I have not read all of the report but the sections that I have read leave me somewhat disappointed. I have made the following observations:
1) The so called independent report was arranged by the government. The report has sat on the Minister’s desk for around twelve months. Why has the report not been released during this time? It appears as though there has been some severe massaging of the original report but who (apart from the authors) can say what these changes (if any) were.
2) The report includes many spelling errors, errors of fact and inconsistencies.
Some examples are: -
a) On P35, Figure 8. Did the Igloo really cost $33.0M? Did the Thirlmere project only cost $0.2M?
b) On Page 37 both Dorrigo (DSRM) and Goulburn to Crookwell Heritage Railway (GCHR) are missing from the list, also Casino and NERI etc.
One would ask the question “Has anyone with knowledge of the Rail Heritage Sector (RHS) in NSW (or even Australia) proof read the report before it was released?”
3) It is distressing to see that the forecast upgrade at Thirlmere ($15.0M) ended up costing $35.0M, an over expenditure of $20.0M or over 130%.
4) The restoration of 3801 has been poorly managed and the public (and the RHS) has not been kept informed of the problems and delays. One can read more about the boiler issues in the British magazines than we hear in Australia.
5) The NSW Government will have to find many $M for the Broadmeadow precinct. Here's hoping!
I shall finish reading the report and digest the remaining sections but I am definitely underwhelmed by the parts that I have read.
A quick summation appears to be that we will get a Super RTM (to be known as THNSW), but will this operate any differently from ORH as far as the “small” groups are concerned? The group 3801 Ltd must be shell shocked as I haven’t heard anything from them, or is the volcano about to erupt?
The reviewers did a good job of listening to the heritage groups but is the (original) report what the government wanted to hear?
I see some significant opportunities for resource and information sharing between groups. Hopefully fostering of this will be part of the charter of THNSW.
PS; Welcome aboard for the busses and trams. I hope that your journey ahead is a smoother one than the RHS has had over the last thirty years.