Upper Murray Railway Heritage

Upper Murray Railway

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Train travel over spectacular bridges through the beautiful Upper Murray Mountains is a romantic notion to many today, but in reality train travel meant much more to the people of the Upper Murray during the early to mid-decades of the twentieth century.

The arrival of the Victorian gold rush during the 1850's, hastened the arrival of train travel in Victoria, but it was not until 1873 when passenger and freight travel between Melbourne and Wodonga commenced that residents of the Upper Murray began to dream about train travel to this region.

It took almost twenty years for the branch line between Wodonga and Old Tallangatta to open in 1891, where the rail terminus remained for a another twenty three years before serious moves were made to begin construction on the rail line to the Upper Murray.

Mountains, creeks and rivers were expensive barriers to rail development.

Development of the railway to the Upper Murray continued and reached Shelley by 1916.

Cudgewa Mail Train

The end of the railway line reached the small township of Cudgewa in 1921. The Cudgewa Railway Station was officially opened by the Victoria Premier, Harry Lawson, May 1921.

Thirty five timber trestle bridges were constructed between Wodonga and Cudgewa to allow trains to traverse the mountainous terrain carrying, freight, livestock and travelers.

Several decades later, would see a new era for the Wodonga to Cudgewa Railway line with the construction of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme.

The Cudgewa Railway Station was remodelled in the 1950s to facilitate more efficient handling of goods and large equipment and machinery needed for the construction of the Snowy Scheme.

After the completion of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme, railway use sharply declined from three trains a day in the 60s to several times a year by the time the last freight train journey in 1978.

After sixty years of service the Cudgewa Railway Station officially closed in 1981.

Several of the trestle bridges still remain today, and visitors and train enthusiasts alike can see stunning examples of these historic trestle bridges at Edgar's Road, Keotong and the  in the Mt. Lawson State Park along the High Country Rail Trail.

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