This week we swapped Tuesday Touring for Wednesday Wandering and caught the steam train from Maldon to Castlemaine and walked back along the recently redeveloped rail trail. The train was a real highlight of our adventure, with gorgeous scenery passing by and courteous staff indulging our curiosity and answering all manner of questions. We were also impressed by the fact that we were able to bring on five greyhounds by arrangement. Dogs are welcome most days however bringing them is not recommended during busy periods such as school holidays. It is also usually possible to bring bikes but is again subject to space. The train left Maldon at 10.30am and after stopping briefly at Muckleford station, arrived at Castlemaine at 11.45am. There was the option to return or take a later train back to Maldon leaving at 3.45pm but we chose to walk home. For a full timetable and further details about the train visit the Victorian Goldfields Railway.
The Mount Alexander Council, with the help of state funding, recently spent a million dollars on upgrading the rail trail. Whilst it is a bit of a walk and a little tricky finding the start of the trail at Langlow Street, once on the trail it is well signposted and it mostly follows the train tracks with a few deviations to allow for wheelchair and bike access. There is a good picnic spot (and toilets) at Muckleford station which is roughly half way but there are also lots of bush clearings to stop along the way to enjoy a break and watch the passing array of birds and wallabies. It was also fun train spotting on the way back as we got to see the later train from close up by the tracks. See picture. We certainly caught the steam train bug by the end of our day out. The rail trail walk was 17.7k but perhaps an extra kilometre to get to the start. We arrived in Maldon at 5.30pm ready for a beer.