Rattler on UK TV

World's Most Scenic Railway Journeys' Scott Preston with Gympie Mayor Glen Hartwig and RRC chair Ian McNicol.

The globally popular documentary series, the World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys, has filmed Gympie’s Mary Valley Rattler for inclusion in its latest series.

The fifth series will go to air in July on the UK’s Channel 5 with an audience of over 1.5 million viewers, and will then be released globally over the next year. SBS TV has previously broadcast the series in Australia.

Famed actor Bill Nighy narrates each episode as cameras follow trains travelling though some of the most scenic landscapes in the world. The stories of these iconic railways are told by those who travel on, work on and live beside them.

The film crew spent over two days filming the historic Rattler and the surrounding Gympie and Mary Valley region, including the village of Amamoor. They also went in pursuit of platypus, which are to be found in the Mary River.

The Mary Valley Rattler joins many of the world’s most famous rail journeys and was selected because of its rich history and the spectacular landscape the train traverses.

The program synopsis says: “It’s a chance to stop off and travel back in time. It was gold that brought the railways to Gympie, and the Mary Valley Rattler offers a chance to experience Queensland as it was in the pioneering days, as we join a train pulled by a 1920s C17 loco, No 967, one of 182 built in Queensland. It will pull us high into the Amamoor National Park where we’ll spend some time with one of Australia’s strangest beasts. The duck billed platypus – a mammal that lays eggs.”

Channel 5’s commissioning editor, Daniel Pearl, has described the series as “a beautiful and indulgent treat, taking our viewers to places of truly outstanding natural beauty.”

Volunteers of the Mary Valley Rattler shared their stories of the railway, and the film crew was given access to both the C17 steam train and the RM76 Railmotor which provided passenger services on the line from 1928. It is currently used for services such as the Rattler Tasting Train.

A special guest of honour at the filming was Gympie Regional Council Mayor Glen Hartwig who joined Rattler Railway Company chair, Ian McNicol, and the Rattler’s team and volunteers to show their support for the production.

Mr McNicol said that inclusion of the Mary Valley Rattler on such a popular program would provide tremendous promotion for the region.

“The UK market is renowned for their love of heritage railways and with international borders now open, and with greater confidence returning to international travel, showcasing the Mary Valley Rattler through this series will provide a great incentive for visitors to include Gympie on their Australian travel itineraries,” he said.

“Prior to Covid we had strong support from overseas markets, not just the UK, but also Europe and the Americas, which have deep connections to and affection for heritage train travel.

“We were fortunate to have beautiful weather for the filming, with the Mary Valley looking at its greenest and most attractive. It was also very pleasing to have Mayor Hartwig and our volunteers present during the filming.”

Full details of Mary Valley Rattler’s history, visit maryvalleyrattler.com.au/our-story/