From my understanding, the losing passengers has been happening for awhile, about 3 years.
Would love to know why, knock on from GFC? Or is it a case of many Australians been there done that.
....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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Now, I will probably have to 'duck for cover' as I have definitely stirred a hornets nest!!!
I'm sorry you can't expect to pay a concession fare on what is a world class tourist attraction.
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!
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 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
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.