OPEN: CPM Engineering's Jack Martin works on the Rattler, which is the subject of a online post by owner Jason McPherson to give ratepayers transparency on the project.
OPEN: CPM Engineering's Jack Martin works on the Rattler, which is the subject of a online post by owner Jason McPherson to give ratepayers transparency on the project. Renee Albrecht

CPM backs ratepayer transparency on Rattler project

CPM Engineering owner Jason McPherson has stood by his promise of ratepayer transparency on the Rattler Locomotive in a detailed online post about the project.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Mr McPherson has laid bare the timeline of his company's work on the train since 2016.

Mr McPherson said he wanted to clear it up after receiving numerous questions over a previous Gympie Times article about the tender.

Jason McPherson.
Jason McPherson. Renee Albrecht

"The council and the community as ratepayers deserve to know the truth with facts that will support,” he said.

This included work on providing detailed inspection to develop a scope for the restoration and "step by step” testing the of the boiler to ensure no additional costs were incurred.


In March 2017, he said they were "requested to offer a schedule of rates for the repairs to be undertaken”.

This included a their offer of reduced rate of 12 per cent, and an to supply all parts and components. He said this amount is significantly less than the entire restoration budget.

When CPM was accepted, he said he was able to view the original Mary Valley Rattler and Queensland Rail compiled estimate budget of $1.2million, plus a 25-per cent contingency (less GST) on top.

Crescent Rd rail bridge.
Crescent Rd rail bridge. Tom Daunt

After Councillor Glen Hartwig began asking questions publicly, he offered Cr Hartwig full transparency on the work.

He was now concerned a witch-hunt had evolved over the project, and called for people to focus on the positives that the Rattler will bring.

Cr Hartwig said his concerns were not about CPM Engineering itself.

"The work done by CPM on the loco rebuild is of a very high standard,” he said.

He also praised Mr McPherson's commitment to transparency. "Every minute of every hour can be justified by CPM. It's a shame it does not appear to be same for the council.”

Jason McPherson's full statement from Facebook (shared with his permission)

Sometimes a little information can be too much or not enough.

Recently CPM Engineering was mentioned in the Gympie Times over contracts with the Gympie Regional Council on the rebuild of the Loco project. The story claimed a lot of Non-factual information. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The original article was based on information provided by Gympie Regional Council in response to several questions asked about the contract and tender process.) The story also mentioned some serious questions about integrity and management matters of how the tender was awarded in the first place. The story also stated values that CPM was engaged to undertake that were un factual, misleading and possibly damaging to reputation as a business operator that offer's a high level of service.

I contacted the Gympie times and they printed a small section stating my disappointment in the councilors.

Even this did not state what I was stating regards to the disappointment.

I have since contacted the Gympie times to give a full layout of facts that if asked to stand in the court of law have documents to the highest level that would support not only CPM but also the MVR and GRC for how they have run the Loco and Tender carriage rebuild to a high level.

Dallas Golding.
Dallas Golding. Renee Albrecht

Since the story in The Gympie Times I have several Phone calls, text messages, Face book messages and face to face questions raised along with people opinions of what they thought the story told them.

I have with confidence been able to answer honestly to every person with information that has documents to support. Over the weekend someone whom I respect in the local community told me her opinion of the story. She said it looked like that as only one contractor could do the job, that it looked like CPM had pushed the cost up. I really appreciated to hear this as it gave me clarity in what I first read, even though others took other opinions from the story. I explained in detail the actual engagement of CPM on the project to which I know she excepted as truthful.

In my response the Gympie times printed said I was disappointed in the Councilors, I want to clear this up along with the how, when, why's of the engagement CPM Has with the MVR, The Council and the Community as rate payers deserve to Know the truth with facts that will support.

Enough is Enough, I offered transparency to The MVR to whom we won the contract with in the tender process. So (everybody) has the facts and not be misled with false or short of information stories.

