WCWR to close?

 
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE



From my understanding, the losing passengers has been happening for awhile, about 3 years.

"Z1NorthernProgress2110"


Would love to know why, knock on from GFC? Or is it a case of many Australians been there done that.

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  benscaro Chief Commissioner






http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-04/jobs-in-balance-as-tourist-railway-closes/4499832?section=tas

....Five years ago the railway carried 45,000 passengers but in the past year the figure had dropped to just over 30,000.
&
.....The Infrastructure Minister, David O'Byrne, says it will cost between $15 million and $20 million to maintain the railway and the government cannot afford the investment on its own.
"ABC news article"


Does that mean the Federal Group has possible skimped on maintenance and now it has caught up to them.
Losing a third of patronage is quite a big drop.

"nscaler69"





or they found they had to to do some proper maintenance and that it was going to cost a bit?
in the end it is up to tasmanians (or more properly australians, who pay for near enough to everything there) whether they want to pay for it. not every attractive and colourful facet of human culture is fiscally viable.  
i don't think the 'running of the bulls' in pamplona was inaugurated only after a rigorous cost-benefits analysis, for example.  uman beans ain't like that.  


what concerned me about the proposals in 98-99 was it was said to be financially viable when it wasn't ... under any set of variables. the whole thing was a pile of hooey grounded in heap of doggy do robustly anchored to hot air.  

further, other rail options that would have run on under-utilised lines which were already there, were ignored.  

i think ... and i have not paid attention to tasmanian rail for years, so take it with a grain of salt, but i think down the track you (the taxpayer) will find this train has been underwritten by your unwitting generosity all along.  

you just didn't know how kind you were.
  stopblock Junior Train Controller

Location: Planet Earth

I seem to remember that one of the justifications was that it was a "reward" to the West Coast of Tasmania, and Queenstown specifically, for being a "100 year" mining boom for the rest of Australia. The wealth that came out of the mines in Queenstown, consistently, and, for over 100 years, contributed to the wealth of this country enormously, and, may I say it, subsidised the mainland during its 'tough' times!
How easy it is now  to condemn them for being a drain on our pocket today.
However, maybe now its time has come!

This may now just spell the end for "just another old mining town", they all go this way eventually, and who cares anyway?
and I am not a sentimentalist, but a realist....
Marble Bar (WA).... Mt Morgan (Qld)......Captains Flat (NSW)....Queenstown (Tas)??????

(but dare we let Bendigo or Ballarat Trams die????)
Yes, we just didn't know how generous we have been

Now, I will probably have to 'duck for cover' as I have definitely stirred a hornets nest!!!
Stopblock

  GeoffreyHansen Minister for Railways

Location: In a FAM sleeper

I visited Tasmania in late 2009 and I wanted to go on the West Coast Wilderness Railway but I decided against it because the fares were $150 per person and because of the great distance from Melbourne and Hobart and the resulting extra cost of bus fares. I was hoping to be able to go on the railway one day.

It's closure is a real shame especially considering the unique rail technology involved. It would be such a great loss for Tasmania.

I would have thought that the railway could be more viable if it was run by a preservation group with lower fares. Perhaps there could be an option of having a shorter journey like can be done on Victoria's Puffing Billy. Also if an overnight coach could be introduced from Hobart or Launceston which might save a night's accommodation and would thus be more affordable for budget travellers.

It's also a shame that there is no airport near Strahan or Queenstown.

  Floody Locomotive Driver

One company mined money out of a hole and couldn't afford to keep it running, one company mines money out of gamblers pockets and can't afford to keep it running... Its all just a little bit of history re-re-repeating.
  packa Junior Train Controller


We went on a Tassie holiday about 6 years back, This train ride was going to be a highlight of the holiday.  Went to buy the tickets for my family and wham it was going to be more than my weeks wage.  I just could not afford it and so we could only watch it leave with almost no one on board.  We were all very sad to miss out.

There were quite a few people on the platform, Could it have been they they also passed because of the fare cost?

Personally, I think they were only interested in the high end of town using the train and priced it such to detract children and common folk.

  Railnthusiast Chief Commissioner

Location: At the computer



Personally, I think they were only interested in the high end of town using the train and priced it such to detract children and common folk.

"packa"

No offence, but that theory is not really all too sound.
If WCWR wanted to do that they would be chopping a massive amount out of there potential pasengers out. Admittedly, it seems to cater better for adults, but that's not trying to "exclude" the younger market.

  VRfan Moderator

Location: In front of my computer :-p

I think the fares would simply be due to the fact the railway line operates through rugged and hard to access terrain using expensive to operate machinery (steam locos) with paid staff. I doubt they would intentionally jack up the price to the point where they have no passengers.

