Glenreagh rail lines up tourism potential
FULL steam ahead was the motto for the first public running of the Glenreagh Mountain Railway steam engine on Saturday.
Several thousand people turned up to see the 92-yearold steam engine chug its way along the new track and to the newly completed platform.
Compere and station master for the day, Artie Seewald, said it was a wonderful time out for families, to not only see the train steam its way along the line, but to experience the ride of the steam engine for themselves.
"It was fantastic to see all the people turn up. We had thousands there and at one stage the queue to ride the train was over 100 metres long," he said.
"This railway has been rebuilt with the help of a lot of good people, many retired railwaymen from Grafton. Many volunteers have helped us and we are continuing to upgrade as we speak, taking the railway through the tunnels right up to Timber Top."
Jenny Massie, from the Clarence River Tourist Association, said the Glenreagh Mountain Railway had the potential to attract visitors from all over the world, those who were not only interested in railways.
"From a tourism point of view we support the Glenreagh Mountain Railway project because rail is a growing niche market of tourism. It has great potential to attract both domestic and international visitors who are not only interested in rail, but history as well, and want that whole nostalgia experience (of riding on a steam engine). The Glenreagh Mountain Railway can certainly do that," she said.