HISTORIC BRIDGE: Mary Valley Rattler Deep Creek bridge in Gympie.
HISTORIC BRIDGE: Mary Valley Rattler Deep Creek bridge in Gympie.

'No replacements' for Rattler rail bridges

WORK on the restoration of the Rattler Railway's historic bridges will be starting soon, with none needing total replacement.

With the countdown on for the train's advertised relaunch on December 2, Rattler Revitalisation Project co-ordinator Heather Kelly said work could not start until they had received necessary accreditation from the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator.

Mrs Kelly said there were extremely stringent requirements that had to be met before any work could start.

"ONRSR is now very particular about what we can do because they don't want to risk... having a repeat of what happened with Mary Valley Heritage Rail," she said.

Work on all bridges is expected to begin within the next few weeks, with contingency plans in place to mitigate the chance of unexpected surprises.

"The chances of having surprises or delays because 'oh, hang on a minute we didn't know about that' is insignificant because everything has been thought through," she said.

"No single structure needs total replacement.

"What we're looking at doing is replacing defective components in all the structures."

While more than 50 parts of the Deep Creek Bridge have been condemned, the bridge's overall size meant it was on par with other parts of the track. "Deep Creek bridge has the same level of works required if you scaled it to any other structure," she said.

With no intent to repaint the bridge to keep the Rattler heritage, any lead on the bridge from its construction should not be an issue. She said there was daily communication between the council and CR Rail on ensuring the projects delivery in time.

"I have a budget and a time frame and I have people asking me questions almost on a daily basis. We are still confident for a December delivery.

"Some people are asking how come the budget grew, it's because we hadn't been down (underwater) to have a look before. That was all done before we awarded the contract," she said.

She said there had been extensive discussion about the project and its budget.

"Now we know what we're dealing with, this is probably what's going to happen. Do we still want to go forward? That was the conversation we had before committing any funds."