Bicycle Network: Regional Routes
Gippsland Plains Rail Trail
A dedicated group of local residents has been working for a number of years to convert the old railway line that ran from Traralgon, Glengarry, Heyfield, Maffra and Stratford in Gippsland. The trail will stretch 67km from Traralgon to Stratford when completed
Gippsland Plains gains completion cash
30 October 2013. The State Government has announced $600,000 for the completion of the final leg of the 65 km Gippsland Plains Rail Trail.
The funding will be used to construct a 2.5 metre wide shared gravel pathway along the 7.1 kilometre section linking Traralgon with Glengarry.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development, Peter Ryan, said the funding will also be used to upgrade culverts, repair an embankment, reinstate four bridges and eradicate and prevent the recurrence of termites in the timber bridges.
He said the trail, which stretches from Traralgon to Stratford and passes through communities such as Toongabbie, Cowwarr, Tinamba, Heyfield and Maffra, would enhance Gippsland’s reputation as an attractive tourist destination.
The $600,000 cash injection will come from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
The Member for Morwell Russell Northe, welcomed the $600,000 Coalition Government contribution and said once completed the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail would deliver significant economic and social benefits to the region and greatly enhance Gippsland as an attractive tourist destination.
“The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail traverses undulating dairy country, boasts views of the Great Dividing Range and provides numerous opportunities for cyclists, runners and walkers to stop for a rest and a snack and explore the magnificence of the region,” Mr Northe said.
“The project complements a suite of nature-based activities in Gippsland, adding value to attractions such as Wilsons Promontory, the Gippsland Lakes District and the existing trails, including the Great Southern Rail Trail, Gippsland Lakes Discovery Trail and the Grand Strzelecki Track.
“It is estimated that visitors to the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail will contribute more than $3 million to the local economy each year.
“The trail will also provide an alternate transport network between the towns along the route, building community health and wellbeing.”
The project is also expected to create 27 new jobs, including 15 jobs during the project’s construction phase and a further 12 ongoing indirect jobs.
Mr Ryan said today’s announcement continued the Coalition Government’s strong support for the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail.
“In October 2012, the Coalition Government provided $200,000 to complete a 14 km section of the trail from Glengarry to Cowwarr, and in May this year we announced a further $100,000 to complete the section of trail between Tinamba, Heyfield and Cowwarr,” Mr Ryan said.
“Providing funding support to complete the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail was an important 2010 election commitment and one the Coalition Government is proud to have delivered.
“This project is another example of the Coalition Government, through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, delivering important community-led local initiatives.”
Gippsland Plains Trail surface upgrade
3 April 2013. The upgrade of the surface on the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail from Glengarry to Cowwarr has been completed and riders are expected to come flocking back.
The chairperson of the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail Committee of Management (GPRTCOM), Helen Hoppner, said: “Following devastating summer bush fires in the area, tourists have been cautious about returning but with recent rain, and locals gearing up their businesses, it’s time to return and enjoy the many attractions Gippsland has to offer, including riding the newly finished bicycle friendly section of the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail."
The $200,000 Stage One upgrade, including a low level crossing over Eaglehawk Creek, is the result of many years of lobbying by GPRTCOM, an election commitment from local Member for Morwell, Russell Northe, and funding partners Regional Development Victoria.
With 16kms of good quality surface, we suggest that users invest 3 hours to ride the trail. The upgraded section is detailed by the purple line in the adjacent google map.
The GPRT committee are now looking for funds to upgrade the trail from Tinamba to Dawson Reserve.
The GPRT committee have also started discussions on the connection from Glengarry to Traralgon across the floodplains of the Latrobe River. This section is important as it will connect a major regional centre to the trail and public transport.
This will enable people to catch a train in Melbourne, travel to Traralgon or Stratford, ride the trail then return to their destination without the use of a car.
Trail wins from State Budget
19 May 2011. The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail will be extended following an $800,000 allocation in the State Budget.
Liberal Nationals Coalition promised to complete the Traralgon to Toongabbie sector of the trail before the election and has now delivered on the promise.
Nationals Member for Morwell Russell Northe said the project had been talked about for many years and now would be acted upon.
The project will be delivered through the Regional Growth Fund.
Rail trail vandalised
24 March 2011. The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail has been vandalised again with agricultural machinery being used to damage the track.
The Trails Committee of Management had recently been forced to place security gates on the trail to prevent incursions which were tearing up the surface.
Now offenders were cutting chains to gain access to the trail and further damage was being done.
Farmers have been illegally driving tractors and other farm implements along the trail, even driving cattle along the track.
Continual repairs to the surface were costly and wasting money that could be used on other improvements.
The Committee has asked visiting riders to keep and eye out and report any misuse of the trail so that offenders can be prosecuted.
