SLOW TRAIN RUNNING: The price tag of the rebuild of the original Rattler locomotive has gone up another $565,000, and the leased locomotive (pictured) will run until mid-2019.
SLOW TRAIN RUNNING: The price tag of the rebuild of the original Rattler locomotive has gone up another $565,000, and the leased locomotive (pictured) will run until mid-2019. Renee Albrecht

Rattler engine budget blows out yet again

THE effort to return the original Rattler locomotive to the tracks has ballooned another $565,000, bringing the total spend on the engine itself to $2.15 million.

It is the second blowout for the train restoration, which was originally funded to the tune of $1.2 million in February last year.

Mayor Mick Curran said this latest increase was not a case of the council throwing more money at the project though.

"It's not new money, it's a reallocation of money that was already funded,” the Mayor said.

READ MORE ON THE RATTLER LOCOMOTIVE

The increase adds another layer to the Rattler's cost explosion, bringing the project from a $10.8 million original budget to an $18 million price tag.

This does not include a $1.1 million loan to the Rattler Railway Company as a result of the delays.

Rattler's First Run - Saturday, October 6, 2018.
Rattler's First Run - Saturday, October 6, 2018. Donna Jones

A Rattler Railway Company spokeswoman said the original engine is now 75 per cent complete, with the new costs needed to "complete intricate steam pipe work and replace the wheels and steel tyres, which inspection revealed were cracked”.

The work is expected to be finished mid-2019, when it will replace the engine leased from Queensland Rail.

"This will represent a significant ongoing saving to the business over the long term,” she said.

Gympie Regional Council yesterday approved the extra funding by a vote of 6-3, with Crs Bob Fredman, Hilary Smerdon and Glen Hartwig voting against.