. In late 2016 CPM was offered to tender the supply and install of safety stairs along with a individual list of safety items required to make the facility a safe work premises/business. This work was offered to several other Gympie companies that offered same or similar services in the local area. 

. January 15, 2017 CPM offered a set of drawings as detail to show clarity and direct scope for the individual line items and separate quoted values for what was offered.

CPM were successful for some items on the list (not all) of the tender and a PO was received for the individual components I know for a fact that tenders for this were requested by at least one other local company, as I seen them on site doing the site inspection on offer from the MVR.

. Jan 25, 2017 CPM was offered to inspect the Steam vessel to quote for pressure test, abrasive blast, and paint. We advised MVR that a quotation would be offered as a step by step process so that in the event the vessel failed each test that no additional cost would be attracted that did not require spending. We were successful in this offer and a pressure test was carried out on site at MVR station, so no freight and crane cost were attracted, the vessel passed its first test and held pressure to the Q Rail specification. It was then that crane and trucks were arranged, and the vessel was transported to be abrasive blasted for the next test of thickness test after blasting was agreed. After blasting and thickness test was carried out by a Nata approved 3rd party and report was tabled that the vessel was deemed failed and a replacement of steam vessel was discussed. CPM were offered to build a vessel to which we were unsuccessful with the tender process and the vessel was purchased by a company in Brisbane. 

. Feb 1,2017, CPM was invited to offer quotation on the removal, dismantle and inspection of 10 components attached to the Loco. This stage one of the projects was to give a valuation comparison between suppliers to undertake the task in the scope. At this stage the Loco and tender was still on track at MVR station workshop.

22/02/17 A detailed quotation was offered that had step by step detail in what was on offer with complete transparency on hours estimated in each line item that require a inspection before a scope could be detailed on level of repair.

. March 2017, we met with MVR and was requested to offer a schedule of rates for the repairs to be undertaken. CPM submit a reduced rate of 12% in good faith knowing the time required could not be accurately priced with a unknown scope being available. To reduce cost to MVR we offered that all parts and components be supplied to CPM from MVR for install so no extra cost to MVR were added as an additional cost of for handling the parts purchasing. 

Restored Rattler carriages.
Restored Rattler carriages. Rattler Railway Company

. After rate was accepted we then where privileged to see the original estimation compiled by MVR that showed a fair valuation for what we seen at that stage for estimated cost. This cost shown had a 25% contingency on top of the estimate 1.2 million less gst that's been spoken about recently. Remembering that these estimations were for repair of most components not replacement like we have been advised to do as reports on actual condition have been notified for direction.

. Loco and Tender moved to CPM for strip out of each component and decisions made on each item weekly as more parts were stripped, cleaned and measured to see if they met specification. First big-ticket item not in original estimation was the Chassis after full inspection ONCE Stripped down so appropriate test and measurements could be carried out by Queensland Rail.

. The direction on repairs were based on long term reliability and ability to service without long down times for loco from service and Qrail specifications for transporting people.

In this time we have seen negatives reported around the management of the project, I can only comment on the high level of management from the technical consultant that has been the reasoning behind the project being so close to the original estimated value, even with so many new parts being replaced that you don't find on a shelf at Bunnings, or anywhere word wide. These parts needed to be reproduced to a level that suited the Qrail specification.

. On a visit from Councilor Hartwig to whom I admire for asking the questions, I had offered to be answered in the transparency, I got the chance to satisfy every question he had regarding how we won the job, how was it managed, who's in control, and are we over budget. His questioned were satisfied with data to support. Glen was very surprised and offered praise of how detailed the reports of finance and cost has been managed by CPM Engineering to keep the project on line. In several conversations with Glen over the coming days seen myself and others in my company lose faith in why he asked the questions. 

