Mary Valley Heritage Railway

MEDIA RELEASES


MVHR Press Releases

Twilight markets Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec 2013.

Twilight markets will be held at the Old Gympie Railway Station on the 3rd Saturdays of Sept, Oct, Nov 2013 and the 2nd Saturday in Dec 2013 from 6.00 pm. "The winter markets have been a surprising success, with stall holders and patrons keen for follow up events", Jim Walker, Manager of the MVHR said. "After consultation a decision was made to commence the markets leading into summer at 6.00 pm-with the December Twilight Markets on the Second Saturday, 14 Dec 2013. Our follow up with the stall holders from the winter markets has been encouraging".

"The cooler months did not slow the twilight markets, and the MVHR looks forward to the run into Christmas to build patronage. This success was based on an extensive local marketing campaign and also the Rail-Motor shuttles which operate north to the "Stop Blocks". These shuttles are now a part of the Twilight Markets and thanks to the MVHR volunteers who laid the groundwork or trackwork for the shuttles," Mr Walker stated.

April Markets 2013

President of the MVHR, Tony Hallam, supported Jim Walker. "The Winter markets were a pleasant surprise. The visitors to the markets had a wonderful time and the Rail-motor shuttles are proving popular. The Gympie Radio Club display gives an added dimension to the markets. The MVHR would also like to thank Coates Hire of Gympie for the donation of the use of a light tower for safety lighting. Thanks goes to the MVHR volunteers who are marketing the Twilight Markets in such a comprehensive manner."

Bianca Nagy who operates the Refreshment Rooms café at Old Gympie Station was very pleased with the number of patrons at the café. "The café will be open for the markets and there is a chance for people to wander around, have a meal and a drink and have an enjoyable night out. The club car will be available as a venue for those who would like a quiet drink in a beautiful heritage setting. The Refreshment Rooms café is licensed ".

Twilight Markets 2013

The MVHR twilight markets will operate from 6.00 pm onwards on the 3rd Saturday of each month with future markets being held on Saturday 21 Sept, 19 Oct, 16 Nov and on the second Saturday of December, 14 Dec 2013.

Available at the MVHR Twilight Markets are:

Local produce and handmade crafts are for sale, Licensed bar and cafe, Model train exhibit, Gympie Radio Club exhibit and Rail Motor Shuttles.

For details please ring the MVHR office on 5482 2750, (Tuesdays and Fridays) or email rattler@mvhr.org.au

MVHR initiatives, 11th August 2013.

MVHR – operators of the Valley Rattler – have contracted to operate shunt services for Downer EDI at Maryborough. Heritage diesel locomotive DEL 1632 travelled to Maryborough on Monday, 5 August 2013, to undertake the first of the services.

Heritage diesel locomotive.

This contract followed detailed negotiation with a large number of players, together with thorough preparation of equipment led to the successful commencement of operations. MVHR manager Jim Walker was pleased with the outcome "The MVHR has been looking to identify alternate revenue opportunities following the suspension of passenger operations last year, this operation is a major plus for us. I thank all who were involved in the planning and implementation of this event".

MVHR president Tony Hallam agreed that the MVHR will continue to source alternative revenue opportunities while continuing to work with the State Government in the execution of the recently announced State Government funding, which is directed toward the return of steam heritage operations down the Mary Valley. Mr Hallam said. "This is a great outcome for the MVHR and demonstrates that the MVHR is continuing to develop and grow as a viable business entity. This initiative continues to lay the foundation for the re-boot of the Valley Rattler."

One of the opportunities being developed is the extension of the current Heritage Rail Motor tours. The latest fortnightly volunteer track gang saw eight MVHR volunteers operating with an on-rail mini-excavator to replace 54 sleepers in Gympie Yard and to the immediate south of Old Gympie Railway Station. Co-ordinator of the volunteer track gang, Peter Alder, said "This was a big effort. We have been having track gangs every two-three weeks and it is great to see the number of volunteers who turn up. It is hard yakka. The use of the mini-excavator though really boosts productivity."

The objective is to take advantage of the current situation to upgrade as much track as possible in the Yard to running line standard to enhance both the Heritage Rail Motor tours and future rail operations.

For details and bookings of the Heritage Rail Motor tours which occur on the 2nd and 4th Sundays and during the MVHR Twilight Markets (every 3rd Saturday) please ring 5482 2750 or visit www.thevalleyrattler.com

$2million to Reboot The Valley Rattler, 4th June 2013

David Gibson MP
Member for Gympie

4th June 2013

$2million to Reboot The Valley Rattler

The Newman Government will spend $2 million towards recommissioning the Mary Valley Line in the first step to getting the heritage tourism train The Valley Rattler back on the tracks.

Local Member and Chairman of the Mary Valley Economic Development Advisory Group, David Gibson MP welcomed the $2 million in support of an important local economic driver and tourism business.

"The Valley Rattler has faced an uncertain future since operations on the Mary Valley Line were suspended in October 2012. In response the Mayor and I established the Mary Valley Business Advisory Group in November last year and the report finalised this year has been the basis in securing this funding." Mr Gibson said.

"That report outlined a recovery plan on ways to address the challenges the Mary Valley Heritage Railway (MVHR) currently face and today we see the first stage in a reboot of the Rattler."

"The Rattler is a local tourism icon. This funding will help get it back on the tracks, but its long-term viability will be reliant on revenue from both ticketing and external funding to meet operational expenses, such as ongoing maintenance and asset replacement costs."

"The next step will be the establishment of a new corporate structure - a 'MVHR Community Trust' with a board of trustees drawn from the local community to take on the long term strategic planning, leaving the MVHR to get on with the job of providing an outstanding rail experience for tourists."

