“I nearly pulled the pin when the rail trail got to Fish Creek, but I figured the Great Southern Rail Trail’s got to be bigger than that so I’m still here,” Great Southern Rail Trail Committee of Management chair Neville Pulham said – and on Friday he helped cut the ribbon that closes the ‘missing link’. D331016.

“I nearly pulled the pin when the rail trail got to Fish Creek, but I figured the Great Southern Rail Trail’s got to be bigger than that so I’m still here,” Great Southern Rail Trail Committee of Management chair Neville Pulham said – and on Friday he helped cut the ribbon that closes the ‘missing link’. D331016.

Peter and Kate Walsh, adjoining landowners, and rail trail jogger Michelle Harris talk plans for the wetlands at the first bridge near Minns Road. D341016.

Peter and Kate Walsh, adjoining landowners, and rail trail jogger Michelle Harris talk plans for the wetlands at the first bridge near Minns Road. D341016.

Members of the Corner Inlet U3A were interested onlookers at the Great Southern Rail Trail official opening on the hot Friday afternoon. They included, from left, Jeff Montague, Allan Locke, Arie Bos, Bruce Beatson and Mary Montague. Bruce and Mary used the expedition as a training ride for their Murray to Moyne hospital fundraiser. The pair will be raising money for South Gippsland Hospital in Foster. They aim to raise $10,000. D351016.

Members of the Corner Inlet U3A were interested onlookers at the Great Southern Rail Trail official opening on the hot Friday afternoon. They included, from left, Jeff Montague, Allan Locke, Arie Bos, Bruce Beatson and Mary Montague. Bruce and Mary used the expedition as a training ride for their Murray to Moyne hospital fundraiser. The pair will be raising money for South Gippsland Hospital in Foster. They aim to raise $10,000. D351016.

CYCLISTS, joggers, walkers, dogs and a mule were among the crowd assembled at Koonwarra Recreation Reserve on Friday afternoon for the official opening of the missing link of the Great Southern Rail Trail.
The rail trail now runs continuously from Leongatha through to Welshpool – a further section between Welshpool and Port Welshpool is due to be completed by December 2016.
Overall, the rail trail will snake through South Gippsland a distance of just over 70km.
The Black Spur section, which was opened on Friday, was a missing 2.6km link between Koonwarra and Meeniyan.
Surprise funding of $1m from the Regional Growth Fund Putting Locals First, along with $562,144 from South Gippsland Shire Council and a further $290,000 from the Advancing Country Towns finally closed the link.
The project scope included the reconstruction/construction of three bridges and connecting trail works – specifically:
• Construct 1200m of rail trail from Koonwarra to the top of Black Spur Creek
• Demolish and reconstruct Bridge 1 (50m) which spans the Black Spur Creek
• Partially demolish and reconstruct Bridge 2 (152m) which spans the Tarwin River
• Construct a 130m connecting trail between the two bridges
• Install a picnic area and viewing station at the end of Bridge 2
• Construct a 170m connecting trail between Bridge 2 and Bridge 3
• Reconstruct Bridge 3 (146m) that spans the Tarwin River
• Construct the final 800m trail linkage