Mary Valley Heritage Railway manager Jim Walker with police.
Mary Valley Heritage Railway manager Jim Walker with police. Craig Warhurst

Vandals bring Rattler to a stop

THE Mary Valley Rattler made an emergency stop for the track to be cleared of obstacles yesterday, just minutes after it left the station with 95 passengers on board.

Train driver John Ericksen was congratulated for bringing the heavy steam engine to a halt before it collided with steel, rocks and besser blocks spread out across the track for a distance of 50 metres.

Mary Valley Heritage Rail manager Jim Walker said no one was hurt and appealed for witnesses to contact police. He said it was potentially a very dangerous situation and could have resulted in the derailment of the train, which would have ended in disaster.

“I would like anyone who has information about this incident to contact police and I ask local residents to report any suspicious activity around the track in future,” he said.

Mr Walker said the Rattler’s driver and fireman saw the junk laying across the track just after they crossed the bridge over Crescent Road.

“Even though they were going slowly, it doesn’t stop it from lifting a wheel. It was lucky our maximum speed is 30kmh and the driver was able to pull up in time.”

MVHR staff checked the railway line on Tuesday and gave it the all-clear at around 11.30am. Between then and 10am yesterday the track was blocked by steel box bars, a steel plate, rocks and besser blocks.

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