The Mary Valley Rattler has a history stretching back over a century, to a time when our local region was just beginning to grow. With the discovery of gold by James Nash in 1867, the Gympie and Mary Valley region underwent rapid development. Railway lines were laid to supply the area as it grew in importance, and the Rattler served the region for the better part of a century.
In the 1990s, having been superseded in its original purpose, the Mary Valley Rattler entered a new phase. The Mary Valley Heritage Railway was formed in 1996 and became custodians of the Mary Valley Line. Under their guidance, this iconic piece of Queensland history became an important tourist attraction showcasing the beauty of the Mary Valley. On 23 May 1998, The Rattler began operations again, carrying over 33,000 passengers annually until operations were ceased in 2012.
However, there remained a deep commitment to keeping this beloved attraction alive. In 2014, under the newly formed Rattler Railway Company, the case for bringing back the Mary Valley Rattler was renewed. A funding arrangement between the Gympie Regional Council and the Queensland Government brought the dream to fruition and the Rattler made its triumphant return towards the end of 2018.
The Rattler Railway Company has an impressive fleet of locomotives in its care. The centrepiece of this collection, though, must be their C17 class locomotive 802. Its long journey through the years brought it to Gympie where the Mary Valley Heritage Railway lovingly restored it to its former glory. It is now back on the tracks more than 80 years after its construction.
One other C17 class locomotive, Number 967, is waiting to make its return after a titanic effort to bring it back to working order in the Rattler Railway Company workshop. The Welcome Back Run C17 No. 967 will take place on 31 August 2019. This historic event must not be missed. Click here for more information.
With the Rattler back in operation since 2018, its services have never been better. To give you a taste of what’s on offer, book yourself into The DeguSTATION Train on Thursday 8 August.
Enjoy the culinary delights served up by local chefs Matt Golinski, Mark Johnson and James Barnden who will create your 5-course degustation journey served at the heritage stations of Amamoor, Dagun and Gympie aboard the Rattler steam train as you journey through the gorgeous Mary Valley.
The event will exhibit the splendours of our local produce as local volunteers serve and share stories of the region and the Mary Valley Rattler line.
The Mary Valley Rattler benefits greatly from the hard work of its passionate volunteers. If you would like to join this exciting enterprise steeped in Queensland history, take a look at what volunteer opportunities they have on offer.
See what’s on offer in the Mary Valley Rattler’s upcoming events.