REVEALED: Return of the Rattler, what was known and when
INFORMATION was obtained through sources and Right to Information. Gympie Regional Council did not object to the state releasing any information.
January - Rail regulator notes report that minimum 8000 sleepers need replacing, plus 4000 more per year for two years.
June 29 - Rattler derails while hauling coal.
August 10 - Rattler returns to track.
October 2 - Rattler derails again.
November 5 - Rattler Suspended: Rattler suspended indefinitely by safety regulator, notes track needs major upgrade.
March - Cost to return put at $7.15m over five years: GHD (independent consultant) report to recommission Rattler puts price to go back to Imbil at $7.15m over five years; "physical examination by walking length of railway from Gympie to Imbil"; 1-in-3 sleeper replacement suggested (20,500 out of 62,000 [to Imbil]); "May be better" to use timber sleepers due to low upfront cost; obvious some vegetation not cleared in certain areas for some time; $2.4m to get running from Gympie to Imbil, $978,000 per year ongoing maintenance ($1.3m from Gympie to Amamoor).
February 19 - Council companies created: Mary Valley Rattler Holding Company and Rattler Railway Company created.
June 25 - Locomotive rebuild tentatively set at $600,000.
August 21 - State commits $2.6m: LNP's Jeff Seeney announces $2.6m funding; includes $600,000 Royalties for Regions funding for the Rattler, gets accused of pork barrelling by Labor Opposition; $2m for track repair.
January 31 - Labor wins Government at state election.
May - State Labor Government reconfirms $2.6m funding subject to "robust business case".
May 1 - Email from CEO Bernard Smith to MP Tony Perrett, Mayor Mick Curran about holding companies: "council's commitment to the Rattler has been unwavering" with $200,000 in funding to "ensure appropriate operations continue whilst awaiting a government decision"; "Since Christmas council has expended considerable funds on weed control as well as pest/termite control on bridge structures".
September - GHD says tracks, bridges cost $7.89m: GHD engineering says return to Amamoor will cost $7.89m for tracks, bridges: does "walking visual inspection" - reported track repair Gympie to Amamoor was $7m, $897,000 for bridge repair; "Overall, the bridges appear to be in good condition and several are maintained by Gympie Regional Council" (unknown when report issued, but formed basis of business case).
November 18 - QR puts cost of tracks, bridges at $9.6m Queensland Rail report puts track, bridges cost at $9.6m; "inspection of all timber, steel and concrete bridges" carried out Oct 26-29; says vegetation control needed to improve access to bridges; notes stage examination needs to be done on 15 bridges; underwater examination needed for two; "All structures inspected will require major maintenance before any rail traffic can resume"; inspections "preliminary only, more comprehensive inspections would be required before re-opening the line"; girder on John St needs "urgent action", is safety risk to public; flood debris on Mary River bridge needs to be removed; bridges to cost $1.3m, track $8.38m - $6.13m for sleepers (at $400 each) installed in 1-in-2 replacement pattern (15,328 in total).
February 16 - TOD consulting report notes "preliminary issue (Deep Creek bridge) for discussion".
March 9 - Mayor promises "Rattler will run": Mayor Mick Curran promises Rattler "will run", says will cost about $10m to get to Amamoor.
March 19 - Council elections: Elections held, six of nine seats have new faces.
March 23 - Mayor Curran reaffirms Rattler commitment.
March 24 - Business case unveiled, trip will be to Amamoor: Business case completed and published; trip from Gympie to Amamoor costed at $10.6m, can be reduced to $7.25m with timber sleepers; locomotive "best refurbished by QR at cost of $785,000", but will not be complete until early 2018; this option "requires" steel sleepers to reduce cost; can be reduced with timber sleepers but ongoing maintenance costs "too great a risk"; "The business case creates a cash-positive operating model where the base infrastructure has the lowest ongoing maintenance (i.e. steel sleepers)"; business case developed in close consultation with MVRHC, RRC, GRC, supported by advice from GHD, DTMR, QR and DSD.
April 29 - Application for $5m Building our Regions funding lodged by council; Total cost now set at $10.8m; "this proposal utilises concrete or steel sleepers which significantly reduces the ongoing maintenance costs associated with timber sleepers"; would have $3.2m contribution from council.
