The branch line to Shelbourne was built in two sections, intially to Malden and then at a latter stage to Shelbourne with trains having to reverse at Malden. The line lasted until the 1970s with the extension to Shelbourne being closed initially and then later the section between Castlemaine and Malden. Although the track was dismantled to Shelbourne, the tracks between Malden and Castlemaine remained in situ thanks to the efforts of a preservation society which formed to protect the railway.
After much restoration work and collection of rollingstock the Victorian Goldfields Railway began operating tourist services from Malden in the 1980s, reaching Muckleford by the mid 1990s. In 2003 the section of track between Muckleford and Castlemaine was restored which included upgrading a number of trestle bridges. This section of track is now awaiting clearance from Freight Australia to allow tourist services to operate into Castlemaine Station.