The council is pitching in $300,000 every year towards the Rattler’s track repairs over the next decade.
The council is pitching in $300,000 every year towards the Rattler’s track repairs over the next decade.

Council to spend at least $3M more on the Rattler

AT least $3 million more is being pumped into the Rattler by Gympie Council over the next decade for track repair, a council report revealed.

Under a lease agreement between the Rattler Railway Company council, more than $300,000 will be paid to the RRC for maintenance support every year.

The council was originally expected to make a “significant capital contribution” in 2028 as part of a review of maintenance and sleeper requirements.

The Rattler’s fire catcher Gertie.
The Rattler’s fire catcher Gertie.

But with the train now running and the RRC having a “far higher understanding” of the repair requirements, it was agreed the maintenance program could be met by an annualnaul payment instead.

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The details were revealed after a report tabled in committee at last week’s meeting was made publicly available by the council.

The item was a request to vary the RRC’s leases for assets and infrastructure to reflect the annual payment arrangement.

All but two councillors – Glen Hartwig and Hilary Smerdon – voted to amend the leases.

Mayor Mick Curran said the payments ensured the Rattler met the safety requirements on the award-winning train.

The Rattler has claimed awards, but some councils still have concerns about the long-term viability of the venture.
The Rattler has claimed awards, but some councils still have concerns about the long-term viability of the venture.

“It also disproves the ridiculous public statements made by some that the Rattler’s going to cost us millions of dollars per year, ongoing, and be a chain around Gympie regional council’s next forever.”

Mr Curran said the ongoing cost to council was far less than that of other services the council provided.

However Dan Stewart said a closer look needed to be taken at the train further down the track.

“When other councillors celebrated the government giving us the rail and other assets I warned at the time there would be a cost,” Mr Stewart said on his Dan 4 Gympie Facebook page.

“My policy is that after three years of operation (October 2021) we need to do a thorough review of the Rattler to decide whether it could be run better and how, or whether it should cease.”