Western Line west of Burnie

 
  derwentparkjunc Chief Train Controller

I assume that tracks have or will be removed to facilitate the enacting of this grand announcement.

http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/releases/coastal_pathway_to_link_wynyard_and_burnie

Cheers,
DPJ

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  Peter-Hem Locomotive Driver

Location: Tassie
Why do the Tas government hate railways so much?
  BP4417 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Launceston, Tasmania
Why do the Tas government hate railways so much?
Peter-Hem
If this Liberal Government has its way 230 Kilometres of Tasmania's rail tracks will cease to exist particularly when you have a Road Transport Owner/Operator as State President of the Tasmanian Liberal Party who has been noted saying that all the money spent on rail should have gone into roads and a Minister known for his anti rail opinion.
It appears that Tasrail is only interested in containers, cement and minerals. Is there enough growth in in these commodities to make Tasrail viable and keep Tasrail viable?
With the massive improvements in the Midlands highway how long will it be before some of this freight moves from Rail to Road increasing this States emissions and road safety issues.
You have to ask what influence has the bureaucracy had/used in reducing the Tasmanian Rail Network.
  MetroFemme Chief Train Controller

Probably one if the reasons the state has not progressed. Too many vested interests.

Closure of Hobart another nail.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Why do the Tas government hate railways so much?
Peter-Hem
Well the line hasn't had any use for some time, so why not use the land for something that will benefit the public?

It would be different if there was a company wanting to rail out enough stuff to make a train viable, but without any realistic prospect of that ever happening, by all means give the land over to walkers and push-bicyclists. It's Crown land, so it should be available for use by ordinary people and not left to be a neglected weed patch.

Of course BP4417 has the right to have party-political conspiracy theories, but really what else could a government (of any political flavour) do with the land the rail line sits on that would: benefit the people, create a few jobs, tidy up the area and not cost a fortune to maintain?
  RTT_Rules The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dubai UAE
Why do the Tas government hate railways so much?
If this Liberal Government has its way 230 Kilometres of Tasmania's rail tracks will cease to exist particularly when you have a Road Transport Owner/Operator as State President of the Tasmanian Liberal Party who has been noted saying that all the money spent on rail should have gone into roads and a Minister known for his anti rail opinion.
It appears that Tasrail is only interested in containers, cement and minerals. Is there enough growth in in these commodities to make Tasrail viable and keep Tasrail viable?
With the massive improvements in the Midlands highway how long will it be before some of this freight moves from Rail to Road increasing this States emissions and road safety issues.
You have to ask what influence has the bureaucracy had/used in reducing the Tasmanian Rail Network.
BP4417

The line has been out of use for around 22-25 years.
he sleepers are likely half rotten.
It wasn't in great condition when closed.
It closed because its main customer, logs cut back production in the catchment for rail, there was a progressive wind down.
Fertiliser volumes were too small to justify ongoing usage on its own.

Tasrail is mostly interested in containers, cement and minerals because that's what makes money for rail. What else should it carry? Mail? parcels? Short haul rail needs to volumes, and convenience to succeed. I thought about 4-5 years back the GM for Tasrail or similar actually posted here that Tasrail had the bulk of the "contestable freight".

Upgrades to the highway also eliminate safety issues, the Midland highway was far from safe before hand to be honest of Tasrail closed down there wouldn't be that much extra freight on the highway. Tasrail's southern line will most likely only close if the major industry that it supports also closes.

The state President is entitled to his say, doesn't mean everyone in the party or opposition agrees. If look to the mainland, it is difficult to find freight on rails under similar distances and tonnages as Tasmania, so yes Tasrail's future is a question mark if the operation cannot at least pay its own way.
  12CSVT Chief Commissioner

Location: Drowning in accreditation red tape!

The line has been out of use for around 22-25 years.

It wasn't in great condition when closed.

It closed because its main customer, logs cut back production in the catchment for rail, there was a progressive wind down.
RTT_Rules
Incorrect. 14 years. It  was last used in 2003. It was in reasonable condition on closure, as it had been upgraded, including the complete rebuild of the Big River bridge in 1999, when the line was reopened after previously being services suspended in 1996.