"I want to thank the current team at MVHR for their herculean efforts in guiding the MVHR through these difficult times. The work of Tony Hallam and others has ensured that we could be in a position today to build upon their foundation."

MVHR Chair Mr Tony Hallam said that due to the dedication and commitment of MVHR management and volunteers over the past 6 months all goals have been achieved.

"I thank the volunteers who have ensured that in June 2013 the MVHR is an operating entity. The MVHR looks forward to the outcomes of the re-boot while realising there is still a lot of hard work to do before passenger operations into the Mary Valley re-commence." Mr Hallam said

Works to recommission the Mary Valley Line will commence later this year, with The Valley Rattler able to resume operations in 2014.

Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne said that he looked forward to working with the new MVHR Community Trust, other government agencies and stakeholders in contributing towards the recommissioning The Valley Rattler in 2014 and boosting local tourism.

"In 2011-2012, approximately 21,200 passenger tickets were sold - pumping much-needed financial support into the region, and we look forward to that returning in 2014-15." Mayor Dyne said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said the $2 million complements the Mary Valley Economic Development Strategy.

"My department will liaise with Gympie Regional Council and other stakeholders to investigate strategies for cooperation and maximise opportunities to secure funding to support the ongoing operation of The Valley Rattler beyond 2014." Mr Seeney said.

"It will be a team effort, but recommissioning the Mary Valley Line and getting The Valley Rattler back on track will provide a lasting legacy for the Mary Valley community."

David Gibson MP
Member for Gympie

Suspension of Race the Rattler 2013.

The Valley Rattler will suspend the popular Race the Rattler event for 2013. The race is usually a highlight of the Queen's Birthday Weekend and a major publicity event for Gympie and the Mary Valley. The decision was made for a number of reasons, but primarily because the rail track to Dagun will not be available for passenger trains in time for the Race.
General Manager of the Valley Rattler, Jim Walker stated, "We considered alternatives to the regular race format; in the end though, without the Rattler steam locomotive at the head of our heritage train, we decided to stay true to the popular event and work to be back in to Dagun for the 2014 race".

President of the MVHR, Tony Hallam, supported Mr Walker. "While it is sad that this decision had to made, it is made after consideration of alternative formats. Race the Rattler is the Rattler's signature event, but with the steam train unavailable and work needed on the track then the call was made". The MVHR expresses our thanks to sponsors, runners, supporters and community organisations for their support of the event over the last 14 years and look forward to the return of the event in the future.


Both Mr Walker and Mr Hallam, expressed the hope that Race the Rattler 2014 will occur. The MVHR is working with government to lay the foundations for restoring heritage passenger services into the Mary Valley, and the resumption of Race the Rattler.

Please contact Jim Walker on 5482 2750 or Tony Hallam on 0419 679 447 for more details.

One Giant Step for Rattler. 18 April 2013

As the Valley vintage train builds up steam for full resumption.

It may have been the shortest train trip in Australia but it was an important step in the resurrection of the Marv Valley Rattler. Yesterday the Silver Bullet took the historic train organisation's first customers in over six months after a minor derailment at Dagun shut down operations due to track safety concerns.

Media Realease - Silver Bullet

About 60 members of the UIlysses Motorcycle Club, which is holding its national convention in Maryborough, journeyed south to Gympie for the train trip. It was just 600m, up to the end of the Old Gympie Railway Station yards and back, but it gave the visitors a little taste of what the Mary Valley line had to offer.

Volunteer general manager Jim Walker said the train trip was supposed to take passengers further along the rail corridor toward Gympie North, but bridge work over the line on Stewart Tce stopped that from happening.

"It's just a small step but its very positive," Mr Walker said. "Getting the wheels turning is very important to us."

Driver Kevin Power said it was great to get behind the wheel of the train again. "It's my first run since September," he said.

Mr Power was expecting to take more groups from the Ulysses convention on trips over the next two days. He said the rail motor was used because the steam engine was undergoing major work on its boiler.

The Rattler is planning to start scheduled trips toward Gympie North once the bridge work had been completed and they were working hard to get back to the Valley.

Mr Walker said the group was hopeful funding applications submitted to upgrade t he track would be successful and enable the historic railway to resume operations along the Mary Valley line.

Gympie residents have chance to catch a quick trip on the Silver Bullet this Saturday night at the Twilight Markets. Mr Walker said the rail motor would be running from 6pm with rides costing, just $2.

Reproduced courtesy Gympie Times.

Twilight Markets

Twilight markets will be held at the Old Gympie Railway Station on Sat 16 Feb 2013 from  6.00 pm to 8.00 pm. “The Christmas markets were a great success, with stall holders and patrons keen for follow up events”. Jim Walker, Manager of the MVHR said. “The atmosphere of Old Gympie Station gave the market a unique atmosphere. Our follow up with the stall holders was very encouraging”.

The third Saturday time slot was chosen after consultation with the stall holders, “We will review the program after the May market to determine whether we continue through winter”, Mr Walker stated. “The cooler months may slow a twilight event, so the review will consider whether the markets have a recess from June through to August”.

President of the MVHR, Tony Hallam, supported Jim Walker. “The Christmas markets were a great success and the Old Gympie Railway Station provides a wonderful heritage setting for the markets. The Gympie Railway Station building is 100 years young in 2013 and it adds a historic atmosphere.” “With the MVHR’s heritage fleet of carriages providing a great backdrop there is a great chance for people to both get a bargain and to experience the romance of Gympie’s Rail heritage”. “The stalls are wide ranging and there could be something for everyone”.

