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The Wodonga - Cudgewa

Branch Rail Line (1921-1981)

The entire Upper Murray community had reason to celebrate in 1921 when the Wodonga to Cudgewa rail branch line was officially opened. The railway line was long awaited by the isolated Upper Murray community, especially those involved in the livestock industry. It meant that livestock were able to be walked to the holding yards at Cudgewa and loaded into rail trucks that were pulled over the mountains to Wodonga and then put on the rail line to Melbourne. Other goods, materials and passengers were also transported in and out of the area more quickly. As a result of this increased activity more businesses opened including the Cudgewa Hotel in 1925. It has offered meals and refreshments to locals and visitors until very recently.

The Snowy Mountains Hydro

Electric Scheme

Further economic development at Cudgewa occurred in the 1950s, when the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme used the track to bring in heavy equipment and materials destined for its work sites on this side of the Snowy Mountains. During the 1960s up to three trains a day travelled between the Cudgewa and Wodonga. When the Snowy Scheme construction period ended in 1974, demand for the rail line significantly declined. The last train to travel to Cudgewa came in April 1978. The line was officially closed in 1981. Several years later the line was dismantled and taken away. The Cudgewa Railway Station infrastructure was auctioned and removed. Amongst the lasting reminders of this era are many of the 35 wooden trestle bridges that once made it possible for the rail line to traverse the mountains and creeks of the region. Some bridges can be easily seen as you travel along the Murray Valley Highway between the Upper Murray and Wodonga. A number of those, such as the Edgar’s Road Bridge at Koetong, have been restored, while others lay in a sad state of decay.
In recent years the rail reserve has been transformed in to a walking/ cycling track, known as the High Country Rail Trail. Only the eastern portion of the former rail line has yet to be converted. It is well developed between Wodonga and Old Tallangatta and between Koetong and Shelley, retracing a significant portion of the original Wodonga - Cudgewa Rail Line. For more on the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme, click here
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“The Man From Snowy River’ Country of North-Eastern Victoria & Southern NSW