Bicycle Network: Good Design Guides
Rail trail & tourism trail guidelines
Resources for constructing and managing rail trails, sources for funding and rail trail conference notes
Rail trail groups across Victoria are donating time and labour to convert disused railway lines into recreational and tourism trails for the community. We have posted a number of useful documents on our website to assist rail trail groups. These can be viewed (right).
Please note many of the files are quite large and may take several minutes to download.
Rails to Trails Conservancy in the US has produced a comprehensive manual detailing steps to develop a trail. It's called 'Secrets of Successful Rail Trails - An acquisition and organising manual for converting rails to trails'. Many of the suggestions can be applied to Victorian rail trails.See link (right).
Tourism Trail workshops
Bicycle Network Victoria has been organising tourism trail workshops since 2003, enabling groups to share expertise. We plan to run another one in October 2005.
Papers from past workshops can be downloaded (right).
A huge thank you to all the guest speakers and enthusiastic participants who have contributed to the workshops. Some of the feedback from the day:
- "These days are great. They are really helpful - any small snippets gained are worthwhile - helps keep my batteries charged!"
- "Very good to hear what developments are happening and how different solutions are implemented."
- "Appreciate this type of session and out of town location. On-site visit good value."
- "Very informative. Excellent opportunity to network."
Trail design manuals
Rail Trails Victoria - Planning, Design & Management of Multi-Use Recreational Trails was produced in 1994 by Dept. of Conservation & Natural Resources. It covers all aspects that need to be addressed to develop a rail trail including land use issues, surface treatment, drainage, weed control and maintenance.
It is out of print, but Bicycle Network Victoria still has a few copies. Phone 8376 8888 or email email@example.com to obtain a copy.
Converting ballast to a gravel trail surface
In November 2003 the High Country Rail Trail hired a ballast crusher to devour 4.6km of ballast in five hours. The trail needed to be graded before the machine could crush the ballast and graded and rolled afterwards, which added to the cost, but it still worked out cheaper than carting new gravel to cover the ballast.
Anthea Packer from the High Country Rail Trail had this to say: "Great! Haven't got the areas graded & rolled as yet, but reckon it will turn out fantastic eventually".
Contact details for the ballast munching machine is Ian Smith on 040427 171 474 or www.idsconsulting.com.au.
Counts sheet template
Doing an annual count on your rail trail allows you to obtain valuable data on types of trail users and number of people using the trail. Counts can measure increase in usage and assist with funding applications.
A roster of Volunteers who spend a couple of hours each on the trail will spread the workload. Counts may be appropriate at more than one site on the trail. See link (right) for a downloadable counts sheet which can be modified to suit individual trails.
Guardians and Friends of the Rail Trail
The Great Southern Rail Trail has developed a system where trail users or community members agree to be Guardians of the rail trail and monitor a section of trail as part of their daily walk or weekly ride. Guardians can report problems to the Committee of Management such as tree branches across the trail, outbreak of weeds, illegal motorbike use or pot holes. See document (right) for a template provided by the Great Southern Rail Trail
Funding ideas and resources
Dec 04. DSE has announced a new Stewardship in Action grant for Crown Land Committees of Management. Up to $30,000 can be applied for to protect and enhance the environmental, economic and social values of Crown Land reserves and to ensure that risk associated with Crown Land reserve use is minimised. Applications are to be submitted by 30 January 2005.
Other ways to help with the cost of building a trail is to share the alignment with a utility such as fibre optic cables. For example, a tourism trail is being constructed in conjunction with a new sewerage line between Apollo Bay and Skenes Creek on the Great Ocean Road. For more on sharing trails with other utilities see the Fact Sheet from the US.
Tips for dealing with opposition
Invariably rail trails face some opposition. The issues need to be worked through to address the concerns of people opposing a trail. Rails to Trails Conservancy in the US has undertaken a study on reasons why people oppose trails and suggest strategies for success. For more click here.
There is also a fact sheet suggesting ten ways to work with local opposition.
Liability and risk management
Rails to Trails Conservancy in the US has produced a manual which looks at liability concerns and offers solutions. Click here for a copy of the manual.