• Labor would invest $3 million to restore and revitalise heritage rail projects
• By working collaboratively Tasmania can produce some unique rail experiences
• Labor would appoint a Tasmanian Rail Access Coordinator (TRAC)
A majority Labor Government will invest $3 million to fund rail infrastructure projects on existing dis-used lines across Tasmania.
Labor Leader Rebecca White said heritage rail has enormous potential if it’s backed by a government that values it.
“We recognise the tremendous potential for world-class heritage tourist rail experiences to operate across the State,” Ms White said.
“Labor will commit $3 million over five years to fund the establishment of tourist rail experiences.”
Shadow Transport Minister Craig Farrell said the $3 million would be available for infrastructure upgrades, rolling stock restoration, compliance and training and general equipment purchasing.
“Labor is committing a significant amount of money to help heritage rail projects succeed,” Mr Farrell said.
“And we will act within the first six months to appoint a Tasmanian Rail Access Coordinator (TRAC) and Stakeholder Board, to work with the sector to identify the way forward to recommence operations.
“Funding will be issued on a business plan approval basis.
“The West Coast Wildness Railway shows what can be achieved. It’s one of the world’s “great train journeys”.
“It is renowned for overcoming engineering challenges and providing an incredibly scenic journey. It easily rivals Victoria’s iconic Puffing Billy.
“And there are exciting and potential heritage rail projects right across Tasmania.”
• The Hobart to New Norfolk and National Park railway traverses the Derwent Valley, the river and the foreshore. The line is in good condition to Boyer. The track from Hobart to Bridgewater has been set aside by Labor for return to use as a passenger line.
• Devonport to Penguin/Burnie/Wynyard is known to be one of the most scenic shoreline rail journeys in the world. Its linkage with the adjacent food/biker coastal pathway would allow this corridor to be marketed internationally offering a higher yield rail product.
• Launceston to Georgetown allows tourism utilisation of this rail line, with the potential for return journeys on the Tamar River by existing boat operators to provide a scenic rail/water cruise. Launceston to Relbia also offers short trips to the Relbia wine region.
• The former Emu Bay Railway from Burnie to Rosebery or Zeehan traverses magnificent mountain rainforest remote from the highway and could easily provide an eco-friendly feeder to the West Coast, the Strahan attractions and the West Coast Wilderness Railway.
“Labor recognises there is currently insufficient tourism numbers to operate all of the above services continuously year round,” Mr Farrell said.
“However an integrated organisation with flexible rolling stock could seasonally operate the above services for short periods, by repositioning rolling stock and staff around the state as required, with the southern based service providing a core commercial operation.
“Rather than ignore the opportunities that Tourist and Heritage rail can give Tasmania, a Majority Labor Government will actively engage and assist the passenger trains to return to the rails.”
Rebecca White MP Labor Leader Craig Farrell MLC Shadow Transport Minister 17 February 2018