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Will the iconic Gympie Rattler survive this time?

THE LAST STOP? Volunteers were locked out of their workshops at the old Gympie train station yesterday as the Rattler Railway Company shut the whole thing down in an attempt to get some answers on the fate of the tourist icon.
THE LAST STOP? Volunteers were locked out of their workshops at the old Gympie train station yesterday as the Rattler Railway Company shut the whole thing down in an attempt to get some answers on the fate of the tourist icon. File

THE LAST STOP? Volunteers were locked out of their workshops at the old Gympie train station yesterday as the Rattler Railway Company shut the whole thing down in an attempt to get some answers on the fate of the tourist icon.

The volunteers were told early yesterday morning they had until 4pm to remove themselves and their personal items before the locks would go on.

A press release issued by the Rattler Railway Company Inc said the Rattler board "in conjunction with" the council, was reducing activity at the Old Gympie Station until the Labor State Government decides its fate.

The LNP allocated $2 million to restore at least some of the Rattler's ageing tracks two years ago, and then another $600,000 to upgrade its rolling stock.

Only a tiny portion of that money has ever been seen.

Now, with a new government in charge of the purse strings, the vast bulk of it may never be seen.

Post election attempts to get some indication of the fate of that $2.6 million have met with silence.

"The start-up and future operations of the Valley Rattler were dependent on the $2.6 million allocated from the previous State Government," RRC director Garry Davison said yesterday.

"Following the Queensland state election on January 31, 2015, the RRC has made numerous attempts to obtain advice from the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning on when the funding will be released," he said.

RRC have not yet had a response, however, we will continue to pursue the funding to support the business plan submitted to the department in October 2014.

"We appreciate the efforts of Tony Perrett MP and Mayor Mick Curran who have both made representations to the Queensland Government in respect of the funding."

Mr Davison told The Gympie Times the RRC was not prepared to continue to tread water while expenses continued to build.

"We have just got to the stage where we are not going to do that any longer," he said.

"We know where we want to go, but the stuff we are doing might not be worth doing.

"We are just putting things on hold until we get an answer from the government.

"Once that happens we will put everything in full swing. By drawing a line in the sand it might get us a quicker answer."

The RRC met with volunteers later in the day yesterday.

The RRC board consists of Mr Davison, acting chairman Ian McNichol, secretary Gaylene Smith and Tony Hallam. The council's role is via its representation on the holding company, which owns the assets to be used by the RRC.

Cr Curran, council CEO Bernard Smith and Gympie MP Tony Perrett comprise the board of the holding company.

The Mary Valley Rattler facebook page status yesterday was "may be permanently closed".

Topics:  history icons trains

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