Wellington Shire Council to host trail ride
24 November 2010. Things are clearly happening on the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail.
Wellington Shire Council is hosting a "research and development" ride on the "finished" section of the trail between Stratford and Heyfield on Sunday 28 November. Everyone interested in coming out is invited.
The point of the ride is to look at what has been done so far and generate ideas and discussion about getting progress happening with the rest of the Trail.
The following schedule is courtesy of the Council:
- 9:00am: Depart Apex Park, Stratford
- 10:30am: Arrive Cambrai Backpackers, Maffra (morning tea/coffee available for purchase or BYO)
- 11:00am: Depart Cambrai Backpackers, Maffra
- 12:15pm: Arrive Tinambra Store (lunch available for purchase or BYO)
- 12:45pm: Depart Tinambra Store
- 1:45pm: Arrive Heyfield Railway Reserve, Heyfield (afternoon tea/coffee available for purchase at corner store or 3858 Cafe, or BYO)
- 2:30pm: Trailer available to take bikes back if riders do not want to return to their starting place
- 4:30pm: Return Apex Park, Stratford.
The ride is being organised by Wellington Shire Councillor Beth Ripper with assistance from Christine Richards. Contact Beth on 04274556094 and Christine on 0428594273
It's a great chance to get out and see the Trail as it exits and generate some enthusiasm, which is clearly on the up already, for further progress. It's great to see Council taking steps in the right direction.
Coaltion pledge $800,000 in Trail funding
8 November, 2010. The Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition have promised $800,000 towards the completion of the Traralgon to Toongabbie sector of the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail.
The commitment was announced in Traralgon by the leader of The Nationals, Peter Ryan, together with Member for Morwell Russell Northe and Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.
Mr Ryan said the funding from the Coalition’s $1 billion Regional Growth Fund would fund the next step of the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail’s proposed 65 kilometre trail from Traralgon to Stratford.
“Major works are required to link the trail including two bridges, signage, trail construction and amenities which are estimated to cost $1.85 million,” Mr Ryan said.
“The Coalition’s commitment of $800,000 will progress these works and assist in leveraging further investment from private industry, the Commonwealth and the local community to make the trail’s completion a reality.”
Mr Northe said the trail would give local residents and visitors the opportunity to experience the varied landscapes of the Latrobe Valley and take in the many tourism and recreational assets along the way.
“The completion of this trail will bring significant economic benefits to the region through additional tourism opportunities,” Mr Northe said.
“Its completion will pave the way for Glengarry, Toongabbie, Cowwarr and Traralgon to access each other by way of alternative and recreational transport.
“It will be a huge boost for the region in terms of opening up the area to bike enthusiasts, tourism, fostering physical activity, and instilling a sense of appreciation for the surrounding countryside.
“I look forward to working with the community and various stakeholders in the further development of this trail.”
"Finish the Trail" in Gippsland
16 July 2010. The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail Committee is launching a postcard campaign to support their push to "finish the trail" on 28 July at 11:00am at the Toongabbie Mechanics Institute.
The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail is languishing half done. The Rail Trail Committee is continuing to fight for the completion of the Trail by launching a new campaign to focus on what needs to be done to get the Trail over the line.
Some sections of the Trail are complete, while some are passable with mountain bikes, while some bits must be tackled by on-road diversions because those sections just aren't up to scratch or are yet to be built.
The Trail is complete and in good shape from Stratford to Maffra. Between Maffra and Heyfield, the surface quality is inconsistent, ranging from good to bumpy and a bit of on-road. Between Heyfield and Glengarry the route is very rough and should only be tackled with the sturdiest of mountain bikes. Riders trying to do the last bit into Traralgon have to do it by road.
The Committee has set the basic cost of completing the Trail in a sufficient gravel surface at approximately $2.5 million, and are launching this campaign to seek funding to continue with works to finish the Trail. If you want to get involved locally, click on the link above to get in touch with the Committe and find out how you can help.
Trail upgrades continues with connection from Stratford to Maffra now complete
15 January 2009. Wellington Shire has advised of the completion of recent upgrades to the Trail.
Recent work has linked the Trail to the town centres of Stratford at the Eastern end and Maffra in the middle. We are advised that the trail has been resurfaced with a smoother gravel topping, making that portion of the trail more accessible to a greater range of bikes and riders.
Extending the connection right into the towns of Stratford and Maffra at either end of this refurbished section will improve accessibility.
The Trail continues West of Maffra to Traralgon at various stages of development, which will be further developed as funding allows.
Wellington Shire has developed a Gippsland Plains Rail Trail website that has more detail on the status of the different sections of trail, as well other information about accommodation, route notes and maps.
