Rail guards Collin Waters and Tim Knowles with fellow MVHR volunteers prepare the track for sleeper replacement.
Rail guards Collin Waters and Tim Knowles with fellow MVHR volunteers prepare the track for sleeper replacement. Tanya Easterby

Railway repair on track

THE Mary Valley Heritage Railway is steadily getting back on track, one sleeper at a time.

The plan is to spend money fixing 1.5km of track north of the old historic railway station to run regular novelty rides as funding is sought to upgrade the Mary Valley line.

MVHR president Tony Hallam said a gang of eight volunteers prepared 60 sleepers for removal at the weekend.

He estimated about 120 sleepers would need to be replaced and another two to three working bees would just about do it.

"I just want to thank the volunteer track gang for giving their time to MVHR and putting in a massive effort," he said, adding that anyone with a bit of time on their hands who was willing to put in some hard work was invited to contact the Rattler office.

The next volunteer track gang will go back out on February 23.

The track gang was led by volunteering MVHR manager Jim Walker and Rattler driver Peter Alder.

The two men are keen to see the Rattler running as soon as possible so that locals and visitors can enjoy the historic experience for which it was fast becoming famous before a derailment late last year suspended operations.

"What we are doing is upgrading between the northern end of the platform to the bridge at Stewart Tce," Mr Hallam said.

"Once that is completed, we will begin limited operations towards the north while we apply for grants and source the funding to head south."

As the former paid operations manager, Mr Walker is supervising the work with Mr Alder.

This work is regularly inspected by ex-Queensland Rail officials.

Work starts with the removal of old fasteners and old sleepers, then the track is jacked up while a trench is dug.

A new sleeper is inserted and packed in while the gauging is carried out to make sure the rails are the correct distance apart.

Once the sleeper is properly positioned, spiking fastens the rail to the sleepers and that section is complete.

MVHR will be doing track work every second weekend from February 23 and the gang would be "really happy" for people to come along and help out.

Phone 5482 7208 to offer assistance.

Gympie Times


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