Obviously since then there has been significant deterioration.

The key to making the FWL viable again, was to get back to Smithton to capture the heavy processed timber and milk products from there, that make the far western end of the Bass Highway a heavy trucking nightmare and a persistent death trap. However, as is usually the case, neither the State Govt nor main rail operator have the will to make a serious effort to build the rail business as it means they would have to commit to building the surveyed North Bass Highway direct route (the favoured route option) deviation line to Smithton, to pick up the freight offering. A serious rail operator that is looking to grow business would incessantly hound the Govt to facilitate that. Problem is, we don't have a serious rail operator.
  RTT_Rules The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dubai UAE

The line has been out of use for around 22-25 years.

It wasn't in great condition when closed.

It closed because its main customer, logs cut back production in the catchment for rail, there was a progressive wind down. Incorrect. 14 years. It  was last used in 2003. It was in reasonable condition on closure, as it had been upgraded, including the complete rebuild of the Big River bridge in 1999, when the line was reopened after previously being services suspended in 1996.

Obviously since then there has been significant deterioration.

The key to making the FWL viable again, was to get back to Smithton to capture the heavy processed timber and milk products from there, that make the far western end of the Bass Highway a heavy trucking nightmare and a persistent death trap. However, as is usually the case, neither the State Govt nor main rail operator have the will to make a serious effort to build the rail business as it means they would have to commit to building the surveyed North Bass Highway direct route (the favoured route option) deviation line to Smithton, to pick up the freight offering. A serious rail operator that is looking to grow business would incessantly hound the Govt to facilitate that. Problem is, we don't have a serious rail operator.
12CSVT
Ok thanks, I forgot about the reopening.

That 10-12km  extension would cost around $40-60m including a basic transfer yard (loop siding with hard stand along side for 600m plus repair of the existing line. This would need a 1000m train 6 days a week to justify.
  lkernan Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
The line has been out of use for around 22-25 years.
he sleepers are likely half rotten.
It wasn't in great condition when closed.
It closed because its main customer, logs cut back production in the catchment for rail, there was a progressive wind down.
Fertiliser volumes were too small to justify ongoing usage on its own.
RTT_Rules

Not to mention the lack of community support for reinstating the line through the Burnie foreshore.  
Without that, the whole line is isolated anyway.
  Peter-Hem Locomotive Driver

Location: Tassie
It seems that every other month I'm watching a news report featuring a politician standing on an unused line (be it the Northeast, the Northwest, Hobart, or the Derwent Valley) with big plans to rip up the tracks and build a bike lane or a bus lane in its place. And I'm sick of seeing it.
Do Tasmanian politicians really have such a narrow field of view that this is all they could imagine these lines could be used for? Wouldn't it be novel to use just some of these old lines to run preservation society trains?
Let the Derwent Valley Railway use the Derwent Valley line.
Let the Tasmanian Transport Museum use the Hobart line.
Let the Don River Railway use the Northeast line.
And in exchange go ahead, rip up and convert the Northwest Line. I'm sure a similar compromise could be made.
  BP4417 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Launceston, Tasmania
Why do the Tas government hate railways so much?
If this Liberal Government has its way 230 Kilometres of Tasmania's rail tracks will cease to exist particularly when you have a Road Transport Owner/Operator as State President of the Tasmanian Liberal Party who has been noted saying that all the money spent on rail should have gone into roads and a Minister known for his anti rail opinion.
It appears that Tasrail is only interested in containers, cement and minerals. Is there enough growth in in these commodities to make Tasrail viable and keep Tasrail viable?
With the massive improvements in the Midlands highway how long will it be before some of this freight moves from Rail to Road increasing this States emissions and road safety issues.
You have to ask what influence has the bureaucracy had/used in reducing the Tasmanian Rail Network.

The line has been out of use for around 22-25 years.
he sleepers are likely half rotten.
It wasn't in great condition when closed.
It closed because its main customer, logs cut back production in the catchment for rail, there was a progressive wind down.
Fertiliser volumes were too small to justify ongoing usage on its own.

