Feasibility study advocacy

Is the rail trail a good idea? Well, yes of course it is – but how good an idea is it? How much will it cost? In what ways will it impact all the communities along the line? How can it be built? What tourism  opportunities will arise from the trail? Where will it go exactly?

This June, an 18-month campaign by CMRT succeeded in raising $150,000 to fund a top-quality and thorough feasibility study to answer these questions and more for a trail spanning two shires.

Thanks to a $120,000 grant from the Victorian Government, we can now complete a study. The study project is a collaboration between CMRT, Central Goldfields Shire Council and Mt Alexander Shire Council. The government grant was underwritten by an additional $18,000 in community donations to CMRT, and $6000 each from the two councils.

The study is important because we know that before government will provide capital funding to build the Castlemaine – Maryborough Rail Trail (we’re estimating about $15 million) they will need to see two things. One is significant community support (we’ve proved that!) and the other is a well-researched, objective feasibility study and business case. These kind of studies identify the likely costs, risks and benefits of potential projects. Hopefully, and we’re quite confident of this, a study will show that the trail’s social and economic benefits outweighs its costs.

The study can also look at more specific options like the route, build stages, related infrastructure such as rest stops, toilets and plantings, and local remediations for bridges and embankments to make them safe. The study is expected to start in Spring 2022 and be conducted over several months.