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Show Patrons taking the train in 1974 (picture by David Verrier)

Rail Action Group President, Ben Johnston, announced today they would be taking the campaign for the Hobart Northern Suburbs Railway to the Royal Hobart Show, thanks to the
generous support of the Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania.

“Many Southern Tasmanians would have fond memories of taking the train to the Showgrounds and we hope that it won’t be long until a whole new generation of Tasmanians can experience this again” said Mr Johnston.

The Rail Action Group will have a booth in the Showcase Pavilion where show patrons are encouraged to come and sign a letter to the Premier showing their support for the Hobart’s
Northern Suburbs Rail project.

“Helping us spread the word and gather support for the Hobart Northern Suburbs Railway will be enthusiastic supporter and Rail Action Group Foundation Member Andrew Wilkie, Federal Member for Denison” said Mr Johnston. Mr Wilkie has identified the Hobart Northern Suburbs Railway as a key infrastructure priority for Denison.

The Rail Action Group’s Royal Hobart Show Campaign will be launched by Andrew Wilkie MP on Tuesday 23 October 2012, 11:15am at the Royal Hobart Showgrounds, Howard Road Gates.

The Hobart Northern Suburbs Rail Action Group was formed to facilitate the establishment of the Hobart Northern Suburbs Passenger Rail Service and the preservation of the rail corridor between Hobart and Brighton for rail services.

• Wilkie: Greens not fair dinkum

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, says the Tasmanian Greens are not fair dinkum about the restoration of passenger rail between Hobart and the northern suburbs.

Mr Wilkie said there is no sign the Labor-Green State Government included the project in its Infrastructure Australia bid that will shape federal road and rail funding to Tasmania for the rest of the decade.

``The Tasmanian Greens are all talk and no action on light rail,’’ Mr Wilkie said.  ``The party promises to bring back passenger trains, is in the balance of power and holds the sustainable transport ministry no less. But then it apparently goes into Cabinet and signs off on a wishlist to Infrastructure Australia that does not include the project.

``The Greens make much of the current review into the rail proposal. But remember this review is only needed because the State Government doesn’t want light rail and set the original study up to fail.

``And in any case the current review into the original study should have been finalised ages ago so the project could have been included in Tasmania’s Infrastructure Australia submission released on the weekend.

The estimated cost of the project – over $100m if indexation and contingency are factored in – meets the threshold limit for Infrastructure Australia.

``I’ve been championing the Hobart Northern Suburbs Railway in Canberra since the 2010 federal election negotiations to form government but the Federal Government is hardly going to hand over funding for something the State Government has shown it does not want.

``This Infrastructure Australia bid is like the Labor-Green State Government shining a giant red stop light to Canberra on light rail.’’

Mr Wilkie will launch the Hobart Northern Suburbs Rail Action Group’s campaign at the Hobart Showground.  He will be at the booth in the Showcase Pavilion from Thursday to Saturday helping the action group demonstrate the enormous public support for light rail.

First published: 2012-10-22 03:40 AM

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From left Alderman Kristie Johnston, Greens candidate for Denison Anna Reynolds and Ben Johnston from the Northern Suburbs Rail Action Group

• Anna Reynolds, Greens candidate for Denison: Time to choose – Railway or Highway

Hobart is at a crossroads. We can choose to either develop the Northern Suburbs Light Rail or upgrade the Brooker Highway - but both are not possible, according to Anna Reynolds, Greens candidate for Denison.

“In tough economic times we will only be able to propose one major transport project for the next round of Infrastructure Australia funding, not two. The Federal and State ALP seem fixated on upgrading the Brooker Highway. With a price tag of more than $200 million, it’s a big ask, ” said Mr Reynolds.

“We know that the Northern Suburbs Light Rail can be developed for half the cost. It’s a much better option for development.”

“It is time for all decision-makers in Hobart to make a stand about which project they will back - more of the same with the Brooker Highway upgrade, or the Northern Suburbs Light Rail.”

“As candidate for Denison I will work for the rail option. I think the Brooker proposal is a short-sighted waste of money, that misses the opportunity to transform Hobart with public transport.“

“All candidates for Denison need to be very clear about which option they will push for. I think Hobartians will be more inspired by a new light rail project than more roadworks for an old highway,” said Ms Reynolds.

Anna Reynolds will be at the Rail Action Group’s Royal Hobart Show stall on Wednesday and Thursday

Anna Reynolds
Greens Candidate for Denison
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