I decided to double-check V/Line trains after a heads up warning from Emily (The Navigator). Last time I checked (both website and by phone) the Vic Rail train line to Albury was to close for the month of March but the trains to Seymour seemed to be running OK.
We re-planned on the basis of starting our Rail Trail Cycling Tour at Seymour, not Albury.
The track status has now changed and no trains will be running to Seymour or Albury during most of March. This is due to damage caused by a derailment at Wallan a couple of weeks ago. Track closure is needed to fix up that damage and to continue the upgrade of the rail out to Albury.
How does that affect us?
Well, on arrival in Melbourne, we intended to take ourselves and the trikes by train to Albury and cycle 3 rail trails from there, working our way back to Seymour. At Seymour we would catch a train back to Melbourne and the ferry. Obviously we can’t do this now. Additionally, who knows what’s going to happen with COVID-19. More cases are developing on the mainland and we still have only 1 in Tasmania. Safety in small numbers!
We discussed and decided to put the trip off until November. At that time we may well plan to avoid the railway and hire a van to take the trikes out to Albury and then back to Melbourne. That way we will not be affected by any further hassles on V/Line trains where the track is dodgy and the ability to allow / disallow bikes on trains is at the discretion of the Conductor.
So, the Ferry bookings have been changed and, in the immediate future, we are planning a couple of rides in Tasmania before the end of Autumn drags in Winter.
And now for something completely different – road safety.
Colin has begun a campaign to improve bicycle safety on the Illawarra Road where it crosses the South Esk river just outside Longford. The current 3 bridges, running across the river and land prone to flooding, are narrow and there is little room for cyclists. He contacted the state based Bicycle Network group and suggested a speed reduction on the bridges, and/or bicycle warning signs or, preferably, steps taken to provide a cycle lane – either hanging off the current bridges or running alongside the nearby rail line. They contacted the Department of State Growth …..
The Editor of the local paper got wind of this and asked for pictures. We obliged – even though I generally try to keep away from the road. So far no safety changes have been made and nothing heard from the Department of State Growth.
That’s it for this week. More will follow once we start our Autumn Tasmanian tour(s).