The future is looking bright for one of Queensland’s most-loved tourism attractions, with the steam and diesel engines of the Mary Valley Rattler again chugging its way through some of the Sunshine Coast hinterland’s most picturesque countryside.

After many years of extensive upgrades to existing track work and improvements to its fleet of historic steam and diesel locomotives and carriages – each with their own unique story – the heritage railway experience has been relaunched after an almost seven-year hiatus. At its peak, the Valley Rattler, as it was then known, played host to upwards of 30,000 passengers annually.

Morning and afternoon services on the Mary Valley Rattler will now run three days per week on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays for a return journey from the historic Gympie or Amamoor stations via Dagun. Reputed to be one of the largest timber railway buildings owned by Queensland Rail during the 20th Century, the historic Gympie station is the headquarters of the Mary Valley Rattler and arguably one of the most stylish and elaborate in the context of timber railway architecture.

Dotted with quaint country villages and known for its high-quality produce, the Mary Valley is a patchwork of grazing properties, dairies, small produce farms, rainforests and endless rolling hills. Mary Valley is home to descendants of the original pioneers of the area and with a half hour stop at the beautifully restored stations at Amamoor and Dagun, the Mary Valley Rattler is an ideal way to experience the laidback welcome atmosphere of rural living at its best. Best known for the annual music Muster held nearby, Amamoor is a delightful village bordered by a verdant forest reserve home to more than 120 species of bird, waterfalls and great waterholes to cool off on hot days, also look out for the elusive platypus that are often seen in the waterways.

It is at the Amamoor station, in a fascinating process reminiscent of a bygone era, where the locomotive engines are turned on a restored turntable for the return trip to Gympie.

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