Life wasn't easy for rail crews on the Wodonga to Cudgewa line, or the gangers who maintained the lines and bridges.
Wal Riley, a former railwayman at Wodonga, has many tales to tell. One was about a goods train coming out of Old Tallangatta and around a curve on a long bridge. Coming towards the train came a trolley with four gangers on it. Somehow a line check hadn't been made to see if it was clear. The train had no hope of stopping before a collision and the gangers realised it; jumping off the trolley before the train cleaned up the trolley.
On the trains would be a crew of driver, fireman, guard and a stockman who travelled with the cattle. Wal says the gangs made all the difference on the condition of the track. The train crews might drive the train but the gangers were important to their safety. Usually the gangers had four or three-wheeled trolleys. Their job was to maintain the track and help in derailments, which were fairly common.
Cudgewa was the terminus for material going to the Snowy Mountains project and the up trains carried material and equipment to be used there. The down train back to Wodonga carried cattle, parcels, groceries and wood for pulping at the paper mills.
Wal said there were two maintenance gangs and one yard gang of about 15 men at Wodonga; one gang of about five men at Barnawartha, one of four or five at Bandiana, and between Bandiana and Cudgewa about seven gangs at Huon, Tallangatta, Bullioh, Koetong, Shelley, Betoomba and Cudgewa with about four men each.