Mountain Railway on a steady track
IT might take years before the steam train is back on the tracks, according to David Page, secretary for the Glenreagh Mountain Railway, but he remains confident: “the organisation is financially sound”.
“We regularly receive phone calls from people who hear rumours we’re folding, but that’s far from the case,” said Mr Page.
“At this stage we are moving forward, mapping out plans and procedures.
“Our long-term plan is to get engine 1919 back on the line again” he said.
The tourist railway was forced to close in January 2008, after failing to renew safety accreditation. However, Mr Page said a working group continued to consult with all stakeholders, councils, members and government departments.
“We have held meetings with Coffs and Clarence Valley councils and we are developing a business and operational plan to help attract funding and support,” he said.
The committee has also met with the New South Wales regulator for Transport Safety, and on their advice, “We are moving ahead, taking small steps – getting all the basics in place.
“Personally, I’m feeling very confident that GMR has a bright future.”
Meanwhile, a special meeting is to be held at 11am on June 13 at the Glenreagh West Depot to discuss the sale of the “red rattler” and two of the unrestored U-boats.
“The red rattler is an old carriage and is no longer needed,” Mr Page said. “We have six U-boats and we are selling two as they are surplus to requirements.
“The meeting is just a formality.”
The volunteers are also being kept busy with a number of projects, including the restoration of a heritage-listed building at Lowanna.
The station at Lowanna was built in 1924 and the leaking roof had been a “major burden”, but a new roof has now been installed.
Mr Page suggested people interested in the progress of the GMR railway should go to www.gmr.org.au.