Bianca Nagy who operates the Refreshment Rooms café at Old Gympie Station is excited about the prospect of the markets. “The café will be open for the markets and there is a chance for people to wander around, have a meal and a drink and have an enjoyable night out. The club car will be available as a venue for those who would like a quiet drink in a beautiful heritage setting”.

The MVHR twilight markets will operate from 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm on the 3rd Saturday of each month with future markets being held on Saturdays 16 March, 20 April and 16 May. Details on 5482 2750 or rattler@mvhr.org.au

Press Release: 25 January, 2013

Share a romantic evening with your loved one 'Romance at the Station'

The Valley Rattler's Valentine's Day Event offers lovers an evening of quiet romance and wonder.

This year The Mary Valley Heritage Railway has put together a tempting new program for Valentine's night which will be held on Thursday 14 February 2013. Sure to delight romantics far and wide, the evening takes full advantage of the inherent romance of Old Gympie Station which upholds the beautiful workmanship of by-gone era when the station was built in 1913.

Champagne and light food will be served as you arrive at Old Gympie Railway Station. Wander around the charming Old Gympie Station and drink in its atmosphere and marvel at the memories it holds.

A two course meal will be served- and there is a choice of you and your loved one enjoying the ambience of the Refreshment Rooms café or having a romantic meal in the intimate setting of the Club Car. Elegantly appointed, there will be mood lighting with a waiter to serve only Club Car diners and of course there will be a bottle of bubbly for each table in the Club Car. With only 14 seats available, this offers a dreamy way to celebrate Valentine's.

At only $65.00 per person, tickets for Romancing the Station offer fantastic value. Cost includes pre-dinner drinks, a two course meal and the invitation to be a part of Gympie's romantic history.

OR

$80.00 per person and the wonderful atmosphere of the Club Car, with mood lighting, a dedicated waiter for the Club Car and a bottle of bubbly per table can be yours.

The MVHR's Valentine Event commences at 6.30 pm and bookings for this romantic evening are essential and can be made by calling 07 5482 2750.

Please note: This event does not include a heritage rail tour.

For more information about Romancing of the Station and all MVHR events please contact the MVHR on 5482 2750. Office hours 9.00 am to 1.00 pm daily.

Press Release: 12 Jan 2013

Rattler update

The Rattler is focussed on two goals, being firstly to retain operating capacity and secondly to return to the Valley.

Retaining capacity will be achieved through a return to local short rail trips with Banks Pocket the likely destination. This utilises the heritage assets at Gympie Station and provides rail activity which is achievable with a volunteer workforce. It includes expansion of activities at Gympie station to include twilight markets, refreshment rooms now open 7 days, QR Traveltrain tourist agency open 5 days and the Rattler offices open 9-1 seven days.

The operation of short trips demonstrates operational capacity supporting the second goal, which is a return to rail trips down the Valley,. This is the subject of current planning activity in conjunction with Gympie and Valley based groups to identify the optimum business model for a return to the Valley – the business model identifying schedules, interaction with other activities, and the resources needed for sustainable operation, both in the restart phase and for ongoing operation.

Re condition of track and bridges.

The prime cause of the derailment on 29 September was an ineffective repair to a locomotive tender performed by a previous owner.

At present MVHR can run maintenance trains to Imbil, and the criteria set by the Rail Safety Regulator allows for a return to Valley passenger operations once resources and a plan for refurbishment are demonstrated, together with strategies for ongoing sustainability. The track refurbishment has to be commenced, but does not need to be completed prior to a resumption of passenger rail traffic. Inspection and cluster management as previously practised will meet the criteria for resumption.

MVHR Bridges have been inspected by a number of engineering organisations and are in good condition.

Rattler volunteers are undertaking sleeper replacement, rail vehicle maintenance, administration, corridor vegetation maintenance and are commencing activities such as the twilight markets. Bridge maintenance and track and bridge inspections are being undertaken. The station buildings have QR Traveltrain in operation, while Gympie Family History and Gympie Amateur Radio societies both have rooms in the complex. Negotiations are continuing with other interested parties.

Everyone associated with the Rattler is very aware of the contribution made during Valley rail operations to the economic, social and heritage value of the Gympie region and of the Mary Valley in particular.

Be assured that with the support of the community we will give a resumption of Mary Valley operations every chance of success.

Press Release: 15 Dec 2012

The MVHR is an incorporated association which has been identified is facing challenges in the short, medium and long term. This association has fixed assets which are owned by the Mary Valley Heritage Railway Museum Association inc. The MVHRMA inc. as owners of these fixed assets is responsible for the insurance, maintenance, public liability and security of these assets.

At the present the MVHRMA inc is selling some of its assets and these can be disposed of, as stated in the MVHRMA inc.’s constitution under Objects of the Association 1 E “The objects of the association are to sell, lease, mortgage or dispose of any property of the association” and Powers of the Association, “ in furtherance of the objects of the association buy, sell or deal in all kinds of articles, commodities and provisions”.

Insurance is an important part of any association and the MVHRMA inc. has the following insurance-a) volunteer-AON insurance company. Policy to May 2013 b) Buildings-Willis insurance company. Policy to September 2013 c) Public Liability-AON insurance company. Policy to November 2013. d) Director’s Liability insurance-AON insurance company. Policy to October 2013. e) Rollingstock (Heritage locomotives, carriages and wagons) AON insurance company. Policy to October 2013. f) Hi-rail vehicle. CGU insurance company. Policy to March 2013.

The MVHRMA inc pays for the insurance premiums and as can be seen above, these are current.

