Blaze a trail with us!

 

We’re building overwhelming support for a new world-class recreational trail for all in Central Victoria.

 

CAMPAIGNS

Broiler Farm Threat to Rail Trail

Broiler Farm Threat to Rail Trail

We have an unexpected challenge - there is a proposal to build a broiler (chicken meat) farm next to the rail corridor where our Rail Trail will run. Apart from the smell and look of this factory-style building, there will be a 'bio-security zone' declared around the...

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The Next Chapter

The Next Chapter

We have begun the next chapter!

Immediately prior to Easter we applied to the Victorian Government’s Enabling Tourism Fund (ETF) for $400,000 to complete the next stage of the trail, the Pre-Construction Stage.

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NEWS

Castlemaine Maryborough Rail Line 150th Birthday

Castlemaine Maryborough Rail Line 150th Birthday

On Sunday 7th July 2024 we  cerebrated 150 years since regular train services began on the Moolort Railway Line (Castlemaine to Maryborough) on 7th July 1874. Construction of the line commenced with the first sod turning ceremony at Castlemaine on the 7th Sept 1872....

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The Next Chapter

The Next Chapter

We have begun the next chapter!

Immediately prior to Easter we applied to the Victorian Government’s Enabling Tourism Fund (ETF) for $400,000 to complete the next stage of the trail, the Pre-Construction Stage.

read more
Feasibility study our biggest milestone yet

Feasibility study our biggest milestone yet

It’s a new dawn for Central Victoria. Today we released the expert report into your trail. It confirms the 60km disused rail corridor can be profitably repurposed as a world-class recreational trail that attracts tens of thousands of visitors a year and brings jobs and prosperity to our local communities.

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Connecting communities

“From little things, big things grow.”
– Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody

Members, volunteers, supporters and friends. We are many, with one goal: to connect our communities along the proposed trail corridor.

Watch our story…

OUR PURPOSE

CMRT was founded to transform the 55km Castlemaine to Maryborough disused rail corridor into a world-class recreational trail. A trail that can be used by cyclists, walkers and horse-riders of all ages and abilities.

We want to connect communities, defend safe travel, encourage prosperity, look after the bush and tell amazing stories of place and people.

We use grassroots action to inspire communities and spur governments to lead the charge to establish a new trail in Central Victoria.

Our community outreach aims to rally people of all ages and backgrounds behind the idea of a trail. To build a trail, we need to build a movement.

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung and the Jaara Jaara people, the custodians and caretakers of this land through which the trail will pass. We thank them for the care they have taken of the country: the rivers, mountains, trees, and animals. We could like to honour this Country, the Elders of the past and present and most importantly the young, proud Aboriginal people, as they are  our leaders for tomorrow.

Our People

We are blessed with a growing crew of talented and energetic volunteers. We think you’re amazing. You help out organising, doing, creating and spreading the word. Come on, join us!

Our Members

You can shape our direction and make a difference. Membership has expectations too. We want our members to be actively involved. Volunteer or donate so we can campaign for you.

Our Sponsors

We simply couldn’t do this without you. From Maryborough to Castlemaine and every town in between, we’re humbled by the support we’re getting from our small business sponsors.

Our Partners

Big projects need good friends. Friends who can help show the way and frame standards. Friends who help us walk just a little taller. Thank you to our partner organisations.

The Rail Trail Project

The establishment, development and construction of the Castlemaine Maryborough Rail Trail (CMRT) is an over $24 million, 7 year project which has been instigated and driven by the CMRT Committee and its valuable members and supporters. We have developed a three stage plan to build the Trail.

Stage One

Stage one was an 18 month project which comenced in February 2021. It was designed to create and publish a comprehensive Feasibility Study for the planned Rail Trail. The study was underwritten by a $120,000 grant from the Victorian Government’s Enabling Tourism Fund, with $18,000 contributed by the community through the Castlemaine Maryborough Rail Trail committee (CMRT) and $12,000 from shires of Central Goldfields and Mount Alexander. The total cost was $150,000,

The study was prepared by urban planners from Fitzgerald Frisby Landscape Architects, tourism economists from Urban Enterprise and engineers from Newton + Kerr Partners.

A collaboration, with representatives from CMRT, Central Goldfields and Mt Alexander Shires, the Victorian Government and the consultants, was formed to manage the study. The study’s scope asked the consultants to assess the trail concept from two perspectives: the feasibility of building the trail, including its route, construction and costs, as well as the trail’s tourism prospects, includiusers’ trail experience and expected visitor demand.

Stage one was completed in August 2023 with the publication of a very positive Feasibility Study.

The Feasibility Study has forecast that

  • over its first 10 years the trail’s benefits will outweigh its costs by between 2.2 and 2.6 times
  • the trail will increase economic output by some $24M per year the Mount Alexander and Central Goldfields shires
  • the trail will support almost 160 new jobs in the communities along the trail
  • it could overall generate a positive return of $44M – $51M
  • the trail would also generate significant social and wellbeing benefits to local communities, including providing safer commuting options within and between towns
  • a well-designed trail will connect the centres of several smaller towns directly to the trail to encourage visitation

 

Stage Two

 Planning for Stage Two, the Pre-construction phase, commenced in September 2023. It is a two year 4 month project, with a budget of $500,000. It is planned to be completed in December 2025. The primary objective Pre-Construction Phase is to produce the Reference Design for the proposed trail. This Reference Design will be used as the blueprint for the detailed design and construction of the trail.
During the project, a Preliminary Reference Design will be produced to be used as an input to inform:

Community and landowner consultation

Cultural heritage management planning

Ecological due diligence

The Land manager and authorities consultation, the Community and landowner consultation, Cultural Heritage Management Plan, Ecological Due Diligence and the Land manager and authorities’ consultation will in turn all provide input to the Reference Design – enabling the Preliminary Reference Design to be updated and the finial version, The Reference Design to be produced.
Other key results to be produced and important objectives of the project are:
◦ The establishment of an Operating Model for the trail between CMRT and the Central Goldfields and Mt Alexander Shires
◦ The establishment of a Lease Agreement with VicTrack for the use of the rail corridor to construct and operate the recreational trail
◦ A costed approach and plan for the construction of the trail.

