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Published February 28th 2015
Outer Circle Railway Anniversary Trail
Cycle, walk or jog the 17.7 km Anniversary Trail (also known as the Outer Circle Trail) because much of it follows an old railway line. The Trail meets up with other trails along the way so you can hop on or off wherever you like. It takes about one and a half hours as a leisurely walk.
The trail is signposted with twelve signs displaying historic photographic images and explain Melbourne's railway heritage. You can almost imagine the old steam train running.
The idea for a rail track was conceived at time when Melbourne was booming with gold (late 1860's) but its implementation was affected by the economic depression in the 1890's.
The Outer Circle Line opened in 1890 and it only ran for 3 years. Some parts ran for longer. It carried freight and passengers on and off until 1948.
The Outer Circle Line was designed to connect the North and South: specifically the Gippsland region with Melbourne, but it never carried any freight to Gippsland and therefore it is referred to as a ghost railway.
In 1900, the train ran into a Chinese funeral procession. Luckily only minimal injuries were sustained.
In 1908, the 'Golf Links' station was opened after a bit of 'influence' by the Club Captain (three-time mayor of Hawthorn). The station was built right near the clubhouse! Golf players would hail the train to stop by placing a red flag (day) or red lamp (night) in the signal box.
The Deepdene Dasher ran between Deepdene and Ashburton until the 1920's. It was just two carriages. Its closing signalled the end of the era of steam trains in suburban Melbourne.
Sites along the Trail
Along the way you will see the Malvern Valley Public Golf course, cafes near Toorak Road, Matlock Rd, Boroondara Park, Burke Rd and Chandler Park. You will see the Yarra River Bridge, which was the site of another construction accident. You can walk or cycle past the Guide Dog Centre but be warned there are lots of steps. At Yarra Bend Park, right at the top of the hill, there's a great view of the city. It's worth a stop at the Fairfield Boathouse for Devonshire tea or at least refreshments. You can continue along the Yarra Trail all the way into the city if you wish.
There are children's parks and cafes along the way, so it can be a great family day out. Enjoy!