May 4 - Councillors endorse BoR expression of interest for application; State Government rules Rattler is ineligible for BoR due to $600,000 previously granted from a conflicting funding source.
May 5-6 - Council writes to State proposing change to application, removing conflicting $600,000 and increasing council contribution from $3.2m to $3.8m.
May (date unknown) - TOD gives council a report on Deep Creek bridge. Specific contents unknown.
June 6 - State assessor rules application ineligible.
June 16 - Economic Development "Rattler" Levy brought in: Council adopts $65 Economic Development Levy for Rattler in budget, a total $3.8m contribution for Rattler and $250,000 in start-up costs.
July 20 - Rattler pitch for funds fails: State informs council Rattler application is unsuccessful.
January 19 - State Government's Works for Queensland (W4Q) program announced, councils to apply by February 10, 2017 for what they want to spend money on.
January 23 - Council CEO writes to State (Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning), says total spend would be about $10.5m; Business case attached; council negotiating to obtain tenure of sites from QR.
February - Deep Creek Bridge bill put at $855,000 minimum: TOD Consulting engaged by GRC for report into Deep Creek bridge (inspections dated 8 and 17 Feb): total delivery costs range from $855,000 (recommended) to $9.9m (new bridge).
February 9 - State tells council it will be able to release remaining funding from $2.6m (including $600,000 R4R) on confirmation of W4Q funds.
February 18 - CEO says Rattler "close to operational now": Council CEO Bernard Smith writes to State, advising Rattler "close to operational now"; boiler in "better condition than thought"; "extensive investigations undertaken regarding tracks and bridges"; "correct view of DSD" that steel sleepers "need to be used" to "significantly reduce future maintenance costs"; says Aurizon keen for work to happen (noting procurement practices need to be followed) and can be done in 84 calendar days.
February 20 - Rattler gets money, deadline: Preliminary approval of $4.7m W4Q funding to bring train back contingent on rail corridor lease; November 30, 2017 deadline named for projects.
March 14 - Sublease over rail corridor completed between GRC and QR.
March 21 - Final approval of $4.7m W4Q funding given.
March 29 - Rolling stock contract given to RRC: $1.42m rolling stock (locomotive and carriages) restoration contract awarded to RRC; includes costs for a new boiler; Ian McNicol and Garry Davison re-appointed to RRC board.
March 31 - Rail Futures given contract to conduct detailed inspections of track and structures.
April 6 - Pre-start meeting held - Rail Futures advised works to be completed by May 5.
April 10 - Rail Futures begins detailed track, bridge inspections: RF begins detailed track and bridge inspection; council tells State "detailed designs to commence in Apr 2017"; vegetation and clearing operations commence.
Apr 11 - Council requests variations to scope of Deep Creek Bridge (underground and underwater, review of 2017 TOD Consulting report); plus road over rail bridges.
Early May - Track and bridge inspections complete.
May 5 - Rattler gets return date of December 2: Rattler chief Peter Blashki says train will return on December 2.
May 10 - $455,000 specifications, contracts and management tender awarded to Rail Futures; draft RF report tabled for GRC review.
May 12 - Rail Futures delivers report on tracks: Rail Futures report on track conditions: notes "inspections of track and structures was not a detailed inspection due to limited time frames and, in some cases, blocked access or dense vegetation outgrowth"; "inspections have revealed that structures throughout the corridor are in very poor condition", 198 timber components condemned; notes significant deterioration since previous examinations (notes October 2015 QR report); possible replacement of John St, Crescent Rd rail bridges identified; "With respect to the TOD Consulting report delivered to council in May 2016, the condition of the (Deep Creek) bridge, the report's findings and its summary recommendations are supported"; says previous reports "based mainly on visual assessment"; says limited availability of qualified contractors available for the structures in limited time frame is "high risk - with associated high costs"
June (about) 15 - Some job seekers accepted for training for coming Rattler project with Accel (part of Rail Futures).
