IT LIVES: The Mary Valley Rattler will be back - and not all that far down the track.
IT LIVES: The Mary Valley Rattler will be back - and not all that far down the track. Alana Denton

Rattler will run and it will be before Christmas

MARY Valley Rattler chief Peter Blashki yesterday committed his organisation to getting the iconic Gympie steam train back on the rails in just under seven months.

"December 2," he said.

"That's what we're aiming at," he said.

"That's opening day."

And although that might still seem a fair way down the track, Mr Blashki says there is a huge job to be done, and not just by the Rattler Railway Company.

Gympie Regional Council has a lot of work in front of it too and volunteers are needed more than ever, he said.

"The track, rolling stock and buildings are being restored by the council with $7 million from the state government and $3.8 million from the council.

"What we've got to do at the Rattler company is set up a business.

"We have to bring the volunteers on board, we have to ensure they are looked after and that they work in safe places.

"And we have to satisfy the requirements of the Rail Regulator, which have a lot to do with safety.

"They provide a lot of assistance to tourist and heritage railways and we're subject to the same regulations.

"From here on in everything is critical, with deadlines scheduled to bring all the elements together when they are needed, so the whole thing can rattle down the track on opening day.

"Everything from ticket design and creating a booking system to designing the passenger experience and preparing the

narrative, the story we tell passengers about Gympie and the Mary Valley during the trip.

"The food experience is another thing and we're working with the Gympie Gold program to showcase food from the Mary Valley, including at the restaurant at Old Gympie Station.

"It's not just a train ride, but an experience of life here and a story we need to tell visitors," he said.