The Branch Line
Victoria State High Country Rail Heritage
The High Country Rail Trail is just one of the many of the Victorian branch lines built in the late 1800s. The Wodonga, Tallangatta, Cudgewa, a historic Branch Line rich in heritage.
The Murray Valley highway follows the route of the Wodonga to Cudgewa railway line which closed in the early 1980s.
The railway line was progressively opened between 1889 and 1921. In 1919 the line was used to carry materials for the construction of the Hume Dam.
In the early 1950s, like the Town its self, the railway was relocated around Tallangatta to avoid the rising water of Lake Hume whose volume was to be increased.
In the early 1960s Cudgewa became the railhead of materials for the Snowy Mountains Scheme.
The last passenger service from Wodonga to Tallangatta ran on September 30, 1961. On April 21, 1978, the last regular goods train ran, with closure of the line in 1981, except for a short section to Bandiana which closed on September 1, 2009, as part of the Wodonga Rail Bypass project.
The line has been converted into the easy cycling High Country rail trail to just past Tallangatta then a gradual incline through scenic mountain country suitable for all terrain and mountain bike treks.
In its heyday, this railway line boasted stations at Cudgewa, Wabba, Beetomba, Shelley, Darbyshire, Bullioh, Tallangatta, Tatonga, Bolga, Huon, Ebden, Bonegilla and Bandiana.
After the Second World War, the majority of the Immigrants to the area were transported to Bonegilla and then many on to the heart of the Snowy Mountains to work on the Snowy hydro-electric scheme.
Tallangatta is the only town to survive since the closure of the line owing in part to its proximity to Albury-Wodonga. The town of Cudgewa, at the rail head, once was a thriving town but since has given way to the more developed town of Corryong, thanks to the Snowy hydro Scheme.
From Tallangatta the railway line wends onwards and upwards, passing the old Tallangatta site and the Omeo highway turn-off, then passing through the farming communities of Bullioh, Koetong, (famous for its historic pub and historic railway trestle bridges, built circa 1915)and the plantation township of Shelley whose railway station was once the highest in Victoria.
This remote rail trail from Old Tallangatta to Cudgewa and then joined with the unfinished but cycle-able cycle trail to Corryong, is now accessible to the cycle tourist and provides opportunities for Cycle Magic Treks to provide services to this market with the aid of state policy that currently overlooks proper protection and maintenance of trail by the DCS and Towong Shire, with parts over grow and some, fences opened up by the farming community, whom own property either side of the track to allow stock crossings and gate fences built to prevent stock wandering along the trail, such preventative measures will in the near-by future better served their needs by the instillation of stock grids at places where the rail trail fences have been opened.