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Rail services in Tasmania cannot be guaranteed during a two-month government study into the industry, operator Pacific National says.
The warning was made in a letter by chief executive officer Neil MacKinnon to Pacific National business customers.
Mr MacKinnon said further locomotive failures or major track damage could cut services further.
"The Government study will delay any critical reinvestment decisions by a further two months ... we are unable to guarantee there will not be further reduced service levels," he said.
The warning came as a railway workers' rally in Launceston heard yesterday that the end of rail services would result in a B-double truck leaving Cornwall Coal at Fingal every 28 minutes, week-in week-out.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union organiser Donna Sargent said the Esk Highway in the Fingal Valley would not handle the extra traffic.
About 100,000 tonnes of coal from Cornwall is delivered to Goliath Cement at Railton, Norske Skog at Boyer and Australian Paper at Burnie via rail each year.
Pacific National says it will end rail services unless the State and Federal governments make significant investment in the track.
Both levels of government are about to start a two-month study into the industry.
Rail, Tram and Bus Union organiser Greg Harvey attacked Pacific National yesterday, saying it was not acceptable that it wanted the Government to bail it out two years after buying Tasmanian rail operations.
"Railway workers and their families deserve better than being used as a bargaining chip in a dispute over who is going to pay for much needed infrastructure investment," he said.
He said Pacific National, a joint venture of transport giants Toll Holdings and Patrick Corporation, had made a 39 per cent increased profit of $78 million last year.
"Pacific National should not be allowed to buy the company and run it for two years and decide that the track is no good and bale out," he said.
"I would like to see governments get some very strict assurances if they hand over any money."
He said 180 of the 200 rail jobs in Tasmania would be threatened if container services ceased.
Mr MacKinnon said the railway operator's losses were unsustainable after a $400,000 loss last month.
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