Full steam ahead for iconic tourist attraction

Monday, 14 December 2015

Christmas has come early for the Bundaberg Steam Tramway Preservation Society, with Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt today announcing $20,000 to help make the local tourist attraction more resilient.

Mr Pitt said the rail track in the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens had flooded twice in the past two years, costing the not-for-profit group considerable time and money to repair.

“Since it was built in November 1988, the Australian Sugar Cane Railway has carried more than 500,000 locals and tourists,” Mr Pitt said.

“The Society is committed to keeping ticket prices low so that children of all ages can enjoy the Botanic Gardens and learn about locomotive and sugar history.

“This grant of $18,182 (plus GST), provided through the Coalition’s Stronger Communities Program, will go towards replacing the existing timber sleepers with concrete sleepers along the 2km line.

“I congratulate the Society on being able to contribute $40,000 through its own fundraising efforts. Donations made to the Society demonstrate how highly the local community values the Railway, and shows that the volunteers’ efforts are greatly appreciated.”

Bundaberg Steam Tramway Preservation Society President Wendy Driver OAM said replacing the sleepers would save volunteers from needing to undertake back-breaking repairs on the old timber sleepers.

“These upgrades will reduce the number of track maintenance closures, which will enable us to entertain and educate more families,” Mrs Driver said.

 “Our fleet consists of the 1914 steam locomotive ‘Old Germany’, and the 1911 English Fowler ‘Invicta’. We also have two cane trains: ‘No3’ Bundaberg Foundry 1952 and ‘No 1’ Bundaberg Foundry 1950. We operate every Sunday from 10am to 4pm, as well as Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the school holidays.”

 Through the Stronger Communities Program, eligible community groups can apply for grants of between $5000 and $20,000 for small capital projects. All applications need to commit at least matching funding or in-kind contributions. Each Federal Electorate is allocated $150,000 a year over two years. Applications for Round Two will open early in the New Year. For more information go to www.infrastructure.gov.au/SCP