Train tracks will cost
THE ambitious project to restore the track for the Mary Valley Heritage Railway is progressing, with the first step to establish a new community trust well under way.
Member for Gympie David Gibson said yesterday the new Community Trust would take on the strategic role of overseeing infrastructure and assets of the MVHR, administration and finances, while the MVHR itself would be responsible for providing a quality experience for tourists travelling on the Rattler.
It is believed a report into the condition of the Mary Valley railway infrastructure has highlighted that significant funding would be needed to re-establish operations all the way to Imbil.
"One of the first orders of business for the new trust will be to consider the report and receive a briefing from the department on the options available for the restoration of the track," Mr Gibson said.
"Whilst the $2 million State Government funding that was secured is significant, it is evident that difficult decisions will need to be made in the recommission of operations for the Rattler as the work required exceeds the available funds," he said.
"But the challenges we face today, though unquestionably difficult and very expensive, pale into insignificance compared to what our ancestors achieved over 100 years ago in building the Mary Valley branch line to Imbil with the then Gympie City Council shouldering one third of that original cost.
"The original Mary Valley branch line provided the catalyst for the economic development of the Mary Valley. It was estimated in the report that when it was in operation the Rattler brought $1.5million into the region annually.
"It is therefore important we get the maximum benefit from the $2 million available in funding and get her back operating in 2014.
"I want to thank all those people who rallied around and gave so much support to keep the Rattler going.
"We will need our local community support once again as some of the hardest work still lies ahead."