As with most rural regions historically the railway line played an important role in the development of Victoria’s North East. The Mayday Hills (Beechworth) and the Ovens Valley Railway Lines were the first country branch lines to be built in Victoria and took over 15 years to fund and construct. The first train to Beechworth was in 1876 and the last in 1977, while the first train to Bright was in 1890. The last train departed from there in 1983.
The Ovens Valley Railway Line was used for passenger services up until 1952 and for the delivery of general goods services up until early 1980’s. These railway services delivered passengers and produce to and from this region for many years. Today the Rail Trail delivers fun and excitement in the form of unlimited cycling adventures.
The first section of the current Rail Trail was developed between Bright and Porepunkah by the Bright Shire in the early 1990’s. The popularity of this first riding track prompted the development of the more extensive Rail Trail concept. With the assistance of State Government funding the Alpine section of the Trail opened in 2000, Indigo in 2001, and Stage 1 of the Wangaratta section was completed in September 2002. Planning for the next two stages to the Murray River and King Valley are well advanced, with plans to also include loops to the Milawa Gourmet Region.