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Imbil and the Mary Valley Rattler
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 11 March 2005

Remember long ago when we normally travelled on a steam powered train, hanging out the windows, getting coal ash in the eyes and coal dust over our clothes. Mother complaining that we were getting too dirty just sitting on the seats of the creaking carriage.

Construction on the Mary Valley Rail line between Gympie and Imbil commenced in 1911 with the aim of developing the district's budding agriculture and timber industries.    Four long years later, on 29 April, 1915, the completion of the line was celebrated at a time when Gallipoli was in the minds of most Australians.    That day, no fewer than three special trains worked up to the new railhead, where some 2000 people witnessed the opening ceremony.     Not everything ran smoothly - all three of the special trains that ran experienced slips and stalls on some of the lines steep gradients!

Photo left:   Steam Train 45 at
the Imbil Rail Station

Well in the late 1960's, the Gympie-Imbil No. 45, a C17 class steam locomotive built in 1923 was and long since retired from service, placed in a local park as playground equipment.   It remained there for nearly 20 years until members of the Gympie Apex Club gained permission to remove it to the Gympie Gold Mining Museum.    The Club then refurbished it as a static display.     A group of steam enthusiasts later began restoring the engine with the dream that No. 45 could once again travel the Mary Valley Line.

After years of planning and many many manhours by a team of hardworking and dedicated volunteers, 'The Valley Rattler' Heritage Attraction was officially opened by the Premier of Queensland Hon Rob Borbidge on Saturday May 23, 1998.

Photo right:   Carriages on train 45 at
the Imbil Rail Station

Tourists can now 'Ride the Valley Rattler' to Imbil, disembark at one of the fully restored and landscaped stations to enjoy the Mary Valley countryside and hospitality.   Trips feature steam or diesel locomotives or the restored Rolls Royce railmotors.   Proving to be ideal for special private functions - weddings, business, etc, the steam train and railmotors are available for charters.

Photo left:   Imbil Hotel
Photo above:  Imbil Railway Station

On arriving at Imbil on a Sunday make yourself a special treat and visit the Imbil hotel for a great lunch on the top deck.

Photo above:

Even the daily entertainment is provided at the
Sunday session for the drink and beer consultants.   

Photo Left:

Train on the turntable preparing for
the return journey.

Photo below:

Passengers embarking for the return
trip to Gympie via Ammamoor and Kandanga. 

It is potentially the major tourist attraction for the Cooloola Region and will create, in turn, direct employment and numerous opportunities within the community.

Last Updated ( Friday, 01 September 2006 )
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