Rattler GM David Thompson
Rattler GM David Thompson

From theme park to Gympie - Rattler appoints new manager

THE Mary Valley Rattler Railway Company new general manager David Thompson.

Mary Valley Rattler chairman Ian McNicol said Mr Thompson, formerly the long-time general manager of the Sunshine Coast's Aussie World theme park starts in his role on March 4.

"David is clearly a 'people' person, having a long history working in the tourism and hospitality sectors and there's no doubt he's the right person to lead our large team of personnel at the Rattler, most of whom are volunteers," Mr McNichol said.

"He brings with him not only a wealth of experience in managing this kind of attraction and growing visitor numbers, but an extensive knowledge of Health and Safety, one of the foundations the Rattler's return to regular service has been built on."

The Mary Valley Rattler reopened in early October 2018, after an almost seven-year hiatus to allow for

significant upgrades to century-old trackwork and infrastructure, and now provides services five days a week, along with a schedule of Twilight and Special Event Trains running on special occasions like Christmas, Australia Day and Easter.

Mr McNicol said Mr Thompson's imminent start in the role followed on from "a bumper summer holiday season which saw many of the Rattler services filled to capacity".

"The Rattler is enjoying a real renaissance of sorts, with services showcasing the different locomotives in our fleet running every day from Wednesday through to Sunday," he said.

"We recently launched the Rattler Picnic Train which is a lovely laid back three-hour return trip to Amamoor aboard the Red Rocket and are seeing strong visitation on the Classic Rattler Run which heads out on a return trip to Amamoor three days a week as well as growing interest in the Rattler Retro Fridays half-hour trip to Monkland, with breakfast or lunch included in the ticket price.

"Our headquarters at historic Gympie Station on Tozer Street, which is one of the best examples of timber railway architecture in Queensland, are also home to a gift shop, historical display and the Platform No. 1 café which has been used as a wedding venue and function space.

"David has demonstrated experience in many facets of hospitality and retail management so we're very much looking forward to seeing what he does with these spaces, which have all been refurbished to a high spec and part of our really unique offering."

Mr Thompson said he was delighted to accept the new role and relished the challenge of taking the newly relaunched tourism attraction to the next level.

"I look forward to continuing the great work already done in the past few months since the beginning of operations by the Rattler team, to ensure the Mary Valley Rattler is a major economic driver for the Gympie region."

The news of Mr Thompson's appointment has been welcomed by Simon Latchford, CEO of Visit Sunshine Coast, who said the return last year of the Mary Valley Rattler was a massive boost for the region's tourism industry.

"The Mary Valley Rattler is one of the region's peak attractions, and the combination of the romance of steam trains, beautiful countryside, historic villages, adventure activities and high-class food and accommodation really adds to the diversity of the Sunshine Coast's tourism offer," Mr Latchford said.