Rattler here for long haul
THE new Mary Valley rattler organisation is here for a long time - and a good time.
Deputy chair Ian McNicol told The Gympie Times yesterday the new management entity - the Rattler Railway Company - is not just about getting the famous tourist steam train back on the rails.
"It's about keeping it there," Mr McNicol said at Old Gympie Railway Station yesterday.
He called in with fellow board members Tony Hallam, Garry Davison and secretary Gaylene Smith.
"It's a process of change because the council and the state government needed to put a new structure together to secure funding," he said.
"We've all been invited to join the board and we all have different business backgrounds.
"But we're mostly new to railway operations.
"It's been an interesting six or eight weeks we've been working together.
"What we're putting together is a strong plan to ensure that when the operation commences again, it will be a sustainable business.
"It's not just to get the Rattler up and running, but to keep it running," he said.
"This railway generates about $5.5 million a year in peripheral economic benefits.
"There is a big interest in train tourism, from both the international and the domestic market.
"We're not getting a big share of this though.
"We've got policies to get people here for the Rattler and that will be a big boost for Gympie Region and the whole Sunshine Coast-Gympie area.
"We've got to bring together the volunteers, the local businesses and the community in general.
"As people who have come into this role, the first thing we do is look at what tourist railways do in other countries. It's important to get the community and government support, as well as that of sponsors.
"Gympie Rattler chairman Paul Barnaby said the board had made considerable progress in planning."