Rattler a big-ticket item

STEAMED UP: MVHR manager Jim Walker on board the MVHR’s locomotive. It has been revealed that considerable money needs to be spent on the steam engine to get it up and running.
STEAMED UP: MVHR manager Jim Walker on board the MVHR’s locomotive. It has been revealed that considerable money needs to be spent on the steam engine to get it up and running. Renee Pilcher

A SUM of $2 million might not be enough to save steam operations on the Mary Valley line.

That was the sobering message to more than 40 Mary Valley Heritage Railway members and volunteers at a meeting on Wednesday night.

Gympie Regional Council Mayor Ron Dyne, CEO Bernard Smith and MVHR president Tony Hallam took the floor at the old Gympie Railway Station to inform members on progress to save the Rattler.

Gympie Regional Council at last week's council meeting voted to become the sole shareholder of a not-for-profit company to safeguard the running of the MVHR.

They will oversee the allocation of $2million, promised to the MVHR by the state government, to upgrade the line to make it safe.

In Cr Dyne's first presentation to members, he said they were still unsure if $2million would be enough to get steam operations back up and running.

Along with the track upgrade, money will need to be spent on refurbishing the steam engine.

Cr Dyne said the amount needed to get the line operational was still unclear and wouldn't be known until tenders to upgrade the track, which are about to be released, returned with costings.

"The money won't go very far, only Amamoor at this stage" Cr Dyne said.

"I' m not saying it won't go to Imbil but it will be quite a way down the track."

Cr Dyne said once the tenders returned they would be able to assess how much money would be left over to put towards fixing the engine.

MVHR president Tony Hallam said the amount of money needed to fix the steam engine was unknown.

He said he was hoping to get some firm figures on the costs in the near future.

Cr Dyne said the organisation may have to look at leasing an engine to start up rail services back to the Valley.

If all goes to plan, the tourists could be riding the Rattler to Amamoor by October.

But Cr Dyne stressed there was a fair bit of work to do and many hurdles to overcome.

"The Railway Safety mob aren't going to give us the nod unless everything is 100% tickety boo," he said.

Gympie Times

Topics:  mary valley rattler

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