FREE STORY: Grand send off for first Mary Valley Rattler
IT'S taken more than two years and the dedicated efforts of Jason McPherson and his team at CPM Engineering to see the C17 steam locomotive No. 967 back on the tracks.
In a Gympie Times article by Scott Kovacevic in June, the end of the $2million investment was tantalisingly close but still just out of reach.
Now, however, the restoration is complete and the Mary Valley Rattler Company is planning a grand send-off for its initial passenger run on Saturday, August 31.
The Double Steam Day will have both steam locomotives in operation, with the classic C17 No. 974 departing the station at 9am and the refurbished No. 967 taking to the tracks half an hour later.
The No. 967 departure will be a premium experience with the ticket price of $99 including catering, onboard entertainment and a commemorative certificate.
There will be plenty of action at the Old Gympie Station too, with face painting, live music and activities for the whole family.
A spokeswoman for the Mary Valley Rattler Company advised enthusiasts to arrive early.
"Make sure you arrive early enough to take time to wander through the station where you will learn the stories of the Mary Valley Rattler line, its people and its history.
"Have a chat with the train drivers and the tour guides before you board the train," she said.
The three-hour trip will stop at Amamoor where the engine will be turned on the turntable.
"We invite you to get up close and personal with our drivers and our steam train with a footplate viewing experience at Amamoor," she said.
Certain conditions apply with the footplate viewing and the experience is subject to weather and time availability.
For more information or to book tickets, head to maryvalleyrattler.com.au