One giant step for Rattler
IT MAY have been the shortest train trip in Australia but it was an important step in the resurrection of the Mary Valley Rattler.
Yesterday the Silver Bullet took the historic train organisation's first customers in over six months after a minor derailment at Dagun shut down operations due to track safety concerns.
About 60 members of the Ulysses Motorcycle Club, which is holding its national convention in Maryborough, journeyed south to Gympie for the train trip.
It was just 600m, up to the end of the Old Gympie Railway Station yards and back, but it gave the visitors a little taste of what the Mary Valley line had to offer.
Volunteer general manager Jim Walker said the train trip was supposed to take passengers further along the rail corridor toward Gympie North, but bridge works over the line on Stewart Tce stopped that from happening.
"It's just a small step but it's very positive," Mr Walker said.
"Getting the wheels turning is very important to us."
Driver Kevin Power said it was great to get behind the wheel of the train again.
"It's my first run since September," he said.
Mr Power was expecting to take more groups from the Ulysses convention on trips over the next two days.
He said the rail motor was used because the steam engine was undergoing major work on its boiler.
The Rattler is planning to start scheduled trips toward Gympie North once the bridge work had been completed and they were working hard to get back to the Valley.
Mr Walker said the group was hopeful funding applications submitted to upgrade the track would be successful and enable the historic railway to resume operations along the Mary Valley line.
Gympie residents have a chance to catch a quick trip on the Silver Bullet this Saturday night at the Twilight Markets. Mr Walker said the rail motor would be running from 6pm with rides costing just $2.