A number of the comments made on this thread about the Ida Bay Railway have been misleading in my opinion.
The Ida Bay Railway is historically important to Tasmania, both from an industrial history, and railway history point of view.
It operated for over fifty years providing raw materials used in the industrial process carried on at Risdon.
It is the last remaining 2ft gauge industrial railway in Tasmania. As such it represents a type of railway which was very widely used and which played an important part in Tasmania’s history. For that reason alone it is worth saving, it represents what was used in many forms of mining, quarrying, and construction in remote parts of Tasmania.
It is also located in an area which has a rich and interesting history.
remember too, that track aside, the line is an entirely different beast from the industrial tramline it was
That is not true. The line follows the same route as it did when carrying limestone, the rails and track construction are the same, the locomotives are the same. Minor changes have been made to the track layout at Ida Bay and Deep Hole to facilitate running, and the passenger cars are different – they have to be as you cannot carry passengers in limestone wagons! The railway still has the rail-motor which was used to carry quarry workers on the line.
relocation, to somewhere with a. people, and b. scenery, should be looked at if it is thought that there would be sufficient economic benefit
That completely misses the point. It is the remote location and the route of the tramway which gives it its historical significance. Move it and it loses its historical integrity and relevance. When the Tasmanian government took the railway over in about 1975 they recognised that it had historical value. Unfortunately they have subsequently failed to protect their own assets. They apparently do not take pride in the state’s history.
why should the taxpayer be expected to perenially fund an under-performing business purely on the basis that it is on rails?
It is not an underperforming business. It represents a significant part of the state’s history. It is an item of cultural heritage which should be protected. The operators are caretakers of a state asset, an asset which the government thought worth saving in the 1970s. The operators should not be expected to send themselves broke to protect what is a state-owned museum piece. Museum pieces are not intended to make money in themselves.
As for the line’s scenery, the railway more or less follows the shoreline of Ida Bay. I have visited there on three occasions. Firstly in 1971 when I spent two days there, and walked the full length of the line from the quarry to Deep Hole. Secondly in 1987 when the Second River Tramway Krauss 0-4-0T loco was making a visit. Thirdly in 2003.
I did not find the scenery uninspiring. Here are some photographs from the first two visits.
Between Ida Bay township and Deep Hole jetty looking east, 1971.
View from the railway between Ida Bay township and Deep Hole jetty, 1971.
Empty train returning from Deep Hole jetty, about half-way to Ida Bay township, 1971.
View towards Deep Hole jetty, taken from the railway. The railway follows the coastline a little inland on the right hand side, 1971.
Train bound for Deep Hole jetty, in the bushes, 1987.
Train bound for Deep Hole jetty, in the bushes, 1987. A glimpse of the track can also be seen on the bottom righ-hand corner.
Track at the Deep Hole jetty terminus, 1987.
Train bound for Ida Bay from Deep Hole, hauled by the Second River Krauss locomotive, 1987.
Unfortunately the photographs I took in 2003 have been a victim of my filing "system". They will come to light unexpectedly some day.