Railway Reserve Heritage Trail, Western Australia

Railway Reserve Heritage Trail, Western Australia

Railway Reserve Heritage Trail, also on some road maps as "Rail reserves heritage trail" or "Rail reserves historical trail" - and frequently referred to locally as the 'Bridle Trail' or 'Bridle Track,' is within the Shire of Mundaring in Western Australia.

Names and sections

The Trail Loop (Bellevue to Bellevue via Mount Helena is 40.8 km in length - it constitutes two routes travelling east of Bellevue, see History.

The Eastern extension, Mount Helena to Wooroloo is 22.5 km in length.

In Kalamunda, There is a Railway heritage trail - that follows the alignment of the old Upper Darling Range Railway.

History

It was created following the Western Australian Government Railways (the WAGR as it was commonly known) ceasing to operate on the Bellevue to Northam railway following the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway in 1966.

The first two attempts at the Eastern Railway from Bellevue to Chidlow, Western Australia both constructed before 1900 failed to have sufficiently low gradients for the increasing tonnages on the railway system. The Avon Valley route taken by the new Standard Gauge line, was the third and final attempt to take the railway system out of the metropolitan area across the Darling Scarp.The first two Eastern Railway formations were closed by an act of Parliament in the 1960's, and the lands were vested with the Mundaring Council. As a result most of the removable property of the WAGR - was removed from the reserve. Notably the Mundaring and Darlington concrete railway platforms remain, and approximately 3 telegraph poles remain along the original formation. Otherwise all rails, sleepers and buildings no longer remain. The Koongamia platform, although in use for only about 5 years, is currently being re-built.Interesting exceptions to the removal of railway operations assets are the Station Master's houses in Mundaring and Glen Forrest - these have been preserved and maintained. The Glen Forrest house is currently the location of the office of the Mundaring and Hills Historical Society.

Considerable alterations have been made to the original railway formations by telco, power, road and other authorities. In parts, roads named 'Railway Terrace', and other old roads running parallel to the reserve remain unchanged.

Australian Bicentenary

In 1988 the Australian Bicentenary saw 17 Heritage Trails funded by the Commonwealth and Western Australian governments under the "Commonwealth State Bicentennial Commemorative Program" - as the" W.A. Heritage Trail Network".The Railway Reserves Heritage Trail was developed by the "Mundaring Bicentennial Community Committee", and a pamphlet and signage on the trail was funded by this as well. In the pamphlet and on the signage - the main stopping places as annotated, and the details go as far as Wooroloo.

Current conditions

In some parts the reserve is an important wildlife corridor, while other parts have been degraded by erosion and bushfire damage.It passes through the John Forrest National Park and is one of a number of named trails in the parkConsiderable funds have been given to the Mundaring shire to maintain the reserve for use by walkers, cyclists and horse riders (hence the Bridle Trail name recurring). However, despite restraints, motor cyclists and others provide a regular hazard.

Ecology and environmental context

The two earlier routes of the Eastern Railway followed closely the line of two creeks - the first route followed Nyaania Creek which is part of the Helena River catchment, while the second followed Jane Brook which joins the Swan River at Middle Swan.

Sections of the reserve have important ecological features that contain examples of a range of conditions found in the region.The whole trail is in effect a vital Wildlife corridor creating connections between adjacent parks and nature reserves:

First Route or Southern Section
* Greenmount National Park - adjacent reserve grounds - Greenmount and Boya
* Darlington Recreation Ground - Darlington
* Binbrook Park - Darlington
* Glen Forrest Super Block - Glen Forrest
* Strettle Road Reserve - Mahogany Creek
* State Forest - Sawyers Valley

Second Route or Northern Secttion
* John Forrest National Park - Swan View and Hovea
* Brookside Park - Hovea
* Milligan Park - Stoneville
* Leschenaultia Conservation Reserve - Chidlow
* Beechina Nature Reserve - Beechina
* Beechina North Nature Reserve - Beechina
* Needham Nature Reserve - Wooroloo

It also has named parks and reserves either within or linked in the legal bounds of the land designated as the trail:
* Whybourne Park - Bellevue
* Darlington Station Reserve - Darlington
* M.J. Morgan Reserve - Glen Forrest
* Thomas Park - Glen Forrest
* Sculpture Park - Mundaring
* Jarrah Creek Reserve -Sawyers Valley
* Chidlow Recreation Reserve - Chidlow

Trek The Trail

The annual 'Trek-the-Trail' event jointly run by the Mundaring Shire Council, Mundaring Tourism Association, Mundaring and Hills Historical Society and others, encourages use of the trail.Various sections of the trail are nominated, and the event utilises local community organisations, as well as educating the public about the original use of the route.

The event was conducted between Wooroloo and Chidlow in 2004, Mount Helena, Parkerville in 2005, Mundaring and Darlington in 2006, and Chidlow and Sawyers Valley in 2007.

The cultural theme of Trek the Trail 2007 was "Water Line"; tracing the history of water in the shire or its conservation for future generations. Along the way participants were treated to unique and intriguing artworks from the region, environmental displays as well as interactive art spaces. Children’s activities and music featured in the unique Trek the Trail experience, a celebration of local communities within the hills region.

Distances

A pamphlet produced in conjunction between Trailwest, Bikewest, WAMBA, Mundaring Shire, DEC, and Lotteries West - "Bikewest Mountain Bike Maps - Railway Reserve Trail - Midland-Mt Helena-Midland"recommends a starting point of the Morrison Road-Pechey Road intersection in Swan View. It has a map, terrain profile, and a brief history of the two sections/routes.

*Pechey Road , Swan View 00.0 km 40.8 km
*Swan View Tunnel eastern entrance 1.2 km 39.6 km
*Parkerville 8.9 km 31.9 km
*Stoneville 11.9 km 28.9 km
*Mount Helena 15.9 km 24.9 km
*Sawyers Valley 19.0 km 21.8 km
*Mundaring 22.6 km 18.2 km
*Coppin Road, Mundaring 24.1 km 16.7 km
*Bailey Road, Glen Forrest 27.8 km 15.2 km
*Hardey Road, Glen Forrest 29.0 km 11.8 km
*Darlington 31.7 km 9.1 km
*Boya 34.0 km 6.8 km
*Scott Road, Greenmount 35.7 km 5.1 km
*RSL Hall, Bellevue 35.7 km 3.3 km

Most road crossings on the trail have signs showing distances to the next number of locations or road crossings.

References

* Affleck, Fred N. "On track : the making of Westrail, 1950 to 1976" . Perth : Westrail, 1978. ISBN 0-7244-7560-5
* Elliot, Ian "Mundaring a History of the Shire". 1983. ISBN 0-9592776-0-9
* Quinlan, Howard & Newland, John R. "Australian Railway Routes 1854-2000" 2000. ISBN 0-909650-49-7
* Watson, Lindsay "The Railway History of Midland Junction". 1995. ISBN 0-646-24461-2

See also

* List of rail trails

External links

*http://www.railtrails.org.au/states/trails.php3?action=trail&trail=49
*http://www.perthtrails.com.au/browse.asp?pg=382&RegionID=2
*http://www.dpi.wa.gov.au/cycling/1515.asp
*http://www.dpi.wa.gov.au/cycling/1927.asp


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