 We have applied for a grant of $400,000 from the Victorian Government’s Enabling Tourism Fund and expect to hear if we have been successful in July 2024. If successful, the State Government grant will be supported by contributions of $40,000 each from the Central Goldfields and Mount Alexander Shire Councils and CMRT’s locally raised funds of $20,000. Should we gain the $500.000 total that is required for this Stage, we plan to complete it by December 2025.

     

    Stage Three

    Stage Three is due to commence in 2026 after the completion of Stage Two. It will involve the construction of the Rail Trail. This is where the major funding will be accessed through applying to Government agencies and business. The trail building will take several years to complete depending on the way it is planned to carry out the construction. This planning will be decided as part of our Stage Two processes.

    Travelling the Trail

    One of the wonderful things about our trail is that it’ll be equally enjoyable no matter which end you start from!

    Start at Maryborough and you can alight from one of Australia’s grandest old railway stations. Start at Castlemaine station and you will be right where the story of the goldfields began.

    A powerful and unique feature of the trail is that it has a train line to Melbourne at both ends. Easy for local commuters; a magnet for eco-tourists.

    If you start in Castlemaine, you can easily find good food and coffee and any last-minute necessities, then you’ll be off along the Campbells Creek Trail to Winters Flat where the disused part of the old train line begins and the Goldfields Steam Train blows it’s whistle and turns off towards Maldon.

    Then the creek, the road, and the rail trail rolls down the valley past farms and houses to Guildford. You’ll be able to look down on the cars passing by as you are safe on the trail and can enjoy the view.

    At Guildford, the line crosses the highway on a high bridge and leaves the road for a while, past the place where Campbells Creek joins the Loddon River, over another bridge, and now you’ll follow the Loddon River through bush and farmland, all the way to the old Newstead Station which is now an arts hub.

    Soon after Newstead, you will ride across the spectacular Joyce’s Creek bridge, the longest of the trail, at the south end of Lake Cairn Curran Reservoir. Then it’s a short climb up onto the volcanic Moolort Plains, with big skies, and world-recognised wetlands.

    The rollicking downhill run past the Moolort Silos and into Carisbrook is a blast before heading into Maryborough and the truly magnificent Maryborough Station where you can enjoy a well-deserved milkshake (or other age-appropriate refreshing treats).

    We’ve always envisaged our trail as something more than a sealed path linking two points. Our region is studded with natural and other attractions. That’s why we developed our Guide to the Trail to highlight some of our region’s many attractions, and help better tell our stories of people and place.

    P.S. Take a peek at some of views you’ll get along the trail in the Views Along The Trail gallery below (photographs by Mick Evans).

    Love the trail? Join in the chorus for change! Sign our petition, like us on social media and stay in touch. We know you care. And you want to be heard. And you’re busy. We get that. So, just make your mark, and hang out with us occasionally as a friend.

    You want this rail trail! To explore, communte or for the kids to get to school. But don’t have the time to join and volunteer? We hear you. You can make a difference. Donate and help the volunteers working for you at the front-line. So we can campaign for you.

    We love our members. You can shape our organisation. You can have your say and vote. We love our members. You help keep us strong. Membership is a great chance for you to get really involved, actively make a difference and to volunteer!

    Our volunteers are impact members. You make a big difference. You choose your hours. You deliver our campaigns. You keep us going! You meet other wonderful people. And we will look after you. We can offer you a role, respect and special recognition.

    EVENTS

    Book today: Walking the past, glimpsing the future

    Book today: Walking the past, glimpsing the future

    Walk the path of our future rail trail. Experience the rich history and natural beauty of Maryborough to Carisbrook. This March 24, join us to walk the historic rail line from Maryborough to Carisbrook on Dja Dja Wurrung country. Lunch provided. Book your place today!

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    AGM 2023: Wed 22 Nov 6:00pm (for members)

    AGM 2023: Wed 22 Nov 6:00pm (for members)

    It’s been a high impact year, Trail Blazers. Our trail is now one very important step closer. A resoundingly positive feasibility study means we can really start rattling the tin in 2024! Our 2023 AGM in Newstead will bring us together to celebrate. CMRT members, secure your seat: book today.

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    Volunteering

    Family Memories of the Train Trip to Strangways

    Family Memories of the Train Trip to Strangways

    CMRT member Tim Cocking shares some family memories of the train service from 50 years ago. (Photo: Rail Motor at Strangways Station c1977) My Grandmother, Eleanor Pengelly, was the Post Mistress for the Strangways post office in the 1950’s, 60’s + 70’s. She made...

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    Trail Dreaming: the High Country and Tumbarumba

    Trail Dreaming: the High Country and Tumbarumba

    CMRT members are getting frisky about the growth of rail trails around the country – for fun and inspiration. CMRT members Ken and Jennie Stewart rode the High Country and the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trails in March. Greg James talks to the venturesome duo about the highlights.

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    Avant gardener: keeping up with Jennie Stewart

    Avant gardener: keeping up with Jennie Stewart

    For CMRT volunteer, avant gardener and visual artist, Jennie Stewart, growing things is just what she does every day. John Carruthers managed to catch up with our energetic rep just long enough for a quick chat about her eclectic interests and CMRT’s fundraising challenge in 2024.

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