The Tasmanian Greens today said time was running out for the Infrastructure and Tourism Ministers to start discussions with heritage rail operators and Tasrail over rail tourism opportunities along the Brighton-to-Hobart rail link.

Greens Infrastructure spokesperson Tim Morris MP said the line would become disused within 12 months when Tasrail shifts its operations to Brighton, and that heritage rail operators were keen to explore opportunities to develop rail tourism.

“Within 12 months the line will become disused when TasRail shifts to the Brighton transport hub, so time is running to start thinking about future rail tourism opportunities,” Mr Morris said.

“The locos and the tracks are ready to go, and what’s now needed is for both Ministers to start a discussion with heritage rail operators and TasRail over access to the line.”

“Among other attractions, the line runs right past MONA, so there’s no doubt that a market exists for a tourist rail service.”

“The arrival of a group of heritage rail enthusiasts from the United Kingdom in Tasmania this week is another reminder of the potential value of rail tourism to our economy.”

“The Minister needs to get serious and decide whether or not heritage rail tourism is a viable option, or whether these engines will remain as static museum displays, or worse, they get sold overseas.”

“Heritage rail operators around the state remain frustrated that they are prevented from using Tasrail’s tracks because of hefty insurance premiums associated with the condition of the lines.”

“Given the recent upgrades made to the rail network across the state, there’s now a fresh opportunity to look at the potential in providing heritage rail operators access to the main line.”