The Mary Valley Rattler cuts a fine figure.
The Mary Valley Rattler cuts a fine figure. CONTRIBUTED

BREAKING: Rattler cost blows out again by millions

THE Mary Valley Rattler's return is now expected to cost $17.5 million, with another $2.35 million blowout hitting the controversial heritage project today.

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While Gympie Regional Council voted to increase the budget at their meeting, with some other items still to be considered which could add further costs as part of the 2018-19 budget.

In addition, the council also increased the loan for the Rattler Rail Company by $600,000, making it a total loan of up to $1.1 million.

They were originally loaned $500,000 in December.

Mayor Mick Curran said he is upset with how the project has unfolded, and The Gympie Times will be providing further comment from Cr Curran soon.

The increase was accepted today by a vote of six to two, with Crs Glen Hartwig and Hilary Smerdon as the only dissenters.

New work found to be needed includes

The additional works and required budget increase includes:

* An additional 1450 sleepers above the 17,822 required;

* The reinstatement of the tamping of the track (tamping was removed from the project plan and budget at the December 2017 ordinary council meeting);

* Minor variations including additional bridge inspections for certification, extra works at station road rail bridge and restoration of Amamoor turntable

* Building works including accessibility work for platform, additional car parking and landscaping, security system and roof work

* Refurbishment of locomotive 967 to an enhanced level

* Crescent Road Rail Bridge structural capacity

A council spokeswoman said that while there is "no doubt the project will benefit the community for many years to come... council is disappointed and frustrated at the ongoing increased costs and delayed launch".

"Although Council acknowledges major projects, especially restorative projects such as the Rattler Railway, can see some areas of unforseen challenges that may require further funding or delays, council did not want or expect to see the degree of increased budget or delays for the delivery of the project."

There is still no confirmed start date for the project, but the council hopes to have the Rattler running by mid-June (subject to weather).

Once this work is complete, certification and training will follow.

Council is continuing with a detailed legal review of the original specification prepared for it for the restoration of the track and bridges following previous serious concerns raised regarding its adequacy.

Gympie Times

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