The MVHR, up until mid-November 2012, employed ten people. Due to the financial situation of the MVHRMA inc these staff were terminated with all paid staff concluding employment by 21 Nov 2012. These staff were employed under the Miscellaneous Workers, Modern Clerical, and Amusement, Events and Recreation awards.

The MVHR is a voluntary organisation with no paid staff. Seven of the former paid staff are working at the MVHR as volunteers and they are to be thanked for their commitment to the organisation.

The MVHR has been working with the Business Advisory Group, which was initiated through consultation with the MVHR, by Mr David Gibson and Mayor Ron Dyne to address the present challenges. Mary Valley groups have also been engaged by the MVHR to assist with the current challenges. An Interim Business Plan and Action Plan have been developed by a working group of the MVHR and this will be the basis of future dialogue and funding applications with all levels of government and private enterprise. I would like to publicly thank those involved in the creation of this document.

What is envisioned is a re-boot of the MVHR from its current situation with short, medium and long term goals. At present the MVHR is addressing the short term issues and utilising the Interim Business Plan and Action Plan to look into the future.
My thanks to all who are committed and working for the MVHR in its current situation.
The Valley Rattler will be back-but it will take a lot of hard work. A Happy and Safe Christmas and a prosperous New Year to everyone from the MVHR.

Tony Hallam. President. MVHR.       

Press Release: 16 Nov 2012

The MVHR has been working with the Rail Safety Regulator, the Gympie and Mary Valley communities to address its current situation. Representatives of the MVHR met with the Rail Safety Regulator during the week to seek clarification for and to discuss strategies for the re-introduction of passenger services. The RSR identified that the MVHR has to address the risk element of further incidents occurring on the Mary Valley line by formulating and implementing an asset management plan for track infrastructure.

"The discussion was honest and robust', MVHR President Tony Hallam stated. "What the RSR is looking for is a plan by the MVHR for the upgrading and continued maintenance of the track with funding, resources and inspections built in-and to see the plan in operation. Then passenger operations can begin".

In conjunction with the development of this asset management plan an Interim Business Plan and Action Plan is being developed. These plans are based on input from MVHR management, the Gympie and Mary Valley communities. They will be used as a basis for dialogue with the Business Advisory Group as identified by Mr David Gibson and Mayor Ron Dyne, and businesses and community organisations.

"The MVHR supports the initiative of the Business Advisory Group. We were part of the initial dialogue with Mayor Dyne and Mr Gibson and the MVHR is looking forward to its constructive input," Mr Hallam stated.

The MVHR has identified two stages for its future development. Firstly, the need to maintain its capacity, physical assets, people skills and brand so a return to full operation can occur. "At present with passenger services under suspension by the RSR, there will be a focus on Gympie Rail station as a base of rail heritage activities. When the RSR requirements are met, then passenger operations will operate based on an interim business model, " Mr Hallam stated.

The second stage is to operate passenger services into the Mary Valley. This will require the selection of a business model both of product and structure incorporating destination, frequency, management, finance and accreditation.

"The MVHR has been dialoguing, listening and engaging with the community and accepting assistance and feedback", Mr Hallam said. The goal of the MVHR is not only to have a return to passenger operations but a "re-boot" of the Rattler where its structure, maintenance and operations can achieve its mission of being the Mary Valley Heritage Railway and overcoming future challenges.

"The Rattler will be back", stated Mr Hallam. "But there is still a lot of hard work to do."

Support Called for the Valley Rattler! 27 Sep 2012

Gympie’s Valley Rattler is calling to its supporters, friends and patrons to assist in keeping the iconic tourist attraction up and running heritage steam train tours through the beautiful Mary Valley.

The heritage steam train operator has kept its four days a week services operating through the last two years of adverse conditions – flood and an extended tourism downturn - thanks to the dedication and commitment of staff and volunteers. (There was also a brief suspension of services in July which turned the usually profitable July and August into loss months).

“The Valley Rattler needs revenue to continue our current range of operations” said Jim Walker, General Manager of the not-for-profit community organisation. “Normally the MVHR relies on a good winter-to-spring season to support activities through the leaner summer-to-autumn months. However, the July suspension of services has seriously degraded that revenue flow.”

967 Approaching Gympie

President of the Valley Rattler, Tony Hallam said,” Coming on top of the negative market and weather conditions since 2010 we need assistance now from the community to continue our present operations. How much is needed? $ 90,000 over the next four months. We will be reviewing future operations on a month to month basis.”

How can you assist?

  • Donate to our Support the Rattler fund. Contributions will directly aid our restoration and maintenance activities. To commence this operation in 1997 the Gympie community contributed significant funds to enable the Valley Rattler’s start up. We ask Sunshine Coast and Brisbane supporters to join with Gympie locals to keep the operation going - contact the Gympie office on 5482 2750 for details and ask about tax exemption status.
  • Encourage your friends, guests, and next door neighbours to Ride the Rattler, and to do it now. Over half of our customers say they come to us because word of mouth – from friends, relatives, tour desk operators, the person at the servo and at the shops! – so please spread the word!
  • Drop in to the Old Gympie Railway station in Tozer St in Gympie, take in the atmosphere of the 99 year old Gympie station building, enjoy time in the Refreshment Rooms café, buy a souvenir and chat with the staff – open seven days.

Jim Walker advised the Rattler operation uses volunteers for all operational activities, with wages staff involved in maintenance and sales. “The task includes maintenance of track, engines, and carriages, in order to provide a genuine heritage tour, rolling down the valley behind a steam engine in a scene from the 1950s. Many passengers are in extended family groups, all getting a different experience from the same event”

Tony Hallam said, “The volunteers of the MVHR receive much thanks from patrons for their great service. They need your help to keep the Valley Rattler rattling”.

