11,000 work hours later, Rattler hits major milestone
THE fires of the Mary Valley Rattler's return have been stoked this week with the train's new boiler being fired up for the first time.
While some assembly is still required on the heritage locomotive, CPM Engineering lit the boiler in an important step towards putting the train back on its new tracks.
WATCH: Rattler hits major milestone
CPM owner Jason McPherson said more than 11,000 work hours had gone into the train's restoration so far.
"It's been an amazing process," Mr McPherson said.
"The transformation when you start with something that's warped, distorted and rusted... to take it to something that's going to be around is great."
Mr McPherson praised Gympie Regional Council for its "insight... in keeping the job local".
Doing so had allowed CPM to put on apprentices and acquire professional skills which would allow the company to work on national rail projects in the future, he said.
It made the project not only important in a heritage sense but also to the region's business future, with interest already being garnered from other heritage groups in bringing their projects to the Gympie business.
"The knowledge gained from this will be used as a drawcard to gain long-term employment in Gympie."
There was a personal link between Mr McPherson and the train as well, which used to pass right by his front gate.
He said it was such a frequent visitor his children had taken to claiming it as their own.
"I'm extremely excited to see it back on track," Mr McPherson said.
Credit was also given to rail expert John Flynn, who Mr McPherson said provided invaluable guidance and experience as they tackled the heritage restoration project.