LOOKING for an escape close to home? Prepare to join the famous Mary Valley Rattler heritage steam train – and you can bring your pooch with you for a day out.
The Rattler operates a range of services from Gympie Station to Amamoor in the Mary Valley. The three-hour journeys capture the beauty and history of the rich agricultural – and former gold mining – region from the comfort of beautifully restored heritage carriages.
Access is available for everyone with special facilities for wheelchair and other assisted-access passengers, and now the new “Pets On Board” service means passengers can share the experience with their favourite furry friend.
The service was launched with one of the Sunshine Coast’s most special dogs on board – Bear, an Australian Koolie or herding dog. He is part of the team at the Detection Dogs for Conservation Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast and has been trained to detect live koalas through the scent of their fur.
Recognising that dogs are playing an increasingly important role in the lives of humans, the Rattler has configured a carriage with two segregated booths that can accommodate up to six people each, with up to two pets per booth from the same family.
“Pets for many people are part of the family and they would like to travel and share the experience with their favourite pets,” Mary Valley Rattler general manager Michael Green said.
“We have had many requests from passengers who would like to bring their dogs. Naturally we’ve allowed passengers with Guide Dogs to travel on the Rattler and everyone has been supportive, so extending the opportunity to other passengers to bring along a well-behaved pet was a logical evolution.”
It is part of the philosophy of making the Rattler available to everyone in the community. An all-access carriage specially designed to facilitate wheelchair passengers was introduced last month.
“We believe our pet-friendly facilities will also encourage greater inclusion and participation,” Mr Green said.
Pets can travel on board the Rattler on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Visit maryvalleyrattler.com.au