Visitor Maree Fischer received a special surprise after she became the Australian Sugar Cane Railway’s 750,000th passenger at the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens during the Christmas break.
The Alton Downs local was gifted a keyring and chocolates by the volunteer team to mark the occasion.
The society officially commenced running trains, including three steam engines and a diesel, through the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens on 20 November 1988.
During the past 34 years the organisation has passed many milestones and also faced many challenges, including fighting back after suffering massive damage in the floods of 2013.
Bundaberg Steamtrain Preservation Society president Wendy Driver and her husband and secretary Ross have been the faces behind this Bundaberg icon since day one.
Wendy said marking the 750,000th passenger milestone was a wonderful achievement.
“It is marvellous,” she said
“I was there on the first day in 1988 and somebody said that we should count the passengers.
“Since then we have done exactly that for each trip.
“In 2022 we carried 34,000 passengers, which is the biggest year we have ever had.”
About the Australian Sugar Cane Railway
The Australian Sugar Cane Railway is a working museum dedicated to operating, restoring and showcasing the history of sugar cane railways and is located inside the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens.
All of the organisation's locomotives worked in the cane fields and mills around the region, with two built locally at the Bundaberg Foundry in 1952.
ASCR is entirely maintained and operated by dedicated team of volunteer rail safety workers who are all members of the non-profit Bundaberg Steam Tramway Preservation Society (BSTPS).
Wendy said it was due to the support of the community that had allowed the organisation to continue to operate the trains.
“Thank you to the community of Bundaberg,” she said.
“While they keep riding on these wonderful trains we are able to keep them in operation through ticket sales.”
Trains run inside the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens on most Sundays and Wednesdays.
Find out more here.