New General Manager appointed at Mary Valley Rattler

The Mary Valley Rattler Railway Company is delighted to announce today it has appointed a new General Manager, David Thompson, to oversee operations at the popular Gympie-based tourism attraction.

Mary Valley Rattler Chairman Ian McNicol said Mr Thompson, formerly the long-time General Manager at the Sunshine Coast’s Aussie World theme park one hour south of the heritage rail experience, will start in the role on Monday 4th of March 2019.

“After an extensive search, we are thrilled to be able to share with you the news that David Thompson is coming on board as the General Manager of the Mary Valley Rattler,” Mr McNicol said.

“David is clearly a ‘people’ person, having a long history working in the tourism and hospitality sectors and there’s no doubt he’s the right person to lead our large team of personnel at the Rattler, most of whom are volunteers.”

“He brings with him not only a wealth of experience in managing this kind of attraction and growing visitor numbers, but an extensive knowledge of Health and Safety, one of the foundations the Rattler’s return to regular service has been built on.

The Mary Valley Rattler reopened in early October 2018, after an almost seven-year hiatus to allow for significant upgrades to century-old trackwork and infrastructure, and now boasts services five days a week, along with a schedule of Twilight and Special Event Trains running on special occasions like Christmas, Australia Day and Easter.

Mr McNicol said Mr Thompson’s imminent start in the role follows on from a bumper summer holiday season which saw many of the Rattler services filled to capacity.

“The Rattler is enjoying a real renaissance of sorts, with services showcasing the different locomotives in our fleet running every day from Wednesday through to Sunday,” Mr McNicol said.

“We recently launched the Rattler Picnic Train which is a lovely laid back 3-hour return trip to Amamoor aboard the Red Rocket and are seeing strong visitation on the Classic Rattler Run which heads out on a return trip to Amamoor three days a week as well as growing interest in the Rattler Retro Fridays half hour trip to Monkland, with breakfast or lunch included in the ticket price.

“Our headquarters at historic Gympie Station on Tozer Street, which is one of the best examples of timber railway architecture in Queensland, are also home to a gift shop, historical display and the Platform No. 1 café which has been used as a wedding venue and function space.

“David has demonstrated experience in many facets of hospitality and retail management so we’re very much looking forward to seeing what he does with these spaces, which have all been refurbished to a high spec and part of our really unique offering.”

Mr Thompson said he was delighted to accept the new role and relished the challenge of taking the newly relaunched tourism attraction to the next level.

“I look forward to continuing the great work already done in the past few months since the beginning of operations by the Rattler team, to ensure the Mary Valley Rattler is a major economic driver for the Gympie region.”

The news of Mr Thompson’s appointment has been welcomed by Simon Latchford, CEO of Visit Sunshine Coast, who said the return last year of the Mary Valley Rattler was a massive boost for the region’s tourism industry.

“The Mary Valley Rattler is one of the region’s peak attractions, and the combination of the romance of steam trains, beautiful countryside, historic villages, adventure activities and high-class food and accommodation really adds to the diversity of the Sunshine Coast’s tourism offer,” Mr Latchford said.

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.

The valley is home to descendants of the original pioneers of the area and with an hour long stop at the charming township of Amamoor, 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’s 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.

Restroom facilities and refreshments are available at all stops.

A ride on the Mary Valley Rattler’s Classic Rattler Run is a fun, half day adventure suitable for the whole family just an hour’s drive north from the Sunshine Coast airport and less than two hours from Brisbane.

It’s a magical trip into living history and one visitors will want to take again and again.

For more information, ticket purchases and departure times visit or call the Mary Valley Rattler on 07 5482 2750.

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