Corinne Mikkelsen and Peter Blashki Mary Valley Rattler in Gympie.
Corinne Mikkelsen and Peter Blashki Mary Valley Rattler in Gympie. Renee Albrecht

Rattler boss quits just months out from start date

RATTLER Railway Company general manager Peter Blashki has resigned his position just months out from the May relaunch of the $14.5 million Rattler project.

RRC vice-chairman Garry Davison said Mr Blashki "has decided to move on to other challenges".

While there was some speculation on social media this week that he was asked to quit, Mr Davison categorically denied any external pressure forcing the resignation.

"Mr Blashki has been a driving force in the set-up and establishment stage (of the Rattler project)," Mr Davison said.

"His main goal was to get everything up and running.

"He has a lot of expertise and that can be seen. His passion for the rail experience was always there.

"With this mammoth task now complete, Peter has decided to move on to other challenges.

"The board and the volunteers are very appreciative of the hard work that Peter has committed over the past two-and-a-half years and wish him all the best in his future endeavours."

The RRC board will meet early in the new year to discuss Mr Blashki's replacement.

Despite his departure, the RRC is adamant operations will start before the end of May.

"Our next stage is to ensure we have all in place to allow for accreditation for rail operations which will commence as soon as possible in the new year," Mr Davison said.

"The commencement of full operations to Amamoor is still planned for autumn with the board looking at all options including commencement of services with the Silver Bullet as soon as possible. With the focus redirecting to the operation phase of the rail business and its associated challenges, the Rattler Railway Company is now utilising the skills of personnel with specific rail operations experience to take us to the next stage."

In a positive sign, the Rattler station has opened to the public after refurbishment. Mr Davison said it was the first major step in the recommencement of rail operations.

Gympie Regional Council recently announced a further $2 million blowout to the project, the second in six months.

The Gympie Times has contacted Mr Blashki for comment.