The Mary Valley Rattler’s $549,000 loss in its first year on the track has left people with a lot of questions.
The Mary Valley Rattler’s $549,000 loss in its first year on the track has left people with a lot of questions.

Opinion divided over Rattler after huge loss revealed

CAN Gympie afford the Rattler?

This is the question on many reader’s lips following this week’s revelation the train’s first year on the track ended with a $549,000 loss.

This was despite generating $3 million of income through ticket and retail sales and grants.

For some readers the train seems headed down a track many feared it would.

“I feel like I said this would happen; in a few years they will pull the pin on it,” Bianca Rose said.

“They f----- it up from the start … they should have listened to what the public wanted.”

Dymond Cherry had similar thoughts.

Some readers said they feared it would be a financial black hole when its return was first suggested.
Some readers said they feared it would be a financial black hole when its return was first suggested.

“The public knew that it was a waste of money,” he said.

“Did they not learn from it the first time?”

Readers like Roj Blake maintained the tourist icon would be a boon for the region in the right hands.

“It’s a great asset for the area and if advertised well it will bring in plenty of tourists,” he said.

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“Steam trains are a rare attraction … combine this with other attractions and accommodation and it will bring a lot of people and money to the area.”

For other readers the question was why there were few answers to so many questions.

Leslie Hanson asked why it was “in the red when it is run by volunteers. Where does all the ticket money go?”

Tim Stephens queried staff costs?

“The average wage is over $60k a year?”

Vallother readers questioned where exactly the $1.45 million employee benefits bill was going.
Vallother readers questioned where exactly the $1.45 million employee benefits bill was going.

Renita Henry-May said this wage bill left some wanting.

“$1.45 million on employee benefits and still the drivers don’t get paid,” she said.

“What a joke.”

And many more were drawn back to an issue that has plagued the Rattler since it returned: cost.

“I know I should appreciate the train is meant to be about history, heritage and tourism but …$118 for hubby and I to go on a 3 hour train ride, or $76 for all day at Aussie world? (Fuel is $20 there and back so it’s still cheaper to travel),” Kerrie McKewin said.

And one reader summed up the unfortunate situation no doubt others hope will not come to pass.

“Be sad if it’s shut down, but if it’s costing that much and costing rate/taxpayers, I can very well understand,” Gerry Crase said.