Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

twowheels
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Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby twowheels » Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:29 pm

I've spent a couple of years in the WA country side. Family really misses riding along the service road at the side of rail tracks with dog running alongside. Where would be the closest place to Perth this would be possible, either north or east. Been looking over some old maps rail from Brigadoon to Toodjay as an example, avoiding national parks. Mind you home was across road from rail before!

Magnum9
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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby Magnum9 » Tue Aug 26, 2014 1:41 pm

Heritage trail

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CXCommuter
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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby CXCommuter » Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:11 pm

+1 for the heritage trail- very pleasant pedaling.
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HappyHumber
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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby HappyHumber » Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:40 pm

Not forgetting there's a portion of the Heritage Trail which is through the John Forrest National Park; plenty of locals seem to exercise their mutts outside of there though.

I've probably done the HT enough times by bike to consider elsewhere. There is the Kep Track where it splits from the Heritage Trail at Mt Helena, heading East. Follow it as far as Chidlow, or Wooroolloo or whatever your range allows.

I recently went back to sections of the Munda Biddi / Karinyah trail South of Pickering Brook with some friends. It's not specifically rail service roads or old rail lines, but there's plenty of single track and wider access tracks for opportunity to form loops through the bush starting from either Brookton H'way or Pickering Brook.

It was the first time I'd been through there for some years and quite enjoyed it. You may want to check for possible National Parks in the area though.
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Magnum9
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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby Magnum9 » Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:44 pm

Is there any safe parking at Pickering Brook?

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HappyHumber
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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby HappyHumber » Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:38 pm

Magnum9 wrote:Is there any safe parking at Pickering Brook?


Safe insofar as much as most small towns go. It's not really a suburb ;)

I've generally ridden through Pickering Brook on the roadie, but only parked there recently on the expedition I just referred to. Park at the General store; just over at the clump of trees between it and the main road.

I would be more worried about parking at Bellevue or Swanview at the base of the Heritage Trail personally but that hasn't stopped me in the past there either. Usual disclaimer applies... don't leave valuables in the car etc etc etc.
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twowheels
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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby twowheels » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:12 pm

No, I'm not talking about rail heritage trails, I've ridden that many times. That is a former rail line. Yes it is good.

I'm talking about the service roads that run parallel to current rail lines. Not metro where they are fenced, but rural where you can ride from town to town without seeing a car, the rail and service road not always parallel with the highway. The service roads are sometimes neglected, usually gravel tracks, provide a challenge and good for exploring for human and canine. They are on I suppose crown land, no private land issues. So I'm wondering which section of railway would fit this bill closest to north or east of Perth.
thanks (I hope I haven't just spoilt a favourite, secluded ride destination for myself!)

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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby Magnum9 » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:25 pm

Google maps would show you pretty easily what you are after.

Actually the powerline tracks through the hills might be closer to what you are after.

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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby Thoglette » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:52 pm

Magnum9 wrote:Actually the powerline tracks through the hills might be closer to what you are after.

Some of them are very popular with the 4WD crowd as they are often the only access into certain areas.

Also the forestry management "roads" (which are often used for rally stages) can be very interesting, even if they come and go at the whims of "management"
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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby HappyHumber » Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:08 pm

twowheels wrote:I'm talking about the service roads that run parallel to current rail lines.


Aww, geez.. well... the State Govt (both Lib&Labor) has seemed to have had a concerted campaign to slowly get rid of those things since at least the mid 70s. :roll:

My advice to you is just follow the rail lines you can find.... The Armadale metro line actually continues south, servicing Bunbury and a few small towns in between with the "Australind" service. This tracks crosses/joines a number of industry lines servicing Alcoa between their sites and the port facilities they use in Bunbury & Kwinana. They're the only ones I am really familiar with.
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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby wellington_street » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:28 am

Probably Upper Swan northward would be your best bet. Might have to go north of Muchea to get some peace and quiet though.

Further north around Wannamal, Mogumber, the tracks are in reasonable condition and sound like what you are after.

A word of warning though - if they are in the rail corridor then you are trespassing but if they are on a gazetted road reserve or crown land as some are then you have right of access.

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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby twowheels » Wed Aug 27, 2014 7:56 pm

wellington_street wrote:Probably Upper Swan northward would be your best bet. Might have to go north of Muchea to get some peace and quiet though.

Further north around Wannamal, Mogumber, the tracks are in reasonable condition and sound like what you are after.

A word of warning though - if they are in the rail corridor then you are trespassing but if they are on a gazetted road reserve or crown land as some are then you have right of access.


I've ridden up that way ( Wannamal, Mogumber), not too much to distinguish them as rail corridor ie not fenced in like metro lines. These are th types of situations I'm after but closer to Perth & north or east, rather than south (Armadale, Mandurah)

Google maps is not a good search option, I'm looking for local knowledge to avoid an hour plus drive to find that the track is within a corridor surrounded by private farm land either side or finding what appears to be gravel is actually bitumen.

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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby twowheels » Wed Aug 27, 2014 7:58 pm

BTW any record of the Indian Pacific route being ridden?

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Phil
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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby Phil » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:39 pm

What about the rail line the other side of the river in Walyunga National Park?

Seen it when I have been walking through there.
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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby moosterbounce » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:53 pm

Phil wrote:What about the rail line the other side of the river in Walyunga National Park?

Seen it when I have been walking through there.


