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THE Derwent Valley Railway is steaming ahead with its plans to establish a tourist link from New Norfolk to National Park as it works on broader plans to carry cruise ship passengers directly to Mt Field.
Its initial proposal — to take passengers from New Norfolk to the entrance to the Mt Field National Park — has the backing of the Derwent Valley Council and a feasibility study is in train.
The DVR would need to lease the line from the State Government and secretary Owen Andrews said he hoped the proposal would be supported.
The railway recently collected some redundant track from the Macquarie Point development to reuse as part of its big-picture project.
Mr Owens said the group was grateful for the material given by the Macquarie Point Development Corporation.
A rail group from the northeast has also visited the site to see if any of the remaining rail was of use.
MPDC CEO Mary Massina said she was pleased to see sections being reused.
“This is about supporting tourism throughout Tasmania, not just our site,’ she said.
Volunteers carrying out work on the track the Derwent Valley Railway hopes will soon again carry passengers from New Norfolk to National Park.Mr Andrews said the tourist rail proposal had huge community support and it was good to see an official assessment of what its economic impact might be in progress.
“Ideally we would like to see trains moving out the gate within six months but 12 months might be more realistic,” he said.
“One of the options we are looking at for the future is to extend our operations back towards Hobart to collect cruise ship passengers and take them directly to the Mt Field National Park.
“It is a fantastic destination with a number of short walks available. The National Park railway station is directly adjacent to the entrance to the park.”
One of the options we are looking at for the future is to extend our operations back towards Hobart to collect cruise ship passengers and take them directly to the Mt Field National Park.
No trains have travelled the line since 2005 and the DVR’s tourism plans have been on the backburner for even longer.
The Derwent Valley Railway Preservation Society was formed in 1990. It then purchased the assets of the Tasmanian Locomotive Company and conducted small trips in the area.
In 2005, Pacific National, which had taken over commercial running of the Tasmanian rail network, closed the Derwent Valley line west of New Norfolk and effectively stopped the running of the heritage railway.
The next year, all tracks and rail infrastructure returned to government control.
“Despite being unable to run trains since 2005, the DVR has been anything but idle. The locomotives, carriages and other rolling stock in our collection have been undergoing refurbishment with an expectation of recommencing operations in the near future,” the railway said.
Read more great stories from the region in Wednesday’s Derwent Valley Gazette
This article first appeared on www.themercury.com.au
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