Sunday, 11 October 2015

The End of the Line (Murchison Rail Trail Pt 2)

Hi everyone,
On Friday I was able to take advantage of Daylight Saving to shoot down to the Murchison Rail Trail.  I’ve previously blogged it here.  This time I had no particular distance in mind, and no real plan except a vague time of an hour to run.
The hour took me a bit beyond the point near some earthworks when I turned around last time.  As the sun was still up I decided to go a bit further, to what I thought was the top of a rise.  Then I thought, a little further still, to the end of this cutting.  And then it was to the next bend.  It didn’t take long before I was at the end of the completed 7.7 kms of the trail and needed to turn around.
Getting to the (current) end was a great thing from my point of view though, because the end turned out to be at the old railway bridge on Channel Inlet Road. 
I love old structures of all sorts, and bridges are no exception.  Moreover, once I saw the bridge it became obvious that a tree-lined rise in the ground that I’d thought was natural was, in fact, the old railway embankment.  VicTrack, which administers railway infrastructure, does not encourage people to go up onto the embankment ...
... but the temptation to scramble up and run where the train actually passed proved way too tempting!
It wasn’t actually a difficult run, despite the ground being a little loose and there being vegetation and tree roots.  Cutting back the speed was all that was needed to run safely.
As I went along, having the embankment in mind started to make obvious the rest of the railway’s footprint on the landscape.  For one thing, I spotted what I think were the only remaining sections of railway lines – jutting out from under where they were sealed under the Murchison-Bendigo Road.
Assuming these went in a straight line (which I’m guessing they did), this means that the section of the trail closer to Murchison must be on the railway line itself.  That part of the trail is certainly raised, so I suspect that it’s the old embankment too.
I noticed that the footbridge over one of the irrigation channels is built on wooden supports and pilings which look very weathered.  Maybe it’s the romantic in me but I like to think that this was indeed the bridge the train would have used. 
By that stage of the evening it looked like the channel itself had gone to sleep.
As you can tell, I’m kind of hooked by this trail and delighted to recommend it.  Hopefully the Shire of Campaspe will eventually be able to take steps to complete the balance of the distance to Rushworth!

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