FULL STEAM AHEAD: SDSR president Peter Gilbert with Member for Southern Downs James Lister to celebrate funding boost. Picture: contributed
FULL STEAM AHEAD: SDSR president Peter Gilbert with Member for Southern Downs James Lister to celebrate funding boost. Picture: contributed

BACK ON TRACK: Steam railway receives lifesaving funding

THE Southern Downs Steam Railway's desperate prayers for crucial funding have been answered, with the LNP promising a huge cash injection for the group if elected.

At the group's AGM this morning, Member for the Southern Downs James Lister announced he would donate $100,000 to the SDSR if the LNP is voted into government in the state election in October.

Mr Lister said the six-figure grant would go toward an additional steam engine for restoration, and hoped the additional $5,000 his office donated to the group today would help them keep their doors open.

"An extra steam engine will help SDSR to achieve extra reliability of service and better manage its maintenance," Mr Lister said.

"An extra engine will also help SDSR to serve new destinations and provide a better experience for visitors to the Southern Downs.

"SDSR's volunteers work very hard to provide a unique experience for visitors, which is great for the economy of our region - and they deserve support."

Forced to cancel almost all of their 2020 trips due to the pandemic, the massive Warwick tourist attraction launched a GoFundMe earlier this week in a last-ditch attempt to keep chugging along.

SDSR secretary and treasurer Kelvin Hutchinson said the financial backing from the LNP only reinforced the support from the community, which saw hundreds of dollars already raised.

"It's such a major tourist attraction for the southern Darling Downs and Warwick, and it's such a shame seeing people not being able to travel on it, but we have to think about safety first," Mr Hutchinson said.

"We help so many businesses indirectly - hotels, service stations, cafes, bus companies, advertising and marketing companies, even engineering, so it's a huge impact when we aren't operating.

"We're all in it together, we're all good business partners, and it is a great community - we support one another, and for that we're very appreciative."

Mr Lister's donation sees him join existing patrons Member for Maranoa David Littleproud and Goondiwindi Mayor Lawrence Springborg.

 

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