Frank Lightfoot protesting in Mary St yesterday over the alleged destruction of a train loaned to the Rattler in 1998.
Frank Lightfoot protesting in Mary St yesterday over the alleged destruction of a train loaned to the Rattler in 1998. Troy Jegers

Fight over destroyed Rattler train spills into Gympie CBD

THE ongoing fight over an historical train loaned to the Mary Valley Rattler in 1998 spilled into the CBD yesterday.

Gympie District and Historical Society president Frank Lightfoot took to Mary St to protest for compensation over the condition of a train used when the Rattler first opened.

He said a lease between the GDHS and Mary Valley Heritage Rail required the train to be kept in the working condition it was leased under.

The train is now considered to be only good scrap.

The C17 No 45 locomotive engine running as the Mary Valley Rattler.
The C17 No 45 locomotive engine running as the Mary Valley Rattler. David Crossley

The 1998 lease was not the only sticking point for Mr Lightfoot.

A 2014 contract between the Rattler Railway Company, Mary Valley Community Holdings and MVHR included the 1998 GDHS lease in the list of items being transferred to the MVCH. Mr Lightfoot refuted the transfer's legitimacy, as the 1998 deal included a clause which required GDHS's written consent before any transfer could happen.

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"We have never given permission to assign the lease,” he said. "They never asked.”

He said the goal was not to get a working train back, but to reach an "ethical settlement” for the years of work it took to get the engine running.

A council spokeswoman said last week they were offering to help all parties reach a solution.

rattler
The train steams over Deep Creek bridge. David Crossley

"The matter is complex as it spans over a 20 year period, involves legal and court action and numerous parties including the Gympie District Historical Society, Mary Valley Heritage Railway Association, the RRC, and council as well as a limited number of other stakeholders,” she said.

"Also it should be noted that GDHS are a lessee of Gympie Regional Council. Due to this complexity, Gympie Regional Council will offer to facilitate via an independent facilitator, a process to assist all parties to reach a conclusion.”

She said the GDHS has been invited to take the C17 No. 45 many times and had declined.

"The C17 No. 45 will continue to be stored for GDHS, at no cost.” Neither the council nor RRC could comment on any legal issues between GDHS and MVHR. Attempts have been made to contact the MVHR.