Remember that you are comparing what is essentially a commercial operation to volunteer run heritage railways. I'm sure if all the volunteer railways operated with primarily paid staff, they would have significantly higher prices as well.

  9034 Train Controller




I visited Tasmania in late 2009 and I wanted to go on the West Coast Wilderness Railway but I decided against it because the fares were $150 per person and because of the great distance from Melbourne and Hobart and the resulting extra cost of bus fares. I was hoping to be able to go on the railway one day.

It's closure is a real shame especially considering the unique rail technology involved. It would be such a great loss for Tasmania.

I would have thought that the railway could be more viable if it was run by a preservation group with lower fares. Perhaps there could be an option of having a shorter journey like can be done on Victoria's Puffing Billy. Also if an overnight coach could be introduced from Hobart or Launceston which might save a night's accommodation and would thus be more affordable for budget travellers.

It's also a shame that there is no airport near Strahan or Queenstown.

"GeoffreyHansen"


This has been something I always wanted to do since it opened, and like ZigZag I thought I would be able to do it later!
Does the  West Coast Wilderness Railway has a website?  Tried looking  up fares and all I can find is travel packages  ie premium class travel with one nights accommodation fo two from $613 and two nights accommodation with tourist class from $593 on this site http://www.puretasmania.com.au/default.asp?pID=355


thanks



9034

  duttonbay Minister for Railways

This has been something I always wanted to do since it opened, and like ZigZag I thought I would be able to do it later!
Does the West Coast Wilderness Railway has a website? Tried looking up fares and all I can find is travel packages ie premium class travel with one nights accommodation fo two from $613 and two nights accommodation with tourist class from $593 on this site
http://www.puretasmania.com.au/default.asp?pID=355
"9034"

I rang and asked. On Wed Feb 20 the cost is $133 in standard, and $220 premium. That's one-way in the train, and a bus the other. No idea whether the price is different on other days.
  Rowallan Junior Train Controller

Location: Cardiff South

Sounds like nobody has heard of "Asset Management" or life cycle costs, if they did the WCWR would either not have been re-built or would not be in its current state.  

And i'm sorry you can't expect to pay a concession fare on what is a world class tourist attraction.

  benscaro Chief Commissioner




...

Now, I will probably have to 'duck for cover' as I have definitely stirred a hornets nest!!!
Stopblock

"stopblock"


mmm. you don't seem to have.  as much as it pleases you to be impressed with your own skills in courting controversy, sir, be aware that you are in a  fan club of one (incl. foundation & joining members).

  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld

I'm sorry you can't expect to pay a concession fare on what is a world class tourist attraction.
"Rowallan"


My first thought on seeing the fare was "we can't afford that!", however on reflection it was likely a once in a lifetime thing (especially now in light of this thread) so we forked out the dough and had what can only be described as an awesome experience.

As an aside, one way on the train takes half a day, the other way on the bus takes about 20 minutes!

  duttonbay Minister for Railways




My first thought on seeing the fare was "we can't afford that!", however on reflection it was likely a once in a lifetime thing (especially now in light of this thread) so we forked out the dough and had what can only be described as an awesome experience.

As an aside, one way on the train takes half a day, the other way on the bus takes about 20 minutes!

"Graham4405"

I equate the fare to entertainment. Having on Monday booked a ticket for a concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre - $60 for a 52 minute production - without flinching, I reckon $133 for more than twice as much entertainment is as good a deal.  It's easier since my wife and I are already in Tasmania in a couple of weeks time, so all it takes is cancelling a day or two's plans and making new ones.

I hope to book tomorrow.

  steam4ian Chief Commissioner


G'day

We too were in Queenstown a few years back and watched the train pull out without us after considering the fare.

A bit unfair* really because unlike Dutton Bay we did not compare it with alternative entertainments.  ( * Yes I know it's a pun!)  My wife and I gleefully shell out over $100 each three times a year to go to the opera.

The compared to PBS, PRR, SHR or Don River WCWR appears expensive. One thing I did notice was that the operating personnel did not seem to understand rail enthusiasts and they themselves were most unrailway like, professional hotel persons no doubt, but railway people No!  I compare this with the Grand Canyon Railway, also run by a hotel chain; here the people liked trains. When a trail run of the steam loco returned the waitress thew open the doors of the dining room to see it arrive and to let in th esmoke and steam; I had to drag myself away from the operations manager he was so willing to talk railways.

BTW. If you go to Queenstown, look up Nobby in the Newsagency and ask directions to the Margaret River Power Station. He told me how to get there and tell the blokes working there  "Nobbly sent me".  That was the pass word to an incredible experience. I walked un restricted through the machinery hall an early 20th century power station, it still operates (not when I was there) and is a living museum. All brass spit and polish with switchgear mounted on marble panels. Fantastic!

