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'Sabotage' derails Big Pineapple opening

'Sabotage' derails Big Pineapple opening

Sun June 17, 2012 6:49pm

BIG Pineapple visitors suffered a big letdown yesterday after a train track at the tourism icon was tampered with ahead of the sugar cane train's long-awaited return.

Nambour CIB, forensic officers and local police are investigating the "deliberate act of sabotage’’ after the theme park’s management discovered a non-petroleum based oil had been applied to the track at the critical point below the steepest gradient. 

The 2.4km track takes up to 60 passengers on a 15-minute journey past a rainforest and 100-year-old bamboo plantation before making its way to the animal farm.

General Manager Brendan Weatherill said the damage was detected during a routine check at 8.30am.

"We did a section lap checking the track then we took the train around,’’ he said.

"We check the bolts and for cracks in the track. We’re not looking for someone to have laid grease.

"When we took the train up the first hill we realised something wasn’t right when we started to slide and slip backwards.

"We thought it might have just been the dew but when we tried it again, we realised the track had been tampered with a greasy substance which turned out to be a non-petroleum based oil.’’

The combination of grease and non-petroleum based oil causes slipping and the train could have potentially derailed.

Police interviewed a person of interest on Saturday but no one was charged.

"Someone knew exactly what to do to make this train not go up,’’ Mr Weatherill said.

"One person could have acted alone but you’d have to know what you were doing.’’

The discovery came less than an hour before excited passengers were about to board the amusement train for the first time in two years.

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