EXCITING TIMES: A crowd gathered as the ‘Proud Mary’ was lifted onto the tracks at Imbil Rail Park. Picture: Bob Fredman
EXCITING TIMES: A crowd gathered as the ‘Proud Mary’ was lifted onto the tracks at Imbil Rail Park. Picture: Bob Fredman

History made as ‘Proud Mary’ moves to new home in Imbil park

History was made during the week when the Proud Mary steam train was moved from the Gympie Station to the Rail Park in Imbil.

The moment the train was lifted on to the tracks by a crane marked a special moment for the town, with the hopes it will become another tourist attraction for the Mary Valley.

Division 8 Councillor Bob Fredman first brought the idea to the Mary Valley Chamber of Commerce a year ago, after he accepted a live train would never come back to Imbil.

“They were very strong in their support for the concept so I met with the general manager of the Rattler, he took it on board, then a local group was formed in Imbil and they've taken it from there,” Mr Fredman said.

“I think it's a very valuable project for the Mary Valley.”

ON THE MOVE: The ‘Proud Mary’ headed off from Gympie to its new home in Imbil. Picture: Bob Fredman
ON THE MOVE: The ‘Proud Mary’ headed off from Gympie to its new home in Imbil. Picture: Bob Fredman

Becoming another attraction in the Mary Valley, Mr Fredman believes the Proud Mary will add to what the area has to offer and the already increasing number of tourists.

“I was there this morning and it's quite amazing the number of people who are in town, mostly visitors,” he said.

“My belief as a councillor is that the more visitors we get the more viable the local businesses are and that will lead to a better lifestyle for all the people who live there.”

Mr Fredman said he had the team of volunteers and Jimmy Budgen to thank for making it all happen.

“He was the project coordinator, he got all the people together because you need a crane company, a trucking company you needed people to do the preparation like the pruning of the trees, then you needed a sandblaster and painter,” he said.

“Jimmy pulled it all together and full marks to him.

“I think they’ve done a fantastic job.”

This isn’t the first time Mr Fredman has been involved in the moving of a historical train, as he was the co-ordinator of moving a steam train to the Gympie Mining Museum in 1983.

“That train was used to start Mary Valley Heritage Rail that started in 1998,” he said.

BACK IN TIME: Photograph from 1983 of the train being moved by Bob Fredman and his team. Picture: Bob Fredman
BACK IN TIME: Photograph from 1983 of the train being moved by Bob Fredman and his team. Picture: Bob Fredman

Mr Fredman also noted the special connection of a man who was involved in moving the train in 1983, being the father of the man who transported the Proud Mary on Saturday.

“Two generations ... It’s lovely to see,” he said.

There will be an official welcome of the train today (Saturday) involving everyone who helped make the project happen.

MORE GYMPIE NEWS:

BREAKING: Chopper on way to Rainbow after horror crash

Energex warns of scammers targeting homes in SEQ

WINNER: Gympie’s best groomed pooch revealed