Tasrail is mostly interested in containers, cement and minerals because that's what makes money for rail. What else should it carry? Mail? parcels? Short haul rail needs to volumes, and convenience to succeed. I thought about 4-5 years back the GM for Tasrail or similar actually posted here that Tasrail had the bulk of the "contestable freight".

Upgrades to the highway also eliminate safety issues, the Midland highway was far from safe before hand to be honest of Tasrail closed down there wouldn't be that much extra freight on the highway. Tasrail's southern line will most likely only close if the major industry that it supports also closes.

The state President is entitled to his say, doesn't mean everyone in the party or opposition agrees. If look to the mainland, it is difficult to find freight on rails under similar distances and tonnages as Tasmania, so yes Tasrail's future is a question mark if the operation cannot at least pay its own way.
RTT_Rules
I thought about 4-5 years back the GM for Tasrail or similar actually posted here that Tasrail had the bulk of the "contestable freight".
Its obvious that the GM for Tasrail has not noticed the daily line of sight heavy vehicle traffic particularly between Launceston and Devonport nor noted an objection to the Toll yard in Launceston where a home owner recorded 1 container laden B double going past his residence every ten minutes over a timed period.
Years ago a Tasmanian Government did a North East Freight Study, it concluded that there was enough freight to keep the North East Rail line viable. What did Governments do but upgrade the roads which they christened freight roads. this allowed greater access to heavier, larger, faster vehicles. No similar compensation was given to rail which meant rail was unable to compete.
The A.R.A. have for years tried to get an even playing field with heavy vehicles to pay road use and access fees but to no avail. These fees if implemented could help rail compete. I also note the the UK has banned "Mega" Lorries. I understand in the E.U. heavy vehicles have digital tachographs and are limited to 90 K.P.H. The USA also have banned heavier loads on it highways because they believe that heavier loads cause excessive road damage. In Tasmania heavy vehicles are clocked regularly at 110 KPH even though they are supposed to be speed limited to 100 K.P.H. This also works against railways.   I have never seen the weigh and inspection station at Parramatta Creek open once in my weekly travels to and from Devonport. Surely having 9 - 5 Transport Inspectors also assists the road transport industry?
Lastly comments by the President of the Tasmanian Liberal Party was reported in the media and the comments from the Infrastructure Minister are from personal experience.
  12CSVT Chief Commissioner

Location: Drowning in accreditation red tape!

That 10-12km  extension would cost around $40-60m including a basic transfer yard (loop siding with hard stand along side for 600m plus repair of the existing line. This would need a 1000m train 6 days a week to justify.
RTT_Rules
A competent and aggressive rail operator could easily generate that sort of loading building up from whats available now to whats pending with the recent Moon Lake investments in Woolnorth.
  12CSVT Chief Commissioner

Location: Drowning in accreditation red tape!
Let the Don River Railway use the Northeast line.
And in exchange go ahead, rip up and convert the Northwest Line. I'm sure a similar compromise could be made.
Peter-Hem
No, let DRR consider the Western Line. LNER are dealing with the North East. No railway EVER needs to be torn up for bikes, when there are heaps of long abandoned empty formations and any amount of forest trails here, there and everywhere. To destroy a potentially redeemable railway for something as unnecessary as bikes is criminal vandalism at its worst.
  Harrison150s Beginner

Location: (The Once) Hobart Northern Suburbs Railway
That 10-12km extension would cost around $40-60m including a basic transfer yard (loop siding with hard stand along side for 600m plus repair of the existing line. This would need a 1000m train 6 days a week to justify.
RTT_Rules
Only been to the Northwest once, stayed at Smithon for a few days. I remember seeing a Mcain factory across the road from our accommodation, a silo on the edge of town and many milk trucks in the area. Do these industries have enough transport demand to justify a 12-kilometre extension? If not could this be somewhat compensated by a passenger rail that interchanges with bus services to Stanley, Tarkine forest and Woolnorth for tourist? Many international (and some mainland) tourists would use a passenger rail to get to the north west, especially those who drive on the opposite side of the road. Also if I remember correctly the Burnie airport is located in Wynyard, with that railway right outside the terminal. Could a light rail of some sort be used on the corridor that will soon be a cycle path? With the population of the region almost 50,000 that rail line would have been a great asset. Especially if Burnie - Somerset have a high population growth rate.