Visit www.thevalleyrattler.com, visit us on facebook and twitter, check trip advisor, phone on us on 5482 2750.


About the Valley Rattler

The Valley Rattler heritage steam train tours through Mary Valley are operated by the Mary Valley Heritage Railway every Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday.

Tours depart from the historic Gympie Railway station to Imbil or Amamoor.

The Red Rocket Heritage Railmotor operates every Tuesday morning.

The Valley Rattler is located at the Old Railway Station, Tozer St, Gympie. Gympie is a two hour drive north of Brisbane and 60 minutes north of Noosa.


For more information about the ‘Support the Rattler’ initiative please contact President  Tony Hallam on 0419 679 447 or General Manager Jim Walker on 07 5482 2750 / email rattler@mvhr.org.au

Return of the Rattler Aug 2012 11 Aug 2012

The Rattler is back!!! This weekend, 11/12 August, the Valley Rattler returned to its "normal" weekend tour program to Amamoor and Imbil and its "normal" tour program. For the past month the Valley Rattler has been operating on an amended timetable to Amamoor. This is due to the Valley Rattler's track gang and volunteers performing track maintenance around Kandanga. While this work has been taking place there has been proactive maintenance performed on steam locomotive C 17 967. The primary work involved here was replacing flue tubes which are an integral part of the steam locomotive.

Return of the Rattler

The maintenance shed crew of staff and volunteers have been working at maximum effort so steam locomotive 967 would be available as soon as possible. It has been a great sight to see the workers of the Valley Rattler's repair facility clustered around 967 as they removed, replaced and tested parts. General Manager of the Valley Rattler, Jim Walker, paid tribute to the work that has been performed and stated, "This has been a mighty effort and the sight of C 17 967 in steam and being tested is heartening. I encourage everyone to Ride the Rattler as the past month has seen a concerning reduction in passenger revenue at the MVHR".

While the proactive maintenance program has been occurring on C 17 967 there has been an intensive work program replacing sleepers around Kandanga railway station. Over three weekends 270 sleepers were replaced by MVHR and Mary Valley volunteers. This work supported the track maintenance work of the Valley Rattler's track gang. President of the Mary Valley, Tony Hallam, is proud of the work which occurred. "Some people gave up three weekends in a row to work on these track gangs and the work was not easy-without the numbers of volunteers we had the work would not have been completed. The Rattler is indebted to them. I would also like to publicly thank Cr Julie Walker of the Gympie Regional Council who contacted people in the Mary Valley and invited them to be a part of this work program." A thankyou bar-b-q is planned in the near future.

Rattler Staff and volunteers undertaking track maintenance.

While there were some humourous moments during these working bees-such as when a tiger snake was disturbed hibernating in a sleeper-there is still hard work to be accomplished. The Valley Rattler has suffered a financial "hit" during the past month and needs the support of people to recover. The Rattler also provides tourists for the Mary Valley townships. Businesses in Kandanga and Imbil have suffered due to the absence of the Rattler. With the return of the Rattler people are encouraged to make the most of the wonderful winter weather and experience the Mary Valley. Your riding the Rattler will support the Rattler and the Mary Valley.

Bookings and enquiries on 5482 2750 or www.thevalleyrattler.com or facebook.

Brisbane Model Train Show 5th -7th May 2012

The Valley Rattler will be holding a display stand at the Brisbane Model Train Show this year which will be held on the 5th – 7th May (Labour Day Long Weekend). Details are:

Location:

RNA Grounds – Alexandria Street, Bowen Hills. Brisbane.

Show Opening Times:

Saturday 5th May 9am-5pm
Sunday 6th May 9am-5pm
Monday 7th May 9am-4pm

Costs:

Adults $13
Concession $10
Children (5-15) $6

The Model Train Show has model trains of all types and sizes, a large range of train shops, interactive displays for children and demonstrations of model wagon and building assembly.

Wedding Setting at The Valley Rattler

The Brisbane Model Train Show is always a popular event and attracts the kids as well as the kids at heart who have a love of trains.
This show is a great opportunity to showcase and promote The Valley Rattler as a major heritage steam and railmotor tourist attraction in Queensland. Visit the Valley Rattler stand and say hello to the Rattler volunteers.
For details about the Brisbane Model Train Show please visit http://brisbanemodeltrainshow.com.au

Activity at the Rattler on weekend 10/11 March 2012

On Saturday 10 March and Sunday 11 March volunteers at the MVHR continued with the vegetation management programme. On Saturday, 10 March 2012, vegetation was removed from the Gympie rail yards to facilitate the storage of wagons within Gympie Rail yard. This was being performed as Gympie Station was being turned into a reception facility for a wedding of a local couple. Operator of the Refreshment Room facility, Bianca Nagy, had to alter the vegetation management plan as some machinery was going to be in close proximity to the creative table settings of the wedding reception. The couple travelled to Dagun on the Saturday afternoon tour of the Rattler-were married at Dagun State School. Drinks and nibblies were served at Dagun Railway Station after the ceremony. The party then returned to Gympie by the Rattler for the reception. Bianca stated that the reception was a wonderful occasion.

Wedding Setting at The Valley Rattler

On Sunday, 11 March, a vegetation management train operated comprised of DH 45 and a freight wagon. Eight volunteers continued the vegetation management programme between Gympie and Monkland. Vegetation was removed from Gympie rail yard specifically near the maintenance shed, the line north of the road bridge, the coal road and near the southern entrance to the car park. With a charter of the Red Rocket departing at 9.15 for the centenary celebrations of the Gympie State High School and the 10.00 am departure of the Sunday Rattler service, there were three trains awaiting departure from Gympie Railway station. The volunteers of the vegetation management train were able to remove two wagon loads of vegetation on a very busy Sunday at the Rattler.