Agree with that one. Isn't it used as an access road during the Avon Descent? You may find more info if you look on some paddling forums!! I think it might be private land though as a private company looks after rail management, but I have walked along it before without seeing anyone so I figure do it until stopped.

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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby Pravda » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:59 pm

Phil wrote:What about the rail line the other side of the river in Walyunga National Park?

Seen it when I have been walking through there.


You can definitely ride this though I'm not 100% certain it's legal. As long as you're not being an idiot noone seems to mind.

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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby mikedufty » Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:36 pm

The railway line from Dwellingup to Pinjarra that they use for the Hotham Valley steam trains has a nice access track, easy access from roads at the Dwellingup end. I've always thought it looked like it'd be more fun on a bike than the train. Had a short ride on it last time I was up there, but came to grief when I decided to ride across the rails to come back on the other side. The spacing is just right to send you gently over the handlebars.

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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby twowheels » Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:58 pm

Phil wrote:What about the rail line the other side of the river in Walyunga National Park?

Seen it when I have been walking through there.

This is where I have considered. Many years (decades) ago I viewed the Avon Descent from there. My concern was that it might be on private land. Possibly further upstream toward Toodjay on same southern side seems likely.
On northern route Ive been considering around Muchea, but I would think this is very much sand rather than clay/gravel/loam soils.

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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby just4tehhalibut » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:51 pm

Years back the CTA did a ride on the rail service road from near Toodyay Rd, Midland all the way up into Toodyay. They had to get permission from Westrail as well as a swag of keys to open the many gates along the way. Don't know if they've done anything of the like since but I wouldn't venture onto the same service road without getting permission from the relevant authority unless you can be sure you won't be shafting similar group rides in future. Westrail used to be very careful about liability, to the point of adverse reactions to the mere discussion of.

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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby twowheels » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:37 pm

CTA?

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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby HappyHumber » Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:29 pm

Cycle Touring Association.
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sambo3
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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby sambo3 » Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:39 am

Phil wrote:What about the rail line the other side of the river in Walyunga National Park?

Seen it when I have been walking through there.


I rode about 20km of this rail service road on my Alan cyclocross. It is mainly made up of rail gravel with the ramps super smooth bitumen.
It could be a great ride all the way to Toodyay which i will do some day.
The bitumen sections are short somewhat like the pav'e in Paris Roubaix. It possibly could be ridden on a road bike with wider tyres, though much better suited to a mountain or cyclocross bike.

I didn't see any rail service vehicles whilst riding and the legality of riding it I'm not sure about.
A great ride though with the river, secluded road interrupted by the occasional train.

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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby BaldPatch » Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:32 pm

The rail heritage trail is the obvious ride in Perth.
The rail industry is kinda close to my line of work so i am familiar with all the rules and i can say with some certainty that cycling within 3 metres of the running face (inner rail surface that wheel flange touches) of an operational railway line is DEFINATELY ILLEGAL as is entering the railway reserve. The railway reserve is generally defined as 10 metres from the running face of the nearest rail on both side of track alignment.
There is a boundary gate key in use that i suspect thousands of people possess as it has been freely distributed in the industry for many years and was not a controlled key, so you could borrow the key off a mate and go to Bunnings and get a copy made.
In the modern era , post terrorism etc they are now moving to a controlled key system to keep undesirables out.
Should you find a damaged fence and enter a railway reserve to ride along a access road adjacent to track and be spotted by a train driver or railway maintenance crew there is two possible outcomes.
If the person spotting you is a keen cyclist you may get a wave when you ride by and that may be the end of it or they may immediately report you and you may be prosecuted.
In the metropolitan area there are exceptions where a defined cycleway may be close to 3 metres from the running face of an operational railway but there is always a fence provided.
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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby wellington_street » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:03 pm

and then in Victoria some lines are unfenced through suburbia and in Rockhampton the main Brisbane-Cairns line runs down the middle of a street...

Brookfield are very risk and liability averse from what I have observed - understandably they care more about minimising the risk of an incident on their network than providing access for the wider community.

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Re: Rail service roads as mountain bike trails

Postby exadios » Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:27 pm

BaldPatch wrote:The rail heritage trail is the obvious ride in Perth.
The rail industry is kinda close to my line of work so i am familiar with all the rules and i can say with some certainty that cycling within 3 metres of the running face (inner rail surface that wheel flange touches) of an operational railway line is DEFINATELY ILLEGAL as is entering the railway reserve. The railway reserve is generally defined as 10 metres from the running face of the nearest rail on both side of track alignment.
There is a boundary gate key in use that i suspect thousands of people possess as it has been freely distributed in the industry for many years and was not a controlled key, so you could borrow the key off a mate and go to Bunnings and get a copy made.
In the modern era , post terrorism etc they are now moving to a controlled key system to keep undesirables out.
Should you find a damaged fence and enter a railway reserve to ride along a access road adjacent to track and be spotted by a train driver or railway maintenance crew there is two possible outcomes.
If the person spotting you is a keen cyclist you may get a wave when you ride by and that may be the end of it or they may immediately report you and you may be prosecuted.
In the metropolitan area there are exceptions where a defined cycleway may be close to 3 metres from the running face of an operational railway but there is always a fence provided.


I often use the bush near a rail line as a camping spot. I'm talking in a wheatbelt context here.

I was not aware of the 3 and 10 meter boundaries but in any case I don't think I have ever camped within the 10 meters. But, mostly, the access road is nearly always outside the 10 meter limit. So what is the rule about the land between the 10 meter limit and the access road?

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