Regards
Ian

  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia

A ,oment to reflect, as the staff have a end of employment on the railway in sight.  We recently got a few of these people to join, argue, inform us here on Railpage,  very proud of the locos in their care. These same people will be hurt more than our regret on not going.

And I wish to do it now late MArch, 2 days worth - want to do entire line, even in 2 legs - I hope. But will it be running ?  

a major Railfan mob should quickly arrange a official one too - so 30 years from now it is a historic excursion, how often do we talk about the old last days of ThrBeechy etc. ?

Public regards tot he people down there.

David Head

  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld



The compared to PBS, PRR, SHR or Don River WCWR appears expensive.
"steam4ian"


Yes, but the experience makes up for it somewhat. Remember it is a commercial operation run by paid staff. As I said, as a once in a lifetime experience it is worth the money. As a daily commute, forget it!


One thing I did notice was that the operating personnel did not seem to understand rail enthusiasts and they themselves were most unrailway like, professional hotel persons no doubt, but railway people No!
"steam4ian"


I admit that I didn't talk to many of them. The crew in the cab of the steamer were able to talk to me about the performance of the loco etc. Our carriage attendant/guard (female) was knowledgeable about the history of the locos and was (necessarily) qualified in safeworking. Another female crew member from the other train crossed at Dubbill Barrill saw my Savannahlander shirt and commented that her partner used to drive the Savannahlander and was now "in charge of" WCWR. Thus I probably had quite a different experience to you...

  walhallarail Locomotive Fireman


This will throw a real cat among the pigeons, however the WCWR carriages would be perfect for the Walhalla Goldfields Railway's proposed extension to the Boola Road then Erica. Unlike the WCWR, the WGR does not have the operational challenges of the West Coast of Tasmania yet will provide a very similar experience...but shorter time and cheaper. Plus the WGR is less than two hours drive from a population of 4+ million people.
  whiteknight Locomotive Fireman

Location: Kings Park.N.S.W. 2148.

 It will close at the end of April. How do i know.I am travelling through Queenstown and staying there for 3 nights from March.11,12 &13..And today i made a booking for 2 adults via the telephone and all was confirmed and paid for.I spoke to the Lady who took my Booking and she told me -end of April we finish running it.But hopefully something can be worked out to save it.and save the towns of Queenstown and Strahan.And my camera will be working overtime to record the event ,and i wil return and download my photos onto Flicker for you all to see.

Whiteknight.-Dave.

  duttonbay Minister for Railways

It will close at the end of April.
"whiteknight"

What you know is that the current operator have said they will close then. They will walk away from the lease. If the government throws money at it, perhaps in the direction of another operator, it may continue.
  xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong
I am not sure of who owns the rails and the infrastructure (if that is the right word) such as stations etc, but what are the chances of:
*Quickly setting up a management structure such as that at Puffing Billy where a group runs the railway on behalf of the government, OR
*Setting up a totally self run heritage railway with volunteers such as that at Bellarine Railway, or other similarTRs
  Floody Locomotive Driver




I am not sure of who owns the rails and the infrastructure (if that is the right word) such as stations etc, but what are the chances of:
*Quickly setting up a management structure such as that at Puffing Billy where a group runs the railway on behalf of the government, OR
*Setting up a totally self run heritage railway with volunteers such as that at Bellarine Railway, or other similarTRs

"xxxxlbear"


Close to zero on both accounts given its in economically depressed buttf**k nowhere. Nobody on the coast could likely afford to 'volunteer' to run the thing and its too far from anywhere to get outsiders journeying in to staff it unless some pretty attractive conditions were made available.

The infrastructure including stock is owned by the Tas government and operated/maintained by the lessee Federal Group. Who can welch on their rail contract, but cry foul when any talk of the government pulling out of their pokies contract is mooted....

  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

Along with some friends we did the ABT railway, overnight on the ferry with my car on a long weekend, First Class about 5 years ago. Fantastic trip and the complimentary wine was flowing before we even left Queenstown station.

I thought after reading this bad news I'd consider taking the overnight ferry again and then look at the bus options from Devonport to Queenstown.

The bus runs TWICE weekly Exclamation
I couldn't believe the worse than poor PT, and the fare was over $65.00 one way as well.

Sadly there are some real problems in linking up the west coast to the remainder of Tassie....We aren't talking Outback Queensland distances here.

Mike.

  DRR_Fireman Deputy Commissioner

Location: -
There is basically no such thing as public transport outside Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and Devonport.
  Floody Locomotive Driver






Sadly there are some real problems in linking up the west coast to the remainder of Tassie....We aren't talking Outback Queensland distances here.

Mike.

"The Vinelander"


Well no, but you are talking a 4-5 hour trip to most major centres over terrain which is hard on vehicles and drivers. Imagine the wear and tear on a bus going in and out of Queenstown for example.

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