Tree Clearing at Gympie Station.

The vegetation management programme supports and compliments the ongoing track work as conducted by the Valley Rattler’s track gang.

Vegetation Management at the Rattler

Recently, volunteers have been engaged in vegetation management at the Valley Rattler. On 15 January 2012 a work train was organised where vegetation was attended to between Gympie and Monkland stations. Six wagonloads of branches and undergrowth were cleared and disposed of. Recently restored DH 45 was the motive power for the work train and the eight volunteers put in a big effort.

Ganger's Shed, Gympie.

On 4 Feb 2012 volunteers cleared the growth around a ganger’s hut just south of Gympie Railway station. Drains were cleared and initial restoration work on the hut was commenced. The four volunteers worked in sunshine and in rain and former QR railway equipment was removed from the hut to the MVHR’s maintenance compound.

Track Vegetation Management, Gympie.

Sunday 12 Feb 2012 saw another work train operating, again with DH 45 being the motive power. In hot and humid conditions seven MVHR volunteers worked to clear re-growth on the Gympie to Monkland section of the Valley Rattler line.

MVHR volunteers are also conducting spraying of the Valley Rattler line to inhibit weeds and grass on the track. These volunteers travel from Brisbane and spend the day on a motorised ganger vehicle travelling the full length of the Mary Valley line. As one volunteer said, “ I get to do what I love and also it assists the MVHR in its vegetation management programme”.

This vegetation management complements and supports the track work being performed by the MVHR’s track gang.

Share a dreamy evening with your loved one ‘Romancing the Rails’

Back by popular demand, The Valley Rattler’s Romancing the Rails theme train offers lovers an evening of romance and wonder sure to make your Valentine’s celebration an unforgettable one.

This year the team at The Valley Rattler has put together a tempting new program for Romancing the Rails which will be held on Saturday 11 February 2012. Sure to delight romantics far and wide, the evening takes full advantage of the inherent romance of Old Gympie Station which upholds the beautiful workmanship of by-gone era when the station was built in 1913.

Champagne will be served as you board the train at 5.30 pm, before the newly restored DH 45 departs Gympie for a romantic twilight train ride to Dagun in the former Kuranda heritage carriages.

DH 45 MVHR Diesel Locomotive at Kandanga

En route, be serenaded as the train meanders its way through the scenic Mary Valley. At Dagun enjoy an eloquent entrée at the charming country station which was established in 1914.

Take advantage of the opportunity to converse with your loved one as the train makes a leisurely return to Old Gympie Station for the main course and a dreamy dessert. After dinner enjoy dancing along the platform under the moonlight.

At only $65.00 per person, tickets for Romancing the Rails offer fantastic value and includes the train fare, pre-dinner drinks, a three course meal and live music.

Bookings for this romantic evening are essential and can be made by calling 07 5482 2750 or online at www.thevalleyrattler.com

First Revenue Run of DH 45

On Sat 26 Nov 2011 DH 45 made its first revenue run for the MVHR. The event was a 50th birthday and the excursion train headed to Imbil on Saturday afternoon with about 100 guests. When it was deemed safe a game of cricket was played in Imbil railway yard. There were no referrals to the video umpire. At about 4.30 pm the train departed Imbil and upon arrival at Gympie, a birthday bar-b-q was held at the café at Gympie Railway Station. Catering was supplied by Bianca Nagy.

DH 45 MVHR Diesel Locomotive

DH 45 is a diesel hydraulic locomotive that was built at Walkers in Maryborough Qld between 1969 and 1970. It was used for shunting and light duties. In 1994 DH 45 was transferred to Cairns to be used by QRX. It was then moved to Central Queensland for shunting duties and de-commissioned about 18 months ago. In late 2010 DH 45 (or MMY 45 as it was known) was transferred to the MVHR as a restoration project. Over the past 12 months DH 45 has been slowly returned to working order and the results were on show on Saturday.

The MVHR thanks all those involved. Dh 45 will be used for shunting duties and charter/excursion trains.

On Board Services: Upskilling

On Saturday 12 Nov the On Board Services personnel of the Mary Valley Heritage Railway attended an upskilling and information seminar at the Old Gympie Railway Station. Twenty OBS volunteers, who work with passengers on the Rattler, spent Saturday morning being upskilled on Personnel Management, Rail Safety at the Mary Valley Heritage Railway, Volunteering at the Rattler, On Board Service to the Passengers, Emergency Evacuation Process and Procedures for On Board Services and Duties Whilst on Board the Rattler.

MVHR Upskilling Seminar

Jim Walker, General Manager of the MVHR, ran two of the information and upskilling sessions. OBS volunteers contributed valuable insights during the last session and these will be incorporated into the roles and duties of the volunteers. Jim Walker thanked the MVHR volunteers who worked with himself and the MVHR Volunteer Co-ordinator to put together the upskilling package. Tony Hallam, President of the MVHR, attended the seminar and described it as professional and informative.

If you would like to be a volunteer at the MVHR please contact 5482 2750.

Abc Interview with Jim Walker and Tony Hallam of MVHR.

On Friday 4 November General Manager of the MVHR, Jim Walker, and President of the MVHR, Tony Hallam, were interviewed by ABC Wide Bay. The topic was how the Rattler has been progressing since th floods of early 2011. This link will take you to the interview:

http://blogs.abc.net.au/queensland/2011/11/story-1-3.html

Rattler welcomes new carriages

The Valley Rattler sent three “new” carriages for their first Mary Valley run last Wednesday.

