Is Amamoor getting a fair deal now the Rattler is back?
THE triumphant yet maligned return of the Mary Valley Rattler has been a unanimously welcome sight for the people of Amamoor, but the train's ability to benefit the town has come under question from local voices.
The short, 30-minute stopover at Amamoor Station before the route continues to Dagun twice every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday formed the major concern for Amamoor General Store and Post Office owner Mark Podberscek.
"We obviously welcome back the Rattler, it has been brilliant to see and we get a kick out of seeing it come through every time,” Mr Podberscek said.
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"In terms of our shop we're seeing a slight increase in people coming in and showing interest, but with the time the train is here it presents about a 10-minute window of trade.
"It's certainly a limiting factor in what we can do, it's just too short, if it was maximised people could sit down and have a meal and enjoy their time here. By the time people are getting off the train and going to the toilet it's almost time to get back on again.”
Mr Podberscek said further consultations with the community and local businesses would "make anything possible”.
"If we could get together and organise trips around Amamoor and the Valley or something like that it would be very positive for the area,” he said.
"Maybe if the train only came once in the day and stayed a bit longer. There are plenty of positives from the train being back, it's more a matter of people getting it together and organising what can be done.”
A lack of attractions to draw visitors to the town on a long-term basis was Amamoor Homestead owner Ken Groth's main concern.
"We don't have enough in Amamoor to convince people to stay, especially not when the train only stops for half an hour,” Mr Groth said.
"We need to have more appealing things to bring more visitors and make people want to spend time here.”
Amamoor Lodge owners Christine Buckley and Malcolm Oakley were optimistic about the indirect benefits of the train's return, and signalled the possibility of long-term benefits by "putting us on the map”.
"We haven't had much interest since it has come back but I don't think that should be expected,” Mr Oakley said.
"I think people being here and seeing the appeal of the town and remembering the name will make them want to come back.
"The Mary Valley has always been somewhat of a hidden gem. With the train back more and more people might start to realise where we are.”
Ms Buckley said the lodge "had received calls” from potential customers relating to the Rattler since its return.