IS THIS THE END? The Valley Rattler’s future is more uncertain than ever following the State Government’s snub in yesterday’s budget.
IS THIS THE END? The Valley Rattler’s future is more uncertain than ever following the State Government’s snub in yesterday’s budget. Contributed

Is this the end for our rattling friend?

ONCE the Gympie region's most recognisable symbol, the Valley Rattler steam train yesterday reached the end of the line - at least for now.

The State Budget, announced in Parliament yesterday by Treasurer Curtis Pitt, does not mention $2 million promised - but never delivered - by the previous LNP government.

That was the lifeline commitment to get the Rattler running again; at least part of the way to Imbil.

"Why didn't they just hand over the money?" Valley representative and Gympie council tourism Cr Julie Walker asked yesterday.

The budget also left out funding for a Gympie Hospital Master Plan, raising of Coondoo Bridge, a school crossing at Glastonbury Rd and Tin Can Bay foreshore stabilisation and expansion of the university campus.

"I had my highlighter pen ready to identify local projects," Gympie MP Tony Perrett said yesterday, as he sifted through the 2015 state budget looking for good news.

"Unfortunately, the cap is still on the pen," he said.

No money for the Rattler means the trains and carriages will sit in their increasingly disused workshop sheds, equipment will deteriorate and volunteers will disappear - except for stubborn dedication of those volunteers.

"No way is this the end," Valley Rattler Volunteer Association chairman Ken Coulter said yesterday.

"With the support of the people of Gympie and the Mary Valley we can start immediately on a new beginning."

But he said this would require a change of attitude from Gympie Regional Council, which he claimed had shunned the expertise of volunteers and put too much faith in a corporate structure which was in danger of collapse.

"We will go back to basics and start again from the ground up.

"We have asked the council's Trust Company to form a new board of directors for the Rattler Railway Company Ltd, also to re-open the workshops and we, the volunteers will get everything operational again," he said.

Mayor Mick Curran shared Mr Coulter's optimism, but refused to abandon the structures set up to run the Rattler under the pre-election council-state government arrangements.

He agreed the state budget appeared to have "no allocation for the Ratter," but said this was not the end of the world.

"The relevant state department is continuing to work with the (Rattler Railway Company) to formulate a revised business plan and relevant costings.

"The most important factor in this project is to satisfy the state government that future funding will achieve the long term sustainability of the rattler.

"If this can be done, it will be a great win for the community," the Mayor said yesterday.

Gympie Times


$3m CBD project could get canned

premium_icon $3m CBD project could get canned

Councillor calls for other options to be put on table.

Watch out Gympie, venomous snakes are now on the move

premium_icon Watch out Gympie, venomous snakes are now on the move

An expert says she's seen more venomous snakes than ever this year.

5 things Gympie council will discuss today

premium_icon 5 things Gympie council will discuss today

Goomeri's facilities and council cash reserves also on the list.

Local Partners