Please let us know what you think of the different sections of the Trail. Is the new surface and connection between Stratford and Maffra up to scratch? What are the other areas that need the most pressing improvements? As always, comments are welcome.
More Flood Funds arrive to reinstate damage and help build new sections
22 May 2008 After devastating floods earlier this year the Trail has now received $420,000 in flood recovery funding to reinstate the trail which was taken out from Heyfield to the Tinamba side of Maffra.The Boggy Creek crossing at Tinamba has just been replaced and the GPRT Committee is now working on the Serpentine Creek crossing between Tinamba and Maffra. Wellington Shire Council has also committed some flood recovery money to connect the trail to the township of Stratford. The track into Maffra from Stratford will also be upgraded. This is all happening at the moment and hopefully will be finished in time for an official opening in July or August.
The Committee are also awaiting insurance money to replace the Rainbow Creek Bridge at Cowwarr. This will also mean that a small section of trail will open up to allow the machines access to the site. The Heyfield Lions Club have taken on the old Cowwarr Station grounds from us as a project. It is looking great and they have not only cleaned up the area but have put in place a Migrant Walk to commemorate the migrants who helped to build the irrigation infrastructure and who worked in the timber and agricultural industries locally.
The Committee are currently putting together an historic calendar for sale towards the end of the year. They are looking for any memorabillia in relation to the Traralgon, Glengarry, Toongabbie, Cowwarr, Dawson Siding, Heyfield, Tinamba, Maffra , Powerscourt Siding and Stratford railway stations. Tickets, photos or anything that can be copied would be much appreciated. Contact Helen Hoppner.
Flood recovery funds to build a new section of trail
Aug 07 The State Government has committed $90,000 to build 1.2km of new trail to complete the section of trail from Maffra to Stratford. This section of trail was officially opened in late 2005 but it actually finished a few kilometres to the south of Stratford leaving a difficult route into town.
These new funds should complete the link of almost 10km between Maffra and Stratford. This trail will be well used by locals and the increasing number of visitors to the region. Register for email me updates above and we will let you know when the new trail has been constructed.
Opening celebration: 1 October 2005
Sep 05 Celebrate the opening of the Maffra to Stratford section of the Gippsland Plains Railtrail on Saturday 1st of October 2005.
Jun 05 Adjoining landowners will be putting up fencing in the Toongabbie to Cowwar section with materials provided by the Rail Trail Committee. There are a couple of bridge crossing in the Cowwarr area that still need to be completed.
Maffra to Stratford section
It is expected that the trail will be officially opened on Saturday 1 October 2005.
Public access created for trail
Feb 04 The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail was officially launched by the Hon. Peter Hall on Sunday 7 March 2005 at Toongabbie station site. The rail trail committee worked hard to complete the section between Glengarry and Cowwarr.
The nearby Fulham Correctional Centre also supplied a much meeded labour force to assist in the development of the trail.
A bridge is badly needed over the Latrobe River so that the 70,000 residents of Traralgon can easily access the rail trail. The Rail Trail Committee has approached the local Member of Parliament, Brendan Jenkins, but it is low on the list of his priorities.
Jun 05 The section from Heyfield to almost Maffra has been recently upgraded to a walking and mountain bike standard but is still quite rough for ordinary bikes.
Join in a fantastic community day to celebrate the re-opening of the railway link between Stratford and Maffra. Celebrations at both the Maffra and Stratford ends of the trail will culminate with the official opening of the Maffra to Stratford section of the Gippsland Plains Railtrail.
This 7km section of the railtrail will finally provide a safe trail for walkers, cyclists and joggers between Maffra and Stratford.
The Gippsland Plains Railtrail is marking the occasion by participating in the Victorian Government's Tree Planting Program as part of the Commonwealth Games Environment Strategy.
Come along from 10am onwards on the east side of the Dept. Sustainability and Environment building on the Maffra-Stratford road to plant one or many trees. Meet Commonwealth Games athletes, Karak, the official Games mascot and watch indigenous dancers.
Food will be provided by Maffra Lions Club. There will be a talk and a guided wildflower walk highlighting local lilies and orchids along the trail.
The Official Rail Trail Opening is at 1pm on the rail trail adjacent to the Commonwealth Games tree planting activities.
Jun 05 The Rail Trail Committee is putting together some developmental plans and are seeking funding to complete and upgrade the trail. They were successful in obtaining a $4,900 community grant from Wellington Shire Council.
"It's marvellous what you can do with small amounts of money," says Helen Hoppner from the Rail Trail Committee.
Despite a desperate need for larger amounts of funding, the Rail Trail group has achieved quite a lot, utilising their negotiation skills to construct sections of trail with the help of local contractors. Recently some pipes were put in over creek crossings.