necessary to select alternative routes generally using Crown land.
What will the trail look like?
The trail will generally be constructed with a 2 metre wide all-weather seal. Some shared pathway and high-use areas in Beechworth and Yackandandah may be up to 2.5 metres wide. Sections of the trail in Beechworth and Yackandandah townships and in flood-prone rural areas may be constructed in reinforced concrete or asphalt.
The rail trail will be consistent with the current Murray to Mountains Rail Trail surface. You can see what the finished rail trail will look like by visiting the section of completed early works along Spring Creek between Billson Street and Peach Drive in Beechworth.
What are the benefits of the new rail trail?
The rail trail project will provide a number of benefits for the residents of Beechworth, Yackandandah and Indigo Shire, as well as cycle tourism visitors to the region. Benefits include:
- Economic benefit by stimulating additional tourism, attracting more cycle tourists and strengthening local businesses - particularly in Beechworth and Yackandandah.
- Providing a safe route for both walking and cycling and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle for our community.
- It will provide a safe route for the residents of Wooragee to access the primary school and will give users of the rail trail to use the Wooragee community facilities.
- It builds on the tourist attractions offered within Indigo Shire and provides for additional recreational activity and places of interest.
- The proposed route provides public access to a very scenic part of the shire generally not known or visited by the general public. This includes the Magpie Creek Historic Reserve with the ‘Chinamen’s Dam’ and ‘Chinamen’s Wall’ with forms part of the Magpie Creek Diversion Sluice and the Wooragee Dredge/Barge hole.
What alignment does the trail follow through Beechworth and Yackandandah?
The trail through Beechworth follows the existing gravel path beside Spring Creek from Billson Street. The trail though Yackandandah will be refined during the Yackandandah Place Plan in 2019.
Does the project take into account the gold mining heritage of the Magpie Creek Reserve area?
The proposed trail will improve public access to historical features including Chinaman’s Dam and Chinaman's Wall in the Magpie Creek Reserve.
Does the trail cross any major roads?
The trail generally follows existing roads, road reserves and creek reserves and most cases is located away from traffic lanes. An underpass is to be provided under Yackandandah Road at the Beechworth turn-off on Wodonga Road. The number of road crossings has been kept to a minimum to ensure a positive user experience.
How can I find out if the rail trail is going past my property?
To find out if the trail will go past your property, please view the map below or contact us on 1300 365 003.
Will there be any impacts on native flora or fauna?
We are working with Government and Statutory Authorities to assess the proposed route and ensure the protection of threatened and valuable native flora and fauna, wetlands and waterways. There may be the need for some native tree removal during construction. As required by law, we will secure offsets to compensate for any biodiversity losses arising from native vegetation removal.
Will an assessment be done on any impact on Aboriginal Cultural Heritage?
A cultural heritage management plan has been developed and will need to be approved by State Government prior to construction starting on section one.
How long will the trail take to construct from Beechworth to Yackandandah and on to Osbornes Flat?
The rail trail extension will start in September 2018 and be finished in seven sections over three years, due to be completed by the end of 2021
Section 1 – Peach Drive to Kibell Lane Beechworth
Section 2 – Yackandandah to Osbornes Flat
Section 3 – Fanning and Factory Lanes
Section 4 – Wooragee to the Roundabout
Section 5 – Roundabout to Yackandandah
Section 6 - Magpie Creek
Section 7 – Kibell Lane
When can I start using sections the new rail trail?
The section of early works along along Spring Creek between Billson Street and Peach Drive in Beechworth is complete and ready for use.
Are there plans to extend the rail trail further, beyond Osborne’s Flat?
No, not at this stage.
How can I get involved?
You can get involved by attending a community information session or joining our community reference group. To join the reference group please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 365 003.
Come along to an information session to find out more about the rail trail project:
- Yackandandah Library, Wednesday 6 March, 9.30am-2pm
- Wooragee Produce Market, Thursday 7 March, 4-7pm
- Beechworth Kiosk in Camp Street, Tuesday 12 March, 12-2pm
- Osborne’s Flat Primary School, Tuesday 19 March, 3-6pm
As part of the rail trail project, we are seeking members for a Community Reference Group to provide input to the principles that will guide the detailed design and development of the trail. The group will act as a reference point, share their experiences, provide rail trail user perspective and input community expectations.
If you have skills in cycling; cycle touring; bike paths and rail trails; tourism development; business groups; or cultural heritage we want to hear from you. To find out more or register your interest, view the terms of reference here.