The Valley Rattler’s journey begins at historic Gympie Railway Station. This station was built in 1913 and replaced the original Gympie Station building that served Gympie from the 1870’s. Recently included in the Gympie Station Building is an Art Gallery operated by volunteers of the Friends of the Cooloola Gallery.
The Rattler then travels downgrade and crosses Deep Creek Bridge. This structure is thirty metres above the creek bed and has not been flooded during the many Gympie Floods. Proceeding from Deep Creek Bridge, evidence can be seen of the many gold workings that make up an essential part of Gympie’s heritage. Monkland Railway Station is passed immediately after Brisbane Road and once the Rattler passes the Main North Coast line, the descent is made to the Mary River. Once the Mary is crossed, the Rattler then negotiates its way through prime diary country with views of the Mary Valley being revealed.
Dagun Railway Station is 20 kms from Gympie and on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, wine and cheese and produce from the local markets can be purchased on the return journey. After a short journey, Amamoor Railway Station (23 kms)-where on a Saturday morning tea and crafts are available in the station precinct. From Amamoor a long uphill grade is encountered, and from the descent into Kandanga Railway Station (30 Kms) views can be seen of the richness of the Mary Valley. Kandanga was originally a timber town and now offers markets, stalls and hospitality for the Wednesday and Sunday Heritage Trains.
After departing Kandanga, the Rattler encounters an uphill battle and rattles through Melawondi with its timber products business. It then climbs, to the only tunnel on the line and travels downgrade to Imbil (40 kms), the terminus of the Mary Valley Heritage Railway. Imbil offers the delights of a country town with good food and country markets.
There are a few lunch options available during your stop at Imbil. The Valley Rattler offers the fettlers’ style lunch pack which is served in a takeaway container. It is ready to collect on arrival at Imbil Station, once the engine has been turned on the turntable. You can enjoy your Fettlers Lunch around the shady picnic areas. The Fettlers Lunch needs to be ordered through the Valley Rattler Office and paid for 24 hours in advance.
Imbil also has at least three dining establishments which are open for lunch. Most frequented are The Railway Hotel, The Rattler Café and Pepper’s at the Empire. As bookings are essential for when there are capacity or near capacity trains please contact the Rattler Office (5482 2750) for contact details for these dining establishments, so country hospitality and meals can be enjoyed.