LIVING HISTORY: The rail motor stops off at Gulgong on its way to Coffs Harbour.
LIVING HISTORY: The rail motor stops off at Gulgong on its way to Coffs Harbour. Phil Smith

Tickets now on sale for the Rainforest Rattler rail tours

A PIECE OF railway history will spend two weeks on the Coffs Coast as an initiative between Lachlan Valley Railway and the Smoke On The Water Festival.

A vintage rail motor will arrive on Friday afternoon and give residents and holidaymakers the unique opportunity of taking a ride on what was once a vital piece of the nation's transport landscape.

Festival spokesperson Neil Manson said the rail motor pictured is the one coming to town.

"Phil Smith is one of the drivers and he took that photograph on Wednesday during a stopover at Gulgong," he said.

"You don't see them anymore except for visits like this but they were once a vital part of rail infrastructure.

"The rail motors were sometimes known as haycatchers and would leave Central and head out west, dropping of a carriage here and there along the way to service a spur line.

"Then, they would make the return journey and the cars would join up like a caterpillar as they headed back to the city."

One real rail enthusiast is Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser.

"I have taken my family on previous vintage train trips," he said.

"Even as long term locals we were amazed at the scenery and the achievements of the workers who a century ago dug the five tunnels of Red Hill by hand.

"There is something for everyone on these trips from beautiful beaches to the rainforest."

Trains will run until January 22 and feature the Red Hill tunnels and cross Bonville, Boambee and Coffs Creeks.

It will go over the highway bridge at Orlando Street with all locations are passed twice as shuttles leave and return to Coffs Harbour Railway Station.

Shuttles are approximately one hour each.

Tickets are expected to go online on Friday, with the rail motor's arrival in Coffs Harbour tomorrow.  

Travel times and booking information at rainforestrattler.com or trybooking.com



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