Dagun's sweat and tears means nothing in Rattler decision
Two letters to the editor about Dagun Station being stopped as a Rattler stop:
This letter is an abridged version of one provided to the Gympie Regional Council:
Community sweat and tears
I WISH to inform you about a potential problem occurring at Dagun.
From the first train the community at Dagun has supported the steam train and attempted to assist by adding to the tourist experience in many different ways.
All profits from the operations with the train at Dagun have gone to improving the station and facilities.
The Dagun Community Group has supported its own operations as a community centre by charges and fundraising not associated with the train.
At and around the station the Community Group has:
1. Cleaned out the goods shed, lined it , put in a ceiling and electricity and lights, fixed the platform in front of the goods shed, built stairs, installed a counter, fridge and bottle storage, installed shelves, installed cash register and EFTPOS, built an additional structure at the rear, installed two tasting areas with benches, installed signs, paved the outside area, and installed intruder lighting;
2. Built a shaded area to the south of the goods shed, developed and maintained a lawn area there, installed a buffer hedge with the road, constructed and installed a large sign on the property and put in a series of logs and two table/bench structures for patrons;
3. Renovated the ticket office, raised it to the level of the proposed platform, installed water tank and distribution system, set up museum structure in the ticket office and repaired the toilets adjacent;
4. Brought in the "Post Office" building and installed it at the right level for the proposed platform (with considerable help from private individuals), electricity connected through the complex, had the phone properly connected and paid for, had the water system through the complex connected to water from the mill and the tank and had the internal structure developed and the external post office boxes bought and installed so the building can act as a post office as well as a retail outlet;
5. Roofed the area between the post office and the ticket office, installed a barbecue, lights and cleaning facilities, installed a PA system for the station, installed four table/benches;
6. Built a large platform area for the train, put asphalt on the platform and associated areas connecting, put in benches on the platform, partly put asphalt on the "road" behind and drained the road area;
7. Installed toilets for train patrons and a processing plant, developed a ramp from the platform and developed and maintained associated gardens;
8. Developed a park with grassed areas, garden areas and storage on the block opposite, installed a system of solar panels, worked with the mill to define the roadway, cleaned out the major drain and installed a foot bridge;
9. Developed a park area to the east of the station with paths, trees planted, signage, a historic crane and a sun maze for children;
10. We have also assisted the operations of the train in flagging the crossing at Dagun and at Gildora, providing free refreshments to train crew, assisting and operating fire fighting services and vegetation clearance and maintaining the track.
At Dagun we are very proud of what we have achieved with no help, until recently, from the council and little from the railway organisation.
The local community has developed our community centre and we use it.
We regard it as ours.
There is a real problem that needs to be addressed as we are a small community.
The Rattler Railway Company wants to run six trains a week. We can not provide services to six trains a week as we don't have sufficient volunteers.
From the start of this new venture, we have said that.
Despite this the RRC has promised in its advertising to provide wine and cheese tasting for trains at Dagun.
We never agreed to this.
It's not like it used to be:
I AM horrified at what the Rattler Railway Company have done to the Dagun community and we must try and get the RRC board to see sense and change their minds.
In it's previous life, the Rattler used to spend time at Amamoor in the morning as the community there had a little cafe with sausage sizzle and a small market.
Then we would not stop at Dagun on the way back to Gympie.
In the afternoon we would do a quick turn around of the locomotive in Amamoor and then go back to Dagun for our stop for the wine and cheese tasting and the produce markets.
So why on earth can't this be the way again?
The old atmosphere we used to have at the Rattler is no longer there.
We were like a family and the station staff, on board staff and train crew all got on so well.
I am sure that is why the Rattler was such a success with the passengers for nearly two decades.
That staff and crew's enthusiasm was picked up by the passengers, but it doesn't happen any more.
However, right now we have to protect the huge investment the Dagun Community has made with the wonderful Dagun Station.
Ilkey, Sunshine Coast
(One of the original Rattler volunteers)