Was this lines full potential taken into consideration or is this liberal government still stuck in the 70's love for roads?
  12CSVT Chief Commissioner

Location: Drowning in accreditation red tape!

Was this lines full potential taken into consideration or is this liberal government still stuck in the 70's love for roads?
Harrison150s
The Liberal Govts view of the entire rail system is that it shouldn't exist, period. Stated categorically by Senator Stephen Parry. Not to mention the extension back to Smithton was a Lennon Govt concept.
  Harrison150s Beginner

Location: (The Once) Hobart Northern Suburbs Railway
Is there a possibility that this could stop the rail trail (with enough community support) as it appears to require Wynyard - Burnie corridor.

Central Coast Council to consider a tourist train at August meeting
The Advocate
  12CSVT Chief Commissioner

Location: Drowning in accreditation red tape!
Is there a possibility that this could stop the rail trail (with enough community support) as it appears to require Wynyard - Burnie corridor.

Central Coast Council to consider a tourist train at August meeting
The Advocate
Harrison150s
The problem with the NW Line as far as a tourist rail proposal goes, is the absence of a localised (Burnie based) proponent, unlike the NE and DV Lines. DRR (Devonport) is the closest potential operator, but I cant see there resources being able to stretch to there. Anyway, their principal ambition is to regain access to the main commercial network (D'port - Burnie).

Like the N.E. and Mole Creek Lines before it, the potential biggest obstacle to a NW "Rail Trail" is furious opposition and legal action from neighbouring land-owners and a savage political backlash, especially to a Govt, whose main support base is those very land-owners.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Tourist trains would be  more popular than a rail trail I presume?
  Peter-Hem Locomotive Driver

Location: Tassie
Tourist trains would be  more popular than a rail trail I presume?
x31

I think they would BOTH be very popular, and can both exist side by side.
  Harrison150s Beginner

Location: (The Once) Hobart Northern Suburbs Railway
unlike the NE and DV Lines. DRR (Devonport) is the closest potential operator, but I cant see there resources being able to stretch to there.
12CSVT

If that is the case, could a commuter service from, say, Burnie to Launceston be a viable idea? The North Coast is much more populated all along (unlike the south east) and collectively the region has a population about the same as Toowoomba (Not including tourists).

A service like this could integrate with Spirit of Tasmania and flight to/from King and Flinders islands. A commuter rail service would prove to be so much more popular with locals than a tourist train. It would have locals coming back again and again; unlike tourism rail which a local cannot take to and from work each day. The line crosses through some quite pretty areas, despite being a commuter service, tourists would use this as well.

It would also be perfect for retired or people who only need to go into the office once or twice a week. For example, a retired couple can take the commuter train from Westbury to Launceston and go shopping without having to live in Launceston and worry about parking and traffic. Or, a person who can work from home could occasionally catch a train to anywhere along the North to drop into the office when they need to.

A V-line or QR like regional train would be quite an added benefit and asset to the North, and in future could link with a Hobart - Launceston service or maybe the far North West.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
collectively the region has a population about the same as Toowoomba
Harrison150s
Which has a passenger rail service twice a week in each direction with a very un-user friendly timetable that very few people use.

A V-line or QR like regional train would be quite an added benefit and asset to the North, and in future could link with a Hobart - Launceston service or maybe the far North West.
Harrison150s
QR regional train services with the exception of the Spirit of Queensland and the Spirit of the Outback are a bad joke, hopefully Tassie can do better than that if they ever do decide to reintroduce passenger rail services.
  Big J Chief Train Controller

Location: In Paradise
unlike the NE and DV Lines. DRR (Devonport) is the closest potential operator, but I cant see there resources being able to stretch to there.

