Tasmanian Times

Media Release

Hobart Rail Line in jeopardy

The proponents of Light/Passenger Rail in Hobart want an immediate halt to the further destruction of rail lines leading onto Hobart’s Macquarie Point.

The Rail Action Group says construction works on the city’s main line to the waterfront, beside the Hobart Regatta Pavilion, throws doubt on the State Government’s pledge to protect the rail corridor.

It’s understood the rail corridor will be occupied by a cycleway extension into Macquarie Point, but group President Ben Johnston says the public has not been consulted and kept in the dark. The Rail Action Group has requested a detailed plan defining the rail corridor and therefore protecting the rail corridor.

“Construction activity is occurring in the same area where rails were ripped up by the Macquarie Point Development Corporation last year, in what the former TasRail Chairman Bob Annells described as a ‘stuff-up’.”

Mr Johnston says “We need rail as a key solution to Hobart’s ‘growing pains’, and it will be a waste of taxpayers’ money to relocate a cycleway only months after it was constructed”.

Supporters of Light Rail will hear the Speaker of the House of Assembly and long time rail advocate Sue Hickey speak at the Rail Action Group’s AGM tomorrow night: Friday 16th, 5pm at the Moonah Arts Centre.

Ben Johnston is President, Hobart Northern Suburbs Rail Action Group

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Rob Halton

    November 15, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Sue Hickey needs to be on the alert more as central Hobart cannot cope with increasing numbers of cars and heavy transport trucks charging up and down Davey St and Macquarie St, its unsustainable, currently minor accidents on the Southern Outlet casuses delays especially with the morning rush hour into the city.

    State Government and the new Hobart City Council need to start engaging with the community and business who use the route regularly!

    Essentially new roading infrastruture is required as either a tunnel under the city or the more favourable option a road Bypass consisting of a combination open cuts, tunnels and bridges from the Southern Outlet gradually descending to croos South Hobart near cascades then behind Knocklofty to join up with a point towards the western suburbs onto the Brooker highway hence to the East Derwent Highway via the bowen bridge and across the derwent at granton onto the Midland Highway.

    A massively expensive project either way , in the order of $2Billion but as the Southern region is destined to expand its population base, new roading infrastructure is required to facilitate an orderly transition from the traditional Hobart with its limited access due to geographical constraints and colonial attitudes to essential progress much in the same way the rebuild of the Royal Hobart public hospital is causing because of limited space.

    In my opinion NSLR remains as a pipe dream given the overall small population base living close to the rail line itself and under the current lack for investors who are game to provide accommodation with lifestyle and a viable jobs base nearby along the route makes the light rails option doubtful.

    The only possibility for a viable Light Rail connection to the city is the expansion of living spaces in the Brighton district where affordable housing still needs to be promoted and suported to a higher level than at present.

    Building Light rail for a dead end at Glenorchy or to terminate at Mona still remains as a pipe dream given the smaller population base living closer to the rail line.

    Gone are the days that I can recall well of workers living in places like West Moonah and closer to the city commuting by rail far away as Boyer, to Cadbury, the Electrolytic Zinc Works and to the various light and medium industrial areas supporting a large manual workforce in the Derwent Park area.

    Any future Light Rail would require mass transit number of persons, currently we dont have such numbers within the area of the rail line, home owners today much prefer the wider open spaces fringing on the outer suburbs as a modern lifestyle dictates to most of us.

    The attitude to build the Light Rail and the masses will come is a highly risky gamble to be placed on the taxpayer given that Greater Hobart as a whole requires additional management of transport in areas that are currently under much high development for attractive housing and that does not include the linear route from the city to Glenorchy.

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