The carriages were last used by Queensland Rail on the Cairns Kuranda tourist train

Kuranda Cars

“We are very happy to be able offer these carriages to our passengers” said Jim Walker, manager of the Rattler. “They are in very good condition, with walkthrough connections between the carriages, allowing passengers to access our club car facilities while on the move”.

While new to the Rattler, they are of 1910 vintage, and were used all over the state before going to Cairns and then coming to Gympie”

The new additions will allow the Rattler to rotate its current carriages for maintenance, giving the rattler staff and volunteers more time for care and attention to their equipment. It also opens the way for night trains, as the carriages are already wired and fitted for light.

The first use of the carriages was on a charter by the Gympie Family Day care group, who had a great trip through Dagun to Amamoor hauled by our diesel locomotive, while the regular steamer service went on to Imbil.

“With Christmas socials approaching it is a good reminder of the options we can offer to groups, from hiring a train, a rail motor, a carriage or two on our regular heritage steam train services, to taking advantage of our group rates for ten or more” Mr Walker said. “Come and join us for a relaxed ride through the Mary Valley” – contact the Rattler on 5482 2750

Brisbane Model Train Show – 30th April – 2nd May 2011

The Valley Rattler will be holding a display stand at the Brisbane Model Train Show this year which will be held on the 30th April – 2nd May (Labour Day Long Weekend). The Model Train Show has model trains of all types and sizes, a large range of train shops, interactive displays for children and demonstrations of wagon and building assembly.

Brisbane Model Train Show

The Brisbane Model Train Show is always a popular event and attracts the little kids as well as the big kids who have a love of trains. This show is a great opportunity to promote The Valley Rattler as a major heritage steam and railmotor tourist attraction in Queensland.

Rattler vital flood link: Gympie Times 12 January 2012

THE people of Monkland could still eat and get to work, despite being effectively marooned on their own island, during 2011’s floods, just south of the flood-bound city of Gympie. And city supermarkets could still supply meat to their customers, with the Mary Valley Heritage Rail carrying tonnes of frozen meat products from Nolan's, at East Deep Creek, into town by rail.

MVHR - Silver Bullet at the platform.jpg

"We carried about 3500 passengers," Mary Valley Heritage Rail vice president Peter Alder said yesterday. "It was a free service for workers and a donation for other passengers. We ended up carrying milk and bread and a few boxes of eggs. We brought in about five tonnes of meat from Nolans”.

"The meat was all boxed up and they had refrigerated trucks delivering it to Monkland Station. "We took it to town and the shops had refrigerated trucks to pick it up at that end. Every morning we took bread and milk -and the Gympie Times- to the Monkland Store.

Last flagging at Dagun Station

Flagging the train becomes a celebration for Dagun.

The historical tradition of “flagging the train” at Dagun Station in the Mary Valley, had its last show-ing on November 21 when volunteers manned the crossing for the final time. After receiving a “cease and desist” order from police who have earmarked the practice of using flags to halt traffic to allow a steam train over the crossing unsafe, Dagun Community Group decided to pack the flags and fluoro vests away.

But far from taking a negative approach to the event, organisers celebrated the fact that Dagun has remained the only station in Queensland – and perhaps Australia – where the practice has continued long after electric rail became the norm.

A huge crowd enjoyed the final flagging celebration.

The last Flagging at Dagun Station

The Valley Rattler Steam Train has its Revenge

On Monday June 14th, a record breaking crowd gathered at the Old Gympie Railway Station to witness the arrival of the runners for the 2010 Race the Rattler Challenge. The numbers of entries this year exceeded expectations. This included 163 individual runners and 52 teams, (made up of four competitors, each of whom completed approx 4.5km).

Race the Rattler Train Crew.

Facing their 3rd defeat in a row, the Valley Rattler has steamed back into the Old Gympie Station ahead of almost 400 runners posting a convincing win in yesterday’s Race the Rattler footrace. It was the 7th Race start and 2nd time as driver for Peter Alder, who this year teamed up with a rookie fireman after being beaten by 5 seconds in last year’s race.

The fine conditions greeted the starter’s gun at Dagun station in the Mary Valley with the runners taking an early lead while the less energetic supporters boarded the train for the 18.5km journey into Gympie. It was neck and neck but the runners’ early lead soon went up in smoke as the Rattler arrived at the first relay changeover close behind.

Meanwhile back at the Old Gympie Station the excitement grew as the large crowd strained to sight the first runner but it was the sound of the engine that greeted them first as the rattler steamed up the last hill and crossed the finish line in 1 hour 1minute and 28 seconds.

Patrick Tiernan was the first runner to cross the finish line with a time of 1 hour 4 minutes and 13 seconds. He was a member of the “Losers Team.” This is the second year in a row that the Losers have been the first runners to cross the finish. The first male individual runner was Steven Page with a time of 1 hour 7 minutes and 17 seconds. The first individual female to cross the finish line was Clare Geraghty with a time of 1 hour 10 minutes and 40 seconds.

After achieving victory this year the Rattler crews are keen to make up for the defeats of recent years and are already looking to next year’s event.

The score now is Rattler – 7 and Runners – 5.

Gympie Ultimate Steam Festival

Queensland Events granted funding to assist in the marketing and running costs of the four day Ultimate Steam Festival which was held in Gympie on the 9th-12th April 2010. This festival promoted three of Gympie’s vital heritage tourist attractions – “The Valley Rattler” steam engine adventure trip, The Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum and the world class Woodworks Forestry and Timber Museum, with a “guest” appearance of the Mary Ann replica down from Maryborough, running on the Rattler tracks.

