Station on right track
LONG-time Traveston residents have rallied together in defence of their small historic train station after a newspaper report suggested it was a waste of money.
The small community was backed by people who lived in the Mary Valley and members of a Brisbane-based organisation, Rail Back on Track (RBOT).
"It's nothing more than a beat-up," RBOT founder and spokesperson Rob Dowe told The Gympie Times.
Saturday's Courier Mail contained an article claiming the station cost $128,000 last year to maintain, when in fact this was a one-off cost to restore the heritage-listed structure.
Locals said this was the only time any significant work had been carried out on the station in decades - a decision celebrated last November in The Gympie Times (go to our website and search for Traveston Station).
It was no secret Traveston Station was the most under-utilised station in south-east Queensland's rail network.
It had been condemned by Queensland Rail, which planned to bulldoze the dilapidated shelter before RBOT and locals, backed by Member for Gympie David Gibson, had the decision reversed on historical and practical grounds. The station was also cited as crucial to the Mary Valley recovery plan.
"Traveston Station has long-term potential," Mr Dowe said. "As the Mary Valley community resettles, I think it will be better used.
"Passenger numbers may be small now but I think patronage will build from here."
Mr Dowe said the article misrepresented the actual cost of maintaining the station because it averaged the one-off sum of money over just one year.
Carlo Riva, a Traveston resident for 25 years, said it was the first time the station had received any major repairs.
"It gets used by more than four people," he said, rejecting the newspaper report, which used Translink records from a two-month period to justify its claims.
As the new midday service between Brisbane and Gympie (achieved by years of lobbying by Mr Gibson) stopped in Traveston yesterday, railway enthusiast Howard Jones disembarked for a brief stopover.
"I saw the article in the paper and thought I'd increase the number of trips to the Traveston Station from four to six," he joked.
"I'm meeting my brother - who lives in Gympie - for a picnic and then I'll head back to Beaudesert."
RBOT's Mr Dowe said he was pleased with the Transport Minister's decision to leave the station alone.
"Although he had a crack at the former government and costs...we congratulate Mr Emerson on stating that it will remain open."