If that is the case, could a commuter service from, say, Burnie to Launceston be a viable idea? The North Coast is much more populated all along (unlike the south east) and collectively the region has a population about the same as Toowoomba (Not including tourists).

A service like this could integrate with Spirit of Tasmania and flight to/from King and Flinders islands. A commuter rail service would prove to be so much more popular with locals than a tourist train. It would have locals coming back again and again; unlike tourism rail which a local cannot take to and from work each day. The line crosses through some quite pretty areas, despite being a commuter service, tourists would use this as well.

It would also be perfect for retired or people who only need to go into the office once or twice a week. For example, a retired couple can take the commuter train from Westbury to Launceston and go shopping without having to live in Launceston and worry about parking and traffic. Or, a person who can work from home could occasionally catch a train to anywhere along the North to drop into the office when they need to.

A V-line or QR like regional train would be quite an added benefit and asset to the North, and in future could link with a Hobart - Launceston service or maybe the far North West.
Harrison150s
Sadly I disagree. While I would love to see a commuter service, it doesn't stack up. Truly the excellent tourism experience that Tassie offers, I think that the scenic rail experience has merit. That north coast line is fantastic and maybe in cojunction with packages could stack up. However like might most tourists, I loved the fly/drive and stop wherever packages. So it will need to compete with that market with a package experience, that might be attractive for an older group that don't want to drive.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Exactly. I doubt there's a market for point to point tourist train rides. Anyway, the Don River Railway already provides a good tourist railway experience in the area. And as for a commuter train, there's an even smaller market for that, unless you could provide a better than hourly service with stops near the business and shopping areas of places like Devonport.

If they're going to fund any new rail experiences in Tassie, then the money would be better spent on allowing the Derwent Valley mob to run trains west of New Norfolk... or my crazy fantasy of resurrecting the Maydena Hauler project.
  Harrison150s Beginner

Location: (The Once) Hobart Northern Suburbs Railway
Sadly I disagree. While I would love to see a commuter service, it doesn't stack up. Truly the excellent tourism experience that Tassie offers, I think that the scenic rail experience has merit. That north coast line is fantastic and maybe in cojunction with packages could stack up. However like might most tourists, I loved the fly/drive and stop wherever packages. So it will need to compete with that market with a package experience, that might be attractive for an older group that don't want to drive.
Big J
Exactly. I doubt there's a market for point to point tourist train rides. Anyway, the Don River Railway already provides a good tourist railway experience in the area. And as for a commuter train, there's an even smaller market for that, unless you could provide a better than hourly service with stops near the business and shopping areas of places like Devonport. If they're going to fund any new rail experiences in Tassie, then the money would be better spent on allowing the Derwent Valley mob to run trains west of New Norfolk... or my crazy fantasy of resurrecting the Maydena Hauler project.
Bogong


Thanks for the feedback guys; much appreciated! Smile
  12CSVT Chief Commissioner

Location: Drowning in accreditation red tape!
Exactly. I doubt there's a market for point to point tourist train rides. Anyway, the Don River Railway already provides a good tourist railway experience in the area. And as for a commuter train, there's an even smaller market for that, unless you could provide a better than hourly service with stops near the business and shopping areas of places like Devonport.

If they're going to fund any new rail experiences in Tassie, then the money would be better spent on allowing the Derwent Valley mob to run trains west of New Norfolk... or my crazy fantasy of resurrecting the Maydena Hauler project.
Bogong
Agreed. Business plan studies have shown that successful tourist rail has to be integrated with destination attractions, which is exactly what LNER & DVR have deliberately factored into their business plans. "Train rides" (no matter how scenic) just don't cut it alone.

Sadly Bogong, the Maydena hauler concept is history. The Abbotts Peak / Eagles Eyrie location is now being developed for downhill mountain biking like Blue Derby in the N.E. Still a potential viable attraction for rail to serve (especially if there is scope to rail the bikes and riders there and back). Downhill mountain biking is proving to be a far more popular and viable concept than the over-hyped "rail trails". There seems to be two main classes of recreational cyclist in Tas. Road riders and downhill mountain biking thrill-seekers. "Rail trails" serve neither.

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