June 28 - Councillors commit to $2.3m agreement with State, $10.8m total project cost: Councillors endorse Rattler Project State Funding agreement for "total project cost $10.8m", CEO authorised to enter funding agreement with State; MVHRC wound up and assets transferred to RRC.
July 1 - CR Rail (who will later be awarded Rattler tracks and structures contract) advertises in Gympie Times for "various positions for short-term contract starting possibly July. Rail labourers, loader and excavator operators".
July 4 - Track and bridges tender closes.
July 5 - Council tells State tracks and bridges to be voted on at next meeting (July 19); state internal discussion says tenders will total $7m; State says minister's office "keeping an eye on it"; notes meeting with GRC in early June "determined to have first train running December 2 with a few practice runs under their belt beforehand".
July 19 - Rattler structures on agenda, unable to be held due to technical issues with the system and documents.
July 28 - Rattler's first blowout, now $12.5m: Special meeting held, budget blows out by $1.69m: $9m tender (w/GST) awarded to CR Rail in alliance with Aurizon to repair tracks and bridges ($8.6m for track and bridges, $437k for tamping - packing ballast around sleepers and aligning them to improve durability); accepted tender includes alternative 1-in-3 timber sleeper replacement plan to reduce cost.
August 29 - CR Rail confirmed to have started work on sleepers "in workshop and yards"; CR Rail work plan puts completion at mid-November.
September 20 - Six members appointed to RRC board.
September 20-21 - Complaint lodged with State over track tenders: State receives complaint about council allowing Rail Futures to tender for work given they were awarded the tender contracts and specifications work in May; State questions council over its compliance with procurement process, council says the decision did comply.
October 25 - Rattler gets delayed: Councillors informed of delays at workshop; Council tells public Rattler has been delayed as more work needed, opening delayed until "early March 2018".
October 26 - Council has detailed conversation over delays with State; says the extra work identified "in the last couple of weeks"; completion expected February 28, 2018.
November 7 - State told March 28, 2018 now completion date.
November 9 - 20 more girders need replacing on Deep Creek bridge, expect completion of bridge and tracks by Feb 28, 2018; tenders for two steel bridges and footbridges received, but "unfavourable" so re-tendered, due to close next week $5.05m spent to date.
December 13 - Blow out number 2, now $14.5m: Budget blows out to $14.5m, up a further $2m; tamping of track removed; $500,000 loan to RRC due to delayed start-up; "sole invitation" contract to RoadTek South of $300,000 to provide labour and equipment to complete Dagun Rail Bridge, scope of CR Rail contract reduced.
January 18 - Locomotive still under construction, boiler to be complete by end of February, due to be delivered in May 2018; seeking advice on ballast and tamping to ensure certification; full bridge inspection on all bridges now complete and "significant number of defective components identified"; 10 bridges still under repair or yet to start; track expected to be open to Monkland by Apr 1 for driver training, limited service; completion of track now May 15, 2018, but another 20 days could be added to that (so really June 8-9, 2018); $10.1m spent to date; works as originally funded "nearing completion".
February 15 - Train on track for April delivery Project on schedule for April delivery (weather excepted); locomotive expected to be complete and in service in June 2018; limited service run to Monkland anticipated; sleeper replacement works complete (17,902 sleepers received on site); another 1500 sleepers need to be replaced in first year; 590m of track found defective and needs replacement; sustainable sleeper options being investigated to be "readily incorporated into the predominately timber track"
March 14 - Bridge works delayed by rain, still expected for late-April/mid-May completion; locomotive still expected to be finished in May.
March 29 - Council misses deadline State discovers Rattler W4Q extension only approved to Feb 28, 2018, new completion extension needed with June 30 date; 85 per cent of project completed; council "confident" all works complete by June 30.
April 26 - Third blow out brings Rattler to $17.5m Another blow out brings project to expected $17.5m cost; tamping reinstated; council to review project, report to be given to council in July; loan to RRC increased to $1.1m; contract for Crescent Rd rail bridge replacement awarded to VEC Civil engineering; rolling stock restoration budget increased $328,000.
June 15 - Delayed again, no return date set Start date delayed again as more sleepers need to be replaced; no increased cost as already included in 2018-19 budget; no start date for train given.