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TASRAIL has found a sweet solution to the shutdown of its Bell Bay line.
Cadbury Kraft will use the line after it reopens from the end of September to transport imported cocoa from the port to its Hobart factory and to get block chocolate back to Bell Bay for shipping interstate, to New Zealand and Asia.
Infrastructure Minister Lara Giddings said yesterday when announcing the reopening that Cadbury would be the only customer on the line initially.
But the government hoped that it would encourage other companies to take up rail transport in the region.
TasRail chief executive Damien White said that the decision to discontinue the Bell Bay rail service earlier this year was made because of declining demand and a shortage of rail resources at the time.
"However, over recent months, TasRail has been speaking with potential customers about recommencing services and our staff have been working to repair and upgrade previously obsolete assets and recruiting additional staff to operate the trains," Mr White said.
The reopened Bell Bay service would cut road transport movements significantly, he said.
"More importantly it will reconnect a vital link in Tasmania's transport network," he said.
A Cadbury Kraft spokesman said that efficient transport infrastructure was critical for the company's operations in Tasmania.
Ms Giddings said that the government would not put extra money into TasRail to support the Bell Bay reopening.
"This is a commercial arrangement that TasRail is undertaking with its customers, so it is not requiring additional funding from the state government," she said.
"We are very pleased that we have been able to work with Cadbury Kraft to find a solution through TasRail, but it also opens up this route once again to businesses who may want to use it."
A considerable amount of work had to be done before the line reopened, including finding available rolling stock and drivers, Ms Giddings said.
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