Ballarat Skipton Rail Trail
Linton section of the Rail Trail is the most popular locations for people to experience a bike ride, bush walking or horse riding. Good rides to Nimmons Bridge and the Clarkesdale Bird Sanctuary.
Download the Ballarat to Skipton Rail Trail Map
About the Rail Trail
The Ballarat to Skipton Rail Trail is some 53 Kilometres in length. The trail is beautifully presented with many picturesque outlooks to experience. The surface of the rail trail is exceptional after a significant upgrade to the surface, shelters and signage.
If you are really keen you can challenge the 53 kilometres but you might like to stop in each town to catch your breath.
For an easy ride you might like to start at Scarsdale and end at Linton passing across Nimmons Bridge and Clarkesdale Bird Sancturary. Most of this section is downhill.
Or if you would like to try something a little more difficult, start at Pittong and end at Linton most of this section has a 10% gradual rise nearly all the way to Jacks Road near Linton. The last section of the trail is downhill with some wonderful Australian bush to see.
Both of these rides will take you about an hour or two or three. Don’t forget to take a picnic, camera and mobile phone.
History of the Rail Trail
The railway came to Linton in October 1890 when the line from Ballarat was extended, and as a result, Linton prospered from being the terminal railhead for the surrounding district. It was the largest town in the then Grenville Shire, with a population of 630, and was important as a distributing centre for gold fields to the south and farming land to the south and west.
However, after the line’s further extension to Skipton in 1916, Linton lost some of its importance, and this contributed to a steady decline in population. And from the 1930s, the arrival of the motorcar further reduced the importance of the railway to the town.
In the 1950s, a railmotor was introduced to the Linton line to provide passenger services. It was predominantly used by schoolchildren travelling to and from Ballarat daily. However, this gradually ceased to be economical when a new road coach service between Hamilton and Melbourne began in 1975, which called at Linton and Skipton for passengers. Subsequently an alternative road coach service was introduced for the Linton line schoolchildren.
Passenger railway services between Ballarat and Linton ceased on 17 December 1976, and in 1978 the resident stationmaster was withdrawn and Linton closed as a staff and ticket station. The line finally closed completely in 1985, and the lines were taken up.
The revival of the old railway line as a Rail Trail provides the opportunity for a beautiful and informative 55 kilometres tour through farmland, forests and old historic gold towns.