Train vital connection for local communities

The Cudgewa Branch railway line ran from Wodonga to Tallangatta.

The Victorian Act No. 821 of 1884 authorised construction of a 25.5 mile railway line from Wodonga to Tallangatta.

In 1887 contract No. 2663 for the 14.5 mile first section from Wodonga to Huon’s Lane was awarded to E. Barkly & Co. In 1888 R. Thornton and Co. was awarded contract No. 3492 for the 11-mile 66-chain next section to Tallangatta.

The first section opened on 10th September 1889. Thornton’s section opened on 24th July 1891 and three mixed trains ran daily to and from Wodonga. A spur line from Ebden to Mitta Junction Hume Weir Depot opened on 9th September 1922.

Between 1930 and 1932 Barkly’s original line between Ebden and mileage post 200 was relocated to higher ground. Huon Lane Station was rebuilt 59 ft. higher and a 1866 feet long concrete and steel bridge was built over Sandy Creek. It carried material for construction of Hume Reservoir.

From 1940-1945 it carried troop trains and 1957-1971 migrant trains.

When the dam was enlarged there were more changes to the track from Bonegilla to Bullioh between 1950 and 1958. The Sandy Creek bridge was raised by 8 feet and lengthened by an additional 40 ft. span at each end.

Wodonga-Tallangatta rail motor services were withdrawn in September 1961. The last regular goods train on the line ran on 21st April 1978.

The line was renowned for its magnificent timber trestle bridges and its scenery.

Trevor Vienet tells the story of his journey on the Cudgewa goods train, as a schoolboy in 1973, “We were rocked to sleep on the slow 111 kilometre, six hour rail trip to Cudgewa. During the night we were woken often by the jolting of shunted carriages and also from the noise of unsettled mooing cattle. As we entered Shelley and I can still remember the sound of the engine T413 working hard during the climb towards Victoria’s highest railway station. Shelley station was 779 metres above sea level; in the 77 kilometres from Wodonga the train climbed 623 metres in elevation.”