Proud Mary official opening with Jimmy Budgen (left), Councillor Bob Fredman (middle) and Mayor Glen Hartwig (right). Picture: Jimmy Budgen
Proud Mary official opening with Jimmy Budgen (left), Councillor Bob Fredman (middle) and Mayor Glen Hartwig (right). Picture: Jimmy Budgen

Train officially welcomed with a champagne bottle smash

The official welcome of Proud Mary at its new home in Imbil Rail Park was an exciting event for volunteers and locals who gathered on Saturday afternoon.

Project Manager and head volunteer Jimmy Budgen broke a bottle of champagne with Councillor Bob Fredman and Mayor Glen Hartwig to commemorate the train’s arrival.

“The feeling was of euphoria, it really lifted the town atmosphere,” Mr Budgen said.

After nine months of hard work, Mr Budgen said seeing parents bring their children to look at and touch the old icon was “heartwarming”.

“The Imbil Rail Park will add to the town centre public space for people to enjoy,” he said.

“It’s intended to have Imbil’s history of the steam era documented for prosperity … it certainly adds to the towns identity.”

CHAMPAGNE SMASH: Project Manager Jimmy Budgen, Councillor Bob Fredman and Mayor Glen Hartwig at the official opening on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Jimmy Budgen
CHAMPAGNE SMASH: Project Manager Jimmy Budgen, Councillor Bob Fredman and Mayor Glen Hartwig at the official opening on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Jimmy Budgen

When Mr Budgen was asked to project manage the preservation and relocation of Proud Mary, he agreed as he has a “soft spot” for the old engineering of the past.

“Proud Mary is now at her final resting place at the Imbil Rail Park … she is a C17 class locomotive,” he said.

Mr Budgen thanked John Baillie and his crew for the “massive task” of preserving the train collectively over 150 hours.

“And the generous cash donations from GoFundMe to help make this project come to reality,” he said.

He also thanked Kelly Green Cranes for the 50 tonne lift, Trevor at Sunshine Coast Blasting and Painting and many other businesses that helped along the way.

“It has been a pleasure to coordinate this project over the past nine months.” Mr Budgen said.

Proud Mary is now available for viewing in Imbil’s Rail Park, where visitors can get up close and personal with a historic steam train and explore the town.

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