Valley Rattler volunteers to stick together through hiatus

"HOMELESS" Valley Rattler volunteers hope to stick together, fundraise and prevail as a group of like-minded enthusiasts while the Rattler has its hiatus and the State Government decides its fate.

The Railway Rattler Company and Gympie Regional Council shut the Old Gympie Station workshops down this week to save the expenses they say were mounting up from the Rattler volunteers' ongoing work. The closure is also aimed at forcing a decision from the new State Government on whether or not it will honour the $2.6 million promised by the previous government to get the Rattler back on track.

Rattler stalwart Ken Coulter says he will meanwhile move full steam ahead with his plans to form the Valley Rattler Volunteer Association to represent volunteers who work on the Rattler.

The group will "be involved with every aspect of the railway from workshops to track work to training crews to onboard staff to office staff and all other assistance needed in operating the railway such as fundraising through to marketing and accounts".

Mr Coulter is also determined to salvage the knowledge, skills and wisdom of the older train enthusiasts who volunteer their time with the operation by setting up a training program through the Federal Government.

"Membership is open to anyone, however there may be restrictions necessary when working in certain areas of the railway operation where safety and other issues apply," Mr Coulter said.

"Lower age limits will apply but those who are under age can be accompanied by an adult at all times they are volunteering at the railway.

"Training will be a major part of the association.

"The aim will be to ensure that the many skills that exist within the Valley Rattle volunteers can be passed on to a younger generation.

"Training will also be given to assist new members who have not worked on the railway previously and all members will have to attend 'rail safety' courses."

Volunteers wanting to work in an area involving the public will also need a Blue Card, which can be obtained via the Association, Mr Coulter said.

Inquiries can contact Mr Coulter on 0417 769 993 or via email at suntan001@msn.com.

Gympie Times


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