HISTORY REMADE: Mark Godden with the restored heritage Rattler locomotive engine which is almost ready to be put back on the tracks after more than two years of work.
HISTORY REMADE: Mark Godden with the restored heritage Rattler locomotive engine which is almost ready to be put back on the tracks after more than two years of work. Scott Kovacevic

The amazing $2m, 2y-year project ready to roll in Gympie

CPM Engineering's two-year-long dream of bringing a heritage Rattler engine back to life is about to become reality.

After more than $2 million investment, 26 months of work and now sporting wheels made in South Africa, the original C17 967 locomotive is only weeks away from getting back on the tracks.

Safety work and touch-ups still need to be done after it first hits the tracks, but CPM owner Jason McPherson said the journey's end was within sight on a job which was "like opening a tin of worms”.

He said finding pieces which needed to be replaced was only the start.

Dallas Golding works on the train at CPM Engineering.
Dallas Golding works on the train at CPM Engineering. Renee Albrecht

"You then had to unbolt 20-30 items to get access to that.”

Then, as those pieces had worn down over the years, those repairing them had made their own alterations.

"Nothing on it was standard,” Mr McPherson said.

"So many of the parts had to be individually made.”

The Rattler's restoration continues.
The Rattler's restoration continues. Renee Albrecht

Some of them were not even available in this country, like the wheels, which added to the magnitude of the job.

The end result is a train which is Gympie's heart but a global effort.

And Mr McPherson was excited about putting it back on the rails.

Jason McPherson surrounded by pieces of the Rattler loco.
Jason McPherson surrounded by pieces of the Rattler loco. Renee Albrecht

"It's like a father waiting on a newborn baby,” he said.

"(The engine) is a magnificent piece of machinery.

"When you see it with all the bling on it, it's infectious,” he said.

Engine trials are expected to start in the middle of the month.

Gympie Times


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