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After a milestone year that saw them secure millions of dollars in key funding, staff at Kalgoorlie-Boulder's historic Golden Mile Loopline Railway are confident they will be up and running by the end of 2016.
While most people enjoyed a well-earned break over Christmas, the railway's staff members were hard at work, tearing up more than a kilometre of old track.
With temperatures soaring to 43 degrees Celsius and total fire bans in place, staff had to use old-fashioned levers and bars to pry up the track by hand.
"It was pretty full on, over the four days I think we drank about 60 litres of water all up," team leader Matthew Cracknell said.
"But you come to work for a joint like this, and it's got to be all heart."
Key chance for jobs and trainingLeading a team of workers that includes permanent staff, volunteers, inmates on day release from Eastern Goldfields Regional Prison and Work for the Dole participants, there is plenty to keep Mr Cracknell busy.
Tasks ahead of his staff include mechanical and restoration work of the line's historic rolling stock, landscape work around the station building (museum) and platforms, and continuing preparations ahead of laying the new track.
Along with apprentice David Wolgar, Mr Cracknell secured his permanent position at the Loopline through the Work for the Dole program, a trend he hoped would continue as the project develops.
"They might not have all the skills immediately, but you give them a bit of space and an opportunity and they thrive," he said.
"It's definitely a worthwhile project, and everyone involved is working really hard."
Loopline General Manager Mike Lucas said the Work for the Dole involvement was part of the project that made him particularly proud.
"You have to pardon the pun, but it's nice to see some light at the end of the tunnel," Mr Lucas said.
"Some of these people have had it really tough, got involved as a participant and found they really like it.
"A lot of our people who have come through and been employed at the Loopline have gone onto bigger and better things, which is great to see."
[color=#000000][font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=1]PHOTO:[/size][/font][/color] Staff ripped up more than one kilometre of rail by hand over Christmas as temperatures soared above 43 degrees Celsius. (ABC Goldfields: Sam Tomlin)
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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