Now that the extension of the O'Keefe Rail Trail is open providing 50km of continuous trail between Bendigo and Heathcote, the various organisations involved are not resting on their laurels with several developments occuring.
Knowing how many people are using the rail trail is essential for future planning. The City of Greater Bendigo Council already has two infra-red counters that count any user that breaks the beam. This could be walkers, runners or cyclists, and possibly the odd kangaroo. The council has gone a step further and recently installed a counter just for cyclists that registers each time a bike passes over an electronic loop imbedded in an asphalt pad on the trail near Junortoun. There are also plans to install an infra-red counter near Heathcote. More details on the Friends of the Bendigo Kilmore Rail Trail news.
Rail Trails Australia is collecting this data and data from other rail trails where available to gather a bigger picture of rail trail usage in Australia.
Wallan to Heathcote Rail Trail - Feasibility. Study
The Mitchell Shire Council has called for tenders to conduct a feasibility study on extending the rail trail another 65km south through Kilmore to near where it branched off the Melbourne Sydney line at Heathcote Junction. Rather than finish here it would continue on another 6km to the rapidly expanding town of Wallan and the interurban VLine station.
Other possibilities associated with this extension are listed under future developments in the O'Keefe Rail Trail description.
One complication is that some sections of the former corridor were sold off many years ago, as the Heathcote to Heathcote Junction line closed in 1968. If the extension is determined to be viable then the consultant will prepare a concept design for construction.
New Promotional Video
The previous promotional video by Bendigo Tourism for the rail trail was one of the best around for a rail trail.
They have produced a new one that includes the newly opened section to Heathcote, which is just as good if not better. Check it out from the Videos tab of the Rail Trail description.