The long-awaited rail trail from Daylesford to Woodend, and then to Hanging Rock, is back on the agenda, and with community support, is a strong chance of being funded in the forthcoming state election.
The trail, along the former Carlsruhe – Daylesford railway, is considered one of the best prospects in the country for the development of rail trail tourism.
Close to Melbourne, the region already pulls visitors to a range of attractions, including dramatic scenery, food and wine and health and wellness activities, based around local mineral springs.
The trail will generate new tourism options for the region, including farmgate agriculture sales, and a whole new way of experiencing the iconic Hanging Rock.
It had been expected that the trail would have been already developed on the foundations of a positive, feasibility study and widespread support in the local community.
Despite the strong case, only limited investment was ever made.
Now the local councils—Hepburn and Macedon Ranges Shire—with backing from Daylesford and Hanging Rock Tourism, have initiated a new campaign to get the project up and going.
Their new prospectus for the project says it can attract 62,000 people per year, generate $4.1M in economic benefits, and create 51 jobs.
“Cyclists will be able to conduct a return trip in a day from Woodend or Daylesford, or cycle one way, stay overnight at the end of the trail and return the next day,” the prospectus says.
"Alternatively, users may choose to ride or walk small sections of the trail. Staying at local villages visitors will experience the natural and cultural attractions along the way.
“Visitors could base themselves at one of the smaller villages and conduct shorter return trips over a two-three day period."
The trail will take around three hours to ride from Woodend Station to Daylesford (around 44 km).
The former railway opened during 1880 with stations at Tylden, Fern Hill, Trentham, Lyonville, Bullarto and Musk. The line closed in July 1978.
The prospectus estimates it would cost about $6M to complete the trail from Daylesford to the old railway station at Carlsruhe.
A connection to Hanging Rock would be an additional $2M.
Spurs from Carlsruhe to Kyneton, and from Trentham to The Falls are also proposed.
Victoria is world renowned for its rail trails, but in recent years investment has faltered.
Please drop a note to Minister for Regional Development and Agrilculture, Jaala Pulford, explaining how important this project is to you and ask for it to be made a commitment for this year’s Victorian election.
You can email Minister Pulford at email@example.com and phone on her (03) 5332 2405.
Don't forget to cc firstname.lastname@example.org in your email.