. Originally, I believed it was to support some questions from Rate payers who had raised some questions to which I is why offered time to him to chat. Events of coming days and comments from Mr Hartwig to myself. Changed my view of his reasoning for the questions that were asked. When people start talking about people losing their jobs I get concerned and details need to be clear. I will not be part of any witch hunt. In this project CPM has offered for Mr Hartwig's company to assist at times as our workloads at CPM Ramped up to support our other clients, He declined to offer service. The engagement for CPM in the project was clearly explained to Mr Hartwig along with a true layout of cost that I had offered to him with transparency before his visit. Glen had the information that was in the Gympie times around the CPM engagement and its disappointed me he didn't clear this up and tell the good story that I showed him with clarity at least 6 weeks prior to the story in the Gympie times. But no negative stories being told

After seeing details of Numbers quoted from start to finish I can only say why I'm seeing discrepancy in figures been quoted along with concern for what has been reported. What I know. Budget for Loco and Tender carriage only to rebuild with original components being (refurbished/ restored to working order based on condition being fair on internal components. $1.2 million less GST. There was then also as expected in any project budget a Contingency of 25% on top plus gst. This was a budget from QR and MVR.( this contingency was not mentioned in the Gympie Times report [EDITOR'S NOTE: The Gympie Times was unaware of this original budget and contingency until Mr McPherson brought it to our attention.])

So when I see the GT show value of a contract to CPM Engineering that showed full rebuild cost values GST free with a value that is not honest information that was available to the a Councilor not what we were offering as labor content only which is less than 50% of the values published to date. So, seeing the words blow out used is not true or correct on this project, there was a contingency put in place originally. Like any project that has so many components of unknown condition until inspection.

The Amamoor turntable.
The Amamoor turntable. Tom Daunt

The values quoted in GT are GST free. Which is correct information if the GRC was asked the question of what it is costing rate payers. The value of the extra cost I believe is also less gst.

Since the GT story I have many questions from many people some calling councilors liars and some questioning the story and my thoughts.

So here are my thoughts. When I see in writing from a person with influence in the community

saying Quote (we want staff sackings). This raises alarm bells in many areas.

Maybe they should concentrate on their own business that they are judged on not others.

So here is my thoughts, for those of you who know me or have done business with me will already know how I roll.

Any person using energy to find a way to get a person's lively hood takin away for any reason is not someone I will have my name associated with. Positive people who offer energy to create work opportunities and use their time for the good of others as volunteers to help anyone will gain my support in many ways. 

The project in mention if run again would have many improvements form what's been Learned, a review of the project will find many people have made decisions that have impacts that in many eyes can be seen as positive and some as negative. If the people seeing negatives put as much energy into a project with positivity they could run the world. And if people who only see positives had no negative people checking and pulling them down it would still not be the perfect world. People who gain jobs from being voted in have a responsibility to do what they see best with what information has been communicated. If you turn up half way through a project and be expected to pick up the pieces makes it even harder especially if you're at the top of the management

Gilldora underpass.
Gilldora underpass. Tom Daunt

Some questioned asked to me recently

. Would I run the job Different if did again?

Yes, as anyone in project management would 2nd time round. You review and improve

. Has the GRC and MVR been in control of this part of the Project?

Yes, to the cent on this section of the project, MVR Technical and MVR finance controls with the transparency offered has been quality. Our dealing with GRC has also been positive

The Valley Rattler Steam Train.
The Valley Rattler Steam Train. Eric Taylor

. What has the project meant to CPM Engineering?

Jobs, jobs and possibly even more with interest from other stakeholders off the back of the exposure.

. Do you have any concerns?

Yes, witch hunts for people's jobs is not what is required, if someone has made a judgement mistake based on information provided is hard admit but should be done right or wrong and learn from it. If people are being dishonest for own benefit they should not be there.

The next election may or may not see change, what needs to happen is all voted in members need to be judged on what good they have done whilst in not just the negatives being reported. When I see people from various industries put their hands up to run for council trying to do the best in their rate payers to make a difference being thrown under the Bus, or train in this case, I have concerns.

Jason McPherson.

Local business owner


Rate payer



Supporter of all good that happens in our town.

Gympie Times

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