The Replica Mary Ann

For the first time, all three Gympie heritage attractions combined forces to present a unique experience, not just for steam buffs, but for all people, young and old, to experience the various uses of the power of steam.

For many years discussions had been held with regard to the three attractions collaborating as it is well recognised that the synergy of combining these unique complimentary assets has immense potential. The Steam Weekend was the first of what has become a strong united front for Gympie’s tourist attractions.

Visitors experienced a full range of heritage steam working across a range of industries with combined ticket prices giving entry to all venues for four days of exceptional value and entertainment.

The Valley Rattler

The highlights of the festival included rides on the unique ‘Mary Ann” full size replica of an 1873 timber line steam engine. The Woodworks Museum had a mobile saw milling competition and traditional handtool demonstrations, while the Rattler operated two return trips each day to Amamoor, 23 km down the old Mary Valley branch line. The Gympie Gold Mining Museum had a variety of steam powered equipment including a steam traction engine, steam roller and steam launch engine.

This event attracted people from all over South East Queensland and many from a lot further afield.

14 April 2009 - Arrival of Q150 Train

As part of Queensland’s 150th Birthday Celebrations, the Q150 Steam Train arrived at the Old Gympie Station in Tozer Street on Tuesday 14th April. The Old Gympie Railway Station was the first stop over for the Q150 Steam Train during its five month journey.

Q150 Steam Train Visit

A Family Fun Day was held throughout the day with hundreds of people enjoying entertainment, displays, children’s rides and a sausage sizzle while waiting for the arrival of the Q150 Steam Train.

Q150 Steam Train Visit

The Valley Rattler Re-enactment Group staged a mock hold-up as the Train pulled into the station. Passengers on the Q150 Train were welcomed by the local indigenous community, Gympie Regional Mayor Ron Dyne and local school children.

This was a once in a 150 year event and was a chance for the Q150 Passengers and Gympie Community to celebrate Queensland’s history.

10 February 2009

Steam Engine drivers, Locos and Peugeots………..they just keep on puffing and purring.

Neville Caldwell and fellow railway volunteer Kevin Power, were made Life Members of the Mary Valley Heritage Rail at the recent AGM held on 5th December, 2008.

Neville Caldwell & The Valley Rattler.
Neville Caldwell

These men have displayed amazing commitment and have been instrumental in maintaining the wonderful volunteer contribution that has formed the backbone of MVHR. Neville and Kevin were completely surprised and obviously delighted to receive their awards as presented to them by President Tony Hallam.

Neville was the driver of the first train that ran for the Mary Valley Heritage Railway on the 23rd May, 1998. Ten years on, he is still working on the footplate and loving it. The railway has been his life, having worked 48 years with Queensland Rail. He has continued his long association with steam well into his retiring years with many roles in MVHR. “Every day is a good day on the line” he says “ MVHR gives me something to look forward to and without that, who knows, maybe it helps to keep me going.”

Neville also maintains and drives his cars just as lovingly as his locos.

Each rostered day, right on 6.30am, he can be seen driving up to MVHR workshops in his immaculate deep red Peugeot 405 SRDT sedan. And the day he gladly posed for these photos with the car on the old Gympie Station platform, the little diesel engined 405 looked spotless, and almost as if it was the very day he had driven it from Gerald Cullen’s Peugeot showroom in nearby Nambour.

Kevin Power - The Valley Rattler.
Kevin Power

Kevin Power has also spent most of his working life in the railways. He tells many a tale of his experiences on Victorian steam rail. Just ask him, he is a cheerful bloke and he never seems to run out of steam as he goes about his daily tasks.

28 December 2008

AEC Badge completes Red Rocket Rail Motor

MVHR has added a new addition to RM 76 (known as the ‘Red Rocket’). A person has kindly donated an original AEC badge which has now been proudly fitted to the top of the radiator. This badge represents the maker of the RM 76, Associated Equipment Company Ltd.

Red Rocket - AEC Badge.

Associated Equipment Company (AEC) was established in 1912 as the manufacturing side of the London General Omnibus Company (LGOC). When the Underground group of companies acquired the LGOC in the same year the AEC letters were incorporated onto its famous red circle and bar motif (still the symbol of London’s Public Transport today) In 1928, the AEC circle and bar motif was then enclosed in a blue base up triangle to celebrate the development of a new chassis design that is now proudly displayed by the badge on the radiator top tank of RM 76.

RM76 was built at Ipswich Railway Workshops in 1934 and entered service on the 21st August, 1934. It was built around an AEC truck chassis with a 100 HP AEC engine. Its carriage set consisted of PL 104 and passenger /luggage PL105. It worked in the Southern division of Queensland Government Railways during the 1930s. In 1938, it was refitted with a Gardner 102 HP diesel engine at the expense of the two front seats and was still operating in the Southern division in the 1950s. The RM 76 traditionally ran the Brooloo line to Gympie providing a daily link to the town for shopping, the transportation of goods and a means for children to get to school. It was also known to have worked in the Maryborough area before its retirement. It was written off by Queensland Railway on 1st July, 1970 and sold to Bellarine Peninsular Railway in Victoria.

Red Rocket at MVHR, Gympie.

MVHR acquired RM76 in 2005 from the Bellarine Railway in Victoria and has a lease to operate the rail motor until 2015. The RM 76 (Red Rocket) is now an active service with the Mary Valley Heritage Railway running a weekly return trip to Amamoor on Tuesdays and is also available for charter. The RM 76 is a Railmotor of significant heritage and character and a ride on it is not to be missed.